The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world


Mark: You are back in Australia, for a handful of dates in November and December is it good to be back?




Omar: Oh, yeah, definitely, always. It’s one of my favourite places to tour in the world and it’s like late Spring/Summer, it’s perfect.




Mark: Yes, it’s a perfect time to be here. What can we expect from the shows?




Omar: All brand new music, I have started a new group, and it’s called “Bosnian Rainbows” and so we are performing the record that we have just recorded, that probably won’t be out until February, So, it’s all new music. We have Teri Gender Bender from Le Bucherettes,  Deantoni Parks on the drums and on the keyboards. New York City producer, Nicci Kasper is on the bass and on the keys, and I’ll be there too!




Mark: That sounds great, so does that mean we get a preview before anyone else?




Omar: Well, it’s sort of a little world tour, we just did Europe for 7 weeks, and now we are in America, but are just doing the West Coast, and then we actually come to Australia.




Mark: That’s fantastic! Are you someone who can’t live without a live performance?




Omar: No! I can live without it! I could do all sorts of other things. I have been put in an incredible situation, to be able to play and have this amazing fan base that likes stuff like that and knows I’m going to show up, and they know what not to expect. A lot of times we come and play new music and people are still coming back. Don’t get me wrong, I love the live experience, but more than anything I respect it and honour it, and I’ve been given the opportunity to travel all over the world and play music for a living, and I do it well.




Mark: You said of the recent At the Drive In reformation, the live dates you played were fuelled by nostalgia. What did you get out of that experience?




Omar: I have been reconnected, on an emotional level to people who I first met when I moved to this country, and I’ve been able to right my wrongs and move forward. I also learnt a lot about myself, about how I behaved back then and how I left the group and everything, and life in general. But, more than anything I’ve been able to re-establish these relationships with people, I met Paul when I was 12 years old, he was one of the first people I spoke English with, he’s the very first person I ever played music with, so it’s been a quite heavy and deep emotional experience.




Mark: The Mars Volta album, “Noctourniquet” came out in May, and went down really well over here. You said it was probably your swan song with Mars Volta, and that you had to step down as a dictator! Are you getting “softer” in your advancing years?




Omar: No, I’m not getting softer! I’m getting smarter!! This is no way to live, it’s obvious from these countries that are over throwing their dictators, history, or just on a very real level when you think about it a person who plays music is just a by-product of their actual life, and then you think a person who has to be in control of every note and every part of the recording process, think about what a bum out that person would be to hang out with!! So, it’s been a good cathartic experience for me, music is only a reflection of my real life, so you have to let go of things and go with the flow.




Mark: It sounds like you are having a wonderful learning experience this year.




Omar; Definitely, without a doubt, and that’s what it’s all about, learning and bettering yourself as a person. Expressing yourself, as in art, has to have a therapeutic quality to it and medicinal quality or it’s completely useless.




Mark: Just exploring those comments a little bit further, are there any artists that you felt a particular affinity to?




Omar: Yes, in terms of just growing up, the people who I could tell that I could perceive, even before having read about them, who had a similar philosophy, like they had to do it and get it out of their system. In terms of artists, it wasn’t just entertainment; it was something that made them in to a healthy person. I can search for names, but I’m drawing a blank, that always happens when people ask me about records or things that I like. But, it could be almost anyone, in any field, but the most important thing beyond all of them is the people in their immediate solar system, that’s really what’s feeling what you are channelling, in general, your parents and the rest of your family and friends, society, schooling and culture. Everything that happens once you are born in to the world.




Mark: Do you ever see a point where you could fully collaborate with another artist?




Omar: Oh, yes, without a doubt, that’s what I’m doing now. This is what I have been doing for the past year or so. I’ve been getting together with people and truly collaborating, going in to a room with nothing and coming out with something, just based on your chemistry together. That’s why I started the new band “Bosnian Rainbows”, it’s all about being together in a group and feeding each other ideas, and so much greatness comes from that.




Mark: I can’t wait to hear it. I know that you have been involved in a number of projects in a variety of different media, everything from the movie that you did with Mars Volta to the sound track of that movie- ‘Volume one’. There was meant to be a ‘Volume two’, do you see a point when some of those projects will actually be released?




Omar: Some of them, there’s a lot of stuff that’s just piled up in the closet, and that happens to everyone who loves what they are doing, whether it’s a painter or a writer, you just do it because you love it! You do it all the time, it’s your passion. and it piles up; it’s all about the process, so when you look at it from that point of view, then whether they come out or not, it’s completely irrelevant. Also, I don’t really need everything to be out there, it’s nice having the idea that your whole body of work will be out there for your children to see, there’s something cool about that. There are tonnes of music, songs that I write, that we perform but never record.




Mark: I read recently that you said that, “I’m only interested in the simple element of does it move me, or not, because all I am here to do at the end of the day is express myself”. Has that stance changed since you have been working with “Bosnian Rainbows”?




Omar: In a way, yes, I started the group, and I am in it so I can express myself, but what happens when you work together in a collaborative thing, is that you are there to express yourself, but and only as long as you are serving the greater purpose which is the entity that is created by the union, and the song and the collection of songs.




Mark: So, how do you see that? Do you see it like a chemical process? Like your ideas and your work reacting with those of others, or do you see it differently?




Omar: In a narrow sense, its four personalities coming together to make some sort of chemical compound that will create some sort of explosion. So, it’s not so much my work, we go in to a room and build off each other’s chemistry, it’s such a cool thing to have.




Mark: What in your mind is the role of the artist, specifically in Western society?




Omar: The role of the expressive person is to express themselves as a way of creating for him or herself a very self sufficient therapy. In that way the most trusted people are the people around you, and the work that you are doing are like in a file, which you can refer back to. You try to better yourself in the hope that you are bettering society as a whole, because you can’t change a society, until you change yourself. That way, you work towards a greater goal, and know that you are not going to be the weakest link in the chain.




Mark: Well, good luck with the film “Los Chidos”, I think it’s playing at the Mexican film festival in Adelaide on November 18th, are you over here then?




Omar: I think we are over there just after it plays.




Mark: Our final question, what is the meaning of life?




Omar: Shit, I wish I knew!!




Mark: It’s been an absolute pleasure to speak to you, and I’m really looking forward to seeing you over here in Australia.




Omar: Thank you, and thank you for your interest




by Mark Diggins