In an attempt to shine light on local music, The Lantern’s “Columbus’ Own” is a weekly series that will profile a new Columbus band each week.
The Odds of Being Born say they are “still babies” in the music scene, having formed just this past April.
All three of its members are graduates of Ohio State — drummer Jim Fowler with a degree in anthropology in 2009; lead vocalist and bassist Chris Albert with a degree in biology in 2013; and keyboardist and vocalist Jenna Craig with a degree in strategic communication also in 2013.
They want to be something different from other local bands both sonically and visually.
“A lot of the things you hear are very indie pop,” Craig said. “There’s not a lot of real rock out there. That’s just kind of the popular thing right now and we don’t want to go with the wave.”
The self-professed heavy alternative rockers have trouble relating to the indie pop genre.
“It’s over saturated. It’s too fluffy and cutesy. It doesn’t feel real,” Fowler said.
Beyond its sound, The Odds of Being Born wants to look differently than its peers.
“You go see so many local bands and it’s just four grungy-looking dudes on stage standing by their instruments, not moving, and it’s boring,” Fowler said. “We make a conscious effort to say, ‘Let’s not dress like we walked out of a thrift store, let’s get haircuts.'”
Fowler came up with the band’s name and was inspired by a lyric from “Keeping Warm” by We Were Promised Jetpacks, an indie rock band. The line, “the chances of being born” became The Odds of Being Born.
“It’s pretty mind-blowing if you really think about it. Sometimes it makes people question their existence,” Craig added.
Albert, who has been working at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in a molecular genetics lab since college, picked up the guitar in eighth grade. He started getting serious about music when he and Fowler became part of a live band that played during karaoke.
Fowler started playing the drums in college when his friends’ band was in need of a drummer.
“I literally just taught myself in my basement because I lived with a bunch of musicians,” he said.
If you had asked Craig 10 years ago, she never would have guessed she’d be in a band today.
“It’s hilarious because I was such a jock in high school, I wanted to be a professional athlete,” she said.
She said she also writes stories and acts in plays when she has free time from her job in marketing.
Having taken piano lessons as a child, she took more lessons when she decided she wanted to get more serious about music.
“I started taking lessons again at a piano school where there were a bunch of little kids taking lessons and then there was me. I looked like Buddy the Elf,” Craig said.
In the fall of 2014, Fowler decided to go back to school to get his cosmetology license and become a hair stylist.
“I just didn’t really like my job. It was very bureaucratic and stupid. … I thought about going to art school and getting an art degree, but at the last second I didn’t,” he said. “I just didn’t know there was a creative job that you could have where you can … not starve to death.”
The members of The Odds of Being Born agree that having professional jobs leaks over into their musical work.
“We are professionals in our daily lives. We all have big boy (and) big girl jobs and we know how to interact with people and present ourselves well,” Craig said. “We’re old enough to take things seriously.”
One of the things The Odds of Being Born takes seriously is its live show.
“I think a lot when I write about how it’s going to sound live, the transitions between songs, to make it more like an actual show rather than just 10 songs,” Albert said.
The band plans to release more singles to try and build its fan base, but in the meantime the band said it will “fake it ‘til they make it.”
“We talked a lot when we first started about just pretending to be bigger than we are,” Albert said.
Fowler added, “It’s almost like that ‘dress for the job you want, not the job you have’ mentality.”
The Odds of Being Born’s next show will be Thursday at Woodland’s Tavern along with other local bands Noble Vices and Something Keen. Doors open at 8 p.m. Admission is $5 and open to all ages.