Snapshot in Time – Pia Revisits Past Friendships on ‘Old Days’

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Pia gets nostalgic on her new single, “Old Days.” Photo – AC Backus Photo

Pia thoughtfully shares a personal snapshot in time.

The Detroit indie rock singer-songwriter reminisces about a past friendship and recalls vivid moments of connection on her nostalgic new single, “Old Days.”

“It’s the singular event of a friendship not really ending, but dissipating and changing the way that it used to look. It’s a shorter realization of like, ‘Oh wow, this person that I used to either talk to every day or had this certain relationship with, it’s now different,’” she said.

Throughout “Old Days,” Pia wonders what her friend drinks for breakfast and whether they remember summertime highway jaunts or stolen firewood adventures.

Alongside those inquiries, an emotive swell of wistful electric guitar, quavering bass, thumping drums, shiny cymbals and jingly tambourine seamlessly transport Pia to the past.

She sings, “It makes me sad something changed in your eyes/Ask how you’re doing seems like a big disguise/December’s long and we both know/That the sun is coming and it’s melting the snow.”

“When I reached the end of writing ‘Old Days,’ it helped that I similarly was realizing, ‘Oh friendships and relationships end, but not always for the worst, and that time is still special,’” Pia said.

Pia penned her sentimental track in May and recorded it with a talented team of collaborators, including producer John Katona of JK (Not Kidding Studios), Minihorse’s Ben Collins (lead guitar), Tom Mihalis (lead guitar), Stoop Lee’s Ade Olaniran (drums) and Matt Jones (bass).

“I recorded the demo and basis of the whole song with Ben Collins and myself on guitar and vocals and Ade of Stoop Lee on drums. Then, I sat on the song for a little because I got busy with residency, and then ended up finishing it up at John Katona’s,” said Pia, who’s also a pharmacist.

To accompany the release of “Old Days,” Pia dropped a thoughtful new lyric video, which features her roaming around Belle Isle.

“I asked my 16-year-old sister to videotape me doing random stuff on my friend Matt’s camcorder. She was like, ‘Oh, I get to use a camcorder?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, try it out.’ She followed me around, and I used that footage in the video,” she said.

Continue reading “Snapshot in Time – Pia Revisits Past Friendships on ‘Old Days’”

Your Song – Bird Fight Records and JK (Not Kidding) Studios Launch Contest for Indie Artists

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Bird Fight Records’ Taylor Penn, Tom Mihalis and John Katona gather at JK (Not Kidding) Studios in Shelby Township. Photo courtesy of Taylor Penn

A metro Detroit record label and recording studio want to spotlight the next emerging artist.

Starting today, the Bird Fight Records and JK (Not Kidding) Studios team of John Katona, Tom Mihalis, Christian Ohly and Taylor Penn are launching a new contest to produce a single or an EP for one indie artist or band.

Interested artists or bands from any genre can enter the contest through Feb. 28. To be considered, entrants can submit audio demos/recordings that best demonstrate their musicality and artistry.

“Submissions can be any type of audio,” said Katona, producer-engineer for Bird Fight Records and owner of JK (Not Kidding) Studios. “It’s more about the songwriting than it is about production. We’ll take it from wherever it is to a fully produced song.”

The winning artist or band will have their material produced by JK (Not Kidding) Studios and released via Bird Fight Records. They also will receive marketing and video production support as part of the winning package.

“The people in Michigan and Detroit are so talented,” said Penn, graphic designer and social media manager for Bird Fight Records. “There are so many incredible artists around … we don’t want them to go unrecognized.”

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‘Steady’ Climb – Ohly Headlines Friday’s Show at The Loving Touch

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Pia Roa and Christian Ohly will perform as part of Ohly’s first headlining show Friday at The Loving Touch. Photo – AC Backus Photography

Editor’s Note: Proof of full vaccination is required for attending Ohly’s Friday headlining show at The Loving Touch.

For Ohly, Friday’s headlining show is bucket-list worthy.

The Ferndale indie folk rocker will relish performing his growing catalog of vivid, thoughtful tracks with Tom Mihalis (guitar), Matt Jones (keys), Brodie Glaza (drums), Pia Roa (bass, vocals) and Ian Lukas (trombone) at The Loving Touch.

“I’ve been doing music for eight or nine years now, and I started playing at coffee shops when I was 15 or 16. I think this is the first-ever proper headlining show that Ohly has ever done. We’re super excited and trying to invite all of our friends out,” said Christian Ohly, aka Ohly.

As part of Audiotree Presents, Friday’s show will allow Ohly to debut his latest contemplative single, “Steady,” and spotlight songs from his current seven-track EP, Landlines, before a metro Detroit audience.

“There are some songs that I’ve never really played live and definitely haven’t played them live with the ability that we’re at now. I’m really looking forward to playing them with a few years of experience. The more people I have up there, the livelier and more organic it will sound,” Ohly said.

Ohly also will share the stage with three emerging local acts, including Kimball, Jackamo and The Michigan Ordinary.

“These are three bands that I’ve looked up to for years. My childhood friend used to be the bassist for Kimball, so he introduced me to them years ago before I was doing original music. I saw them live a couple of times and being on the same bill as them is pretty surreal,” he said.

