Detroit native Christian Ohly has a knack for taking the energy of stomp-and-holler folk and blending it with poetic lyrics and steel guitar. The result is earthy, introspective, and captivating – accessible and familiar, yet never too base or commercial. We’re excited to present “Enfilade”, Ohly’s newest track, below. We also had a chance to speak with him about the song, the Detroit scene, tour eats, and more.
-You’ve got several EPs under your belt already, and now you’re putting out “Enfilade” into the world. How are you feeling? Do you have any ideas on what’s next?
I wrote this song in spring of 2020, so I’m thrilled to finally have it recorded and released. I’ve been working on my first full length since June 2021 (it’s separate from this release). I believe it’s by far my best work yet, thanks to a few years of experience and working with producer John Katona. We hope to have the project complete by August.
-Most listeners sadly aren’t invested in lyrics and digital-only releases without booklets continues to contribute partly to this problem. How do you approach your lyrics in a way to make the biggest impact? What are you hoping listeners will take away?
When writing I try to be as detailed and specific as possible, yet still relatable. I think unique words and thoughts may trigger listeners to play a song or moment again, and then cause them to really take a dive into the lyrics thanks to one or two lines. I’d love for listeners to find comfort in my music, but even more, I’d like them to walk away with a tangible story or snapshot of something I’ve processed/experienced.
-Art never happens in a void. What were some of the artists you were listening to while putting this track together? What’s your most surprising influence?
Minihorse is a Michigan band I got into when first making my way into the music scene, and their music really inspired this track. Pinegrove is another band I was listening to quite a bit when writing this one. I loved the guitar tones on the Minihorse record, Living Room Art, and met the lead singer, Ben Collins, at a show of theirs. I ended up getting in touch with him a few months later to work on a friend’s song, and he ended up producing “Enfilade” in March 2022 at his studio. It’s still exciting to have been able to work on a track with the artist who inspired it’s writing.
-Detroit has a rough reputation but some truly incredible bands have come from there. How does living there inform your songwriting approach, and do you plan to stay there longterm?
Metro Detroit has several different amazing music communities. There are DIY house show/dive bar indie rock booking agents, listening rooms in the suburbs, and the small – stadium sized venues that everyone’s favorite bands stop at. I try to go to as many shows as I can because I usually leave each one with a different kind of inspiration. Whether it’s sonically or lyrically, the diverse talent in Detroit has inspired some of my favorite songs I’ve written.
-Touring isn’t as glamorous as many people think, but it does give you access to new restaurants, gas stations, and landmarks. What are some of the favorite places you’ve eaten on tour, no matter how low on the chain?
Though I haven’t toured too much, I did get a chance to play SXSW this year, and I have to say “La Barbecue” in Austin, Texas is the best food I’ve eaten surrounding a show. The hype around Texas BBQ didn’t let me down.
-Outside of music, what keeps you going? Is there anything about life outside of the stage and studio that would surprise listeners?
Outside of music I work a 9-5 in sales & customer service, play soccer, spend time with family, and travel whenever I can. I enjoy seeing new places and thankful my day job gives me the resources to do that. People often ask if I do music full time, but I always say it’s just a passion of mine for now.
-What’s next for you?
Like I mentioned earlier, finishing up this full length record is my #1 priority. I look forward to playing shows often and hopefully playing out of town a bit more to gain a bit more exposure before releasing the record.