Led by 2011 jazz studies graduate Chris Goranson (guitar/vocals) and David Click (guitar/vocals), a self-proclaimed DeKalb townie and founder of local music festival, Stompkee, Ourglass is complete with Matthew Judson (drums/vocals), junior jazz percussion major, Mark Walters (bass), senior elementary education major and Danielle Guilini (violin), 2011 classical violin performance graduate.
Sharing influences from the vast ‘90s alternative rock scene (from Nirvana to Radiohead), Goranson and Click branch out from there. The former brings to Ourglass his love for the modern blues of My Morning Jacket and the Black Keys, the latter, his nostalgia for the psychedelics of Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin. As if this juxtaposition wasn't intense enough, vocal melodies are complimented by Guilini, German classical violin scholar, and the beat is kept by Judson, aka Mot Juste, world music avant-garde.
"You definitely need to have an awareness of things around the world rather than just being egocentric," Judson said. "It's something we're not used to, and people fear what they don't know; but, at the same time, it's all just something that came to those people naturally at that point on the globe. Some things, to us Americans, come so naturally, but to them it's totally unnatural. The blending of two worlds is really a beautiful thing."
There is also a duality in the band's lyrics. Because blues is an introspective style of personal suffering and the keystone of the ‘60s tune is its rally cry, Ourglass approaches grunge from a variety of angles.
"Maybe not so much protest songs like Bob Dylan or Rage Against the Machine, but some of our lyrics can defiantly be interpreted as being about government issues," Judson said. "Grunge kind of derives from the whole Punk rock thing and the whole punk rock thing was all about ‘eff the government.'"
Normally loud, Ourglass will be unplugging for a free acoustic set at Tapa La Luna 9:30 p.m. Saturday. On Aug. 19, they'll be turning the volume back up at Stompkee music festival.
Their album, As Above, So Below - described by Goranson as "humanity and earth's relations from an astronaut perspective," - will be available in September.