Our Friends

In this section, we highlight other musicians, artists and other creative people who’ve made an impact on us during our journey in the world of rock n roll.

6/19/14 – OMINGNOME

Omingnome - Eric, Simon, Tony, Melissa @ Tyler

Omingnome – Eric, Simon, Tony, Melissa & Tyler

 Walking westward on Anderson Street one misty evening I happened upon a peculiar house in which, I swear to you, a merry band of woodland creatures have made their home. Vibrations in primary colors fly as flags, buoyant in the breeze above a rose quartz gravel path leading to a brightly painted iron door. The aromas of curry and burnt sage invite weary travelers, musicians, artists and all caste of characters inside to the mandala covered walls adorned with local art, raw crystals and musical equipment. While a lively debate between bearded longhairs spans from magnetic tape to midwestern massacres, Mothabug sits by a vase of lilies, removing pollen sacs from each stamen to make her own dyes. This is the Gnome House, the abode of Omingnome.

While Omingnome is technically a four piece musical ensemble, a more apt description might be “psychadelic explorers.” Combined with the liquid light spectacle of Planetary Projections, Omingnome has succeeded in creating what is among the most unique sensory experiences to be had in Savannah today. Tyler’s heavily effected guitar lines, Tony’s pocketed bass grooves, Eric’s roaming drum beats and Mothabug’s ethereal theramin mix seamlessly with dual vocal lines and the synesthetic projections of moving color, all of which combine to effectively transport the observer into galactic other worlds. The performance is thrumming with energy, and the audience is as much a participant as an onlooker.

Omingnome’s live show has landed them some serious gigs, including a memorable performance at this year’s A-Town Get Down and the grand opening of Ampersand. Most recently, the band has been asked to open for intergalactic funk titans Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band next Saturday, June 27, 2014 at Barrelhouse South. To commemorate the occasion, Omingnome will be releasing their much anticipated EP “Dance Of The Enchanted Fetus” on the same night. I sat down with the band and visual cohort Simon of Planetary Projections to find out a little more about the upcoming show, the band’s history, their new recordings, their Kickstarter campaign and what to expect from the band in the coming months. Without further ado, here is Omingnome.

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GARRETT
So you all have quite the show coming up next Saturday at Barrelhouse South. How did you wind up opening for Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band?

MOTHABUG
We were playing at The One Stop in Asheville, and this guy came up to our merch table after the show and we got to talking. We’d been talking about how we were looking for a tour manager, and he just said, “Well, I’m the tour manager for Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band.” And Word Of Mouth (former Savannah music collective) had opened for them here a while ago, so we talked about that and connected on Facebook. He always makes funny posts, he’s a really funny guy, so we always liked him. So they were coming through and he sent me a message saying they were looking for bands to play with, and to see if I knew any. I don’t think they were originally thinking of us, but through talking we kind of got in with them so they put us in contact with the booking agent above him and we got it.

TYLER
I guess they had asked the guys at Barrelhouse about us and they put in a good word. We’d played there a few weeks before they asked, so we must have left a good impression.

GARRETT
You know, Barrelhouse South has been a really good spot for local original bands to play downtown. The downtown area can be a tough nut to crack if you’re not playing Jimmy Buffet covers.

SIMON
They’ve put so many of the local bands up, all the local groups that don’t usually play downtown have been playing there.

TYLER
I like that they’re right next to The Jinx, you know. They’re not even competing with each other, they’re basically pulling everybody between the two places. Just with different types of shows.

TONY
The crowd outside of that place on a Friday or Saturday night, it spills out from inside the bar all the way out into the street. Cops are always going down Congress honking their horns trying to get people out of the way.

GARRETT
The last time you all played Barrelhouse South you had the entire night to yourself.

MOTHABUG
We got there and the manager goes, “Be as loud as you want, use whatever you want for sound and lights, and have a great fucking time.” That was so awesome. And he had two guys helping us load in equipment. You know, I was just so happy and having a great time, and he said, “I am so passionate about bringing good music back into Savannah,” and I was like “Us too!”

GARRETT
The band has come a long way since your first show. I remember seeing you all back on Halloween of 2012 when you were called, uh, Fetus Machine, or something?

(laughter)

TYLER
Dance Of The Enchanted Fetus.

TONY
Which, actually, is the name of our upcoming release, because of that show.

GARRETT
So how did the band come together?

TYLER
It was weird, I met Melissa through a friend’s suggestion. She needed someone to produce her music, he suggested we meet up so we met. It was Ramsey from Southern Pine Company.

MOTHBUG
Yup, Ramsey hooked us up.

TYLER
And I knew Eric from New Jersey, so when James (now of Culture Vulture) and I came down to Savannah in 2012 from Brooklyn, we formed a project together with Eric and played a few shows around here. We did some songs from Japanic Attack (former band, Brooklyn NY circa 2011)…

ERIC
Plus we did all of “Echoes” by Pink Floyd, except I think it was a lot more progressive sounding.

TYLER
It turned out Tony and I happened to move to Savannah on the same day, unbeknownst to each other. We started working the same job at the same time, and next thing you know we were all jamming in my first room down here. We actually wrote “Radio Gnome” in that room. So after that Simon was the last Brooklyn escapee to make it down here.

