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One Flew West - Denver Band - Greeblehaus Interview

One Flew West Interview – Denver Band Signs With Smartpunk Records

I’ve known One Flew West almost since right when they started out, and I can’t believe this is the first time I have interviewed them (but be sure to check out my other live posts!). They are one of my favorite Denver bands and I try to see them live every chance I get. As they discuss below, the group has had a few lineup changes, but One Flew West is: Linden Jackson (vocals, guitar), Jonah Bartels (drums), David DiSalvo (lead guitar) and Dawson Fry (bass). I was able to chat with everyone via Zoom except David, who couldn’t join us that day. They have exciting news and a new video, plus a FREE show coming up at Larimer Lounge on August 21st, 2021.

So, lots of talk about. Plus, it was nice to catch up after we’ve been locked up for so long.

Hooray for OFW and local bands doing awesome things!

One Flew West - Denver Band - Greeblehaus Interview


One Flew West Interview


Aimee:
So guys, first of all, it’s so nice to see your faces. I think David, actually, was the only one I’ve seen in person over COVID. So, how has that been for you?

Jonah:
Cruel, ma’am.

Linden:
It sucked, obviously. Yeah, I don’t know. It’s weird. I would always kind of tell people it’s like that first year, I feel like I lived five lifetimes. And now, after everything sort of chunked back to normal overnight, it feels like this year just gone by so fast in comparison to that.

Aimee:
I agree. I felt like the first month or two of the pandemic, I was kind of a little relieved. And then, all of a sudden, I was over it. And then, I was like, “Okay, where did my life go?”

So. Are you allowed to talk about your big news?

Jonah:
Yeah. Nerf on 93.3 is going to actually be making the announcement. But yeah, I think David already told you, if I remember right. He’s not very good at keeping secrets.

Aimee:
I didn’t tell anybody.

Jonah:
Well, we knew you wouldn’t. When he told us that he told you, it wasn’t like, “I can’t believe you did that.”

Aimee:
Well, I mean, for the interview’s sake, let’s tell everybody what your big news is.

Jonah:
Yeah. So, we signed a deal with Smartpunk Records! This is the first record label that we’ve signed to and it’s going to give us a lot more opportunities than we had before. A lot more options for what we can do. We’ll be able to record more often. Put out more music, that’s the biggest thing. Music videos is another big one.

Aimee:
That’s so awesome. Many congrats! (Again.)

Linden:
The big thing is people can just look forward to a lot more stuff coming from us for the rest of the year because we’re going to be releasing music and then, at a certain time we’re going to really do the full record which will be great. That’s what’s going on. Yeah, definitely a lot of worse things could have happened over the pandemic, for sure.

Aimee:
So, what did you guys do as a band over pandemic? Did you do any writing or-

Linden:
Yeah, we did. Just kind of tried to use our time as best we could, while still trying to be safe and all that stuff. But I mean, it sucked for us because performing is probably the thing that all of us like doing the most. So, that was just a real bummer to not be able to do that, at all, for over a year. So, we kind of just had to fill in our time as best we could. We were very lucky, a lot of labels actually reached out to us over the course of the pandemic, which was really strange, so we had to kind of wade through that. We were able to find the best thing for us over that time. And then, as we were doing that, we were just writing a lot of songs and sort of trying to refine exactly what we wanted the record to sound like, things like that.

One Flew West - Denver Band - Greeblehaus Interview

Aimee:
For people who don’t know you, can you just kind of tell me how the band started out and kind of how you’ve evolved and… I mean, a quick synopsis of where you’ve been and where you’re looking to be.

Jonah:
So, we started playing together a long time ago, actually. It was 2010. We were still in high school at the time. But back then, we were called something else and it was a totally different band. It used to be called Continuum. Not a very good band name, at all. And then, by 2014, there was just a lot of changes we knew we wanted to make musically, and how serious about things we were. And so, we changed our band name then because we needed something that was more unique, that you could actually find if you look it up on Google and not find a John Mayer album.

Aimee:
That is one of my biggest pet peeves of all time with bands. I’m like, “Did you Google it before you picked that name? No one can find you.”

