The OMys
  • Rene Marban
  • The O’My’s

Guitarist-vocalist Maceo Haymes and keyboardist-vocalist Nick Hennessey have carved out a great niche in the local music scene as the cofounders of soul combo the O’My’s. The group’s pliable sound has been a hit with the hip-hop scene, and they’ve recorded with Ab-Soul, Chance the Rapper, and GLC—the latter two appeared on the band’s 2012 album, Chicago Style. Haymes and Hennessey have brought other musicians into the O’My’s over the years, but for much of the band’s short history they’ve remained the principal players. Their dynamic as ringleaders changed in the spring.

“We were on tour with ZZ Ward and Nick fell asleep while we were driving,” Haymes says. The O’My’s touring van rolled off the road, turning over several times. “Somehow with all of the damage that happened to the van and everything we came out completely fine,” Haymes says. “There is a clear reason that everyone who was in that car came out safely.”

The reason, Haymes and Hennessey assert, was for the O’My’s to open up their writing process to the entire extended live lineup, which includes drummer Baron Golden, bassist Boyang Matsapola, saxophonist Erick Mateo, and trumpet player Will Miller. Haymes and Hennessey had been toying with the idea of opening up every aspect of behind-the-scenes decision making to their O’My’s collaborators, and the van wreck gave them that push. “After that accident me and Maceo were talking—what are we waiting for?,” Hennessey says. “Why do we think later will be a better time. Why not now?”

The whole group started working on a project together, an EP called Keeping the Faith. The EP is slated to come out next month, and today the Reader premieres the O’My’s newest single, the sultry, shadowy “Pieces,” which is streaming below.

“Musically this song and the whole project is taking a lot of influence from Parliament Funkadelic and the psychedelic side of soul music that isn’t as much really talked about or appreciated on the same level as the stereotypical soul [like] Motown, Stax, and those classics,” Hennessey says. “Pieces” has an out-of-this-world quality that’s been P-Funk’s bread and butter, though the O’My’s psychedelic soul is several shades lighter and more minimal and precise. Haymes’s brassy falsetto snakes in and out of the track, and mammoth-sized horn blasts fall from the sky at just the right moments.

Haymes says the inspiration for the song came from a girl, and the precious moments of a relationship when you’re alone with your partner. “It’s kind of talking about intimacy, the strength and or power that you get out of that,” he says. The tune also references the title track from Pieces of a Man, the 1971 album by Chicago native Gil Scott-Heron. “It’s one of my dad’s favorite songs,” Haymes says.

“Pieces of a Man” is about a father who falls apart after receiving notice that he’s lost his job. It’s a melancholy number, but Haymes sees the silver lining—he sees the grandmother and child who are there to love and care for the crestfallen protagonist, especially in times of despair.

The O’My’s celebrate the release of Keeping the Faith at Metro on Friday, February 13. The Lowdown Brass Band, A Billion Young, and Highness open.