"I've always been into singing, reading and writing poetry," recalls Ohlin, "but I didn't actually start wanting to learn how to play until probably '05 or '06, when I broke my femur riding dirt bikes. I was laid up in bed for a good bit, had a guitar and a radio, so I guess I just started trying to play along."
"Musically speaking, I am self 100% taught [...] I'm sure my approach is much more elementary and simple than someone who is more formally educated. In a lot of the -- nowadays considered -- standards and classics, those recordings were approached with what would be considered today, very simple techniques and equipment. That's what I use. Very simple techniques and equipment."
Tracks like Ohlin's "Reclaimed by the Sea" and "Wrapped Around Her Finger" infuse traditional blues and folk styles and, spurred on by his fiery bellows, have incredible force.
How does he describe his sound?
"I would say experimental roots," says Ohlin. "You know, folk and blues elements, and not experimental in the sense that say, I'm going to blow up a car to get that sound on tape, but just that, in the moment, there are a lot of unexpected or should I say, planned, elements that surface, and often times those are my favorites, so I keep them."
"There is definitely some old school punk rock spirit in my music, in that I don't like to hold back. Punk rock was that way for me and still is. It's not the anti-establishment part I'm talking about, but the energy behind it. The 'no punches pulled' part. Then there are the blues and folk sides of me. I just really enjoy the honesty behind that music."
And that might just be the secret behind the potency of his tunes -- the honesty. After all, you can't just disingenuously sing things like "In the end ... we are all reclaimed by the sea," not mean it, and get away with it. No, Ohlin sort of takes you to a dark place with him, makes you hang out there and feel it all.
"The driving force in my life is that I do it regardless. I've tried to quit. I can't. If I get a song in my head, if I don't at least write it down or hum the melody into my little phone recorder, I literally can't sleep. It sucks, but it's also really damn rewarding, so I've let it take the wheel."
You can find Ohlin's latest album "Gypsy Witch Jeweler" on iTunes, Amazon, his web site, and Bandcamp.com
Also, check out his interview with Jesse F. Daniels on RAWdio this week!
Be there for his live musical performance at RAW:Tulsa presents MARVEL
APRIL 12 | 9PM | VANGUARD | 222 N. MAIN | TULSA | TICKETS HERE