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Despite a small pop punk scene in Northern Virginia, OH! JOSIE from Fairfax and Alexandria are using that in their favor to stand out from the rest of the crowd. The three-piece includes founding members Dan Milam and Andrew Devin, who share the stage on vocals and guitar, and their newly appointed drummer Billiam Toti. Though they have not yet found a permanent bassist, the band has not let that hinder them in writing infectious songs about hooking up, having fun, and heartbreak. In July of last year, they released their debut three-song EP Fair Play & Foul Balls, and they have already started working on their next release. I had the chance to talk to Milam and Devin about their band name and how they promote, their views on the music scene, and how Chipotle and baseball inspired the album art for their EP.

How did you come up with your band name OH! JOSIE?

Andrew: Basically, we just started searching for random things online, and I came across this website that said “Cup of Josie”. I thought it sounded cool, so I took it to Dan, and he liked the name Josie but suggested we put “Oh” in front of it. I said I liked it, but only if we could put an exclamation point after the “Oh”.

Dan: We had a bunch of other ideas, but we thought it was a cool name, and it kinda stuck. Sorry there’s no cool story about it (laughs).

So it’s not named after a girl named Josie?

Dan: We actually know a bunch of girls named Josie, but no, it’s not attributed to any of them.

You guys recently filmed a music video for your song “Sorority Girls” (which can be viewed below) at Empire in Springfield. What is that song about, and why did you choose to shoot your video there?

Andrew: I went to Radford [University] for two years, and I dated a few sorority girls while I was there, which all ended terribly. Around the time that Dan and I started writing music together, I wrote this hook, and I immediately called him over to help me write the song. It’s basically a song about how most of them are all the same, and it’s a fun, upbeat song. We chose to do it at Empire because it’s basically our home venue.

Dan: Alex Evans is the guy that shot the video for us, and he is a good friend from back in the day. He used to book metalcore shows in Sterling. Currently, he lives in LA, but he was home visiting during one of our shows. So we had him film some of our set, and come into the studio with us to film us during the recording process. We chose Empire because our friends work there, and it fit really well.

After being around for just over one year, you guys seem to have a pretty large fan base already, with over 560 “likes” on Facebook. Can you share your secrets to your success?

Dan: All we have really done is play shows in Richmond and NoVA. We also are on social media all the time trying to reach out to kids, and we have had a pretty good response so far. They tell us that we are ‘catchy’ or that ‘we remind them of this band or that band’. The last few weeks, we have been really focusing on trying to promote better and messaging as many people as we can to check out our band. We are also working on promoting in-person and getting out there at shows or anywhere that people might be interested in talking to us about our band; however, it’s a lot harder in NoVA because the scene isn’t as big as other areas, such as Richmond, for example. The bigger bands have broken up, and the music scene is in a transitional period. It’s also tough being in a band because it seems [to me] that more people are interested in individual artists. Cover bands have been on the rise in popularity as well. People are actually surprised when we tell them that we write our own music.

What are your views on the current state of the Virginia pop punk scene?

Andrew: Pop punk is growing all around us. Not as much in Virginia as other states. If a big show like THE WONDER YEARS comes through, a lot of people will come out, but it’s harder for the local bands in the smaller local scene. The Richmond pop punk scene is the place to be, though.

What is your favorite song to play live off your debut EP Fair Play & Foul Balls?

Dan: Mine is actually “Fair Play & Foul Balls”. It’s fun to play and really catchy. It also has a cool vocal part where Andrew and I switch back and forth.

Andrew: I like “Coffee Tea Soda Pop Pee” because it was all acoustic originally, but at the bridge where the vocals cut out, we decided to transition to do full band to really make it hit. No one is ready for it when it happens, and we love to see how people react.

I think it’s cool you came up with the concept for the album art on a Chipotle napkin.

Dan: I went out to eat with my roommate at the time around the start of spring training. Andrew and I are both big baseball fans, and I got the idea to have the girl standing on the baseball field while we were there. I got a friend of ours, who is actually named Josie, to model for us, and we took the photo during the middle of the day. I photoshopped about 90% of the photo (laughs). The grass wasn’t there yet, and there was a street in the background. We’re really happy with how it turned out.

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Have you guys been working on a new record recently?

Andrew: Actually, “Sorority Girls” is one of our newer songs, and we just finished another called “Oh I’m Sorry”. We are waiting to record that and maybe another song, take some promos, and release three songs at a time. It just worked out really well for us with Fair Play & Foul Balls. Then after a while, we will put all of our three-song releases on a vinyl with its own album art.

Have you set a time table for when you want to release all of that?

Dan: Hopefully we will finish the last three song set by late summer, but we still need to write the songs (laughs).

Who are some of your favorite local bands?

Andrew: The two that come to mind are BRIGHTER THE MOON, who are friends from Fredericksburg that live in Richmond now, and HIS DREAM OF LIONS, who we are playing with on March 11th at Jammin Java. Those guys are our closest friends.

For more updates on OH! JOSIE, be sure to “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Tumblr, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and check out their music on Bandcamp.

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