MR Fest 2017 Artist Profile: Ooni

By Hannah Wisterman
Music Journalist

Ooni is a fun band with a fun name and a fun sound—you just about can’t say “Ooni” without smiling, and you can’t listen to them without doing so either. This five-piece indie pop outfit started out in 2012 as Crocodile, the name Gianni Sarmiento used to release his solo demos, and gradually evolved into a full-fledged band, now including members Erik Gatlin, Savannah Shanks, Ben Humphreys and Ray Garza. Why the name switch? Well, in Sarmiento’s words, “Googling ‘crocodile’ doesn’t do much in the way of helping you find our band.” The switch also came about as a means to differentiate themselves from other crocodile-themed indie outfits (who knew there was such a wealth of crocodile competition?).

ooni 2
“Googling ‘crocodile’ doesn’t do much in the way of helping you find our band.” Photo courtesy of Ooni.

Ooni currently has five releases up on their Bandcamp to stream and purchase, the latest being It’s So Dark And I’m Drunk from January 2016, a tapestry of fine harmonies, gentle instrumentation, and rich songwriting, all of which seem to be signatures of Ooni’s sound. The band’s next bundle of songs will be the first collection they will have done as a whole unit; they’re in the recording process now, so keep an ear out for new tunes in their upcoming live shows.

As San Marcos weather warms up again, Ooni seems like a perfect fit for those lazy afternoons in Sewell. You can’t miss their ‘60s influence, nor the influence of indie-folk bands like Dr. Dog. Both musical approaches can be heard in “Candy Can’t Cope”:

Catch Ooni at 3:00 at the Hitch on Saturday, April 29.

Featured image courtesy of Ooni.

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