Formed of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart; Chicago-based OHMME blend driving beats and brooding, distorted guitars to create their deceptively simple, catchy songs. The pair are set to release their new album, Fantasize Your Ghost, on 5th June via Joyful Noise Recordings, and it’s full of snaking riffs and restless lyrics designed to relieve the feeling of being stood still.
We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Macie & Sima to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five songs and/or albums that have influenced their writing techniques. Check out their choices below, and scroll down to listen to OHMME’s track ‘Selling Candy’ at the end of this post.
1. Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum
Macie: Cate Le Bon is a new discovery for the both of us. We listened to ‘Reward’ a lot last Spring/Summer when we were touring, and then dug into some of her earlier records. “Mug Museum” really stands out as one of our favourites. The guitars weave together in this snake-like way which inspired a lot of our approach to the guitar part writing on Fantasize Your Ghost. She just has such great songs and arrangements that groove so easily and make you feel good. ‘Are You With Me Now’ is one of our favourites off of the record.
2. Kate Bush – The Kick Inside
Macie: It would be impossible to downplay how much we love Kate Bush. She has this ability to create a different universe on each record of hers, and listening to The Kick Inside woke something up inside of us. I can’t believe she was 17 when she made this record! She’s so young but her voice is so powerful and commanding, it’s really inspiring. It’s cool how this record plays with the aspect of performance in the theatre sense, she’s always embodying these characters in her songs and making them larger than life. It opens up a lot of possibilities of what a song could be.We have a dream of doing a Kate Bush cover night and performing the entirety of this record…We’ll let you know when that happens.
3. The Roches – ‘Hammond Song’
Sima: There’s something about the unison singing in the song that just cuts right through you. The Roches’ use of harmony, unison, and polyphonic singing has been very influential on us the last couple years as we play with all the different ways we can combine our voices. We also adore their songwriting; how direct and hilarious but also earnest it can be. The eponymous album that this song comes from also feels like it was written specifically for people (and maybe even more specifically, women) who are on tour all the time.
4. The Mystery of Bulgarian Voices
Sima: I grew up singing in a choir and was introduced to Bulgarian Women’s Choral singing at a young age and I always loved it. I love any singing where you can sing full-throttle – sacred harp, gospel – it just pulls your guts right up through your throat and I love that. A few years ago on tour, Macie put on the album made by this group and we we’re both just really excited about it. Its one end of the spectrum of singing that we love to indulge in and you can hear it pretty directly influence moments on Fantasize Your Ghost.
5. Neko Case – Star Witness
We’ve both loved Neko for a long time; her voice, her music, but especially her poetry. We sing this song sometimes together when we’re sitting around with acoustic guitar. Neko has an incredible ability to convey a mood without saying exactly what or who she is always singing about. The sound of her words works so well with how her melodies leap and bound around each other. This album came out at a time when we were coming of age as songwriters and is therefore immortalized in our brains forever.