An Interview with Space Owl

  • 6 min read

A band formed in 2011 by Ari Joshua, Bob Lovelace, John Ewing, and David Appelbaum, Space Owl have risen to prominence in recent years for their unique, boundary transcending sounds. After guitarist Ari released his special vault recording ‘Eyes Only’, a collaboration with Robert Glasper, that quickly found its place amongst music lovers, the band have continued to treas their own path for several decades now.

Since bursting into life, Space Owl have continued to craft sonic odysseys and genre-bending epics, embarking on their own unique and wonderfully experimental journeys to deliver pioneering hits like ‘Home’, ‘Thunder and Lightning’, and ‘Mountain Song’. Today, the band are back in the spotlight and armed with a very special new single, unveiling the brilliant ‘Flask’ on Christmas Day.

To celebrate the release, Ari from the band was kind enough to sit down with us and speak a bit more about his journey into music, the new single, and what’s next in the ever-changing world of Space Owl.

Ari, it’s great to catch up with you, thanks for coming along to speak with us. Let’s take things right back - when did you first start making music?

“I started with an old piano in our playroom, which had a huge sound. I was more into creating my own music than following lessons. My grandmother in Cape Town said 'Music' was one of my first words, It has always been a medium that made perfect sense to me, something I resonated with, and valued tremendously. When we moved to the States, we didn’t have a lot, we moved around a lot, I was into Nintendo, playing outside, and sports, but music eventually the music took over. The piano and my first guitar, both a bit out of tune, were my initial instruments of passion, as soon as I got my first guitar around age 13, I was obsessed, I learned as much as I could by ear, got some lessons, and by 9th grade I was in the Jazz Band at school.”

What inspired you to start your journey into music?

“Initially probably the way it made people light up around me when it came on the radio, or records. Music was a bit more sacred in those days. If you wanted to hear a song you loved you had to wait hours on the radio, go see it live, or buy the record. But I sensed the way it made life better, and I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to supply that kind of joy to people, I just knew that I could do something special with the medium. The guitar was an outlet from day one. It was a way to tune in to something and to express my feelings. Even after only a few weeks of playing I sort of understood that much. If I was upset with my family I would crank up, and play. If I had time I would plug in and practice. Once I started one of my best friends picked up the guitar shortly after, that was a big help, it became part of my life via friends and school.”

Space Owl has a very fluid approach to genre and style. Have there been any major influences that have helped define your music?

“I am defined by so many different influences. Flask is really inspired by Trey Anastasio and Phish really, and Frank Zappa. It has some almost classical passages as well. I am not sure from what composer that came from, it was sort of just inside me and came out on composition day. I wrote this in my 20’s and carried it around since then. I have added a few things, but it is mostly the same.”

How would you describe your sound?

“My sound is a conduit for emotions, reflective of how I feel. ‘Flask’ is a great example, showcasing complexity, nuance, and what to me feels like the soulful truth in the sounds.”

That’s a wonderful point about ‘Flask’, Can you tell us a little about the single?

“I've been releasing music under my record label, Music Factory Records. We put out ‘Dragons Layer’ among others. ‘Flask’ is from Space Owl, a band with Bob Lovelace, John Ewing, and David Appelbaum. We're excited about upcoming trio tracks with John Medeski and Billy Martin, a new phase in our musical journey. Keep an eye out for ‘Country Stroll’ and ‘Elephant Walk’ in January."

Is there a particular songwriting process you follow or works best for you?

“I let the music come out naturally, often completing a piece in one sitting. I wish I had a band available all the time for spontaneous creation if I did, I would write music all the time, and be waiting for the moments to try things out. It would result in so much more music. A lot of times I save the ideas for later, or just look for collaborations with people that I am excited to work with.”

What’s the most important thing for you when you’re writing a song?

“Who am I writing for, and what is the sound I envision. Knowing the song has a destination, like a band waiting for it or a studio session, makes the process flow smoothly. Everything else, like motivation and style, unfolds naturally once I know where the song is headed. You never know what it’s gonna sound like, but so far so good. The actual recording process usually exposes something special.”

What’s next for you now that ‘Flask’ is out?

“I'm looking forward to releasing more music from the vault and working on processes and infrastructure with Music Factory Records and keeping things together at The Music Factory music school. I'm always open to collaborations that align with my style. In Space Owl, we're dealing with busy schedules, but there's more music to share, like recorded music that is mixed and ready for artwork. I have about 100 songs waiting to be produced and released. I love working with artists to create special artwork and get things in line. If anyone is reading this, I would also love to be taken on the road by a band or some friends out there that are dialled in. I am made to play for the people, I am ready for a booking agent or a manager that can help be a part of what could be next. Also, attention content creators, podcast hosts, and blogs, also educational music camps, and festivals. I am ready for what is next. Something is coming.”

Before we let you go, do you have anything you would like to say to our audience?

“I encourage folks to support the arts more. Keep liking pages and messaging artists but it’s not just about that. It's about sharing their work, buying their art, and engaging with the community. You can support me by signing up for music lessons at The Music Factory or subscribing to my music page for access to audio, charts, and content. Consider supporting the arts, especially in these changing times. Artists are tapping into the now, converting it into something special. Your support can make a huge difference. To sign up for music lessons or buy a gift certificate you can go to you can sign yourself or your kids up, and we also teach online so you can take lessons online anywhere in the country or the world! Also, you can visit and buy music and sheet music, and you can subscribe to my page and pledge a monthly subscription. You can also sign up to the email list and learn more about the content that is being created. Other places to support my music through is Band Camp, and all the streaming services. It all adds up.”

“You can also find me on most of the social media apps, but be weary of copycat pages, I have heard there are a few out there. Lastly if there is anything I want to share it’s that we are in a world where people are so fascinated with the trending topics and thinking about stuff in a really angular way. Life is vast, life is miraculous, the world is vast, the universe is even bigger. I feel like artists are on the forefront of spending energy on what is really important here. I just encourage everyone to unplug from the matrix as it is, and music is probably one of the best ways to do that. Support the folks dedicated to making it a full-time mission.”

Available now on all major streaming platforms, ‘Flask’ is a powerful illustration of the band’s style and energy, delivering a genre-bending epic that will have you enraptured. An artful melding of talents, the new single sees every part of the band showcasing their unique talents, contributing to the creation of a sonic landscape that is both intricately detailed and breathtakingly expansive.

For more of Space Owl and Ari’s music, be sure to check out their Spotify page and socials below.

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