OSI is an American progressive rock band, originally formed by Fates Warning guitarist Jim Matheos in 2002. Chroma Key keyboardist and vocalist Kevin Moore is the only other full-time member of the band. The collaboration may be considered a studio project, as its members and contributors write and track most of their material independently, sharing and developing tracks long-distance, only coming together at the end of the process for mixing and additional tracking. The band’s name is a reference to the Office of Strategic Influence, a short-lived American government agency formed in 2001 to support the War on Terror through propaganda. The band has featured a number of guest musicians on its albums, including Steven Wilson, Mikael Åkerfeldt, Sean Malone, Joey Vera and Gavin Harrison.
Matheos recruited Moore and Dream Theater’s then-drummer Mike Portnoy to perform on what was originally planned to be a Matheos solo album. Matheos and Portnoy originally planned to produce a progressive metal album similar in style to Matheos’ work in Fates Warning. Moore changed the music’s direction, incorporating electronica into the original progressive metal sound. The band’s debut album was released by InsideOut Music in 2003.
OSI was originally intended to be a one-off project, but Matheos and Moore found they both had gaps in their schedules so produced a follow-up. Free was released in 2006, with Portnoy returning to play drums as a session musician rather than a full band member, due to personal and musical differences between him and Moore. Blood was released in 2009, with Porcupine Tree drummer Gavin Harrison replacing Portnoy. The fourth album Fire Make Thunder was released in 2012 by Metal Blade Records, with Harrison once again on drums.
Jim Matheos (Fates Warning) – guitars, keyboards, programming
Kevin Moore (Chroma Key, ex-Dream Theater) – vocals, keyboards, programming
Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) – drums on Office of Strategic Influence as a full band member and on Free as a session musician
Gavin Harrison (Porcupine Tree) – drums on Blood and Fire Make Thunder
Sean Malone (Gordian Knot, Cynic) – bass, Chapman Stick on Office of Strategic Influence
Joey Vera (Fates Warning) – bass on Free
Steven Wilson (Porcupine Tree) – vocals on the track “shutDOWN” on Office of Strategic Influence
Tim Bowness (No-Man) – vocals on the track “No Celebrations” on Blood
Mikael Åkerfeldt (Opeth) – vocals on the track “Stockholm” on Blood