When it comes to music, many times less can be more. It’s surprising how much sound you’re able get out of just two instruments, a cello and guitar. This is the approach that Folk-rock musicians, Oak and Gorski have taken over their 11 years together. Comprised of Ken Oak and Ed Gorski the group has been described as “soulful” and “calming” by Billboard magazine. It’s been a memorable adventure that Ken describe as, “A bit of a rollercoaster.” Their odyssey that has had many twist and turns, “Having some big successes early on like a song placement in the movie “She’s the Man” and the crime drama “CSI: NY to spending several years touring colleges across the country in our minivan to now performing at Downtown Disney”. For Oak and Gorski their years together have all been a traverse of discovery.
Along their path, the music has evolved as well as their knowledge of the music industry. Somewhere along the way they discovered busking, or street performing, as a means to earn money on a day to day basis. That exposure to thousands of tourists led to opportunities to perform overseas in places like Japan, Singapore and New Zealand. Their main gig at the moment is performing at Downtown Disney in Anaheim which started with playing for older kids while now playing for young kids and their parents. Ken humorously put it, “Life is weird”. What started out as slow to mid-tempo music with more introspective lyrics on their earlier albums has blossomed into writing more upbeat, lighthearted songs due to focusing on gathering crowds. The creative process that Oak and Gorski have gone through over the years has not changed.
As with many artist, there is no defined way to craft great music. The process is different every time, as songs can be written collectively or apart. Ken stated, “. It can start with all the lyrics scribbled already on a brown paper bag or just a simple chord progression and a melody idea. More often than not everything starts with an acoustic guitar and us talking about something interesting that inspires us.” Varying experiences specifically the opportunity to perform on America’s Got Talent has taught them the most about themselves.
While America’s Got Talent gave them the chance to perform for a crowd of 3,500 in St. Louis while being voted through to the Vegas round by Howard Stern and Sharon Osbourne; they also learned about the questionable practices of the music industry. The potential for national exposure was great, but “believing in [themselves] and artistic integrity” was ultimately more important. Ken discussed, “After reviewing the contracts they wanted us to sign we decided not to do it. We didn’t think the exposure was worth the price we would pay in relinquishing certain rights to our songs.” Though national exposure is what nearly every independent artist desires, Oak and Gorski is content with carving their own path even if it takes a little longer than they’d like. The guys have no regrets as their end goal isn’t necessarily fame and fortune, but “wanting people to feel good, whether that means a deep emotional catharsis or just being tired from dancing.”
Oak and Gorski is currently working on an instrumental album and hoping to get some more film & tv placements. Other than that you can find them playing around Hollywood and making babies dance at Downtown Disney.