September 23, 2012

A TZEEEAC Interview: Nomega

It’s a well known fact that we are some hungry dudes. Not for food, because that would be too typical and we already got things sorted out in the culinary department, but for fame and fortune.  That’s why we waste our time stalking bands and obnoxiously liking every single thing they post on Facebook, hoping that they will at least take a quick look over our log. It’s not a perfect solution, but once in a while, there’s a band that accepts to be interviewed by us.

So this is it, motherfuckers, one hot interview with the stoner-rocking Nomega. You can check them out on their bandcamp page and if you feel generous today, you can like them on their official  Facebook page. So lets get it started!

1. Hey guys, what’s up? I’m drinking some orange juice, Chester’s browsing for br00tal metal bands and Zulu… well, hell knows what he’s up to.

Nothing much, mostly resting our ears after a very loud concert last night. Could you please turn off that old radio? I keep hearing static.

2. Let’s start this interview with a series of cliched questions, because we all love cliches: How did you guys meet and what life-changing events made you form a badass stoner rock band?

We've known each other for quite a while before starting this band. I (Zan, bass) and Darius (noise guitars) have previously played in another band, quite a while ago. Seba was supposed to be the drummer in that band too, but chance had it that somebody else took his place. Years after, fed up with all the cover bands in the region and the utter lack of balls and originality, I called Seba over to my rehearsal room for some jams. A month later, we were playing our first gig, just drums and bass guitar, in a very Om-esque fashion. Darius joined us on the spot, without previous rehearsal. I remembered I told him to bring his gear over for a jam after the concert – turned out that he was perfect for the job. The band started out great and our improvisation-based approach towards music was a breath of fresh air for Timisoara. But we lacked focus. That's were George came in, about half a year later, bringing with him new ideas, new directions & heavy riffs. Since then everything remained pretty much the same, though we are known for constantly experimenting.

3. What’s your opinion on the Romanian rock scene? Did you find it satisfying and supportive in regard to your progress as a band? 

Romania's weird. We've got a lot of great, talented bands. And quite a few music lovers out there, quite a few fellows making huge efforts towards supporting the scene. But not nearly enough concert goers, interested individuals. It's my strong belief that Romanians tend to be very hard to get out of their homes. If someone very popular is playing, sure, they'll move their arse and probably even pay admittance to the gig, but if they didn't heard of you, they'll probably go to a different bar. Even if the concert's for free. Fair enough. But most Romanians aren't open to anything that's new. They're comfortable with the bands they inherited from their parents or older brothers and that's fine with them. So it's hard to get the necessary attention over here. Regardless press or blogger attention. This is true for all upcoming bands, big or small alike. We like the :Egocentrics, Methadone Skies, White Walls, Void Forger, Livia Sura and many other bands, but it's the same for them too. We got more attention from big bands like Dordeduh that we've got from regular “music lovers”. We've got more support from Serbians that we got from our own people. We've got more sales on Bandcamp, for the same price that the physical album costs, than real life CD sales. I think that says a lot.

4. While we’re at it, let’s be more specific: tell us something about the Romanian stoner rock scene. Is it as easy for a stoner rock band to survive like, let’s say, a metal band? 

There is no actual stoner scene in Romania. There's just Timisoara. You've got the previously mentioned :Egocentrics and Methadone Skies, which are more heavy psychedelic than stoner. You've got us, I don't think we're purebred either. Otherwise, in the rest of the country, there's a few sludgy bands and post-rockers, I guess we're relatives, but we're not actually from the same scene. And there's also Roadkillsoda in Bucharest, but they don't seem to be very active. Sorry, just Timisoara. 

Survival is easy. We play for fun, we play to feel good and maybe pass some of the feeling around. If that's not your main goal as a band in these parts of the woods, then you're probably too optimistic. Maybe there's a bigger metal scene out there, I'm sure there's more metalheads. And hardcore dudes. But someone recently said that stoner is like chill-out music for metal-listeners. I find it funny, but there's some wisdom behind this affirmation. Our music is digestible for a more diverse public. Without being mainstream. Some would argue that songs are too long, jams are too cluttered. But they'll still listen, even enjoy... if you can catch their attention.

5. We read on your Facebook page that you played along Nadja. Tell us more about that. Come oooon guys, don’t be shy… You knew this was coming. 

