BRATTLEBORO – With a new album imminent, O’K and the Night Crew is releasing songs and performing live.
“We decided to release a few singles to prepare for the release of the ensemble,” said Derek O’Kanos, guitarist and singer of the group.
The first single, “The Poor Surgeon,” begins with a punchy drum beat followed by big distorted guitar riffs and catchy lyrics. It will be released on August 27 on streaming services such as Bandcamp, Spotify, and iTunes.
The blues / rock / psych trio have been playing the song for a few years and think it’s “a good place to start,” O’Kanos said. He called it a “strong introduction” for people new to the band’s music.
“Zen and the Art of Rock and Roll Maintenance”, a sequel to the group’s eponymous 2018 album, is coming soon.
“The band and I were working on a second album for a while,” O’Kanos said. “We just went to record it last year.”
They used the same studio where O’Kanos recorded his solo album, Robot Dog Studio, in northern Vermont. They worked with producer Matt Starr, a professional drummer who toured with Mr. Big and other musicians.
Starr currently plays drums with Ace Frehley of Kiss. He had mutual O’Kanos friends on Facebook, where networking led the group to send in recordings for his touch to production.
The album is inspired by “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig.
“It’s a really great book,” said O’Kanos, who is particularly intrigued by a concept regarding the dualistic nature of quality. “Quality is like that extra force or factor or something in our lives. It’s just this interesting thing that’s completely unifying that we can all agree on, and then it divides and we can’t agree at all.
For example, he said, people may agree that music makes life better and art adds to a blank wall, but deciding what kind of music or art is where quality becomes an idea. distinct.
“The poor surgeon” talks about the superior quality that unifies people and deals with certain images in the book. A character called the namesake is trying to use a “mental scalpel” to figure out what is of value, O’Kanos said.
The next single, “Phaedrus the Wolf”, also has to do with the concept of quality having two different modes. The songs “explore every end,” O’Kanos said.
A wax record with the two singles is part of the group’s plan and the full album should also be released on vinyl.
The last album contains “old school vibes because that’s what we mostly like to listen to,” O’Kanos said.
“We were all very happy about it back then, but I think we’re all very happy with how it turned out,” he said of the new album. “It’s only been a few years, but those years have made a difference for us as players and as a group.”
O’Kanos lives in Brattleboro. His two group mates live in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
Living in three different states made it difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the different guidelines or restrictions, which prompted O’Kanos releases his first solo album “On the Sleeve” in January on his Oak Honest Records label. The band rehearsed and performed at Gallery Walk this month.
“It was cool playing Gallery Walk,” said O’Kanos. “We are not originally from the region but it has definitely become like a home port.”
He recalls performing in the now closed Metropolis in Brattleboro in 2019, where the only members of the public were a bartender and a porter.
“That was it,” he laughed, adding that it was nice to feel accepted in the community. “Now we are like a city group. All the hard work paid off. People understand what we are doing. They love what we do. They have fun. It’s really cool.”
They are now celebrating their sixth anniversary as a group.
O’K and the Night Crew performs at the private Boarding Under the Influence skatepark in Brattleboro on August 27 with Moxie, Riley Lucifer and Keep Flying. The next day, the band will be backing O’Kanos on his solo material when he performs at the Rendezvous in Turners Falls, Mass.