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Getting Wiser 

On the cusp of Lost Ox's sophomore album

Portland's Lost Ox first became a band in 2017, then released its debut album in March of 2018. The two-year mark is upon "Wildheart," and the boys of Lost Ox have grown plenty since then. They'll look to improve off an already well-received album with the band's sophomore effort.

Guitarist Dylan DiSalvio tells me that the band has been in the studio recently and plans to release the first of two EPs in the next coming month. Meanwhile, they're cooking up a bunch of new songs. And by the end of the year, the second Lost Ox album should be released for everyone to hear. Read the rest of our interview with DiSalvio below.

Everyone in Lost Ox is a songwriter, which contributes to the wide variety of music they play. - COURTESY LOST OX
  • Courtesy Lost Ox
  • Everyone in Lost Ox is a songwriter, which contributes to the wide variety of music they play.

Source Weekly: It's almost been exactly two years since "Wildheart" was released. What makes you proud to have that as your debut album and what was it like getting positive feedback from the Portland and Northwest scene?

Dylan DiSalvio: We put a lot of energy into "Wildheart"—over 120 hours in the studio recording and mixing, countless early mornings and late nights. We were a new band then; we started recording "Wildheart" less than one year after our first show as Lost Ox. It was a big step up for us. Professional studio, professional gear, professional engineer, with a strict timeline and it put a lot of pressure on us as a new band. This kind of crucible-like experience pushed us and grew us in unexpected ways and set us on a trajectory which we still travel on and filled our sails with enough wind to start getting there.

SW: You can't really be pigeonholed into just one genre. What are some of the band's biggest influences? 

DS: Each of us comes from a different world of listening, but we all kind of came of age in the jam band scene and are united by our love of the Grateful Dead. Add a little Funkadelic and a couple dashes of Doc Watson and Tony Rice and you may get a sense of the strange, strange place we're coming from.

SW: Lost Ox will be playing at McMenamins Old St. Francis School here in Bend. Are you excited for the show?

DS: Yes! It'll be our second time, and third time in Bend. Loved the tubs the first time. Big ups to McMenamins for treating artists well! We love them. We've only been playing in Bend over the last half a year or so but we already feeling the love and diggin' in. I wanna give a shout out to our friends John Morris and Samantha Harber for putting us up and showing us around town! Life's a lot better with compadres.

SW: I'm pretty interested in the name Lost Ox. What's the story behind that?

DS: Band names are hard to pick. We like animals and we wanted to name the band after an animal. Musk Ox was suggested but I vetoed it because, well, musk oxes are stinky—hence the "musk." I liked the sound of Lost Ox and when Reed googled it, he found this 10-panel Buddhist story drawing, which is more well known as the story of the "Ten Bulls."

The gist is that the ox is a metaphor for your mind/enlightenment, and "Lost Ox'" is the third panel, in which the quest is begun but not yet attained. The oxherd in the story accomplishes the goal of finding and taming his ox, even riding it into town at the end, and eventually there is no distinction between ox and rider and the oxherd is at peace. Once I read the story, it was obvious that it should be the band name, particularly for us—an indulgent American band bent on exploring, pushing and expanding our own experience —not the wisened guru, certainly; much more of an enthusiastic adept, perpetually striving, winning, losing ourselves to freedom and then bouncing right on back to ourselves.

Lost Ox
Thu., March 12, 7-10pm
McMenamins Old St. Francis School
700 NW Bond St., Bend
No cover

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