Jonah:
Right? Back then, it was a huge problem. So, we fixed that and then, we’ve gone through a lot of lineup changes. We used to have six people in our band. We had a piano player. We had a guy played rhythm guitar, trumpet, and cowbell, for awhile there.

Aimee:
Anytime you want, I can do cowbell, you just let me know.

Jonah:
Yeah. We’ll just call you. That works. But we’ve had the same group since 2017 now. Last year was a little bit weird as far as what we were doing, but it’s basically just been the four of us the entire time, since then.

Linden:
It took a lot of trial and error with what worked and what didn’t. We went through a lot of different stuff, and we sort of… I mean with that EP, that last one that we did with Dawson. I think, that’s when we sort of like really kind of collectively realized what our sound was supposed to be. And we’ve worked with the same team on every release since then.

Aimee:
Was that why that EP was named that?

Linden:
Sure. Ha. That could be. That EP was more from the title track of just people keep trying to do shit and that doesn’t work, no one learns in their mistakes ever.

Jonah:
And it was written right after the 2016 election where everybody was pretty pissed off. And it wasn’t just about the president then specifically, that song is more about people who allowed that to happen. It’s mostly about people who support the politicians who shouldn’t be in any place of power but they are, for some reason.

Aimee:
That applies to so many things. Well, so tell me about the new song, “The Blur.”

Linden:
Yeah. “The Blur,” it was one of those songs that was written pretty much mid-pandemic. It’s one of those songs that’s when you’re cooped up and you’re not doing anything with your time, you can sort of like get in that weird head space where you feel like you’re just letting life pass you by without doing anything. And you sort of get all introspective with it, and you’re like, “What am I doing? What’s going on?” But I could go and hang out with these guys, and that helped bring it back down to earth for me. And that’s sort of what the song is about. How life can sort of just pass you by, but at the end of the day, it’s your buddies that really make the difference.

One Flew West - Denver Band - Greeblehaus Interview

Jonah:
Yeah. Apart from what the song is about, I think it’s important also to kind of know about what was going on at the time when we did that song. We recorded that song, I think it was September 2020. And at the time, we didn’t have a label, at all. We’re still independent. And we had gotten to a point with the band where we couldn’t play shows. We couldn’t do anything. Us and Dawson were separated at that period of time. It sounds like a marriage, but we were separated at that point in time. Yeah. And so, when we recorded that, we didn’t know it was going to happen. With anything.

Linden:
Yeah. Sometimes you can get really hung up on what other people are doing, or what’s going on with other people. But then, it was this really bizarre thing over the whole pandemic where literally everybody else is in the exact same place you are and nobody can do anything about it.

Aimee:
It was actually a little bit comforting.

Linden:
It was this weird kind of satisfaction where you’re like, “Oh, yeah. Well, everybody’s just as fucked as I am right now, so it’s fine.”

Aimee:
Totally. And actually… I had massive anxiety particularly over the last month going back to shows. Not exactly FOMO, but just trying to organize my life. There’s just so much all of a sudden going on and I’m overwhelmed.

Jonah:
Yeah. And kind of along those lines, as things that started coming back and people are starting to play shows again and do things, it’s been really difficult the last couple months where we’re still kind of not doing anything. It looks like we’re not doing anything publicly, but there’s been so much going on that people aren’t seeing that we just have been wanting to tell people about so badly. We want to be able to tell people that we signed this deal and we finally get to, tomorrow. We want people to hear new stuff. It’s just been difficult seeing everybody else start to do things and like, “Man, we want to do that, too.”

Aimee:
Yeah. “We got it. It’s coming, man.” The good news is you’re right there at the place where it’s about to happen. You have a show at Larimer Lounge coming up, right?

Linden:
Yeah. The idea behind that was we booked out a couple of months ago because we just wanted to do like… I don’t know, we wanted to do something like, “All right. Let’s throw this big free show. Just get as many people in there as we possibly can, and just get our fucking sea legs back.”

Aimee:
There are so many shows that night.

Linden:
Everybody’s trying to pack all their shows right now, before everything gets shut down again.

