It is nearly impossible these days for a noteworthy up-and-coming band to retain any sort of mystery about them, but so far, L.A.’s ONI has managed to do just that. The sense of secrecy about the band is not contrived or intentional, but rather a matter of chance. They have simply been too busy creating music to worry about social media and band pictures: No Facebook page or even a band photo yet. These guys are serious about their music, which frontman Jake Oni hails as Dream Theater meets Slipknot.
Jake founded his namesake band in 2014, and joining him in his vision are bassist Chase Bryant, drummer Joe Greulich, and guitarists Martin Andres and Brandon White. Adding a unique dynamic to the band is xylo-synth player, John “D”. The sextet balances a dynamic mix of progressive, extreme, and melodic metal elements in their sound, managing to create an intriguing familiar yet fresh feel. Oni tells Metalholic that those who come out to experience the band for the first time can “expect a lot of killer riffs, a lot of shredding, crazy progressive music, a lot of melody, a lot of catchy stuff, a lot of heavy stuff—just the whole package.”
While few outside the City of Angels have seen or heard about the band, the buzz is certainly building. Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe lays down a cameo performance on the ONI’s upcoming eponymous debut record, as does guitar virtuoso Francesco Artusato (Devil You Know, All Shall Perish). The latter met the band through producer Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Gojira, Megadeth) who produced Devil You Know’s last album, They Bleed Red, and is handling production duties for ONI as well. Artusato liked ONI so much, Devil You Know is dragging them out on the Make America Metal Again tour which kicks off on April 15. “It’s gonna be great,” enthuses Oni. “The tour’s gonna be very heavy, and it’s gonna be pretty kick ass.”
Those who want to get a taste of the band beforehand can listen to the first single off the record, “Eternal Recurrence” which is up on the ONI website. Relative to the band’s other songs, Jake calls the track “a poppier, catchier song, but it’s definitely kind of an all-around what we can do” number.
While ONI features a notably progressive signature in its sound, Jake bands like Slipknot resonated more with him than progressive bands initially did. The tide turned when he heard the first Periphery record, but he admits for him it is not about genre labels but about making music. “I just like playing, and making music and writing music” Jake asserts. “My band are real shredders and nothing holds them back. It’s been really great collaborating with all the guys and making this kick-ass album.”
ONI is one of a number of artists who support the You Rock Foundation, a group which works to raise awareness and educate people about depression. During the upcoming Make America Metal Again tour, the band will be donating its merchandising proceeds to the You Rock Foundation.
Jake and the rest of ONI are putting finishing touches on the debut record which he expects to be released early this summer. You can check out the full interview with Jake above and get ready to catch ONI on tour this spring with Devil You Know.