Oh Village – oh what??

With this post and our new website, I’d like to start a new series featuring Emmanuel folks who are engaged in interesting, meaningful, creative, worthwhile, crazy, fun, faith-filled, artistic, community-minded, Spirit-filled, generous, puzzling, passionate ways. Today’s spotlight is on Scott Currie, David Dueckman, Matthew Janzen, and Steve Dahl.

If you’re part of Emmanuel’s Sunday worship, you already know that they’ve been using their music gifts on one or more of our music teams. But together, they are Oh Village, and last year out of more than fifty entrants across B.C., they finished second in Youthink Magazine’s Best Teen Band Competition.

I was glad to be in touch with the band before the release of their 9-track From the Far Side of the Sea and before they leave on tour which is all happening later this month. I’m excited to feature them here and look forward to other profiles too, so please feel free to suggest names in the reply section below, and I’d be glad to follow up. But first, here is Oh Village:

Photo credit: afoto.ca

1) Do you think of yourselves as Christian musicians, or as musicians who happen to be Christians, or ____ ?
We DO think of ourselves as Christian musicians because we all value our faith individually, and also as a group; we like to pray before practices and shows, which helps us to focus on God and stay aligned to His will for us as a band. However, we hesitate to label ourselves as a “Christian band” because “Christian music” is a very specific genre that we don’t resonate with as writers or performers. As Oh Village we are not trying to write worship music for a church service, but rather we are praising the Lord by exploring the gifts that he has given us. We hope that our music will be accessible to people of all walks of life, secular or faith-based, but that said, our faith as a band does show through (subtly, perhaps) in our lyrics and the messages that we have in our music.

2) How did you decide on the name Oh Village, why is Matthew calling himself Jake, and are any others of you planning to change your name?
We chose the name Oh Village because it has a natural, earthy feel that we all like. The name makes us think of a simpler way of life and a feeling of relational community, which is something we value as a band. Matthew’s primary reason for going by Jake is that it was the first name that he went by as a newborn, and he also simply prefers it to the name Matthew. He still goes by Matthew to his friends and family, but in the band context we introduce him as Jake. The other band members are planning on keeping their names the same, at this point in time.

3) |Your music has been described as a “unique sound, a blend of folk, rock, [and] alternative” – what does that mean?
Folk, rock, and alternative are three different genres of music that we all feel comfortable moving between when we write our original songs. To speak in broad generalities, folk is highlighted by acoustic guitars and vocal harmonies, rock features a louder sound with electric guitars and bass and a full drum kit, and alternative is a somewhat-vague umbrella term that denotes a sound that is different than the rock’n’roll norm, if you will. In our case we often get the “alternative” label because we like to change time signatures in our songs.

4) That blend has served you very well playing at the Mennonite Church Canada Assembly and you’ve been doing other performing locally too–how long will you be on tour, where are you going, and how can I/we pray for you while you’re gone?
We will be on tour for just over 2 weeks. We are going as far as Winnipeg and back, and we’d ask for prayer for safety, good food, and patience as we get ready to spend some long hours together. Our dates are as follows:
Aug. 8 – Clayburn Schoolhouse – Abbotsford, BC
Aug. 14 – O’Hanlon’s Pub – Regina, SK
Aug. 17 – Cultural City Centre – Regina, SK
Aug. 18 – Aqua Books – Winnipeg, MB
Aug. 21 – Pop’s Coffee House – Winnipeg, MB
Aug. 22 – Sam’s Place – Winnipeg, MB
Aug. 23 – Shannon’s Irish Pub – Winnipeg, MB
Aug. 31 – House of James – Abbotsford, BC

That looks like a nice variety of different places. Have a great tour, I’ll pray for you while you’re gone, and look forward to your return!
For photos and more on Oh Village, please see their website.