One Flew West - Denver Band - Greeblehaus Interview

Aimee:
So. I don’t know if you want to talk about this. And Dawson, you can speak about it if you want. I don’t even know what happened when you guys separated. Do you want to talk about it?

Dawson:
Sure. Yeah. I mean, it kind of right at the beginning of the pandemic, as what happened with a lot of people. You kind of had to reevaluate what was even going on. So, just due to that, and some scheduling things, I had to take some time away due to work. And then, later that year after they had actually recorded “The Blur,” David shared it to me and I heard it differently because I was listening as an external party at that point. And it just completely blew me away. By the time it was on the second verse, I was like, “Damn, that is a good song.” I was like, “It’s at least as good as Trial and Error.” So, hearing that kind of re-invigorated how important music was to me, and how big of a part the band has been the previous four years of my life, essentially.

So, that’s what led to us getting back together. It was a good coincidence that I was able to get to listen to “The Blur.” It really was. I mean, as an external listener, it’s classic song. It’s a good, solid, raw take on something that everyone was trying to process right now. And I think, it’s going to be something that a lot of people can relate to and a lot of people will kind of feel in tune with. I’m really excited for people to hear it.

Aimee:
That’s awesome. Yeah. So, I guess the other thing is, it feels like there’s a lot of adult things going on in your life, like marriage, babies, and jobs, and stuff like that. Is the goal really to hit it with the band or do you plan on just… I mean, obviously you just signed a record deal, so you’re being serious about it. But I’m just kind of wondering, what’s the plan?

Jonah:
Yeah. That’s a fair question. I can start because I think a lot of that is probably coming for me [Jonah recently had a child]. I feel like in general, there’s this perspective that if you’re in a band and you’re serious about things, you have to be single, you can’t have kids. You’d have to be basically living on the floor and being poor and not doing anything else. And those are all things that I don’t really think, in this day and age, necessarily have to be true. I’m lucky to be married to the person that I’m married to because she’s been with me for so long. And she supported me for so long that whatever happens with the band, she’s going to be there to pick up the slack that I leave, when I’m gone. So, I’m really lucky in that regard. I don’t think other people are necessarily like that. So, they don’t get married or anything. David’s in the same situation [David recently got married].

One Flew West - Denver Band - Greeblehaus Interview

Aimee:
That’s probably a better perspective on it. I mean, again, obviously, your baby’s young and you’re just starting out to figure out. You haven’t toured with having a baby yet. But I think, it’s just interesting knowing bands as long as I have, it tends to break bands up, but I feel like you guys are kind of going to the next level right now, but you’re stepping on that personal level, as well too. And I just think that’s exciting that you’re going into it eyes open and know what you need to do to make it work. Do you know what I mean?

Jonah:
No. I get it. I know it’s going to be difficult and I’m going to miss him a lot. It’s going to be really hard, obviously. And the other three people in my band, they don’t have kids. So, when we’re gone somewhere and I’m sure I’m going to feel depressed about being away from them, they’re going to probably say like, “Oh yeah, we get it. We understand.” But they’re not really get to understand, you know what I mean? But those are all things that we’re going to be able to work through in the future. We’ve been doing this for so long. We’re not stopping. There are a lot of people that actually asked me when I had the kid, “Oh, you’re done with the band then, right?” And that never even crossed my mind, “No, I’m not done.” I’ve been working on this since I was 15 years old. We have this thing coming up and out. It’s really cool. And it’s going to really propel us to places we haven’t been before.

Aimee:
That’s good. I’m glad to hear that. Obviously, I knew that the deal was there and obviously, that means you’re taking it seriously, but it’s just a hard balance. But I’m really excited to see where you guys go.

Linden:
I mean, the record deal, it’s not a guarantee of anything and it’s not like this magic wand… We just are kind of looking at it as we’ve always just tried to make sure that our band looks like this [upward motion]. Whenever you’re in a band, you always need to re-evaluate what’s going on. For us, whatever we are doing, the goal is always going upward. Since the start, we have built our lives around that. I mean, I’ve been working at a record store that doesn’t give a shit if I have to leave for tour. There’s a reason that we’ve put ourselves in the position that we’re in.

