By Damien Monaco
It’s worth experimenting, especially when it’s a couple of guys playing with each other… No, no, get your mind out of the gutter.
When Graham Capobianco returned home to Patchogue from Massachusetts when his band broke up in February, he decided to start a new one. “I was very downtrodden and humbled… and I feel that defeat helped shape the culture that I’ve established in this band, [Our Own Ghosts (OOG),]” said Capobianco.
And OOG very much was an experiment at first. But it’s been evolving and gaining momentum since its inception. “I doubt any of us expected it to turn into what it has, but I believe we all hoped we could achieve this and much more,” said Capobianco.
OOG consists of Graham Capobianco on lead vocals and guitar, Barish Madanoglu on lead guitar and vocals, Phil Mazzola on bass and vocals, and E.J. DiPasquale on guitar and vocals.
As of publishing this article, the band is currently looking for a new drummer to replace Dan Smith. Regarding the split, OOG stated on its Web site, “It was a decision that weighed heavy on us, but we feel this decision is best for all parties involved in order for everyone to move forward as musicians. We wish Dan the best in his future musical endeavors and can only hope that our paths will cross again in the future and that we don’t lose the good friendship we’ve all had with Dan.” If you are interested in trying out to be their new drummer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Capobianco tends to take on the lead role in OOG, being more of the driving force behind the band, stating, “I don’t want to detract from everyone’s contributions to the band, which are just as vital as mine, but I’ll go out on a limb and say as far as cohesion, organization, staying on task and saying what needs to be said, I am the leader in that sense.”
Previous bands Capobianco has been in have given him the experience and connections needed in taking that role. “The most well know band I was in before OOG was a rock/alternative band called Drama for the Masses,” he said. “Brad Franklin, who produced our record, played guitar and Keri Franklin played bass in Drama for the Masses, and a lot of the connections I made while in that band have helped to get this band off the ground.”
Even though OOG is relatively new, the members have plenty of experience and this comes across when listening to the recently released EP The House That Silence Built or when seeing them live.
Commemorating the release of the EP, OOG held a CD release party at the Crazy Donkey on Sept. 26, 2009.
It’s refreshing to see a band that can perform to the standards set by its CD. Any band can sound good with enough production involved, but OOG proves it is talented by performing well live. The only downfall of the live performance was the poor job done by the soundman. The vocals of Capobianco were extremely hard to hear, always being drowned out by the music.
Regardless, OOG put on a spectacular performance, entertaining the modest crowd that showed up.
In regards to the turnout at the show, Capobianco commented, “I am a firm believer that any turnout is a good turnout. Rarely will I ever judge a show based on how many people were there. If there’s a turnout of six people and you connect with every single one of them, it could be a better show than 60 people who are indifferent to your band. That being said, the turnout at the Crazy Donkey, while it could have been better, was pretty excellent considering we’re a small start-up band still getting our act together.”
The set at the Crazy Donkey consisted only of seven songs (eight if you count when they sang happy birthday to Dan). The reason for the short set is due mainly to the fact that being a new band, the group hasn’t written many songs yet. Five of the songs performed are from The House That Silence Built; the other songs were “Yes Really Means No” and a cover of Paramore’s “Misery Business,” which OOG jokingly introduced as a new song titled “Stranger Danger.” It’s good that it didn’t try to fill time by covering a lot of other bands’ songs. It’s better for a band to play its own music and to be remembered for originals.
Never really listening to OOG before its appearance at the Crazy Donkey, I might have dismissed it as another typical Long Island band. Although the group’s performance was good, the EP really allows you to hear the uniqueness and quality that all the members bring forth.
In regards to style, Capobianco said, “Everyone in this band was rooted in the hardcore/post-hardcore scene of the late ’90s/early 2000s. However, since our youth, a lot of us have explored more pop and indie rock, which has influenced a lot of our writing. We still are a heavy band, but in my opinion there are a lot of parts in our EP that speak to a newer part of us to reflect some sort of progress or maturity.”
Nothing could be truer. The EP starts off with “Friends Far, Enemies Further.” This song starts off hardcore, but nicely breaks into mellow moments. The next song, “Of Bridges and Gasoline,” has a faster beat, tapping into that somewhat pop/indie feel making it more radio friendly. Thirdly, “The Breaking Point,” is a more relaxing song. The fourth song on the EP is “There Is Cruelty in All Our Bones.” This song starts off mellow but breaks way into a more hardcore vibe. Lastly, “This Is the House That Silence Built” is another powerful song, also with its mix of hardcore and more easygoing moments. Overall, the EP flowed nicely from one song to the next with a good combination of the hard and soft aspects. It was superbly produced by Brad Franklin and mixed by Mike Watts.
Make sure to check out OOG, who will be performing at the Vibe Lounge on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2009, between 5 and 11 p.m. Other bands performing include Hollywood Lies, and Time and Distance, among others. The cost is $10 in advance or $12 at the door.
For more information on OOG, you can check out their Web site at ourownghosts.com.