Emma Hoeflinger of Oginalii refers to their debut album Cause & Affection as a story of the plight of having empathy, and the endless journey to understanding both one’s darkness and one’s light. Hoeflinger shares ideas of the existential self and how the root of good and evil are one in the same. This theme is recognized through hauntingly beautiful vocals that entangle themselves in dirty guitar riffs and breakdowns, echoing the complexities of the human experience all throughout the band’s first full-length record.
Born into a family of musicians, Emma describes her childhood as one that allowed her to deeply explore and express her emotions from a very young age. She was taught that the best thing a person can be is raw, authentic ... human. This experience and outlook permeate through Cause & Affection, an album that cuts its heart open and bleeds itself dry.
Oginalii is comprised of Emma Hoeflinger on vocals and guitar, Ryan Quarles on guitar, Simon Knudtson on drums, and Emma Lambiase on bass and vocals. Together, they create a sound that can’t be pinned down; sludgy-psyche-rock meets technical talent that surpasses initial expectations.
The ethos of Punk and Desert Rock music has obviously permeated the band’s upcoming album deeply as an influence. Not only the song but more importantly the unexplainable feeling, the intangible energy and gritty passion that reverberates through the air at Oginalii’s live shows. Headbang to your heart’s desire, but the message of the music is something much deeper. Cause & Affection is the beginning of the focused, forward motion of the band: where they’ve been, where they are, and what is yet to come. As Hoeflinger says “I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t say this... There and back again, an Oginalii tale, that is Cause & Affection. The record is about growing up, losing yourself, finding yourself again, and wishing you were elsewhere - all while learning to love who you’re looking at in the mirror and understanding that the greatest gift we have as humans is empathy”.
Emma describes the writing and recording process with her bandmates as one that is not JUST collaborative, butcelestial, a feeling that surrounded them as soon as they joined forces. The most important factor in this is an environment that allows both vulnerability and honesty. When their perspectives and influences collaborate, something new is born.
Cultivated in a bedroom and recorded in the same house, Cause & Affection was created and engineered in the neighborhood of Crieve Hall just south of Nashville, TN, where the band met and currently resides. The serendipitous meeting of Ben McLeod, of All Them Witches, with Oginalii was one that was meant to be, a stepping stone on the way to honing in on what Emma calls “the sound and feeling we’ve been chasing from the start”. The combination of Ben’s direction and the sonic connectivity among the band-shaped a record that gathers all the mountains and valleys the Tennessee landscape has to offer, but the sound created is one much more ethereal and reminiscent of what Emma says “was the beckoning of the mountains of Mordor.”
At its conception, every band is on a journey to discover what their creative mission is. The start is full of mania and the need to scream everything you can into the airwaves. Over time the push, pull, and progressive movement on this mission caused the seed to bloom and realize its potential. For Oginalii, songwriting is at the core, and as Hoeflinger puts it, “you don’t know what you’re looking for until you find it.” A band is about the songs, yes, but what really matters is HOW they are heard. In reference to the sentiment, “It all starts with a song,” Hoeflinger thinks differently: “It may start with a song, but it ends with a sound and feeling you’ve created collectively.” Oginalii has found their voice, one that is uniquely theirs in origin, blossoming into a true picture of their creative mission.