Monday, September 18, 2017

Omotai Interview

1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording of the new album?

Sure, we’ve been playing regional shows with bands that we like including Big Business, He Whose Ox Is Gored, and an ACLU Benefit Show with In the Company of Serpents and our label mates Dead to a Dying World.

Other than that we’ve starting hashing out a few new songs.  Our drummer, Danny Mee, was also busy becoming a dad this year!

2.You have a new album coming out in October, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

The music is a muscular and caustic blend of thrash to sludge to post-rock.  It’s very heavy and there’s a lot of complexity hidden in it without it necessarily being labeled progressive.  The recording itself is pretty close to what we sound like playing live, so there’s not a lot of effects, editing, or tinkering.

The differences start with the record being much longer than albums we’ve released in the past.  We came out of the studio with around 80 minutes recorded and had to cut about 20 minutes of music out to fit it on two records.

Jamie Ross joined the band in late 2013 so we finally get to show off his unique song writing style and with the songs “Ruined Oak”, “The Savage Sky”, and “Augustina”.  Incorporating his style and having a second guitar player has opened us up to the ability to do more.  And now I have TWO people to persuade into playing more rippin’ guitar solos!

As with the past records, everyone does vocals, but now we have 4 members, and a couple of us tried new vocal styles.  We also have a couple slower songs that open up to new expressions and provide a little dynamic or pause from the songs that are more brutal and dense.

3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?

“A Ruined Oak” is a concept album based loosely around the mysterious disappearance of the settlers of the Roanoke Colony.  The lyrics are mostly sung from the perspectives of real or imagined people involved in the voyage there, being left to fend for themselves for years in a harsh environment dealing with a lack of supplies, and then eventually disappearing with little clues left as to what actually happened.

This was the concept that our guitarist/vocalist Sam Waters came up with…he’s into anthropology, history, big vocabulary, and blood and guts.

4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Omotai'?

Omotai is a Japanese word meaning “heavy” or “severe”.  An old friend of ours who lived in Japan for a while proposed it as a band name and the rest is history.

5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?

Some of my favorite shows were playing Total Fest in Missoula, Montana a couple of times.  As well as No Thanks Fest that was organized by Tofu Carnage folks in the middle of the woods well outside the Dallas area.  And a show with Scale the Summit/Intronaut/Mouth of the Architect was fun, off the top of my head.  Our stage performance is...always a little different and I feel like has an element of teetering on the edge of going off the rails, which is one of my favorite elements of the music.

6.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?

Yes! We’re doing a run of shows starting September 29th until October 14th.  Immediate plans are we are playing in Dallas, Oklahoma City, Denver, Spokane, Seattle, Olympia, Reno, Lubbock, and San Antonio.

7.The new album is coming out on 'Tofu Carnage', are you happy with the support the label has given you so far?

Tofu Carnage has been awesome.  The label is growing and really focused on high-quality releases and they feature a really interesting curation of different kinds of metal and avant-garde music.  It’s really unique and we were thrilled to be invited to be part of their family!

8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your recordings by fans of underground music?

I know we have fans from all over the world, and I’m not really sure how they find us, but it’s very cool!  I hope we’re able to reach more people that are or would be into what we’re doing. We have yet to play outside the US but I think that’d be amazing.

9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?

We always try to do something new and different and at this point we are in the very early stages of the next batch of songs, which is kind of exciting.

10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

As far as music on “A Ruined Oak”, some influences were the same as always Keelhaul, Mastodon, Nuclear Assault, and Jesu, to name a few.  Jamie loves Russian Circles, and The Life and Times and Shiner (as do I), so he brought in a lot of new sounds and changes inspired by that kind of music, so that expanded our musical palette.

Lately, I’m always listening to stuff like Mogwai, Kowloon Walled City, Baptists, Trans Am, Mutoid Man, Helms Alee.

11.What are some of your non musical interests?

I’m into web development and I’m working on a master’s degree in Human-Computer Interaction, so I try to keep up with those things. I just started indoor bouldering so that’s my latest obsession, even though I have the upper body strength of a toddler.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

That's about it! 

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