London·Southwest Sounds

SW Sounds: Kay Oh Chay

Port Alma band The Oh Chays now go by frontwoman's name, beginning with upcoming EP.

Port Alma husband-and-wife duo 'The Oh Chays' change name but not their sound

Kay Oh Chay (Kelly Authier) is set to release a new, self-titled EP in November. (Supplied by Kay Oh Chay)

SW Sounds is a weekly feature that profiles a southwestern Ontario artist and their new music. Listen for it Mondays on Afternoon Drive between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on CBC Radio One.

In the last few years, The Oh Chays have become a staple in southern Ontario's blues and folk scenes. 

Singer/keyboardist Kay Oh Chay (Kelly Authier) and her percussionist husband Michael Oh Chay (Michael Authier) released their debut album in 2014. They've been travelling from their home in Port Alma, on the Lake Erie coastline in Chatham-Kent, to regular gigs at bars and festivals ever since.

But with their upcoming release, fans might think The Oh Chays' frontwoman has gone solo. It's a self-titled EP credited solely to Kay Oh Chay.

The Authiers explained the slight change in focus as part of their conversation with CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive.

Tell us a bit about yourselves.

KELLY AUTHIER: I'm Kay Oh Chay (aka Kelly Authier), and I'm the singer, songwriter, keyboardist..and overall boss (laughs).

MICHAEL AUTHIER: I'm Michael Oh Chay and up until this point I thought I was the boss! I play the drums and the guitar, the vocalizing, and just generally add the good vibes.

What's it like being a band living and working in Port Alma?

KOC: We only live in Port Alma, there's definitely no work to be had in Port Alma (laughs). It's a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere. We don't even live in Port Alma, it's just our closest town.

MOC: It's just the closest sign to our house.

KOC:  But it's quiet and beautiful, which makes up for the heavy touring and social part of being a musician.

MOC: Plus we can play really loud until 4 a.m. and there's no one around to complain!

Why the "name change?"

KOC: The first album was really a collection of songs that I had written over the last couple of years. Mike and I had been playing together in a few different projects, and obviously I knew he's incredibly talented and was going to be part of it.

The focus shifted from "The Oh Chays" to "Kay Oh Chay" because I play so many shows as a solo act. I probably play solo more than we play together. Using The Oh Chays name was just an easy way to have all of my information and all of our different projects come together. It's still Mike involved with the music, but booking us for shows is budget-dependent. If you want Kay Oh Chay for this price, than you get me. If you want Kay Oh Chay for a bigger budget, you'll get Mike and I. And if you've got a big, big budget, we have a three or four piece band that he's also a part of. But we're still together. It's all good! 

Tell us about the new single.

KOC: It's called 'The Burn', and it's about 'the struggle'. It's about focusing on the next project, or lining up the next thing, or thinking 'I'll be happy when these things line up.' But you never get to the end of it, learn the lesson and then move on. The lesson is the process, the burn.

This interview was edited and condensed.

Have a listen to 'The Burn' as part of Kay Oh Chay's SW Sounds profile:

If you know of an artist or band with new music that should be featured on SW Sounds, email us at afternoondrive@cbc.ca or reach out on Twitter, @cbcafternoondr.

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