OHMME • "Wheel"

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Words By Rachel Blackman & Photos By Michael Salisbury

OHMME and its members Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham have been staples in the Chicago music scene for some time now, but their latest contribution, “Wheel” demonstrates their constant ability to create something experimental, with exciting new edge to their sound and the city's music landscape as a whole. “Wheel” is a steadily building rock anthem that is somehow both intimate and spacious enough to be played with the windows rolled down. A strong harmonic display from Macie and Sima allow for the heavier, more exploratory guitar arrangements within the song and stripped down elements to shine. Another note: don’t be surprised to catch yourself humming the infectious hook shortly after the first listen. Or long after, for that matter.

The accompanying video is a montage of OHMME’s Western travels through different National Parks, climates, and environments. Be sure to watch the video and check out our Q&A below to find out more about OHMME’s tour, latest single, and upcoming work.

You've been on the road quite a bit recently, how has touring been?

Touring has been great. We got to explore a number of National Parks on our way to and from Los Angeles and spent quite a few days camping in between shows. We brought our own sound man on the road (Dorian Gehring), which was a big help. In Chicago, LA, and Joshua Tree, we opened for Iron and Wine. Those shows felt really special because we got to play in wonderful spaces like Immanuel Presbyterian Cathedral and Pappy and Harriets, and see Sam play his new music with a really incredible live band.

"Wheel" is your first release in a little while, what does it mean to you guys to get it out in the world?

We've been in the studio creating for quite a bit so it feels like a nice catalyst for things to come. It’s really satisfying to produce something and almost immediately be able to share it.

The video for the track shows you experiencing many of the different environments throughout your Western tour. How'd you decide on this concept?

We knew we wanted to put the single out and we also knew we were about to travel through some of the most beautiful places in the world. It seemed fitting to make a video documenting this tour so we could share the trip with other people.

"Wheel" does have a little bit of a Southwestern feel to it melodically and in some of the guitar arrangement in particular, was that something you were trying to encapsulate/were inspired by?

While writing it, one of the pieces that came first was the long stretched out words in the verses, which was inspired by the feeling of singing into an open landscape. When we were arranging it together we wanted to keep that feeling so we tried to leave some open spaces that mirrored the big sky country. The album art is an image taken while flying from Chicago to LA, so it seemed fitting to connect the imagery in the song with the "Wheels" in the farmland you can see from an airplane.

In the past, you've described your process of creating as improvisational and experimental, how'd this song come about?

We've tried to record this song at least 3 times previously, and it never seemed quite settled. We had an opportunity to create a 7" single (a split with Polica for Crate Diggers) and we decided to record another version of the song which turned out juuuuust right.


Can we expect more music in the near future?

Yes! We just completed a full length record that we hope to release soon.