Q&A: Omni’s music lives in the moment

Omni aren't letting past projects define them.

August 25, 2016

Atlanta-based post-punks OMNI released their rad debut record Deluxe earlier this summer, and while it’s the project’s debut record, the band is a bit of a super group; they’re made up of ex-Deerhunter guitarist Frankie Broyles and former Carnivores members Philip Frobos (on bass and vocals) and Billy Mitchell on drums.

The trio recently stopped by Toronto’s Smiling Buddha, so we caught up with them to snap a few photos and chat about the making of their new record and life on the road.

AUX: What would you say is different about OMNI versus your past projects? 

Billy Mitchell: The amount of people. Having three people is really nice. It’s very simple. It makes everything easier.

Philip Frobos: The band itself is much different because it only comes from two minds, rather than a plethora.

Frankie Broyles: I think it happened in a much more organic way. We were writing songs and then I was like “I guess we should play these songs live!” Then it’s like I guess we have a band now.

What was the process like recording your debut album Deluxe? Any specific driving themes or emotions come to mind?

FB: Recording it was also very organic, it was a casual experience. Our friend Nathaniel Higgins recorded it all at our practise space whenever we were all free. We drank beer and tried to make things sound good.

PF: I guess aesthetically it also has a casualness to it that is slightly nostalgic, but we weren’t really trying to be a nostalgic band. I think it just kind of occurred on its own. Everything throughout the record kinda focused on quick times and places rather than big messages.

Do you think that casual energy that was put into this record relates into the songwriting?

PF: Exactly. As far as the guitar, bass and all that goes, completely. We just do it or we don’t do it. If it doesn’t feel good we stop. Writing wise, it’s all about little moments.

On the theme of capturing little moments, do you find a lot of contemporary music today is over thought or over-produced?

FB: We definitely didn’t want to have an overproduced sound. A lot of the bands that I like who are around today are more raw sounding. Nathaniel (Higgins) who recorded also helped us with that because I would want to redo takes all the time and he’d be like “it’s good enough, you don’t get to do it anymore.”

PF: He kept saying he wanted to record us like a S.S.T. Band would be recorded. Just how we sound when we play. Also a lot of bands that are out right now have come into this major mini pop sound and they don’t have a lot going on. It’s a sound but there’s no identity within the song. There’s no voice. I guess we were trying to write songs you’d remember and want to revisit.

Do you tend to experiment live as a process of your songwriting, or write before and let it evolves live after the fact?

FB: With every song we write it first then record a demo, but it’ll change a lot live. We were doing an instore the other day and they were playing the record. Listening to that was weird because it sounds so different now, which I think is really cool because it’s like there’s two version of every song.

PF: I think it’d be really cool to do a live album, I was thinking about that.

When you’re starting a new project, do you find it hard to not fall into old habits from past projects or are you eager to move on to new sounds?

FB: Any time I think I’m doing that I stop what I’m doing and try to do something else. I try my best, but it can be hard to tell.

Old habits die hard?

PF: I don’t really feel like I’m in the same place that I was with other bands. This one just feels really different, even when I’m just sitting down and picking up the bass.

What would you say feels different?

PF: Feels like I’m writing a song I want to write, instead of a song I think I have to write.

BM: It’s really loose onstage which is nice. I haven’t played in a lot of project where it can be a little sloppy and still sound good.

Do you feel like some new kids on the block still or old road dogs?

FB: I just feel like we’re a band that exists in the world.

PF: I don’t think we show up places like “Remember us?!” I just think we’ve been around the block so we know how to do everything. We’re not making the dumb rookie mistakes.

What are some rookie mistakes? Any advice to bands just starting off?

PF: Call the sound guy and let them know you’re gonna be late.

FB: Just do it and see if you like doing it.

PF: See if you like it. A lot of people don’t realize that it’s really not for them and they take it out on everyone. Don’t ever *not* do it, but do it if you need to. And don’t try too hard.

BM: You should confirm your shows two weeks ahead of time. If you’re touring with another band make sure they booked the shows they said they did.

PF: Never assume anything is done unless you know.

OMNI’s debut album Deluxe is out now on Trouble In Mind Records. Grab your copy via iTunes here. You can also catch Omni on tour at the listed dates below.

Tour Dates

Fri. Aug. 26 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl

Sat. Oct. 1 – Atlanta, GA @ Project Pabst ATL

All photos by Kate Killet.

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