by Angelica Ray
First things first, Ornet is pronounced “hornet” without the H. “You can call us whatever you want to but…” says Drew. It’s loosely derived from the avant-garde jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter and composer, Ornette Coleman that Dylan was listening to one day. It took about 3 months to settle on a name, and adjusting the spelling of the name, to what they all could agree on. Admittingly, all 3 mention that they even pronounce the band’s name based on whatever mood they’re in. They know people tend to gravitate towards pronouncing it Or-Net, but band doesn’t mind as long as you get to their shows.
The 3 members are multi-instrumentalists, but for the time being, Ornet is as follows: Dan Sommerville banging drums and percussion, Dylan Forster killing the bass and Drew Fields slaying guitar. Describing their sound can be difficult at times and you will hear different people say different things. Post-hardcore, experimental progressive rock is a good starting point and their signature style is loud.
Drew was born in Alabama and Dylan is from Colorado Springs, but have both been in the Grand Valley almost their entire lives. Dan is from Aurora and moved to Grand Junction when he started attending Colorado Mesa University. He’ll be wrapping up his degree in percussion performance after he takes his final 6 credits. Dylan is a geographer when he’s not creating music and Drew works at Back Porch Music.
Dylan and Drew met when they were about 10 and Dylan actually took piano lessons from Drew’s mom, a music teacher at the school they attended. Both have been playing guitar for 14 years, with Dylan switching to bass out of necessity a while later. In middle school they participated in a talent show playing Paranoid by Black Sabbath around 13 years old and in 8th grade was when they first started kicking around the idea of a band. Drew played on the drumline at Fruita Monument High School but graduated early with a GED so he could attend CMU a year early.
Dan has been playing since age 12 and participated in middle school band and marching band, starting off on snare and bass drum; learning to read rhythms. Of course, now, he’s banging on all general percussion including xylophone and melodic keyboards. Drew met Dan at CMU in jazz class where they noticed they liked the same different kind of music, especially Dance Gavin Dance. A key meeting for what would eventually become the current lineup.
It’s important to state that Dylan and Drew were in a band together called Dinosaur the Musical with another drummer. When Dylan went away to AZ for college, Drew was frustrated not playing a band, so he wrote. A lot. Enough material for an album. When Dylan returned, they linked up and were ready to start playing music together again. With the new music, they found that they needed a different drummer. Dan came to mind because Drew and he had jazz class together. They started seriously rehearsing about a year ago and with only about 8 gigs under their belt, you can tell how insanely talented these gentlemen are because they deliver effortlessly. (Bonus fact, their first gig was actually billed as DTM.)
Musical influences and inspirations that they’ve all bonded over include post-hardcore bands, mid-west emo and jazz including, but definitely not limited to, The Fall of Troy, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Death Cab for Cutie, Maps and Atlases, Snarky Puppy and Mars Volta. Ornet’s music is intelligent and you hear some of their influences seep into their original music with smatterings of jazz all over.
The members of Ornet are happy watching the Grand Valley music scene grow and feel the support. They appreciate the non-musicians in town that are starting to support the scene more and more, helping to bring that energy to the musicians playing which in turn entertains the people who go to live shows. The cycle of a healthy music life.
They expect to release their first album before the end of the year and have an upcoming show on Friday, July 20, 2018 at Mesa Theater, located at 538 Main Street in Grand Junction offering their mind blowing talent opening for In The Whale. Again, do not miss this incredible display of musical talent! I will see you on the dance floor!