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Walking “The Silver Line”: A Deep Dive into ONI’s Latest Musical Odyssey with Jake Oni

In the realm where metal meets innovation, ONI has established themselves as a formidable force. Led by the creative genius and frontman, Jake Oni, this band has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is possible within the world of heavy music. In this interview, we had the privilege of delving into the mind of Jake Oni, discussing the band’s latest masterpiece, “The Silver Line,” which was released on October 13th. This album is not just a collection of songs; it’s a musical journey, a testament to the artistry and vision that has made ONI a standout act in the contemporary metal landscape.

Jake Oni, with his unique blend of creativity, technical prowess, and a distinct vocal style, has taken the band to new heights. “The Silver Line” is a sonic tapestry, weaving together various influences and emotions, offering listeners a rich and immersive experience. This conversation sheds light on the inspiration, production, and the soul behind the album, giving us a glimpse into the mind of the man who brought it to life.

Join us as we step into the world of ONI and explore “The Silver Line” – a musical journey like no other.

Lotsofmuzik: Jake, let’s talk about the new album, “The Silver Line”. How did you think you evolved between this one and the previous album “Loading Light”?

Jake Oni: I think this is leaps ahead in terms of my performance on the record. I think I’m always growing and evolving, and this is a step in the evolution of the ONI project. “Loading Light” is great, and this is great as well, but they’re two different things.

LOM: The album was released via Iron Shore Records, your own company. Do you think that makes things easier for you, or are the stakes higher than if you did through a third party label?

Jake Oni: To me, it’s no different from if it’s my record label to an independent release. It’s not really a factor for me, to be honest.

LOM: Fair enough. The album cover is pretty cool, and of course it alludes to the Japanese folklore of ONI. Can you describe the rationale behind it and how it was developed?

Jake Oni:  I always liked the imagery more than anything. I don’t know too much about the lore. I know it’s like a demon, and there was someone that went and slaughtered all of ’em and their folklore or whatever. And he had like three animals with him. I think they called ’em Peach Boy or something. But yeah, I just always liked the imagery, and I thought it was really cool.

LOM: Speaking of some of the highlights of the album, I really like “Silence in A Room of Lies”, which you did with the Youtuber Jared Dines. How did you guys decide to do this collaboration?

Jake Oni: That collaboration happened through Joe and Josh, my engineer and producer and songwriter. They know Jared Dines and we brought him involved to collaborate, and Jared’s great. I worked on some of his stuff since then, and yeah, we’re just homies now. And we send each other funny stuff on Instagram all the time.

LOM: The song “Underneath My Skin” features Sleeping with Sirens’ frontman Kellen Quinn, and to me it’s another high point of the record. There are lots of ups and downs on that song – can you tell me about that one?

Jake Oni: I agree. It’s a great tune. That was through my management. Kel and I are under the same management, and they were kind enough to make the link for me and make that one happen.

LOM: One of the heaviest ones on the album is Aura, with Josh Gilbert one of the producers and Howard Jones from Killswitch Engage. I’m curious, how do you decide who’s playing on which track?

Jake Oni: I think what we do is write with people in mind. Like Aura for example, we knew we were gonna have Howard and Josh and me on the song. We wanted it to have a song that suited our vocals. And then Kellen Quinn, we already had the song, but sent it to him and he just made it even better. So it’s a hard one. Like every situation’s a bespoke thing, you know?

LOM: I see. I’m curious about “Spark”. I just saw the video earlier today, and it’s incredible! Honestly, I didn’t know who Sueco was, but the collaboration sounded great!

Jake Oni: Yeah. He’s great. He’s awesome. Yeah, “Spark” happened. Josh already had that song written for another band. They didn’t end up using it for whatever reason. And it came across my attention when Josh showed it to me and he asked if I wanted to use it and I was down and yes, it’s a great song. I think that’s my favorite song on the album. And I barely wrote a thing on it! [laughs]. Josh wrote it and it has the Josh Gilbert character and I couldn’t be happier with it. 

LOM: Having so many guests on an album is a blessing, but can also generate an album that shoots in all directions. What is the songwriting process like in order to achieve a common direction between the songs?

