The OBGMs are what punk music should sound like in 2020

A portrait of the OBGMs
(Image credit: Savebeee)

We first got excited about The OBGMs back in 2017. Having started off life as a hip-hop production team, the Canadian four-piece had gradually morphed their sound into a scattershot blend of punk rock and just released their debut, self-titled album. It was a strong effort, but as the band told us at the time: "Showing what we are fully capable of in our first release? Nah. We got more bangers."

Then it all went quiet. 

“I thought me and music was over,” says vocalist and guitarist Densil McFarlane in a statement. “My life wasn’t very good at the time, people around me were dying, and everything I was making sucked. I thought it was a sign that I needed to do something else.” 

So, McFarlane took a break. In the quiet, an epiphany presented itself. “I basically had a conversation with myself and found that the reasons I was making music were wrong and upside-down. I was making it to fit a certain mold, but it lacked truth. It lacked honesty. That’s why it wasn’t able to come out the way I wanted it to. So I changed my strategy on songwriting. I started talking about things that were more relevant to me and more relevant to my community — and just talking about how I actually feel in words that are not compromising."

Three years since their debut, the band – now a three-piece made up of McFarlane, drummer Colanthony Humphrey and bassist Joseph Brosnan – have just announced the release of their second album, The Ends – and it sounds like the promise sparked by that debut has been realised. It's direct and precise, it has a point, it stands up for something, it's loud and it's furious. It's everything punk music needs to be in 2020. 

"This album is about death, wanting to die, and fighting for something to live for – it’s the end of all things," says McFarlane. "I feel this is the one of the most important cross-genre albums this century. We are Nirvana, we are The Beatles, and The Stones. We are really changing the dimensions of which the game is played like the Steph Curry of this rock shit. We all have feelings of doubt, uncertainty, and I used to live there. I’m trying not to die there. If I’m going out, I’m going out shooting.”

The announcement of the album is accompanied by single Fight Song. "You ever sitting in your 9-5 and someone talking reckless and you really want to punch them in their head top?" says McFarlane of the track. "You ever get that passive aggressive email from that disrespectful person and you want to walk to their cubicle and tell them about their mom? 

"I wrote this song so I wouldn’t have to hold my tongue. We want the smoke. All of it. You don’t like us, fight me, or get the hell out of the way. You can’t stop us, this is how we die."

The OBGMs are also determined to represent the voice of Black artists in underground rock scenes. We recently published an article which stated Black artists are too often overlooked in alternative scenes, and it's a sentiment McFarlane backs. "This is a black-fronted punk band, and that’s really important," he says. "Rock'n'roll is mostly white suburban kids – that’s what gets promoted. But we are black and we out here. 

"I was inspired to make rock music when I saw a black guy on stage, and if someone sees that in us, I hope it will inspire a new generation to go after this."

Check out the video for Fight Song below. The Ends will be released on October 30 via Black Box and is available for pre-order (opens in new tab) now.

Briony is the Editor in Chief of Louder and is in charge of sorting out who and what you see covered on the site. She started working with Metal Hammer, Classic Rock and Prog magazines back in 2015 and has been writing about music and entertainment in many guises since 2009. She is a big fan of cats, Husker Du and pizza.