Justin Osborne needed a break. He’d been writing music and making albums since he was 15, and by the age of 26, he felt like he was spinning his wheels. He knew he needed a change, so he ended his old band Sequoyah Prep School and moved to Cuba. He thought he might be done with music for a while, but the songs just kept coming. “I had this idea in my mind that I was going to try and join some kind of Latin American Leftist movement. I wanted to jump off a cliff,” Osborne says. “Once I got there I immediately started hanging out with musicians and going to shows. I started showing them the songs from this project that was kind of just an idea in my head.
“They were like, ‘man, don’t throw away your passport, go home and continue to make music,'” he says. “I was encouraged by them to try again.” Osborne ended the relationship he was in, started touring and writing constantly and eventually dropped out of school with just one paper and exam left to finish. He also made an aesthetic upgrade, getting the words “Acid Boys” tattooed across his knuckles.
“I was always afraid of committing fully to the idea of trying to make it. I think in some ways, that’s what held my old band back. I thought maybe I’ll go to school and I’ll be an anthropologist and go live abroad,” he says. “Then I did all that, and I realized no, I need to go back to what I’m good at. I got the knuckle tattoos to keep me out of everything else.”
Osborne was already writing the songs for what would be SUSTO’s 2014 self-titled debut when his producer Wolfgang Zimmerman introduced him to Johnny Delaware, a guitarist and songwriter who had moved to Charleston, South Carolina to make an album with the producer. “We started meshing and gelling really well. We liked aspects of what each other did, so as the record started to really take shape in the studio, Johnny came in and really played a key role in that,” Osborne says. “At that point, it became one step closer to being a band thing.”
Dawg Yawp is a folk-based duo that combines sitar, guitar, synth and drum samples alongside beautiful harmonies. Tyler Randall and Rob Keenan are lifelong friends that attended Berklee together, only to return to their native Cincinnati to focus on the project. Their debut EP Two Hearted quickly earned them acclaim and radio play, addition to several festival and national support slots. Their debut self-titled LP, released 10/14/16 via Old Flame Records, has started generating national praise from NPR to WXPN, Consequence of Sound and beyond.