For those unfamiliar with the African Okapi, it seems to bear resemblance to three separate animals: the giraffe, horse and zebra. So, when the three-piece Logan Square based post-chamber outfit, Okapi (@okapiband) needed a band name, this moniker felt like the perfect accompaniment to their tribal-rock sound.
Okapi breaks from the traditional guitar-driven rock music by fusing the cello with bass and percussion. Though the group incorporates some rock-based elements to their unique style, they prefer to classify their genre as post-chamber.
“I kind of was shying away from trying to settle on anything,” says bassist and vocalist Scott Gorski about labeling their sound. “Post-chamber is kind of more vague and ambiguous as to what that could mean. So whatever that is, is kind of being answered by our music.”
Forming the Perfect Trio
Gorski says he had a handful of songs written when he first met cellist Lindsey Miller.
“I’d been trained classically and always had it in my head that I’d try and do slightly out there stuff,” says Miller about what drew her to start writing with Gorski. “I really got it in my head that I was wanting to be in the rock world … [Okapi] was so different and honestly would give me more room to explore.”
Gorski and Miller went through a handful of drummers before meeting their current percussionist Tomasso Moretti. According to Gorski, finding the right musician for their unique sound was a difficult process.
“A lot of the [drummers] we were playing with were pushing us more towards the rock feel,” Gorski says. “I was kind of wanting to go a different route.”
According to Gorski and Miller, finding Moretti was the perfect piece that would allow them to grow together as musicians.
“[Moretti] hears things the way I was hearing them, the way I couldn’t really illustrate them to other people,” Gorski says. “It was kind of unspoken, and made it really easy for him to learn songs.”
Recording the Self-Titled EP
Okapi released their six-song, self-titled EP in January. The band recorded at Head First Studios with Richard Malstrom, a friend of Moretti’s. With only a day booked in the studio, Okapi recorded each song live, giving the songs their raw feel.
“We work off of each other so much that it would be difficult to try and record everything separately,” Gorski says. “We wanted more of a realistic sound.”
“I’m afraid of recording with this group individually,” Miller says. “I feel like a whole element would be missing.”
What’s Next for Okapi
All the members of Okapi have dreams of making music a full-time gig. Each have a day job, which they have formed around the band’s schedule. For now, Okapi hopes to continue to build upon their local fan base.
The band recently played a handful of shows in the Chicago area. Most recently, they played at Quenchers Saloon (@QuenchersSaloon, 2401 N. Western Ave.) in Logan Square on March 16 with Mumble the Peg. Okapi also has a date booked at Reggie’s Music Joint on March 31 where they’ll be playing with indie acts Nacosta and Thieves & Gyspys. Tickets are available at the door.
Okapi’s self-titled EP is available on Bandcamp, and interested fans can name their own price.