We’re four days away from WRVU’s first-ever virtual concert Sham Jam! We’ll be spending this week highlighting the four talented artists performing at the gig, starting right here with Ohmme. Hailing from the vibrant experimental and improvisational scenes of Chicago, the innovative duo of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart has made waves in indie rock. Their eccentric style blends loud, noisy guitars and artful vocal harmonies to create a listening experience that manages to balance the avant-garde with the accessible like no other (RIYL: Dirty Projectors, St. Vincent, Sleater-Kinney). The two attended the same high school and share a background as classically trained pianists. For them, Ohmme was born in 2014 out of the need to explore the electric guitar and create something new with it— and create something new they certainly did.
2018’s debut LP Parts landed them a performance at NPR Music’s esteemed Tiny Desk Concert. Recorded and self-produced at Cunningham’s home studio with the help of some local friends, the album showed the world what Chicago already knew about the pair. Between the two of them, Ohmme boasts an impressive list of hometown collaborators including Chance the Rapper, Whitney, Wilco, and Twin Peaks. They’re certainly prolific, and even quarantine can’t slow them down. Since the release of their sophomore album Fantasize Your Ghost, Cunningham has been producing for other bands, Stewart has been playing strings on friends’ records, and both of them have been working on upcoming solo projects.
Fantasize, which Stewart describes as their “most upfront record yet,” was released via Joyful Noise on July 5th at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The project received universal praise for its virtuosic composition and lyrical prowess, marking a successful follow-up to an impressively strong debut. Since writing the record while on a grueling tour schedule, the band finds themselves stuck at home almost a full year since it came out. After laying it all out there, they’re eager to share it live. Here at WRVU, we’re thrilled to bring a virtual performance by Ohmme to all of you.
WRVU staff writer Sophie Kaiser and I got together with Macie over Zoom to chat about releasing an album in 2020, the Chicago scene, and her favorite noisy guitar music. Check out the full interview below!
Sham Jam is March 18th at 8 pm. Snag your e-tickets here, and get to know the rest of the lineup in the playlist below!