OMNIARCH Answered by Mason Wilson – Guitar and Mackenzie LaHaye – Vocals. Anders Ekdahl ©2020
How important is the band’s name in giving out the right kind of vibe?
(Mason) – It is very important! Unless you hear a band for the first time on the radio, usually the first thing people know about a band is the name. If you have a band name or logo that doesn’t suit the style of music, people might think you’re a pop-punk band instead of a death metal band! (Or a wrong one of the many sub-genres of metal)
I wanted to start a band in the 80s but couldn’t find the right people to do so with. What was it that made you want to do the band?
-That sucks! I’m sorry to hear that! We’re pretty lucky because everyone in this band has been great friends for over a decade or more, hanging out and playing the same shows in other bands, but never all together in the same band. Everybody’s previous bands all sort of called it quits at the same time, and I cherry-picked all of my favorite friends/musicians for Omniarch. With or without this band we would be hanging out anyway! It was a no-brainer to play together!
With so many genres and sub-genres of metal today what is your definition of the music you play?
-That is a really tough question! We have always just played the music we feel like playing and that can change from day to day. We all come from different musical backgrounds but the one thing we all have in common is we like our metal fast and heavy. You can hear the wide variety of influences in our music but that makes it harder to define. If you listen closely you can hear melodic death, tech, prog, thrash, hardcore, the list goes on. It’s probably easier for the listener to define our genre of metal. What would YOU call it?
How do you arrange the tracks? Is there a method to how you arrange the songs on a record?
-We just listened to it a bunch of times to arrange it in a way that each song flows nicely into the next. I wrote my song order that I felt flowed well and it just so happened that Jon had the exact same order! We saw that as a sign and went with it.
I am fascinated by how people can still come up with things that haven’t been done before, chord structures that haven’t been written, sentences that haven’t been constructed before. Where do you find your inspiration to create?
-Everyone in this band strives to make something new. It is extremely challenging but that is part of the fun of writing music! Personally I hate hearing the same musical tropes over and over again because it gets boring. Sometimes it takes hearing other music, not necessarily metal, that is taking risks and breaking out of the box to inspire us. Sometimes it isn’t even music! Anything can inspire creativity. There are too many bands out there that hear something and think “that’s cool let’s just do that”! Instead I think “what is it I like about that, and how can I create something new that gives me that same feeling?” You can tell a band really likes Slayer, and then all of their songs sound like Slayer. The problem with that is Slayer already did Slayer, and they will always do it better than you. Be yourselves! Have fun! Not everyone is going to like it, but who cares? If they want to hear Slayer they can pop in Reign in Blood. (Nothing against Slayer, that was just an example haha!)
(Mack on his lyric-writing process) – For me personally, most often my best work comes quickly and organically. The inspiration seeks me out instead of the other way around. Of course there are times when I sit down to build on ideas and have written some great lyrics that I love. But there is no denying the feeling and power in the lyrics I have written when they practically pour themselves onto the paper. Those sparks of creativity initiated by inspiration itself are what make playing music so fun. And when you play with a bunch of absolute shredders it is even better!
How important is the graphic side of the band? How much thought goes into artwork etc.?
-The graphic side of Omniarch is very important, maybe more so than for other bands because I have an art/graphic design background and am passionate about album art and merch design. It isn’t vital to have good artwork though. There are bands that I listen to all the time who have lackluster artwork, but when a band I love has awesome artwork I become obsessed! I want to own the albums on vinyl so I can get the largest version of that cover. I want to wear the shirts and buy the merch, not just listen to the music. Also sometimes the artwork can draw you into a band in the first place. We’ve all discovered a band because we saw an album cover and thought “I NEED to know what that sounds like!” I put a ridiculous amount of time into our album cover and logo because I wanted to give people the same feeling I got when I first saw Megadeth’s ‘Rust in Peace’ or Skeletonwitch’s ‘Beyond the Permafrost’. You see it and you need to know the music behind it! Also through my art background I am friends with lots of incredible artists so we will continue to hire the best of the best to keep our merch top-notch! I got one of my best friends (and my tattoo artist) Brent Smith (@brent_smith_tattoos) to design the Omniarch goat seen at the end of our videos and on our merch. It is one of my favorite designs of all time and I feel so lucky that it’s ours! If I saw that goat I would definitely check out the band!
I get the feeling that more and more metalheads too are just downloading single tracks. Is the album as relevant today as it was in the 70s and 80s? Is digital killing the album?
-Yes and no. There has definitely been a shift in that direction in the global musical world, but I also feel that metal is one of the few genres that you can still find the perfect “don’t-skip-a-song” album. Sure some people might listen to Mastodon’s “The Czar” because they like that one track, but the real fans of that album know that you should start it at the beginning and finish at the end, and be transported through the astral plane with Rasputin as he goes to save the soul of a boy lost in another dimension! Yeah, you’re not gonna get all of that from listening to one song! We really hope people will listen to our album from start to finish in a similar way.
Are we killing our beloved metal scene by supporting digital downloading or can anything positive come from supporting single tracks and not albums? Will the fan as we know him/her be gone soon?
-Some people just have musical A.D.D. and need to be constantly switching it up. If they want to only download their favorite songs then I say go for it. Everybody is entitled to listen to music however they want. I also feel that, like I was saying earlier, metal is one of the few genres to put out important albums that should be “experienced” from start to finish. Vinyl is still huge in the metal community and there are more and more young metal fans buying record players. The benefit of these great albums is over time some of the songs you liked the least early on might eventually become your favorites, and you will never know if you only bought a couple of songs. Fans will always be fans if they are supporting you. I still appreciate it if someone gave us a buck because they love one song we wrote! If you torrent the album though, then you’re not a fan… you’re a dick!
Is there a scene to speak of for a band like yours? Where do you fit in?
-The beauty of not being easily labeled is we don’t have just one scene but several! Edmonton is really supportive of its local music, and we don’t feel out of place in any scene as long as they like heavy music! We have played with a wide variety of bands and we’re not always everyone’s cup-of-jager but we always feel the love! Our favorite compliments come from the people who say “I don’t normally listen to that type of music but I thought you guys were awesome”!
What does the future hold?
-I guess time will tell! Once life on Earth gets back to normal, expect more music and albums, more shows, festivals, tours, merch, and videos! We expect to just be constantly honing our craft and getting better all the time. If you liked us before, then hold onto your butts! If you didn’t like us before, then why are you still reading this? But also, maybe you will like us later! Thanks for the support!