Ohara is an artist whose creative power and vivacity overflows into all she does. As an illustrator, her visual world is whimsical and airy – her drawings are understated yet energetic, as if her intense imagination fills the spaces between suggestive black outlines and washes of colour. Musically, Ohara‘s work has been diverse, ranging from projects like the raucous Nancy Pants to the grooving Mori, but the deep poignancy and vivid dream world of her namesake project is wholly unique. Returning with LP Amory Jun after a several year long hiatus, Ohara draws us back into watery contemplation and rapid-fire rebirth in these seven meditations on spring awakening.
Led by single “Skipping Stone,” with its striking visual directed by Christopher Honeywell, Amory Jun completes a six-year turn of the wheel. For Ohara, the album is intended to accompany the blooming flowers and gentle rainfall of spring. We spoke to her about this season of transition and the catharsis of releasing these songs to the world.
What does spring feel like in your body?
It feels very delicate yet also strong – there is a power pushing through the earth to unravel soft petals and honey scented songs.
What is the song on this album that is most like a flower blooming?
Amory Jun. This song is in a garden and there is a part near the end where the strings multiply and crescendo and bloom! – it is so incredibly beautiful. Luke [Loseth] and Justin [Wright] did an amazing job bringing this heart flower to life – they knew exactly what to do.
What is the song on this album that is most like a rain shower?
Closer. In the beginning of the recording there are tiny tapping typewriter noises. This is the sound of my dog, Banana, as she walked into the room to join us. We set the guitar in front of a mic, the cello in front of another mic, and we opened and closed the windows. You can hear the rain and the thunder that day. It was spring and things were just beginning to turn light green. I had an image of rain dripping off white roses and the light of the streetlamp and the moon shimmering in the puddles at night. Everything was new again, as it always was, and yet still hidden too : in the “light of the night, I am yours”.
All spring transitions feel familiar, but they are also each completely unique. What (aside from the global pandemic) makes this spring, that the album comes out in, unique for you?
I suppose I had been waiting for the right spring to release it. And yet the years passed – 5 springs until this one began, and then I knew it was time. When I wrote the song Amory Jun, I realized that Amory Jun was me and I needed more time to find me – find myself – waiting in the garden. It was a 5 year long germination. This album has been in my mind/heart for so long. Now, I feel once I let it go, I can fully blossom into this spring, into the spring of my life.
Peggy is a musicologist and recording artist who is deeply invested in music’s role in society. She is particularly interested in how marginalized artists create representations for themselves through music and she is passionate about artists who exhibit strong musicianship and poignant songwriting.
Sagittarius sun, Scorpio rising, Aquarius moon