NO OMEGA: exclusive interview on tour – [english only]
NO OMEGA is currently on a long European Tour. They recently released a new album called “Shame” and played several shows all over Europe as well as a US tour.
They are now coming to Italy for six shows. Here’s an interview with them!
No Omega has been touring quite a lot. Is there anything different from the first experiences and the latest tours you’ve been on?
Well, a lot changes on many different levels. But I think the biggest differences are how we’ve grown as a live band from playing so many shows, and also how people have come to known about us of course. Playing some shows in front of around 100 kids who are going crazy, singing along, stage diving and all that. It doesn’t happen that often, but it does happen.
Another difference is how the first few tours were these huge adventures. Everything was new, exciting and it was even a bit scary. We try to keep that excitement by visiting new countries every tour, go some place new. Sitting in a van for about six hours everyday is not as exciting as it was before though, haha. But you get used to it.
You played Italy in 2011, so it was about time to come back. Six shows are quite a lot when bands on tour usually try to get no more than two or three in this Country. Is this a choice? Is it about trying to catch the attention of the italian audience or it’s just a mere tour-routing fact?
Yeah we really felt it was time to come back. Like I mentioned, we try to go to new places, new cities we’ve never been. We never really decided to do six shows, but yeah, we planned and hoped that it would be possible to do like a week in Italy. The reasons for this is that, since we haven’t been to Italy for two years and we don’t know when we’ll be back, we might as well do it properly, you know. Having a week also keeps the lengths of the drives to a minimum, which is nice. Also we’re so extremely tired of the Scandinavian winters, the cold north, that we really want to try and stay as south as possible for as long as possible, haha.
What do you expect from these italian shows?
Oh, we never expect that much from people. I mean it’s a lot more fun to play music in front of people who really likes our music and appreciates what we’re doing as a band, but we live for playing music and travelling. We hope to see at least a few stage dives and maybe a few sing-alongs. We really expect to see a few new places! We really look forward to sightseeing in Firenze and Bologna.
You have been recently to the US for a tour. How was it? What are the main differences between Europe and the US for a hardcore band on tour?
The US tour was great. It was awesome to have the opportunity to visit a different continent – different weather climate as well as a different social climate. Except for their extreme love of arms, militarism, capitalism and Christianity (which can sometimes be a bit scary) I think Americans are one of the most nicest and social people I’ve met. That was also one of the biggest differences between touring Europe and the US, besides how you’re treated in other aspects – mostly you don’t get any food, money or sleeping places at the shows, which sucks – but people are so nice and just randomly comes up and talk to you, especially after the shows. Almost every night, after we’d played, someone would come up to us just to shake our hands and speak to us. I guess this could be because of how they don’t get that many international bands playing there, but still, this was really nice. I can discuss the difference about Europe and the US for a really long time. There are definitely differences, both better and worse things about touring the US, but in summary: we really wanna go back there, if we ever get the opportunity.
Sweden has a pretty active hardcore scene. There are quite a lot bands from there that get to play high quality hardcore punk and tour quite a lot. How is this possible, in your opinion?
It’s pretty active, but mostly extremely divided unfortunately. There are a few bands, but compared to like American bands, I wouldn’t really agree. But I mean yeah, Sweden has always been a pretty big music exporter, which feels kind of weird since it’s such a small country. I don’t know why this is. In Stockholm for example we’ve had quite a solid hardcore scene since 2007-2008. In 2009, me and a handful of people started a booking organization called Stockholm Straight Edge and we started putting up drug free shows. In 2010, we had a growing local scene with a lot of bands popping up. We were able to have shows with only local bands, which was cool. Lately we’ve had a lot of bands going on hiatus and some not being as active as before. But I think with Stockholm Straight Edge it’s still a pretty solid thing. We do shows with a lot of different kinds of alternative music. We try to keep the growing numbers of tough guy, macho-hardcore bands to a minimum and do a lot of screamo, grind and post-hardcore shows.
One thing you just have to accept is that hardcore is subject to trends, right now you either wear Nikes and listen to tough-guy and old-school hardcore, or you dress in skinny jeans and listen to More Than Life and bands like these. We, No Omega, we just try to be kids, stay true to playing the music we love, to DIY, veganism, anti-homophobia, anti-sexism, anti-fascism (and straight edge). Hoping that there will come a time again when people will be more open to different kinds of music, where people will care more about these meaningful and important ideas that used to be the most important things and not what clothes to wear, or that you listen to the “right” kind of bands.
What’s the weirdest experience that you happened to live on tour with No Omega?