“Two years ago, Jackamo opened up for Remnose. I heard their set and had to run up to them right afterward. I was like, ‘You guys took my breath away.’ The Michigan Ordinary’s Steve Davis used to be in a band called The Fragile, and I saw him at the coffee shop I used to play when I was 15 or 16. My brother and I grabbed his CD, and we were like, ‘Wow, how is this guy playing in a little coffee shop?’”

Continue reading “‘Steady’ Climb – Ohly Headlines Friday’s Show at The Loving Touch”

Remote Start – Detroit Artists Release Quarantine-Inspired Rendition of ‘Chelsea Hotel No. 2’ via Old Main Records

Three Detroit artists beautifully preserve the romantic soul of a fallen New York love story.

Emma Guzman, Christian Ohly and Quasi-Bullfight’s Malcolm McNitt breathe new indie folk-pop life into Leonard Cohen’s 1974 one-that-got-away classic, “Chelsea Hotel No. 2,” as part of an Old Main Records-exclusive collaboration released via social media. It’s akin to Laura Marling collaborating with Pinegrove.

Together, the trio’s nostalgic, heartfelt and upbeat rendition features dreamy, swift acoustic strums, pulsating bass, effervescent handclaps, jingling tambourine, glistening horns and whistling theremin as Guzman soulfully sings, “I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel/You were famous, your heart was a legend/You told me again you preferred handsome men/But for me you would make an exception.”

“Old Main Records grouped the three of us together, and we went through a list of songs until we agreed upon ‘Chelsea Hotel No. 2.’ I was the one to throw it out there, as I had recently started covering it, and it’s an amazing tune,” Guzman said.

“I’ve enjoyed Cohen’s music since I was younger, and his songwriting has such a rich, dark charm to it. His emotions reach below the surface, and that’s what inspires me most about his writing,” Guzman said.

Back in the spring, Guzman, Ohly and McNitt each responded to an Old Main Records call for a special quarantine-inspired artist collaboration. The plan included stimulating local artist creativity and partnership amid a new, unfamiliar socially distanced world absent of live music.

After the artists responded, Old Main Records, a Wayne State University student-run record label and organization, realized these three were a magical force. In a sense, it was a dream collaboration for a trio of emerging, complementary singer-songwriters.

“We felt we could do something to help artists meet and collaborate at the same time. We had recording engineers and graphic artists as well as our own platform to help promote these artists. We first gathered the artists to meet all together on Zoom,” said Chris Simpson, Old Main Records president and a Wayne State University student.

“Once the artists got to know each other and their music, they had to meet online to come up with a song to record. The artists picked the track based on their own recommendations of pitching each other ideas. It was a very organic process.”

Continue reading “Remote Start – Detroit Artists Release Quarantine-Inspired Rendition of ‘Chelsea Hotel No. 2’ via Old Main Records”

‘Home’ – Rochester’s Christian Ohly to Open for Seth Glier Tonight at 20 Front Street

Indie folk singer-songwriter Christian Ohly

Christian Ohly will bring his Americana-influenced indie folk to Lake Orion’s 20 Front Street tonight.

He will open for critically-acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Seth Glier and play tracks from his 2017 self-titled debut EP. Andrew Harness will join Ohly on guitar and piano while Megan McKay will provide vocals.

“We’re going to do some new songs, some old songs, and we’re going to do a cover as well,” said Ohly, who originally hails from Rochester and currently attends the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. “It’s going to be pretty moving, so I’m really looking forward to it. A little bit of everything.”

Ohly released his heartfelt six-song self-titled debut EP last October and included an emotionally-charged, introspective package of musical tales focused on relationships, loss and growth.

“There’s a lot of songs about my family on there. I wanted to do more of an acoustic folk sound, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a whole band,” he said. “It was a cool start, and I’m glad some people like it. I’m excited for the next stuff I put out there.”

Ohly EP artwork

Ohly penned the EP’s tracks on an acoustic guitar in his Jackson College dorm room and teamed up with producer John Katona to add drums and beats. He’s especially proud of “Home” and “Thursday Night.”

“‘Home’ is probably my favorite because that’s had the most success. I feel like it turned out the way that I pictured it the most,” said Ohly, who’s influenced by his older musical brothers as well as The Head and the Heart, The Avett Brothers, Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel.

“‘Thursday Night’ is the other one that I like a lot because it’s probably the most unique, and based off other music blogs I’ve spoken to, they agree with me. That’s actually the producer’s favorite song.”

Ohly is writing new material and getting ready to graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He also plans to play some local shows with his Hilo-based band and will eventually return to metro Detroit to record his next project.

“I think I’ll have a single out this spring. I really want to make sure that the next EP or album that I release is kind of the way I want it rather than the previous EP, where I had to play the drums and throw a lot of stuff together over a year,” he said. “For the next EP or album, I’d really like to have a band that knows each part, so they can go into the studio and record in a couple of days because we’ve already practiced and played shows previously.”

Show details:

Seth Glier with Christian Ohly

20 Front Street in Lake Orion

8 p.m. tonight

Tickets and event info