Maintenance of bad omens | 100 artists you must know
Much has been written about Bad omens‘comparisons with stage giants such as Bring me the horizon, Bear tooth, Under oath or Noose—A fairly diverse pool to draw from. Of course, these bands have all flirted with metalcore, but the ultimate unifier is their ability to transcend heavy music in general, whether in style, appeal, or both. As such, the comparison is as much about attitude as it is style, maybe even more.
They have style in spades, but they also have a lot of attitude. Bad omens are led by fearless leaders Noah Sebastian and Jolly karlsson. A high-profile debacle that led them to abandon a tour was immortalized in “Limits“, a song with subtle hits that turned a negative situation around and took her to the radio charts. The song, which appeared on last year’s deluxe edition of Find God before God finds me, performed better on the airwaves than any of their previous songs, according to Sebastian.
Read More: 14 Metalcore Songs You Probably Forgot
Unfortunately, they also had to drop the tour to support this reissue, their first real headliner, due to the pandemic. However, they once again managed to turn a negative into a positive, as they headed into the studio to record six of his stripped-down songs for. FGBGFM disconnected. Either way, the silver lining was that they could come home to make music, which the duo do professionally.
Together, in their tandem home / studio in LA, transplant recipients from Richmond and Sweden translate ideas into complete ideas, while enhancing their writing and production impulses for themselves and artists beyond. This is the practice required to approach perfection – “doing it” is a wild ride, as the hyper-self-critical group knows all too well – and will set the bar even higher for Bad Omens. Soon the groups that desperately crawl behind them won’t even be able to touch them, no matter how much they stretch.
You can read the Bad Omens cover story from number 391 as well as watch their new live performance of “Never Know” below.
Heavy bands can maybe do one or two acoustic songs in general, if that’s the case. You made six for FGBGFM disconnected. How did it happen?
NOÉ SÉBASTIEN: We were able to perform the acoustic songs [for our Veeps performance] with one-click headphones so we can still have strings, pianos and even reverb on our vocals to make it sound really polished, even if it’s live. Our songs sound lean and in a softer, easier to digest format for people who don’t like heavy music so much, so we said, “Let’s just make an EP.”
JOLLY KARLSSON: There are songs like “Pity“, which is a really heavy drone metal song that just puts you in a trance. I love playing this song live on our strobes, just hanging out there buzzing. It’s very progressive metal, and we turned everything around, and I started doing noise stuff on it. He has that really cool vibe. He has the same melodies, and you can tell he’s married to this song. I wouldn’t put these acoustics in there if we didn’t think it was a great version. I just thought these songs were really cool: version 2.0.
You also used acoustic guitars in the choruses. Where did you find this?
KARLSSON: Not all the songs, but I think we filled some of them. It’s probably one of those bigger rock songs, like “Exhaustion”, That we could have a little layer underneath that fills it. There are a lot of guitars on this album. Everything was a lot on this album, and while we’re now writing our new stuff, it feels like we’ve stripped down so much, and we’re using one vocals, one or maybe two guitars, but it sounds bigger.
You said you strip him more. There was an interview that said it was lo-fi but dark and ambient but sort of still dry and in your face. Basically, you said, in different words, that this is where the new stuff is going.
SEBASTIEN: Maybe this will give some clues to people who want to know what the new album will be like, but I wrote all the vocals for a few songs on a dark beat that I did. We took the hooks and vocals and lyrics that were inspired by that mood and then we wrote a more rock production / song around it.
KARLSSON: This is when you really start to understand this concept. [of] less is more because before you say to yourself: “What do you mean? No, more is more, idiot. It just connects more, and less, because you can really make drums and bass sound and huge vocals if you do it right. This is what we tried to connect to. It turns out really cool.
SEBASTIEN: I say that on every album, but right now the stuff we’re writing is my favorite stuff we’ve ever done. It’s capturing all the emotions that I want to convey, and I think it’s going to be exciting. The whole long term growth plan for groups is so much better than just blowing up overnight on SoundCloud or something because it’s always so short term. Looks like that’s the point, but I really don’t think it is. I think you need to dig deeper instead of wider.