OK, we’ve been discussing this for a couple of days now… and I think we finally concluded that what happened in Marseille on the Europe tour of winter 2011 with Full Of Hell was the weirdest experience for us so far.
It starts with when we arrive at the venue; it’s a pretty run-down punk bar. Not a lot happens except for a bunch of sketchy people running around at the place, until this girl shows up (she’s apparently the promoter). She’s just all over us the whole evening and says strange things to us all the time… she takes pretty good care of us, but when serving us food she’s asking us things like “how can you survive on a vegan diet? How can you survive when you’re just eating vegetables!?” She goes on like this the whole evening.
The show itself is kind of lame and there’s just a bunch of drunken punks there. No one seems to really care about either us or Full Of Hell. After the show we just wanna go to sleep and the girl is pretty annoyed that we don’t want to stay at the bar and party, but finally she agrees to take us to where we are sleeping.
The sleeping place weren’t that far away from the venue, and it was also actually upstairs of a small info-book shop (more like a loft, the way that you could stand on the top floor and look down into the book shop), which was actually pretty cool. Some of us stay there, at the book shop, while like two guys from Full Of Hell and Kristoffer (our driver) go to park the van on some nearby street. Us, in the book shop, we’re all also thinking like “finally we have some peace, getting free of that girl” (since she was giving us such a hard time).
A few minutes later, the two guys from Full Of Hell and Kristoffer comes kind of running back into the book shop, and it turns out that Dylan, the singer from Full Of Hell, had told the girl to “shut the hell up”, because she was like screaming at Kristoffer that he was parking the van all the wrong ways. She had just gotten completely quiet when Dylan told her, and sort of left – probably gone back to the bar. So, now we’re all like “shit, what’s gonna happen now? She’s probably not very happy about this”.
About three o’clock in the morning, we all wake up from the girl and some friends of her arriving at the book shop. They start putting on this terrible, loud techno music, I think, and apparently, doing cocaine and maybe some other drugs, while we’re sleeping upstairs, as like a revenge for Dylan telling her to shut up. What the fuck!? We were a bit worried about what was to follow, but they actually never came upstairs. I finally managed to go back to sleep, but we were super eager to get the hell out of there in the morning! We haven’t had any contact with this promoter since.
Let’s talk about “Shame”, your latest release (Throatruiner Records). What’s the difference between this album and the previous “Metropolis”?
We sat down after the summer tour we did in 2012 and talked about the new record, what we wanted to achieve. It was obvious that it would be something different from “Metropolis”. We felt that with the EP, we had really created something special, the way we mixed hardcore and metal. But with “Metropolis” we just felt that we had emphasized on the hardcore part of our sound a bit too much. We love experimenting way too much for that. Some of us had also just fallen so much in love with blast beats, that we knew that that was something we wanted more of on our new record. So we wanted less d-beat parts and more metal and blast beats on the new record. We kept experimenting with song structures (like we’ve done on the previous releases). We feel that we’ve been able to develop our own sound more on “Shame” than on “Metropolis”. This also goes for the amount of time we had for song writing, the writing for “Metropolis” were a bit more stressed and we really struggled just before the pre-production to have enough songs. But for “Shame” we had an abundance of songs and we had the possibility of even picking out which songs we wanted to go on the record. We also actually planned to have enough songs to release a split 7” later this year. This didn’t work out eventually, but we ended up with a bonus track for the album plus a b-side and a single version of “Below”.
What’s the plan for No Omega when back from this tour? Anything planned?
The plan is to try and recover from the latest line-up changes we’ve had. Losing your vocalist is a pretty big thing, but we’ve decided to continue without him. So once we decide on the new line-up we’re gonna start jamming and writing a new EP. Since we’ve played a show almost every third day this year, we really look forward just start playing music for ourselves in our rehearsal room and try to further develop or sound. It’s gonna be nice to write an EP and not another full-length as well, since there is a lot more stress and work that goes into trying to make sure that the songs on a full-length work together. We hope to put as much work into this new EP like we did with “Shame”, but this time just really focus on that the songs reach their full potential. We hope to record some time in April and possibly do a tour around May. So we’re definitely taking some time off.
Thanks for replying, see you on tour in Italy from December 6th to December 11th!
6 Dicembre – Milano, ZAM
7 Dicembre – Ancona, Glue Lab
8 Dicembre – Vigodarzere (PD), Seven Live
9 Dicembre – Bologna, Freakout Club w/ Brutal Truth
10 Dicembre – Prato, No Cage
11 Dicembre – Modena, La Tenda
Info italian shows: