Influential Album: Banah Winn of Opus Vitae on Radiohead


* New series called #OpenEarsInfluencers, highlighting an album that had a major influence on artists, music industry folks, and music fiends alike’s love for music, an album that was really a catalyst and started it all for where they currently are in their musical journey. 

Today’s Influencers comes from Opus Vitae‘s Banah Winn, whose debut self titled EP is out tomorrow 8/28:

Bio: Opus Vitae arrive with a dynamic, melodic and carefully crafted self-titled EP. Produced by Darrell Thorp (Beck, Radiohead, Foster the People) the Los Angeles based group is led by songwriter Banah Winn. Originally hailing from Portland, Oregon Winn settled in Los Angeles to build a new band and a new sound after playing with a handful of other projects, most notably California’s surf pop group Cayucas. Here Winn finds his own voice. Opus Vitae, translated from Latin as “Life’s Work”, is a direct outpouring of Winn’s ambition, dedication, and persistent internal struggle.

Rounding out the sound of Opus Vitae’s raw, driven energy are Montreal native Yan Clermont on lead guitar, and Seattle’s Miles Frank and Pat Birney on drums and bass, respectively. These four unique musicians individually bring their own story and spirit to the band. Above all else, the music itself always takes top priority, as experienced in their exceptionally dynamic and honest performances.

Banah Winn’s influential album: RadioheadOK Computer

“My choice is obvious and played out but I don’t care, if you love it wear it on your sleeve. OK Computer, hands down my favorite record of all time. Changed my life, changed my life many times. I’ve listened to that record hundreds of times, and I still find something new every time. For me a great record is a marriage of all aspects, great songs, great production, great instrumentation, and a special feeling that seals it all together. There are certainly other records with better singles, or that move more quickly from front to back (the 2nd half of OK Computer can drag a little) but they can’t rival the overall presentation and perfect storm of “OKC”. I’d argue that its the best produced record I’ve ever heard. Recorded in Jane Seymour’s old haunted mansion, the sounds and room-tones carry a unique haunted vibe, you can’t hear anywhere else. Nigel did an amazing job of capturing the location and you really feel the presence of that space. I’m all for studio records, shit everything made in those famous rooms we’ve heard hundreds of times like capital or ocean way sounds amazing, but there’s something about records made in a house, or in a place where a record wasn’t really meant to be made that makes it a little more natural and special. Take Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik, Beck’s Odelay or Bon Iver’s For Emma, as examples.

My favorite song on the record has to be “Let Down’. The actual structure and chords of the song are so simple but the weaving electric guitar lines are syncopated around the acoustic and drums, balanced with the rhodes make for such great ear candy. The song is somehow uplifting even though its totally heart wrenching at the same time. The mix on that song is also really unique too, the vocals are hard left and right, doubled and split, leaving tons of space in the middle to really feel the room the drums are in. It’s a mix I haven’t heard anywhere else.

Overall they just captured such a feeling on that record, It’s something special that I haven’t heard too many other places. It’s definitely a life pursuit of mine to find whatever my own version of that might be.”

– Banah Winn/Opus Vitae

Check out the video for Opus Vitae’s “I’ve Been Wrong”:

Opus Vitae Links:


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Mike Gerry

Head music fiend at OpenEars Music

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