You have a good knack for hooks and you use them to the max. I love the way you take the hook in “Said & Done” and turn it into a guitar solo. He gets a different feel. It’s almost beachy, and this solo has that vibe. It’s the same hook as before, but you managed to give it a new identity.
SEBASTIEN: The 1975 do it a lot, and I think maybe that’s where I got the idea. There’s a lot of layers, at least in their old songs, where there’s a synth hook or a little guitar hook in the background of the chorus, and then it comes back later as a vocal hook or vice versa. I think there is some benefit to keeping the music simple and repetitive because I don’t want people to have to think too much about trying to enjoy something. I like technical rock, progressive metal and metal core stuff, but I just like the music that I can put on and either sing along or bang my head or just have some fucking pics that remind me of something that goes through my head as I’m listening to it.
I don’t think it should be a job to listen to music, at least not the way I write music. I think bands like Bring Me are great for that. People compare us to them a lot, which used to bother me, but not so much anymore. What I see is I think they’re just one of those bands in the same wave and the same boat as us who aren’t afraid to do whatever they want.
You also grew at the level of the lyrics. With the eponymous being a little more nihilistic and desperate, this one is a little more optimistic. I think it’s a cool contrast. I just wonder where it came from. Did you have a revelation?
SEBASTIEN: Our first album was very anti-God, nihilistic and just pissed off. I’m right on top of that now. Back when we started working on Find god, I went through some pretty crazy emotional / mental issues. It’s so hard to explain, but more or less I started to see the world differently and lost touch with reality for a second. I was just making the people around me uncomfortable with the drastic and sudden change in my personality and my state of mind. It was positive at first. Then it translated and manifested as panic, mania or psychosis. I’m not really sure what it was that day. I went to doctors and did all kinds of things to try to figure it out, but I still don’t know. I obviously solved it and got better.
With this album, I wanted to reflect on that experience and just show that you can make uplifting, joyful and positive music without it being out of date or out of date. We are historically a dark band, especially on our first album. Find God before God finds me, for the most part, it was just me trying to write down the words and convey my experiences and feelings in a way that people could sing along to and just feel in control and powerful. A lot of the songs are written from the point of view of God or Jesus Christ, which I found interesting because so many bands are all anti-religious, Satan reigns. A lot of people thought that we had become a Christian group. I liked it because there was a little mystery behind our group. I want people to question everything.
Lyrically, “Dethrone” also sounds like the most directly anti-religion song, but now that you’ve mentioned it, “Let me take you back to the time I was killed and born again. “could come from Jesus. The internet says drug abuse, but it could go both ways. This duality of meaning is good because people can take whatever they need with them. It could be Jesus saying, “My father sent me here, and it sucks.” I got killed.
SEBASTIEN: It’s such a good word you used: duality. I think that’s a great way to describe it. Maybe not “Dethrone”, but there are songs out there that I think Christians can listen to without guilt and can perform in their own way. One of my favorite songs on the record, lyrically, is “Mercy”. The chorus says: “If God would come down from his kingdom, he would come down from his home / And we asked him if he would take us back, he would surely say no to us,” which to me is a statement about how mankind distant is for the concept of religion.
So what’s next for Bad Omens?
KARLSSON: Well, obviously the world has to get back on track, but we’re picking up where we left off. We have an album to make. We did not register. We haven’t gotten into the studio yet, but we’re working from our studio, so it can be anytime, we feel like we have an album ready to launch and make. I guess the next step for Bad Omens will be to do that and hopefully go back on tour this year.
SEBASTIEN: Our long term plan and ambition is to make our own path as a band and to have our own audience and our own name, not to just go in and out of this aquarium of bands that rotate together and overlap with each other. There is nothing wrong with it. It’s a great way to grow your audience and make new friends. But I want an engaged fan base that loves our band because they love our music and it gives them a certain feeling, not because we’re touring with another band that they love and they bought some merch an day. I want it to be deeper than that.