Yes, we did. One of our best gigs 'till date. They were awesome. Two (nice) people creating expansive soundscapes with only a guitar and bass. But most of the public wasn't ready for them. We may have even stole a bit of their light that evening, closing for them.

6. Would you mind sharing some craaaaazy concert stories? The prospect of destruction  and chaos makes us feel fuzzy on the inside. Hey! Stop staring at us or this interview is over.

I'm not staring. I'm silently devouring your souls. AHAHAHA!

I've said we've had lots of support from Serbians. Our concerts there were awesome in every way. We played in Belgrade this winter. Freezing cold! We arrived at the venue after about an hour of blindly circling through the capital. A former house of the free press, the building had at least 10 stories, each at least 4 meters tall, boasting dark, damp corridors, huge industrial lifts, metal staircases with the normal screeching and echoes you would expect from this kind of building. The building looked deserted and reminded me about Half-Life. But it wasn't. Inside, one or two clubs on each story – or rehearsal rooms, studios etc. Our venue, was a very large room, reminding us of our “first home”, Atelier DIY in Timisoara, with a great view of Belgrade. Sunn amps and cabinets, Marshall also. Dim lights and projections. Free food, though terrible. And lots of people, from lots of backgrounds. Even a dog. That stole Seba's food and peed on the carpet. Add a lot o' booze to the mix and you get a perfect evening. The opening bands were awesome. I really want to mention Terrarium, two guitars and girl drummer, 18-20 years old all of them. They kicked some serious ass! Great songs, and they even covered Sleep. Hazarder, the hosting band were awesome too, but we already expected that. Their guitarist also played drums in the opening band, Gypsy Wizard and the Prophets of Doom. So, great line-up, and a lot of people, all interested, all supportive. Right next door, there was a different concert, from what sounded to be a really kick-ass band also. Full room. Apparently there were 3-4 concerts a night in the weekend at Bigz (the building), and people usually commuted between concerts. Despite entrance fees. Lots of booze, but nobody behaving like idiots. 

When we started, there was quite the large mass of people in front of us. And our Seba blew them away! As soon as we finished our usual Twin Peaks intro, everything went crazy. People shouting, heads banging, beer flying overhead. Stage diving, people falling over the drums. Some guy even took a big box of CD's from the organizer's distro and threw it at our feet. George's wah pedal malfunctioned from being soaked in beer. And they couldn't get enough. Hazarder guitarist said to us about an hour and a half of constant fuzzed out madness (read this with an eastern-European accent) “Come on, play some more, don't be Romanians!”. We covered Gardenia. Total chaos! We covered Iron Man – everybody singed (shouted) along. I love Serbians.

After the concert we went to Ljuba's place (Hazarder's drummer). Had a great meal there – man, they know how to eat. And quite a few shots of Rakija (yeah, it's the same with our moonshine). Next day, Ljuba insisted we take a stroll in the park. We had to pick Saša up. That resulted in a two-three hour stay at his place with a lot of tale-telling and drink sharing. We did in fact visit Belgrade's historic center afterwards, and also ran after a tram so that we wouldn't freeze to death walking home as the warmth from Serbian liquor was fading. We left Belgrade at least 12 hours later than planned, with regret that we didn't plan to stay even more.

7. Mhm, mhm. Interesting.  Are you planning on taking this project  to the next level, like hooking up with Josh Homme?  Or maybe bringing him to Romania. Please? 

Am I boring you? Sorry, I didn't know you can have the same amount of fun in Romania too. We must be doing something wrong.
Josh Homme... sure, he should have done vocals on our album, but he canceled due to unforeseen circumstances... Kyuss Lives! got him really depressed. 

But seriously... (butt, haha), we do try convincing some bands to venture in these parts. We hope that The Grand Astoria will tour this way due to our suggestion. But the :Egocentrics with their Kamifuzzy Booking are successful in their efforts. They managed to bring My Sleeping Karma, Karma to Burn, Seven that Spells, Stonebride, Torso etc. to Timisoara, to our delight.

8. Let's talk about your awesome debut album, Deimos. We  heard in your songs some nods to early Isis and Ufomammut albums, and even some tripped out solo work that resembles Porcupine Tree when Steven Wilson was dabbling in floydian landscaping. Would you say that any of these bands were an influence to what you're showing us on this album or you just went with the flow and played whatever seemed right at the moment?

