Through stretching the boundaries of genre and what it means to be a trio, The OM Sound has built a distinct style off of blending influences and following a natural flow.
Founded in B.C. and based in Montreal, the power trio pulls influence from styles across the board, combining neo-soul, hip hop, electro, jazz-fusion, funk and reggae amongst other genres.
Orion Miller, who splits his time in the band between vocals, guitar, bass, live looping, electronic drums and didgeridoo, says the band has found their sound through a natural process of improvisation and open-mindedness.
“It’s such a big blend that we need to come up with our own genre name,” says Miller. “We draw from such a wide variety of influences that it just kind of happened.”
The OM Sound will be bringing their genre-dissolving style to Grizzly Plaza this Friday, July 20, as they return for their second year at Revelstoke Summer Street Fest.
Beginning as a collaboration between Miller and Marina Durham, who performs vocals, keyboard, live looping and synth bass, the group added their third member, drummer and vocalist Varoujan Mardirossian, to the lineup after recording their debut album in 2014.
While the band performs as a three piece, the trio divides their individual time into multiple instruments, adding layers to the deep grooves that drive complex arrangements forward.
“We like to be busy. It’s super fun to play at the height of your ability in all of your songs rather than just chilling in a more background role,” says Miller. “Since we’ve done it for so long this way, it’s really just become the natural way of thinking when we play together.”
Over instrumentals that dance in and out of atypical time signatures, Miller flows lyrics that deliver a variety of messages, from self-reflection and awakening to political and societal pondering.
Miller says his inspiration for lyrics has been driven by personal experiences, citing world travel as a major contributor to the way he writes.
“Travelling is such a great way to expand your mind,” says Miller. “Even more important than that direct inspiration would be all of the mind expanding experiences of being in a foreign culture. That not only influences your music, but the way you think on the day-to-day.”
By spending time in Nepal, India and Australia, as well as substantial travel within Canada, Miller says the group has pulled elements from different areas that make up who The OM Sound are today.
Miller says he was particularly influenced by the willingness and openness of conversations which he took part in through India and Nepal.
”It was natural to talk about social and political issues,” says Miller. “Now it’s almost automatic to think about either personal progression or overall world issues or just self expansion in terms of the lyrics.”
As The OM Sound prepare to return to Revelstoke as part of a three month Canadian tour, Miller says he looks forward to the format which Revelstoke Summer Street Fest exists within, as it breaks up the straight-forward requirements of a typical bar gig.
“At a show like this, which is all-ages and has people from all kinds of different backgrounds, we love it because we can do different styles and really weave the set as a big wave up-and-down,” says Miller. “It’s super cool when you have that wide ranging audience and you can flow with the vibes of everyone.”