Aimee:
It’s funny that you say that because I feel like for me, people look at the way I have structured my life and a lot of people think we’re crazy. It just occurred to me, it’s the exact same thing, where we’ve made sure we have remote jobs as we became empty nesters and we can be anywhere for this blog and out late for shows, etc. It’s not crazy.

Jonah:
Yeah. That’s the thing. People can try to put these parameters on what you can do in your life and tell you, “That’s not something you can do given your circumstances. And that kind of attitude is just so outdated and just not correct.” You can do anything you want. It’s not 1954 anymore. Anything is totally wide open as long as you decide to do it. You know what I mean?

Aimee:
Sure. So, what’s your plans for next year?

Jonah:
So, the biggest priority is touring. I think that’s the same thing for probably every other band right now. It’s super competitive at the moment because nobody’s been doing any shows, at all. And now it’s all just at once. Everybody’s trying to do the same thing. Booking agents, they were there pre-pandemic, pandemic happened, now they’re all gone. So, that’s another big obstacle that a lot of bands are facing right now. And there’s also just the-

Aimee:
Whoah, I had not thought about that angle – were they laid off, or?

Jonah:
Yeah. Either they’re laid off or they left because they weren’t making any money. Some the booking agents that are still around, they still have their artists from the past that they held onto, and they don’t have a plate that’s big enough to take on a ton of other people, even though everybody is trying to get one right now. I think over the next year, six months especially, assuming there aren’t more shutdowns and stuff like that, it’s just so competitive because everybody is going for the same goals right now. Touring is far and away. The biggest priority that we have right now is recording and releasing music, and that’s it. It’s been so long. The last song we put out on Spotify was November of 2019. That was the last one.

Aimee:
Nooo, really?

Jonah:
Yeah. It was it’s seriously been so long. It was “Make It Right.” And then, everything after that happened. We had to save up the money while we weren’t playing shows. And then, we weren’t going to release something and then, not be able to do anything with it. And “The Blur,” we had to sit on for a really long time. We put it out for Hometown last year in December. And then, all the label stuff happened. It moved pretty slow with negotiations, lawyers, and all that kind of stuff. So we just had to wait. So we kept saying, “We got big news.” And then, nothing would happen. And then, we think, “Okay, now it’s coming. We’ve got big news coming up. This time, for real. It will happen because-”

Aimee:
Marketing ploy, that’s what you can say it was.

Jonah:
It’s been a nightmare. We all suck at social media, also.

Aimee:
That’s not true.

Jonah:
Well, our social media, if it’s anything that has to be serious, we can’t do it. If it’s something stupid, our Twitter or Instagram stories, those are honestly kind of embarrassing sometimes-

Aimee:
Yeah, sure, but it’s funny. I think you guys do a great job because so many bands are so boring on social media.

Jonah:
Anytime we think of something, “Oh, would this be good to post?” We send it to our group chat, and if Dawson doesn’t want to do it, that usually means it’s a good idea.

Aimee:
I love it! The Dawsonmeter.

One Flew West - Denver Band - Greeblehaus Interview

Dawson:
Sorry. It really is true. There’s one yin to three yangs. And it’s a weird balance, for sure.

Aimee:
Are you saying that you’re just not as insane as the three of them?

Dawson:
I like to think of myself as the voice of reason. Especially, when it comes to content like that.

Jonah:
Wet blanket is what he is.

Aimee:
That’s awesome. All right. Is there anything else that fans could do to support?

Jonah:
The biggest thing is just listening to us on Spotify. That’s been the biggest thing that has gotten people interested in us, including the label. It’s Spotify, for sure. We’ve got that Larimer show coming up on the 21st, that we want as many people as possible because it’s been so long since we’d done a headliner show. We will have new merch with that. We’ve got some new T-shirts that people can get. Those are going to be exclusive for the month of August. It’s a very limited amount.

Linden:
Yeah. I mean, other than that, hopefully, we’ll get some stuff trickling in throughout the rest of the year. But I mean, you know us, we’ll see.

One Flew West - Denver Band - Signs With Smartpunk Records

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