Tom Owens' many recordings as Potions range from loose, home-brewed house beats to sprawling ambient exotica. While the majority of his recordings have been issued as cassettes, often on his own Pretty All Right label, the slicker, more polished MIDI Jazz Bass was released on vinyl in 2013. Subsequent releases like 2015's Phased and 2018's Ostinato featured more sophisticated dance grooves, yet still felt relaxed and free.
Owens, a lifelong resident of the Chicago area, studied jazz guitar in college. In 2005, he started the Pretty All Right label and began releasing guitar-driven lo-fi electronic music under his own name, as well as sample-heavy instrumental hip-hop as DJ Owns. After moving from the suburban town Western Springs to Chicago proper in 2007, he became more active within the city's underground music scene. As a member of Distractions, he played an intriguing brand of surf/lounge-influenced indie rock. His initial solo work as Potions, which first appeared in 2010, was dreamier and more spacious than his earlier recordings, sometimes taking the form of 20-minute jams. Numerous tapes arrived on labels like Pretty All Right and Teen River, occasionally credited to Roland Potions.
Gradually, his recordings became more rhythmically focused, reflecting his love of disco, boogie, and house without directly imitating the genres. Lake Paradise Records released Potions' MIDI Jazz Bass LP in late 2013. The project then appeared on Los Angeles-based house label 100% Silk with the 2015 release Phased. This was quickly followed by the more abstract Light and Dark on Chicago's Hausu Mountain. Pushing the Cuboid, a second 100% Silk release, appeared in 2016, and Potions returned to Hausu Mountain with 2018's Ostinato.