Oak and Elm: under skies
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11:10
If you want to know what Oak and Elm sound like, they are a mix between the members’ personalities, tossed into a blender with lots of vitamins and 100 per cent purely squeezed orange juice. You could also check out the band’s music for yourself to find out if they fit this description.
Oak and Elm self-identify as experimental-folk-blues-soul-country-sing-a-long. It would be difficult to conceptualize what they sound like. They are many things. First, they are made up of members Josh Di Iorio, Mike Cameron, Emma Fleury, Steve Del Duca, Joe Mahony, Jordan Phelan, Jon Lepp and Jon Marleau. It is safe to say that Oak and Elm are a growing enterprise of musicians.
Secondly, you can expect to hear numerous instruments like banjo, accordion, ukelele, melodica, flute, mandolin amongst the standard backdrop of guitar and percussion.
Since their inception, Oak and Elm have been collaborating with many musicians and have formed quite the line up of new band members.
“At the rate we are going, we are currently lacking a new band member for the month of October,” said Steve Del Duca who plays keyboard, synth, melodica and the tambourine when he wants to have a good time.
Del Duca took the time to talk about Oak and Elm over the phone all while sitting in his living room with a bottle of Argentine wine and gazing at a 500 page book of art which he bought from the withdrawls shelf at the library. Del Duca insisted that this should be mentioned to set the tone for theoretical readers.
If there are two things Oak and Elm members have, it would probably be a strange mix between farcical humour and serious musicianship.
“I think it all started with the initial core of us meeting at Strega Café — it’s a pretty inclusive environment there. When we’re jamming with each other there a lot of the people don’t even need to ask if they want to play back up percussion, for example. It is just naturally welcome for people to come up on stage,” said Del Duca.
“I remember one time before Josh and I had formally met, he played some Mayer Hawthorne cover at open-mic and I was like, ‘this guy is the smoothest — we definitely need to jam’.”
On Oct. 23, Oak and Elm played with Hey Ocean! at The Mansion House and delivered their sound with what Del Duca described as the “right amount of fun”.
Plans for the future include recording more songs. The band just recorded two songs for their supporters and to potentially land shows outside St. Catharines. With Oak and Elk sharing the earnings for the shows they have played, they are all contributing to the success of the band. They are also planning a big show in November that will soon be announced.
“We are serious without losing the fun. Every time we play a show it’s like a reminder that we are happy about what we are doing. When people clap their hands, to me it feels like everyone is high-fiving us.”
Aside from Oak and Elm, Del Duca has been engaging in the creation of music within the community.
“I am kind of addicted to starting new musical projects and so I have also been playing with a couple other people outside the band. Some musical side projects don’t even get off the ground. I just enjoy the process of making music with different people. I think it is important to collaborate with other musicians because you will really bring out the best in each other that way.”
Creative Music Making has also been helped along by Del Duca. Every Monday at 21 King St., (OPIRG Infoshop) beside Strega Café, people come together to create music with just about any type of music making object.
“The amazing thing is there has never been a dull night; every week is different, even if there are just three of us. We are always welcoming new people to come in who don’t play instruments. It just goes to show that any one of us is capable of making music. Music is just making sounds with objects. It’s not hard to make music.”
For those who do play music, it is heartening to see musicians like Del Duca foster such relationships.
“I’m sure there are a lot of students who play music right now and aren’t preforming it because they either don’t have people to perform it with or are anxious about getting into the music scene. Just talk to other people playing music. Nobody in this city is famous enough to walk away from you. If they do then you are at the wrong show or with the wrong crowd.”
You can check out Oak and Elm at oakandelm.bandcamp.com and at facebook.com/oakandelmband.