As Spontaneous As Possible—An Interview With Omni

By Anu Guraya, Feature Photo via Facebook

Last week, I caught up with a Joshua Tree-bound Frankie Broyles of the Atlanta-based three-piece Omni. Broyles sounded a little tired, and for good reason—the band is in the middle touring behind their debut album, Deluxewhich came out in July on Trouble In Mind Records. The music is a mix of wiry post-punk and something a little more loose and fun, with Stereogum describing it as “a blissful trip back in time to the arty, danceable rhythms of the new wave movement, but with a rough lo-fi flair.”

Although some of the attention around the group has been stirred up by Broyles’s resume—the guitarist played with Deerhunter during their Monomania tour and was a part of Balkans—he isn’t the only member with a notable history—both singer Philip Frobos and drummer Billy Mitchell are ex-members of Atlanta noise-pop band Carnivores—and the three have gelled enough as a trio to dismiss any ghosts that might have been lurking.

The band is playing a 19+ show at Smiling Buddha on Thursday, August 18. Here’s a link to the Facebook event, and a link to tickets (which can also be purchased in person at Rotate This and Soundscapes). Be prepared to jam out!

Demo: How did the idea for the sound/feel/atmosphere of the album with Omni evolve?

Frankie: Hmm, it kind of just happened. I guess it’s just sort of the natural way that our sound evolved—the way we write music, I suppose.

Demo: OK—I read that the lyrics on Deluxe were written in one night, and they weren’t revisited—is that how Phillip usually rolls, or did that take some sort of self-control?

Frankie: They weren’t all written in one night, but usually we write a song a night, and while I was recording drums or guitar, he would already have the vocals pretty much finished. He does it really fast *chuckles* it’s pretty—pretty crazy.

Demo: How do you have that much self-control, with the nature of artistic satisfaction—how does one just feel satisfied so quickly?

Frankie: ohh *chuckle* I dunno. I guess that was just kind of a part of the part of why it was—we didn’t spend too much time thinking about any particular part. It just kind of—we tried to keep things as spontaneous as possible. Usually that lead to being more excited about the final product.

Demo: OK interesting.

Frankie: Yeah.

Demo: How was recording this album different from when you were recording songs like “Capturer” and “Colour Set? I remember when you had them up on your Soundcloud, and I went back a little while later to try to link to a friend, but you’d removed them. So I was like, oh!! he’s going to (*Frankie chuckles*) release it or something(Frankie: Yeah!) Those are beautiful tracks with different vibeshow was the creation of those tracks different from the creation of this album with Omni or when you were with Balkans?

Frankie: With those two songs, I wrote those completely on my own so it was kind of like a different process. So it was just me, and in this situation, Phillip and I were working together to make these songs, and because of that, things would just happen. It was much quicker process. When I was by myself, sometimes I’d end up, you know, overthinking stuff or spending a lot of time on one thing. That was one of the main differences between the two.

Demo: Do you feel that they both satisfy you artistically just in different ways?

Frankie: Yeah! I think so. And also, just like, you know, the goal, I guess is to be constantly moving forward. Keep being productive—is what I’m trying to do so most of the time *chuckle* but you know…

Demo: And when creating an album with others, does it feel more collaborative? like you’re cultivating everyone’s ideas and making them grow, rather than just compromise upon compromise?

Frankie: Yeah yeah, it’s a very collaborative process, which I hadn’t really been doing for a while, ’cause I was doing, like, those two songs that were on Soundcloud or whatever. And I’d been, for a while, just working on music by myself, so it was fun to writing with another person.

Demo: Is it a different experience touring depending which band you’re with—in terms of pre-show vibes and the relationship that you have with the crowd?

Frankie: Yeah yeah, it’s always different. I think this is probably one of the best touring situations I’ve ever been a part of. We all get along so everything goes pretty smoothly. It’s been a lot of fun.

Demo: That’s a good feel. Good team.

Frankie: Yeah. We all make it work

Demo: Do you guys have any pre-show rituals?

Frankie: Euuuhh, not usually. We kind of just wait around to play. And it also depends on what’s going on before hand. Like yesterday, I pretty much just sat down and just rested until we had to play—I was super tired.

Demo: What are you guys listening to right now that’s outside of the types of sounds that inspired you to make the music that you’d want to listen to?

Frankie: We listen to a lot of stuff. We do a lot of, you know, album exploration in the van. [We] just listen to things that we have never heard before. But we listen to some older, like, mid ’80s ELO album the other day that I was curious about, and ended up really liking it. Yeah, just anything at all, really. We listen to most stuff together in the van. 

Demo: What’s the last song to have been haunting you? Haunting your mind?

Frankie: Ooh uh hmm. We were just playing with this band, Ultimate Painting that’s on our label. We opened for them for like a week, and ever since, somebody’ll have [one of] their songs stuck in our heads. Everyday it starts all over again—but that’s pretty cool ’cause we like their band.

Interview condensed and edited for publication.

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