Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me, Kelly! You’re one half of the duo known as Owen-Glass, an indie folk-rock duo that incorporates textured soundscapes and multi instrumental solos. Tell me a little more about how you settled on this sound, and the process of experimenting to get to this point.
Thanks for having me. Honestly, our sound happened totally organically. I knew I wanted a big sound with lots of instrumental breaks. I didn’t have any way of knowing what everyone would sound like all squished together, but I chose the best musicians I knew for each role, had a discussion with Cole and David, and we put this thing together and just let it happen how it was going to happen.
You just released your single “Saint” which you’ve said is about the feeling of isolation that comes with embracing your own individualism. What have been some of those struggles you’ve faced in your own artistic journey, and what advice do you have for others who might be facing something similar?
Well, to tell you the truth, music is more where I go to get away from all that. So it’s not really about me. It’s about life and this pressure we’re all under to choose sides on every question imaginable. We’ve got information overload and we don’t know how to deal with it yet, so there’s this insane state of perpetual outrage going on. Crazy is the new normal.
Along those same lines, you mention that above all, the song carries a message of hope. What would you like to say to anyone reading now, who might be struggling to really find themselves or their path?
I think it does, yeah. I think there’s hope in unplugging from that narrative. Like en masse if millions of people said, “Nope, not playing this game anymore,” and started taking charge of their own lives. What if all politicians were to do that at the same time? To just suddenly become honest and leave other people alone? It’s a powerful message if the right people act on it.
The single is off your upcoming debut album, ‘The Rope & The Rabbit’ which will be released May 10th. Can we expect a similar sound and theme from the album?
There’s a lot of mystery to our sound. We blend a lot of styles, but it all makes sense together when you listen to the album as a whole. There’s some blues, jazz, folk, rock, jam, pop, Americana—even some reggae in there. But we maintain a uniform tonal quality and thematic continuity. A lot of that probably comes from tracking mostly live, all together, in a very short period of time. So yeah, the single is representative but not comprehensive.
Give us a little behind the scenes look at the world of Owen-Glass—can you share an anecdote from the making of the album?
Behind the scenes… oh man. Well, we don’t get together nearly as often as we’d like. We’re all pretty busy. But when we were in San Marcos making this album, we easily drank a case of Topo-Chico every single day. It gets hot down there and hydration is key.
What was the most important lesson you learned during the recording process and/or the process of prepping for release?
No, but in all seriousness, the key lesson for me has been just to surround myself with the right people and trust them to give everything they’ve got. If you can put a team like that together, you’ll be alright.
What change would you like to see in the music industry?
Well, we’ve seen a total transformation in the way most people consume music. I hear a lot of artists crusading against streaming apps like Spotify, because they aren’t making the money they used to. Anytime you resist change like that, you’re limiting yourself. So I guess, to answer your question, I would like to see more artists willing to embrace change in general. It’s easy to be cynical when you’re making less than half a penny per stream, but the technology isn’t going away. And would we really want it to? Every market disruption is an opportunity. That’s the way I think about it. Just gotta find a way to make it work for you.
Kelly, you have a background in marketing, which in the music industry is incredibly valuable. How have you been able to utilize that background for your own music marketing, and what areas of marketing do you think artists can most learn from and apply to their own practices?
I think the most important thing is getting to know your fans. Once you understand who your fans are, you can get in front of them online and really build community and culture around your music. Ultimately, that’s what marketing aims to do, unite people with similar values.
For those who are lucky enough to see you in person, what can they expect from your live shows?
We’ve decided to do one show only for this record, and we’re only giving out details about the show to our email subscribers. We may also make money rain from the ceiling, still working out the details on that.
Where can our readers find you?
The best way to get in touch, check out our music and all that is to use www.owen-glass.com in the magical internet box. Links to our socials, YouTube, Spotify and all that are there, plus our email sign up.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Definitely if you’re into what we’re doing, go to the website and sign up for our emails. We’ll give you a free track.
From the Piney Woods of East Texas, singer-songwriter Kelly Wayne Conley and his trusty sidekick, guitar prodigy Cole Humphrey, are having fun and making a splash with their indie folk rock project Owen-Glass.
In a highly saturated indie rock market, Owen-Glass stands out not only with its smart lyrics and tight harmonies, but also with its textured soundscapes and crazy multi-instrumental solos. Wild rock violin, big alto saxophone, ’70s-style keys and electric mandolin are held together with a master rhythm section comprising Conley, David Beck and Dees Stribling.
The debut album The Rope & The Rabbit defies the conventions of genre and maintains an alarming degree of stylistic cohesiveness and high levels of broad-audience listenability.
The Rope & The Rabbit is scheduled for release on May 10, 2019.
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