If you haven’t yet been exposed to the eclectic sound of Ho Malone from Waupaca’s Chain O’ Lakes, you’re in for a treat.
Ho Malone got its start back in January 2014, when The Hook Up, a band that included Nick Rodello, needed a bass player for a battle of the bands competition. The call when out to Rodello’s friend, Zach Bartel. “We’d played parties in high school,” Bartel said.
After the gig, Bartel mentioned that he had a number of original songs that he wanted to record and play. Rodello expressed his interest. With Bartel playing guitar and Rodello on bass, they added drummer Corey Bowe and guitarist Ian Hart to complete the band.
The sound is unique, leaving Bartel hard pressed to describe it.
“It has psychedelic, folk, garage and rock influences, but it goes off in many directions in what we hope is a good way,” Bartel said. “All of the individuals in the band have been playing since at least middle school, so we have excellent musicianship, dynamics and harmonies.”
The group released Mean and Nice, an eight-song, all-original CD in April, and it shot to the top of the charts in Waupaca.
“The response to the music has been very good, as has the response to our videos,” Bartel said. “I’ve been told it’s valid art.”
Marci Beaucoup of the Wisco band Baba Ghanooj, and a strong supporter of the local arts scene is thrilled to see the band getting more attention.
“Ho Malone is a true grit original Waupaca band,” Beaucoup said “made up of players who can truly speak to the experience and essence of living in a small community. Their music and their following express their amazing connection to the up and coming generation. Excellent natural musicians, songwriting, and really sweet people.”
As a Founder and the President of the Waupaca Community Arts Board, a non-profit arts organization whose mission is “community building through the arts,” Beaucoup is impressed with what this young group of talented musicians bring to the table.
“A couple members of Ho Malone recently participated in a super successful fundraiser independently organized by young people in Waupaca to raise funds for our upcoming arts on the square, “ adds Beaucoup. “These young folks are getting actively involved in our intentional arts scene. It’s really incredible.”
“We are very excited about playing in the Wisconsin Brewing Company Concert Series,” says Bartel. “This is a great chance for us to get exposure in the Fox Cities and showcase our music to a lot of new fans.”
Learn more about Ho Malone by visiting their Facebook page and YouTube channel. Their album is available at The Bookcellar in downtown Waupaca and internetable places like iTunes.