"Musically We All Have Different Influences and I Think That This Combination is The Secret of The Sound of OG" Metality Interviews OMNIUM GATHERUM

[By: Karim Tarek]
If you’re searching for quality Melodic Death Metal, then you’ll probably end up digging a big bunch of Finnish acts. Bands like Mors Principium Est, Insomnium, Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Kalmah, and Diablo have always lived up to the fact that they represent the Finnish Melodic Death Metal scene to the whole wide world. Amongst these bands, stands Omnium Gatherum in a very mighty stature, being up since 1996 and having released quite a solid discography, comprising five full length albums, one extended play, and four demos. In Latin, Omnium Gatherum means “a grouping of all things”, which I find a pretty precise name for the band; Omnium Gatherum employ elements of vintage Melodic Death Metal and mingle them with the ferocity of pure Death Metal alongside variant touches of Folk and epic music, delivering quite an exquisite blend of variable discrepant emotions that can switch your mood from wistful to energetic in a blink of an eye.

This year, Omnium Gatherum hit the music stores with a brand new fine piece of Melodic Death Metal entitled “New World Shadows”. It hasn’t been a month yet, and the album has been demonstrating a large-scale success and receiving a lot of positive reviews. Amidst the “releasing-a-new-album” hustle, we got a chance to ask drummer Jarmo Pikka a few questions about how proud they are with the new album and their futuristic plans.
Here’s how it went:

Karim: First of all, hello and welcome on Metality. We’re glad to have you here. Hope you’re all doing just fine.

Jarmo: Hello there, I am fine and traveling by train at the moment. Having a lap top with me and answering to your questions.

Karim: Congratulations on the new album; I consider it a huge stride for you onwards reaching a world-wide recognition and a rank among the global Metal scene. What were you expecting from this album, given the wide success of the previous two albums?

Jarmo: Thanks a lot. It has been many years hard work which now sheds some wider recognition. We are very pleased for the situtation and the new album and are waiting some new tours and festivals to be confirmed. European tour with “Rotting Christ” is now confirmed and also some West-European dates with Swedish band named Engel coming for the end of May. The previous “The redshift” and “Stuck Here On Snakes Way” albums did some good work for OG's reputation to be one of the heaviest name in Melodic death. So, it is looking very bright now.

Karim: “New World Shadows” hit the fifth position on the official Finnish album chart and the first position on Rumba album chart, what do you say about that and how do you feel about it?

Jarmo: It was awesome indeed! I was a little bit surprised although I knew we would have some good sales figures topping at least TOP 20. But this was cool stuff to be in the top 5. Also the Rumba chart pole position was very good thing for us. Now we can have a solid state here in Finland when everybody knows the band and comes to our gigs. We just had a very good show in the most legendaric Finnish rock venue “Tavastia club” in Helsinki and it was very crowded althought it was Tuesday evening!


Karim: The time interval between “The Redshift” and “New World Shadows” is three years, which is relatively long looking at your previous albums’ dates. What made “New World Shadows” take all that time to surface?

Jarmo: Yeah, it is almost like three years, but our Redshift album came in the late 2008 and this “NWS” came early 2011, so it's like 2,5 years exactly. Anyway, we had no new material when we finished “The Redshift”, so everything was started from beginning. There were couple of songs which came quite soon together after our active “Redshift” European touring action period, as we were touring a lot more than with the previous releases. I think the track “Everfields” was one of the first songs we came up and “EGO” was one of the last written during our summer cabin rehearsals in the forests of Pyhtää. I don’t think that the songs took so long, it is better to write and rehearse stuff with no hurry because we didn’t have any deadlines for this release.

Karim: You have two albums released via Nuclear Blast records, two via Candlelight Records, and finally you have your latest album released via Lifeforce records. Why do you trend to change your record label that frequently?

Jarmo: It is sometimes not the fault of us when you have to or will to change labels. Before NB, we were in the small label called Rage Of Achilles which did some amazing job for the first mini CD “Steal the light” and the debut album “Spirits and august light”. After the label did bankcruptcy we had to change label to NB, who re-released our debut album and mini-cd, and also the second album “Years in waste”. Then some years passed, we changed our vocalist and then “Stuck..” and “Redshift” albums were done for Candlelight records. Our contract lasted only two records so we wanted to move along again. Lifeforce was a one possible choices and we thought to give it a try. So, here we are, nothing dramatic but that is how things sometimes go.

Karim: You had the almighty Dan Swanö (Bloodbath, Edge Of Sanity, Diabolical Masquerade…etc) and Niilo Sevänen (Insomnium, Watch Me Fall) as guest members on “New World Shadows”. How did that come to action and how was it to collaborate with both musicians?

Jarmo: Dan did the mixing already for “The Redshift” album, so we knew his stuff well. It was also known that he is one helluva singer also! Jukka did some guest vocal parts for Swanö and he did an amazing job. Listen to songs like “New world shadows” or “Deep cold”. Niilo then is a good friend of ours and he lives in Kotka, in the hometown of OG. It was easy to call him when he was coming home from his work and have him to sing some growls.

Karim: You did have high-profile tours with renowned bands such as Dark Tranquillity, Swallow The Sun, Entombed, and Insomnium before, how was it to share the stage with such heavyweights? What was the best gig you recall playing? What are your best and worst memories live?

Jarmo: With DT, we had a 2 week tour in the UK and another tour in Finland which were very cool experiences. Some very good crowds appeared on gigs and people were digging both bands. I think OG and DT was very good combo because some similarities in musical style, as both are known for good melodies and synth arrangements. Swallow the Sun and Insomnium tour was also very awesome, because we were all Finnish speaking and had the same kind humour. Dirty speaking finns abroad…yeah. I think best memories are from this Inso/STS tour but I cant really say one thing which is the best of them all. Many good memories there. Worst memories are the ones when things don’t go as planned, gigs are cancelled or something else negative is affecting your travel or playing.

Karim: What’s your agenda for 2011 holding? So far you played a couple of local gigs, any plans for big tours? Also, do you think it would be feasible if you go for a world tour, or at least a tour with spots outside Europe?

Jarmo: For now I can say that there is European tour with Rotting Christ coming in late April and May and after that we are heading to have some Germany/UK/Holland/Belgium gigs with Engel. On summer there will be plenty of festivals in Finland and some other events in Europe also, such as With Full Force, Tuska and Sauna Open Airs for example.. Everything is not announced yet but we are working on more gigs and tours for next autumn also. We will wait and see what happens next.

Karim: What are your influences, musically and non-musically? Also, who are your role models and idol bands?

Jarmo: Musically we all have different influences and i think that this combination is the secret of the sound of OG. There's lots ofsome prog / AOR influence like Rush, Journey, Phil Collins, Genesis etc. as Also some Finnish bands like Amorphis, Insomnium and STS are a huge thing for us. The end result I think is something original when you have lots of different music styles but always have your own sound combined to these. I don’t want to name some “idol”-bands because there would be so many of those, and same goes to “role”-model thing.

Karim: Thanks a bunch for this pleasant opportunity. I’m honored to have conducted this interview with you, and all the Metality crew is honored to have had you here. Feel free to share any last words with Metality readers.

Jarmo: Keep on listening to OmG!

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