Jake Oni: You know, the only real common direction between the songs is me. And Josh Gilbert, because He wrote all of it on guitar and stuff. So yeah, there definitely is an identity to the album. I feel like features are great because you get more than one set of eyes on your material and that’s only a good thing. People’s attention spans are very short. They might not listen to a whole album anymore, but if they see a single with Howard Jones, they’ll probably give it a shot. Then from there, you know, they can explore the rest of the album if they so choose to.

LOM:  Yeah, that makes sense. And like Nine Inch Nails or Dire Straits or LCD Sound System, ONI is both a band and one man’s vision. How do you deal with having to do pretty much everything? Do you see yourself splitting the decisions for the band with someone else anytime soon, or are you comfortable with the setting?

Jake Oni: Yeah, I’m comfortable with the setting. I have people I play with and I have people that I write with. And it’s great, it’s just how I want it to be. Kind of like what Megadeth or Beartooth do. Of course when we play live there is a band, but in the studio it’s me, Josh, sometimes Jared writing. And I would love to play shows with those guys. Like if Josh and Jared are free to tour with me, that’d be sick, you know? That’s the identity and the DNA of the band right now.

LOM: I was actually gonna ask you about the live setting. With so many guests, how do you adapt that material to your, to your live band?

Jake Oni: You know, we’ll play it. It’s That simple. Obviously it won’t sound exactly the same. I don’t sound like Josh or Howard but I can sing those songs. Originally there was no features and I sang the songs and then we put features on. So it’ll be fine.

LOM: Ok. Tell me about moving to the Cayman Islands. What motivated that decision?

Jake Oni: Actually I’ve always lived in the Cayman Islands. It’s a bit of a misconception that I moved. Oh,

we’re called a Canadian metal band because that’s what we were at the time was a Canadian metal man. Like no one else in the band is from Cayman except me. But yeah, that’s that.

LOM: Through your career, you shared the stages with Gojira, Children of Bodom Death Angel, Kiss, Scorpions, Korn…what would you say was the highest point of ONI’s career so far?

Jake Oni: Like in a live setting? It was Knotfest for sure. Knotfest Mexico, to be specific. That was a pretty cool moment. The fans were going crazy, singing along, and it was just awesome to be on stage with so many legends and share the stage with them. But I think the best is yet to come, man. To be honest, I think this new material is gonna get me further into a bigger audience than I was before, potentially.  I’m an ambitious guy, so… [laughs]

LOM: What’s the plan to promote the Silver Line? Are there any touring plans being discussed at the moment? 

Jake Oni: Yeah, for sure. I’m doing a radio tour in North America, and I’ll be playing a lot of gigs hopefully around that. So as soon as it’s a hundred percent confirmed, you’ll see it all over my socials, so you can come out to the show.

LOM: Awesome. And let me ask you about some other collaborations you did in the past. First of all, the song “Cross Off” with the late Chester Bennington for Mark Morton’s solo album. What was that like?

Jake Oni: That was just a trip, man, working with those guys. I don’t really get starstruck, but if I would’ve met Chester Bennington I would’ve been, for sure. I never got to meet him. We wrote a song together, that’s about it. But yeah, Mark’s my homie, man. I’m gonna see him this weekend.

LOM: Awesome. And the last one I wanted to ask you about is the song “Secrets” where you put together Randy Blythe and Iggy Pop. What was the lightbulb moment when you realized these three voices would go together so well?

Jake Oni: You know, the music industry is really weird, and that kind of just came together through a bizarre set of circumstances that I can’t fully dive into. But it happened, and it’ll always exist and I’m proud of it. 

LOM: To finish off: how do you maintain your vocal health and endurance, especially with such a, you know, high pitched material and such high intensity shows?

Jake Oni: I could do better. I smoke cigarettes sometimes, I don’t always warm up. I’m sure I could do better. But I think it just comes naturally to me when I get in the studio or on stage, I just let it rip and don’t look back.

LOM: Ok Jake. Thanks for the interview, and all the best with the new album!

Jake Oni: Thanks man!

Oni Album Cover
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