An aspiring and successful actor, Che is deeply immersed in the Rochester cultural scene. So much so, we’ve named him Che of The Town!
Exclusively for Talker, Che has solicited and is conducting interviews from about 50 Rochestarians working in a diversity of creative fields.
For the full series, see Che of The Town: Interviews (1-27)
OVTLIER; A Magnetic Powerhouse Band On The Rise.
In this highlight we turn our attention to OVTLIER, a local powerhouse band taking over the airwaves. This band surely possesses the “IT” quality, releasing work that connects to diverse crowds and releasing music that is an extension of themselves while keeping your energy up. OVTLIER is the band to keep an eye out for!
OVTLIER is also known and respected for tackling heavy issues through their music. Their anticipated video for their hit song, “Set the world in flames,” shines light on a very powerful issue. I won’t reveal too much about the project, just know it’s one that can potentially hit close to home.
The band consists of extraordinarily talented individuals, each showcasing mastership of their instruments, Joey Arena (a gifted lead vocalist), Paul Milne (pretty wicked on the guitar) and Joey Lana (a passionate and talented drummer). I reached out to OVTLIER front man Joey Arena to find out some background on the band. asked Joey a series of questions. Here is what we discussed.
Tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, grew up, what H.S./College you attended etc.
I was born and raised in Rochester, NY. Growing up, I bounced around to a few different schools. Started kindergarten in Penfield, NY and then went to 42 School for a brief period. Got in my first fight and my mom moved me back out to the suburbs. Cue ‘Fresh Prince of Bel Air’ song! I lived in Tampa, FL (area) for a year (5th grade) and then we decided to move back to the Roc. I was looking at going to get away for college but my first tour came about when I was 17 and the idea of seeing the world vs. going to back to school sounded like a better idea to me. I tried going to MCC for business when I was on brief break from tour. But I was taught seemed like common sense. I decided to save money in the long haul and drop out.
What inspired you to be an artist/entertainer? Early experiences worth sharing?
When I was 10 years old, I was introduced to Nirvana. I love every single thing about the band. After x-amount of time of jumping around and playing air guitar to the band, I decided to pursue the real thing. I received my first guitar when I was 11 from my grandfather who picked up from a garage sale. I remember it as if it were yesterday. It had only 3 strings, rusted to hell. The electronics didn’t work and most likely couldn’t stay in tune, but I played it like it was the greatest thing. Time went on and I saved up enough birthday money to get my first functional rig.
Talk about a time where you have faced adversity/conflict and have triumphed.
It’s never been an easy road but unfortunately for the sake of the question, I don’t hold onto the battles.
I try to bury each issue or “conflict” and move onward. But, I was in a band called, “Young Bloods” and we had done many great things and I learned so much about the industry and myself throughout that time. After putting it to rest, I wasn’t quite sure where to go. I battled myself for almost a year, deciding whether or not I was OK with the little bit of creditable or success I had accomplished. The answer was always there; without music, there is no “me.” I know I could never just hang it up. Over the course of a year and a half, I drove to Cleveland almost every weekend. Rain or shine, snow or construction. I remember one storm, 90 was closed down, I detoured and took back roads through Buffalo and Erie just to get there, extending my trip by 3+ more hours.
“The show must go on” has always been my view of it all. Life or music. Anyways, after writing, scrapping, keeping, re-constructing and re-branding, OVTLIER (outlier) had come about. The name says it all: describing myself, what the band stands for and what I went through. Later on, finished after the album was finished, I brought some members on board. That to me was more of a conflict or struggle with myself and looking back, it was all worth it. I believe the final release of this product and everything I have planned and built will hopefully come to fruition.
What do you believe sets you apart from other artists/entertainers?
To be honest, I’d like to think that we don’t pigeonhole or box ourselves in with a specific sound or genre. There will always be room for growth in every direction.
Do you have other interests or hobbies?
As for as the guys, Paul has a side business called, “Awoken Stone” where he uses his art skills to focus on creative glass work like bongs and bowls and does amazing moldings on them. I know Lana eat, sleeps and breathes his instrument but has his share of hobbies. Syracusa is big into graphic designing and does great sketch work.
Any projects you have out or currently working on?
Regarding the band, We are about to debut for stream and release the first single, “Buried Me Alive.” Music video is up on YouTube. Next will be the release of our music video/single “Set the World in Flames” which will pull on the heartstrings of many. Then, we follow with the release of the whole album, “What Doesn’t Kill You” this summer! Everything will be available on Spotify, Amazon, iTunes, Pandora, etc…
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
On the word and seeing the world!
What advice can you give to aspiring artists/entertainers?
How can we follow along in your journey? Social media?