Hoboken musician Alice Genese finds new home, new direction at Ocean Grove and Ov Stars | Test
Few musicians have the Hoboken credentials of Alice Genese, who may not live in town anymore but grew up literally around the corner from the legendary Maxwell’s and played there regularly in the teenage art-pop combo Gut Bank and later in the electrifying blues-rock trio. Sexpod.
Today, Genesis has teamed up with South African expat musician Shaune Pony Heath to form Ov Stars, and the band’s debut EP “Tuesdays” is out this week.
“The last 15 years of my life have been full of loss, one thing after another,” said Genese, who now resides in Ocean Grove.
Her exodus from Hoboken began with the tragic and unexpected death of her 25-year-old son, Jesse, in 2013.
“I couldn’t live in my flat in Hoboken anymore after Jesse died,” she said. “It was too hard. That’s where I raised him.
At that time, Genesis was traveling the world with the avant-garde art collective Psychic TV, led by the flamboyant performance artist Genesis P. Orridge. But tragedy struck again when Orridge was diagnosed with leukemia, which he succumbed to in 2020.
Genesis ended up in Ocean Grove, in a house owned by her mother.
“I arrived in a place that I had always visited, on weekends or for a few weeks in the summer,” she said. “But honestly, even 15 years ago I would never have considered living here. And now I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Genesis met Heath shortly after moving to Ocean Grove.
“When I first moved here I was on Psychic TV and we were more active, that was before Genesis was diagnosed with leukemia,” Genesis recalled. “So I was still busy with the band and still working in Manhattan a few days a week. A lot of things changed after Pony and I met, I would say about five years ago.
“Pony is funny, he’s a talented singer, songwriter, pianist, pianist, and it was my brother who suggested we work on the music together. I think maybe Pony took it as a offhand comment and kind of dismissed it. But then we met, and we really got to know each other, we became friends, and it kind of became a natural next step for us to sit down and write and let’s see what happened. And now here we are, Ov Stars.
The resulting music was quite unlike anything Genesis had done before. Lush, romantic and relaxed, with undertones of pedal steel guitar and Americana roots, Ov Stars allows Heath and Genesis to truly embrace the beauty of their voices.
“We wrote together for about two years and I always thought we’d end up recording, but I didn’t think about how or when,” Genese explained. “I went out and bought an interface so I could do demos at home on my computer. It was a lot of trial and error, but I did it, and I’m really proud of myself for doing it.
The demos were promising enough that Ov Stars set aside time in a studio run by an old friend.
“Initially it was going to be a single, so we went in and recorded two songs, but we finished and we were still in COVID and I just didn’t really know what to do with myself,” Genese said. “I guess we mixed and mastered those tracks in the spring and I just said, you know, maybe we should go in there and do three more, so we did.”
Following the digital release of two singles, the full EP will be available to stream or download on Saturday, April 23.
“We pressed vinyl, which I’m very excited about,” Genese added. “But as you surely know, all the vinyl pressing plants are at their wit’s end, so we’ll have to wait. So, I’ll have to be patient, but I think we’ve created some beautiful packaging with color and that will be worth the wait, even though everyone will have heard the music by then.
When asked to describe the EP, Genesis replied, “I would say there are parts that are definitely psychedelic, parts that are maybe a bit country, and there are parts that are kinda singer-songwriter-ish. This music encompasses so many different aspects of who I am as a musician and as a writer, and also who Pony is as a musician and as a writer. And because that his music is very different from the music that I’ve played a lot of my life, the two of us writing together, it kind of became something completely new. And I don’t think either of us without the other would have invented this.
“Tuesdays” will be available from ovstars.bandcamp.com for streaming or downloading.
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