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Columbus’ Own: Connections is in music for the long run

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Connections, a five-piece Columbus band, is set to perform at Independent's Day Festival on Sept. 17. Credit: Courtesy of Michael O'Shaughnessy

Connections, a five-piece Columbus band, is set to perform at Independent’s Day Festival on Sept. 17. Credit: Courtesy of Michael O’Shaughnessy

Sitting on the back porch of a suburban home in Clintonville, Connections rattled off all-but-forgotten facts of Columbus’ music history.

They’ve only been in a band together since 2012, but the members of Connections are music lifers.

As early as the mid ’90s, the five musicians began making their mark on the Columbus music scene. With members coming from Columbus acts such as Times New Viking, Andrew Graham & Swarming Branch, El Jesus de Magico and 84 Nash, the phrase “supergroup” was thrown around.

But Connections isn’t an old band. It’s just a new band with a lot of history.

“It’s like smoking—you just keep doing it,” said lead guitarist Dave Capaldi. “You’re like ‘Maybe I should stop this someday,’ and then you just keep doing it.”

The band — completed by vocalist Kevin Elliott, rhythm guitarist Andy Hampel, bassist Philip Kim and drummer Michael O’Shaughnessy — noted that many musicians choose to switch to cover bands at some point, but Connections has remained committed to churning out original material.

Since forming, the band, whose sound is reminiscent of ‘90s indie rock, has released four full-length albums and a handful of shorter releases. The band’s most recent album, “Midnight Run,” came out in July but is already referred to as “old” by the members.

The bandmates estimate they have 20 new songs since the album came out. Songwriting, mainly handled by Hampel, moves at a constant rate.

“We like putting out records, so we’re constantly busy,’” said Elliott, a 2000 Ohio State graduate.

Connections has worked with Columbus record label Anyway Records, which celebrated its 25th anniversary earlier this month, for all of its full length albums.

Elliott credited Anyway with releasing music by artists influential to the band such as New Bomb Turks, Moviola and Gaunt.

“I love a lot of the records on that label,” he said. “There aren’t many local labels anymore that put out records on a regular basis.”

Even with deep connections in the Columbus scene and a steady flow of material, Connections keeps simple aspirations. The members agree while a sudden boost in popularity and sales would be appreciated, creating music is the main goal.

“I think the career musician is dead unless you’re playing pro gigs like wedding bands or jazz gigs,” said O’Shaughnessy, a 2009 Ohio State graduate.

The group has kept touring to a minimum, in part due to full-time jobs. Traveling takes place in long weekend spurts to a few cities.

That’s not to say Connections has been unsuccessful, though. The band members said regular releases and brief tours supply just enough income to support the band, allowing them to break even.

“Columbus is also a pretty comfortable place for people to live with a prolonged adolescence,” Elliott said, noting the college town atmosphere and relatively cheap rent.

The city can’t get all the credit for the continued drive of the band, though. Sitting on the back porch, the Connections bandmates repeatedly offered the same idea: They’re all lifetime musicians.
Connections is set to perform at Independents’ Day Festival on Saturday at 5:15 p.m. on the Sideshow stage. Admission to the festival is free.

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