FEST:2 Preview: Ona


P.J. Woodard, Zach Johnson, Zack Owens, Max Nolte, Brad Goodall, Bradley Jenkins (Members of Ona)

Huntington indie-rock outfit, Ona, is one of the local bands appearing at Marshall University Campus Activities Board’s FEST:2. Ona plan to release their full-length debut album “American Fiction” in October.

“We’ve never done a Marshall sponsored event,” said lead vocalist and guitarist Bradley Jenkins. “It’ll be interesting.”

Though the band has played festivals in the past, including West Virginia’s Brew Skies and Rails & Ales, they are expecting the crowd at FEST:2 to be different than the festivals that they are used to.

“I don’t expect to see any people I know, really,” said Zack Owens, guitarist. Owens said he is more used to the crowds at Huntington’s V-Club.

“That’s the way we’re excited about it,” said Zach Johnson, bassist. “If we can get five people out of whoever is there to think ‘oh they’re alright, maybe I’ll go to their next show, then that’s a win.”

West Virginia company, Twin Cousins Records are releasing Ona’s debut album in October. Produced by Bud Carroll at Trackside Studios, the album has already received press from NPR, CMJ and RedEye Chicago.

“The process has been really relaxed,” Jenkins said about the recording process. “When we go to record, it’s not just straight business. Before we record we’ll either have a meal or listen to records for a few hours, and in between.”

“If we can get five people out of whoever is there to think ‘oh they’re alright, maybe I’ll go to their next show, then that’s a win.””

— Zach Johnson

“The two sessions where we did all the live tracking were the hard days,” Johnson said. “It was all day, just back to back, but all of the overdubbing has been pretty relaxed.”

When not recording at Trackside, the band makes use of drummer Max Nolte’s Huntington loft as a rehearsal space.

“I start to feel a little bit spoiled when I stop and think about how awesome this space is,” Johnson said. “If you stop and look around, this is awesome. We have the ability to record demos, or in the future we might want to take that further.”

“One of the most important things about the whole process is having a space,” Jenkins said. “A lot of great bands, not that we’re anything like that, start with a space and there’s always a backstory. It’s hard not to think like that about this place. We’re really lucky, for sure.”

Ona will be appearing at FEST:2, Friday Sept. 18, the Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinatti, Ohio on Friday, Sept. 25, and the Huntington Music and Arts Festival on Saturday Sept. 26th. Local musician, Tyler Childers appears alongside Ona on both lineups.

Nathan Thomas can be contacted at [email protected].