“Who-Who,” fills the mid-summer night’s air, as you feel the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. Feeling the feathers touch the top of your head, as a winged creature known commonly as the Owl, has just flown overhead. But do not fear the Owl, as this bird of the night is very unique. Unlike most Owls, this one plays metal. Bassist/Vocalist Chris Wyse, an active member of of rock group, The Cult, grew up with best friend and drummer Dan Dinsmore (The Clay People), out in New York. The duo then found Jason Mezillis (Your Horrible Smile), rounding off a line-up suitable to everyone’s approval.
After releasing their Self-Titled effort, Owl went off on a brief tour, promoting, meeting, and playing anywhere and everywhere they could; getting their name out so everyone could witness the magic, wisdom, and wonder of what Owl is all about. Frontman Chris Wyse spoke to me about how the band came together, along with the album creating process.
NP: Tell us how Owl came to be. How did you guys get together?
Chris: Well… Owl is something I had been doing behind the scenes over the years. There was really no outlet for this band to begin with; I was aiming to get experimental with the upright bass, and looking to do something with this band. What I really wanted was to get back to my older roots, become more intense and mystical, if you will. I wanted to go out and create an album, so I got in contact with my drummer Dan from New York, who owns a label. I then called up Jason and formed the whole band. From that point, changing the band’s line-up around and creating a real live chemistry. That’s what brought us altogether, making a real unique sound.
NP: Tell us about the band’s name… How did you come up with it?
Chris: My last name is Wyse, which has that old English vibe to it. Growing up as a kid there were a lot of Wyse items around at the time; Wyse Potato Chips, for instance, among other things. So the name followed me, it’s cool mystical sound and represents what we do as a band. If we had gone and called the band Potato Chips that wouldn’t have been cool.
NP: How did this past tour go for you? Have any favorite venues or places you’d like to go back to?
Chris: Well I enjoyed, Armin’s Grocery in Manhattan, it had a good club vibe to it. Another one would be the Blender Theater, which is a great venue; it’s very imitate, the sounds and lights there are amazing. We played their “Goth n’ Rock Night,” that went over well. I live in L.A. and going over to New York, you get a whole different response. We’ve played within this area too; the Dragonfly and Viper Room stand out the most.
NP: What can you tell us about your Self-Titled album?
Chris: It’s really kind of a vision of how I saw the bands I listened to growing up. Those bands showed me that you can do whatever you want. For me, I wanted to write a mixture of songs, with musical interludes, outros, intros, like Van Halen had done with their music. Owl fills the void. While there are other bands out there that fall into place instantly, we have our own unique sound. We have fewer rules – We’re trying to bring it back to the artistic side.
NP: What are your favorite tracks on the new record and what do they mean to you?
Chris: All of them mean something; a lot of them are more in depth than others. I think “Pusher,” stands out the most, having a strong chorus, and bass line to it. “Sky Rocket,” came out well as far as being an emotional ballad, containing a lot of heart and soul to it. These songs don’t just talk about your basic drugs and drinking lifestyle, it means something totally different from that. As far as these songs were written, “E Generation,” along with all the others, contains those musical vibrations that explain what really happened.
NP: Were there many more songs written that didn’t make the record?
Chris: Yeah we had a hard time deciding. I had developed a lot of songs, over the years and probably have enough material for a whole another record. But we’d like to continue to write more, and mess around some more coming up with crazier material, keeping everything wide open.
NP: What are your goals for Owl?
Chris: The main goal right now is to play as many shows as we can, get our name recognized a lot more for our music, finding our hearts and souls with this music. We’re doing this all for our sake, getting out on the road, touring the world. We’re very encouraged to continue onward and play this music for who ever’s willing to listen.
NP: If you could have one thing at this moment, anything at all, what would you have and why?
Chris: It’s all about the band and music for me. What I’d really like to do is go out on a big tour and hook up with one of our favorite bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Tool, Alice in Chains, get on a tour bus going out on the road and tour, tour, tour.
NP: What is one summer movie you just have to see?
Chris: Well I recently saw “The Watchman,” and I was really excited about it. It wasn’t a wimpy movie; some of the scenes thrown in there were really exciting to watch like the time sequences. The illustrator from “Batman” drew a lot of the parts of the video we plan on filming for the song “Pusher,” I’m basically drawn to the fantasy stuff. I was really excited to see “The Watchman” and how it turned out.
NP: Any last words of wisdom?
Chris: Well I think it’s time for people to get back into music for music sake. I hope Obama brings back the music program to all the schools. I have people coming up to me and asking me about my upright bass, not even knowing what it is, it’s a total turn off to me. It’s time for the real deal adventurous music again, that would be the final thought on my behalf.