|photo: Vomit Pickles|
Instrumental rock is making a mini-comeback these days. There are a whole ton of bands ditching vocalists and expressing themselves with just their instruments. Some do it better, than others. In the case of Connecticut’s De Omega, they are one of the bands that do it well. We e-mailed bassist Mark Eles a few questions to coincide with the band’s opening slot for Bongripper this Wednesday at BAR in New Haven. Here are his answers.
When did the band start? How did it get started?
I believe it was April of 2006 when Carlos (Ferriera, drums) completed the circle. Sam (Zombar, guitar) and I have been in bands together throughout the 18 yrs. Or so that we've known each other. And when our last band (The Father Panic Riot Orchestra) came to an end, we weren't about to stop playing music. So over the next few months, we pushed on developing new techniques, exploring new directions, while revisiting some of our dormant styles, until we had a couple solid ideas to build off of that we felt were unique enough to call our own and carry their own weight. Thats when we knew it was time to search for a drummer. We had a couple of people in mind but they were already preoccupied with projects of their own. Eventually a mutual friend of both Carlos' and mine caught wind of what Sam and I were trying to do, so he threw out his name to us. We got in touch, tried him out and we were pretty much sold instantly. Carlos is extremely fluid and tight behind the kit and he compliments our sound rather naturally.
Was it your intention to start an instrumental band or did it just happen that way?
Pretty much. We've all played in bands with singers before and 9 times out of 10 that is where the band goes sour. Whether it being the singer's ego is toobig, or they come to practice/shows shit-faced-hammered, or their lazy and unproductive, unreliable, or they just want to control everything about the band while putting in the least effort. It just didn't seem worth it anymore and wesimply didn't have the patients for that anymore. We weren't totally opposed tothe idea of having a singer, but we wanted to set the foundation of the music first before we even thought about giving that a shot. This was gonna be ourband. That may sound close-minded and selfish or whatever, but we wanted totreat this project like a work of art, not a cock flexing contest. Gearing more towards the musicians, artists, and people with souls rather than some randomasshole scenester who wants to prove something and/or has their own preconceived notions of what they think music should be.
Despite my hateful sounding rant about (LSD) Lead Singer Disorder, that was justan element we wanted to avoid in De Omega. In complete contrast to our motivation, I have found myself stunningly fortunate to have worked with 2 singers over the past year and a half, both from Nightbitch and a shit ton of other bands each. Phil Swanson and Christopher Taylor are two of the hardest working musicians I know. Both are extremely talented and each bring a lot to the table.
What can you express in De Omega that you can't in NightBitch? What do you get from playing in these different bands?
Well, clearly these 2 bands are rather different from each other. De Omega is abit more modern, avant-guarde, progressive, experimental, doom rock/metal or something.... and Nightbitch is simply traditional heavy metal. Paying homage to the pioneers of heavy music. A throw back if you will... So where De Omegais to say, a heavy semi- psychedelic vision quest, Nightbitch is to sex, drugs, and rock n roll. But I try to use these differences to my advantage, as a learning tool. Experience is the best teacher. Every band I've ever been in has been completely different from each other and will continue to be in the future. You see to me, each of these bands draw influence from somewhere completely different. And as a bass player, they all require different approaches from me. Such as my tonality, whether or not I play with my fingers or use a pick, should I be following more of the guitar or drums etc. All of these perspectives need to be figured out and eventually just start making more and more sense.
Are your songs written in advance or do you improvise a bit? What is the songwriting process for the band?
Our songs are written in advance, but there are certain sections of our musicthat we that we intentionally leave some slack in to provide options like transitions, or dragging out the ending of a song to kill time, or for the purpose of simply mixing it up to keep ourselves entertained. As for the writing process, there are a few ways we begin to construct. My favorite is the old fashioned jam session cause that is often times where the most unique, and unpredictable riffs come from. No planned structure, just everyman for themselves. We tend to record those improvisations cause it's nearly impossible to remember everything that happened in 20 minutes or so of chaos. Then we go back and listen, pick and choose what we like, sometimes throw in something already pre-existing, then assemble.
Is there a meaning behind the band's name?
There is, and we kind of stole it from the last track on Section 8's album "nine ways to say I love you". De Omega appears to be a combination of 2 ancient languages. Latin and Greek respectively. And when interpreted together, seem to say "from the end". We really liked the meaning behind it cause, what else can you really believe in? Religion has only proven itself to be a hoax with centuries of corruption, greed, and war. And everything that ever lives dies. At some point in time, everything comes to an end. So what else is there?
You released a CD back in 2009. Is there going to be any new recorded material soon? If there how is the new stuff different or similar to your other music?
We actually have enough material for another album right now, but we're holding back for a couple reasons. Sam is getting married in September, so that's obviously going to eat up a lot of his time, and when all is said and done, it's gonna set him back a few bucks. So we haven't really set anything in stone yet. In correlation to the big day, we decided to keep it relaxed and just continue to writing for now. But the next album is going to be huge! The ultimate goal is to use up every second of available memory on our next compact disc release. 80 minutes of De Omega! Not sure if that’s really been done before, but that’s what we're aiming for. And we'll probably need a little bit more time to finalize that whole arrangement. So for now, we're keeping any release information really vague.
What does each of you bring to the band? Individually? And as a whole?
Stylistically we all bring something different to the table. Sam has always had this dark, bluesy, rock type thing. Carlos has this latin, progressive, fusion action going on. And I just tap on the fretboard a shit-ton. Although these styles sound really far fetched from each other, they end up blending together really nice, and I couldn't imagine working anyone else.
What are the plans for the band's future?
Obviously, step 1 would be to finish writing the remainder of this next album, record it, and get it out there. Other than that, we've just merely ran concepts of albums "to come" through our heads. Potentially on deck would be, an extended tuning type album where sam would jump down to a baritone guitar, and I'd be playing a 6 string bass verses a 4 string. There has also been mention of doing a record with multiple guest vocalists and possibly a split LP. But only time will tell, so we shall see.
Manic Productions Presents:
Wednesday, July 13
254 Crown Street
New Haven, CT
9:00 pm – 21+ - FREE