Ohmme, the Chicago-based duo of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart, released their excellent debut album, Parts, last year on Joyful Noise Records. Having previously shared stages with the likes of Whitney and Tweedy, the duo are set to reach UK shores next month with a six-date tour.
Despite both members being trained classical pianists, for Ohmme they wanted to do something else, “we knew we could sing well together and we wanted to make some noise with the guitar”. The resultant record is every bit as experimental and playful as you’d imagine; the aforementioned guitars clatter and soar, creating a chaotic counterpoint to their individually distinctive, entwined vocals. Confidently different, completely intriguing and at the forefront of modern art-rock, Ohmme are making one of the most exciting rackets on the planet.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Ohmme?
OHMME is Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham. We both play electric guitar, sing, and write all of the songs for the band. Sometimes Macie will bring out the violin in our recordings as well as our live shows. We started the project back in 2014 and are now a touring 3-piece with the addition of Matt Carroll. He started drumming with us when we played the 2016 Pitchfork Music Festival. We all grew up in Chicago and met each other in high-school through music programs around the city.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Our first-first show was in July 2014 at a small festival Sima produces on a farm every year. It was a new project we were trying out so we wanted to do it in front of a friendly audience. Unfortunately Sima was really sick so we couldn’t get through many of our vocal parts, so our first “real” show was about a month later at Constellation in Chicago. We didn’t have a lot of songs then so we invited a bunch of other friends – V.V. Lightbody, Jessica Marks, and Jenn Romero – to jump in and do a couple tunes with us. It was more ambient and improvisational at that point.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
The two of us have been making and playing music since we were babies. Macie’s mom is a professional musician and Sima’s dad has been playing in blues bands throughout his life, so we were exposed to the reality of being a musician at a very young age. It’s part of our blood. There isn’t even an alternate universe where we wouldn’t be making music; it’s the most visceral way to express our creativity. We both dabble in other art forms, but music making is our natural state of being.
FTR: What can people expect from the Ohmme live show?
From what we’re told– the live show is a lot more enthralling and dynamic than people envision. We turn in towards each other and have a lot of fun interacting and improvising through the set, while keeping everything moving through the core of the songs. Matt is incredibly fun to watch live; he’s like our engine in the back, always egging us on. It’s a lot of fun. We open it up usually though at some point in each set and do some improvised explorations between songs. Sometimes Sima’s hair spins around like a helicopter and you might spot Macie doin’ a high kick on stage. Wild stuff.
FTR: What’s next for Ohmme?
We’re starting to dream about our next record. Very excited to come to Europe. Lots and lots of touring. We love being on the road.
They Listen To…
1.Half Gringa – “Pennsylvania Dutch”
2.Weyes Blood – “Used to Be”
3.Bob Marley – “High Tide Or Low Tide”
4.Patti Smith – “Land”
5.Shopping – “Asking for a Friend”
Parts is out now via Joyful Noise Records. Click HERE for more information on Ohmme.