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Studio Session: Okay Lindon explores new sonic territory on 'Passion Pain'

(from left) Erica Biemesche, Dustin Smith and Jordan Elam from Okay Lindon after their studio session on WYSO.
Juliet Fromholt
(from left) Erica Biemesche, Dustin Smith and Jordan Elam from Okay Lindon after their studio session on WYSO.

This week on Kaleidoscope, Cincinnati band Okay Lindon joined host Juliet Fromholt for a live interview and studio session following the release of their new album, Passion Pain, on Poptek Records in October 2023. The band describes Passion Pain as a “swerve in sound” from their previous releases; the album trades the upbeat reggae sound of their 2019 album, Participation, for a darker sonic palate of ambient synthesizers and woozy, downtempo dub rhythms. On the show, the band performed two songs from the new album live, as well as a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Brokedown Palace.” They also spoke with Juliet about writing and recording Passion Pain. Okay Lindon features Dustin Smith (vocals, guitars), Jordan Elam (drums, vocals), Erica Beimesche (vocals, violin), and Andrew McEwen (keyboards).

The band performed in WYSO's studios without Andrew McEwen, who lives in Portland, Oregon, but they told Juliet that Passion Pain owes its dark, atmospheric sound to the keyboardist's contributions. Dustin Smith, who writes Okay Lindon's songs, said that he allowed McEwen to shape the rhythms and textures on Passion Pain, providing him with only basic chords and lyrics for inspiration:

“[The songs] sounded originally a lot more like what you’re hearing on the air tonight. And then I tried to make them not sound like that, just to change it up. One of the things we did was, when I sent them to Portland for Andrew, I didn’t strum at all. I had very basic tracks. I really left it to our keys player to really establish the rhythm and everything. So he just had a scratch vocal track and me playing whole notes on the guitar the whole time.”

The result was a series of tracks built around ambient soundscapes, inspired by the genre of dub techno. While the songs on Passion Pain address themes of suffering and loss of faith, Okay Lindon is offering a new, lighthearted merchandise option for the album: each cassette of Passion Pain comes with a tea-scented candle, intended to be burned while the tape plays. Dustin Smith told Juliet that the candle was designed to create an extra sensory layer to listeners’ experience of the album. “I thought it would be part of the concept of the atmosphere of the record,” he said, “I actually ordered lots of candles off Amazon and smelled them all until I found the one that really spoke to me.”

Okay Lindon’s new album, Passion Pain, is available for digital or cassette purchase (with candle) on Bandcamp. The album is also available on all major digital streaming platforms. For updates Okay Lindon, including information on releases and performances, visit poptek.com/okay-lindon.

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Juliet Fromholt is proud to be music director at 91.3FM WYSO. Juliet began volunteering at WYSO while working at WWSU, the student station at her alma mater, Wright State University. After joining WYSO's staff in 2009, Juliet developed WYSO’s digital and social media strategy until moving into the music director role in 2021. An avid music fan and former record store employee, Juliet continues to host her two music shows, Alpha Rhythms and Kaleidoscope, which features studio performances from local musicians every week. She also co-hosts Attack of the Final Girls, a horror film review podcast.
Peter Day writes and produces stories for WYSO’s music department. His works include a feature about Dayton's premiere Silent Disco and a profile of British rapper Little Simz. He also assists with station operations and serves as fill-in host for Behind the Groove. Peter began interning at WYSO in 2019 and, in his spare time while earning his anthropology degree, he served as program director for Yale University’s student radio station, WYBC.