In 2014, Ashe O’Hara parted ways with techy proggers TesseracT after singing on their acclaimed second album Altered State. “I learnt a lot from that experience and I’m so happy it happened,” says O’Hara. “It gave me a lot of insight into what I should expect as a touring musician.”
Since leaving TesseracT, O’Hara has been able to fully return his attention to five-piece prog rock outfit Voices From The Fuselage, which he’s been a member of since 2010.
“It gave us a lot of time to rock out,” laughs the band’s guitarist Mitch Ramsay, who often found himself jamming with a singerless band while O’Hara was on the road with TesseracT.
Five years of “rocking out” has helped to shape their debut album Odyssey: The Destroyer Of Worlds. Glistening, cinematic and ethereal, peppered with a hard edge and showcasing those soaring pop-inspired melodies that O’Hara is famed for, Odyssey… is a remedy for those who dig the singer’s vocal talent but prefer their music with a little less technical crunch. It was recorded at John Mitchell’s Outhouse Studios last year, and while laying down tracks at the It Bites frontman’s digs was a highlight, a Mitchell cameo came as a big surprise.
“We had an extra section on A Principle God,” Ramsay recounts. “So I said to John, ‘Do you want to throw in a solo?’ He just picked up a guitar and what you hear on the album is the first thing he played. It just came so naturally to him.”
The collaboration with John Mitchell didn’t stop there, though. Recently the band have signed to White Star Records, which is managed by Mitchell and label mogul Chris Hillman. Soon they’ll be re-releasing Odyssey… and they’re already working on its follow-up, which promises to be “bigger and much more honest”.
“It’s much more heartfelt than a lot of metal,” says O’Hara about the sound of their new music.
Ramsay ponders the descriptor: “I feel weird sometimes saying we’re a metal band because of the associations. You get songs like A Principle God or Inner Child and I don’t quite feel like they fit into that category.”
“It’s part post-rock, part djent,” says O’Hara. “Post-metal is what I’d call it.”
Being a small cog in a big machine has its perks. If that machine is TesseracT, it means global recognition, glossy music videos, an ever-growing fanbase and gigs you can only dream about. But when you’re a passionate songwriter pitting your ideas against four proficient musicians with “a big history”, it’s not always easy.
“I got a lot from being in TesseracT but this feels more rewarding,” says O’Hara, who nevertheless still reaps the rewards his fame has afforded him. “The other day I got a message from a fan that just said, ‘I love you,’” he chuckles.
The culmination of solid label backing, a little black book of contacts, and influences that range from Karnivool and This Will Destroy You to Anberlin and Alanis Morissette (“I love the way she uses words,” says O’Hara) all help to make Voices From The Fuselage a tasty prospect for 2017.
|Ashe O’Hara (vocals), Mitch Ramsay (guitars), Josh Galloway (guitars), Scott Lockhart (drums), Dale Gorham (bass)|
|Life-affirming post-metal with a hint of pop melody|
|Odyssey: The Destroyer Of Worlds is out now on White Star Records|
|See the band’s Facebook page for more|