With a name like Ohio Avenue, you’d think this high-energy trio had grown up rockin’ the shores of Lake Erie. But they are undoubtedly much more familiar with tiny Williams Lake, near their home town of Dora, Alabama, about 25 miles northwest of Birmingham.
Ohio Avenue, which takes its name from an Indiana street where lead singer and guitarist Derek Williams lived before moving to the Deep South, met at a local church, where they played music for the youth group. Williams, lead guitarist Casey Mitchell, and drummer Chad Defoor honed their act in a relative’s barn, started gigging in 2005, and went on tour full time in 2007. “It was a big risk for us to leave our day jobs and rely on the band for income, but we knew it was the right thing to do,” says Williams.
Indeed, the band has done a lot of things right. Their first EP, Make Me Believe, was produced by Barry Blair (Bleach, Audio Adrenaline) and included the single “Close to Me,” which received airplay across the Southeast. They followed this in June 2009 with a full-length album, The Sound, produced by Adam Smith (Britt Nicole, Chris Sligh).
Currently, Ohio Avenue plays about 15 to 20 shows a month around the Southeastern U.S., and their recent success at NACA South 2009 netted them bookings for more than 30 shows at colleges. Most recently, the band has been invited to play at music festivals like Enfuego, City Stages, The Big Ticket Festival, and Cornerstone, and they have opened for such bands as Switchfoot and Needtobreathe.
At various times, the band has used the PreSonus FirePod, FireStudio Project, and BlueTube DP. Their favorite is still the FirePod. “We mainly use the FirePod for its separate outputs so we can play back several separate tracks simultaneously in a live setting,” says Williams. “We don't have a bass player, so we tracked all the bass lines in the studio. With the FirePod, we are able to route them straight into the bass amp and still run loops from a separate output to the house mix. We don't have to worry about putting the bass lines on the same track as the loops so we get an overall cleaner sound. We also use the FirePod to record demos of our new songs. It's great having a piece of hardware that can be used for both live and studio settings.”
Adds Defoor, “We chose the FirePod because it give us great sound quality, and it had all the features that we wanted and needed.” “I like that you can achieve professional results with PreSonus products,” Mitchell chimes in, “and they are so easy to use.”