I listen to a lot of Ufomammut, so that may have been subconscious. But overall, the album was mostly a result of constant jams between members with very diverse musical tastes and backgrounds. We didn't think too much of the songs through, we just played what we felt. Normally, a lot of what impressed us at some time found a way to bleed through. Similarities to Isis, Ufomammut, Om, early PT etc. seem very likely to me, considering. 

9. We can't help but notice the up-tempo drumming that's always present, even on the slower guitar parts. Could this have been the original 'plan' or are there - buried somewhere in the midst of the recording process - some other drum patterns for the songs?

There was no actual plan. We went in the studio, waited for everything to be set up, every microphone hooked to the mixing board and the tubes to be at perfect temperature, then jammed the hell out. The sound at Consonance Studios was really good and we felt awesome, and that reflected in the outcome of the record. Some parts of the songs were completely new to us, as we literally went with the flow. A mistake on the drummers part on Sengsara turned out to be a strike of genius, and we're using that on our rendition of the song from then on. Most of Deimos is recorded in one take. The beginning of Nekkara was recorded a second time, so that I could use a different effect-pedal configuration. Only one guitar is layered, for the sake of sounding more massive. 

10. Making music without the use of vocals (excluding of course the spoken passages) needs a careful blending of ideas and, dare I say, a particular type of 'sonic' atmosphere. From what we hear, you pulled it off quite masterfully. Was there, at any point in time since the band was assembled, a focus on said vocals?

Thanks! We tried vocals (harsh) at one point, but it didn't really stick with us. Maybe at one point we'll find some vocals fitting a song, but it no way will vocals take the place of instrumental work. More likely, vocals will serve the purpose of another instrument, and help us convey our state of mind.

11. We would be glad if you kept this type of raw production on your future albums. Many a band manage to overly polish their sound over time, so much that we’re almost always drawn closer to debut albums instead of later ones. What are your humble opinions on this type of 'evolution'?

Everybody secretly wishes to sound professional. But too much tampering with the sound  is like Instagram for photos. Anyone can make something sound good with enough sound editing. But not everyone can get something to sound good in it's original, pure form. Keeping things raw is a more sincere approach. You retain most of the actual feeling of the band this way. Focusing on getting the tones right, playing as correctly as possible is much better than tons of overdubs and effects applied later. Many bands, basking in the success of their previous records, try to make a new album that will surpass the former ones. But it's this self-conceited aspiration that makes the band fail miserably in my opinion. You either have great songs, that sound right from the start, or you have to wait for more inspiration. Over polishing comes with a loss of feeling. It's the small imperfections that make you notice the true qualities of something.

We can't say that we'll keep recording our songs live, in one take, but we can say that we know Deimos has audible mistakes and we're not ashamed of them. As the guy that recorded us said, this is what represented us at the time and we should hold our heads high (hehe) and learn as much as we can from this album. It's true.

12. Right, so we've all heard pretty much every band John Garcia sings in and, of course, anything Josh Homme was ever involved with. Care to recommend some obscure/lesser known stoner/psychedelic bands to us? We hear Latin-American bands are coming in strong on this front.

You already recommended one – Ufomammut. Latin-American? Los Natas is awesome! We've been compared to Earthless and we're proud of it. We'd also recommended all the bands previously mentioned in this interview. Also listen to lots of Om and Sleep. Listen to Yawning Man, Colourhaze and Causa Sui. Listen to 35007, Sungrazer, Fu Manchu, Monster Magnet, Truckfighters, Rotor, Talbot, Hypnos 69, Dyse, Farflung, Weedeater, Belzebong, The Atomic Bitchwax, Clutch, Gomer Pyle, Wo Fat, Dozer, Buffalo, Gonzales, Blind Dog, Neubat, Eagle Twin, Bison BC, Black Bombain, Carusella, Jucifer, Zoroaster, Mars Red Sky, Kylesa, Baroness, Electric Wizard, Shrinebuilder... and anything that attends Duna Jam or Roadburn. And listen to Sabbath, man!

 13. I think we're just about done! We like to give bands the opportunity to say whatever the hell they want in the last question of the interview - mainly because we can't figure out a way to properly end it - so take it away, guys! Anything goes well.

Well, thanks for having us. Haven't we said enough already? Less words, more noise! Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn!!!

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