ERIC
He survived.

SIMON
Just barely.

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GARRETT
Since you’re calling the new EP “Dance Of The Enchanted Fetus” in honor of your original band name, can you tell me a little about what to expect from this batch of recordings?

MOTHABUG
I feel like, out of all of the songs we’ve written, these particular songs really fit the title. Trippy, crazy, a little dark.

SIMON
You know you guys have almost another entire cd beyond that now.

GARRETT
Well, that’s a tricky thing about recording. Especially for a working band who’s playing shows during the recordings, you find that by the time you’re actually finished recording, it’s old news. You’ve moved on musically, you already have new material.

TONY
We’re actually time traveling to do the recordings. (laughter) We wanted to get the recordings done so we could get back to writing. We were writing and we realized that, oh my God, the last time we put out a recording was almost a year and a half ago.

TYLER
We actually have some old sessions of these songs from the beginning, but the songs have changed enough, and we’ve gotten better at playing them. So it’s to the point where we might have released them then, but it’s good that it got delayed. You know, start over.

ERIC
So we don’t get bored with it, we like to do certain add-ons and change ups when we play. I’ve kind of pushed the idea of letting it go after a certain point, all agree on it, and start writing again.

MOTHABUG
I get ansty.

GARRETT
Now, in the writing process, how much collaboration goes into the formulating and arranging of songs?

SIMON
I write all of it.

(laughter)

TYLER
It’s pretty collaborative. I think Tony and Melissa have brought a lot of ideas, I know I’ve brought a couple, and we all come together and arrange them. Melissa and Tony write a lot of the lyrics.

MELISSA
Specifically this EP was pretty much written together. “Gnome March,” “Radio Gnome,” “Beyond A Shadow,” and what’s the other one?

TONY
“Dragonfly.” “Dragonfly” was pretty much put together by Tyler and Melissa…

MELISSA
I had a little Garageband demo, just one thought, you know, but I had the lyrics I liked and the melody, and these guys funked it up so great.

TYLER
Some of that arrangement was done while we were on tour in New Jersey at that boathouse, where I came up with this different guitar part…

SIMON
I remember that. I was lying on the porch in clown feet.

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GARRETT
As much as I want to hear why you were wearing clown feet, I’d also like to ask about your Kickstarter project. You just launched your fundraising campaign, so what is the goal?

TYLER
We’re looking to tour for six weeks through August into September. So basically we’re trying to raise enough funding for a diesel touring bus, one with a certain engine ideal for converting to vegetable oil. The dream is travel in this thing and only have to spend a little bit on diesel. You can do 80 or 90 precent of your tour on vegetable oil if you do it right, which is a great thing to think about.

TONY
Way better for the planet.

TYLER
We did that last tour in two cars, which even with two somewhat decently efficient cars gets terrible on gas cost. And when you’re traveling as a unit it makes the experience different.

SIMON
Obviously we had fun in two cars, but it kind of divides you.

TYLER
And sometimes it gets scary, if you’re doing late night drives, you get separated in traffic, maybe someone had to stop at a red light. You get worried, like, literally sick to your stomach. So with this Kickstarter, we feel like we already have all of the equipment we need to fully record ourselves. That’s what a lot of other bands’ Kickstarters are for, but this is for our transportation.

We’ll be traveling with six to eight people. Despite having four, sometimes five people on stage, we’ve got two people doing projections, one person for merch, and we’d like to be able to take more people with us if we can. Especially when we meet some people doing good things in the world. You might meet someone who does this thing, and they were thinking of going to the city where you’re heading. Alright, hop aboard, let’s figure out what you’re doing, help you spread your message.

ERIC
Since we’re trying to raise funds for traveling instead of recording I feel that people will respond to it. We’re trying to do the dirty work, you know. Before we can actually make any money selling our music we have to do it live. The experience is so much different. There’s definitely a mutual energy share between us and the crowd.

SIMON
Our live show is just so much more an immersive experience than just listening to an album. That’s not to knock the recordings or anything. It’s just, a crowd can make or break a show.

ERIC
And I can’t play music unless I’m in the moment, you know, if it’s just for the exposure or the hell of it, it’s just not a pure experience…

GARRETT
Not as satisfying.

TYLER
Yeah, we’re definitely energy dependent on the crowd, to share it.

MOTHABUG
But not even. Genna (of Beneath Trees) has seen a lot of our shows where she’s said we’re just killing it, and she turns around and it’s just her.

GARRETT
But it doesn’t matter if the crowd is five people or five thousand, the important thing is the experience. Sometimes nobody shows up, and at that point it becomes about the energy exchange between the people on stage.

MOTHABUG
That was a hard lesson to learn on tour, when you’d be playing to almost nobody. I said, I’m just gonna have fun performing because it’s what I love to do, and I’m gonna play with y’all  because it’s what I love to do, and we’re gonna play these songs that we love to play, and that’s the experience.

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We conversed for nearly two hours over various topics (betamax technology, a Hari Krishna Farm, trapeze artistry, Shartmaster Dingle), and time seemed to stop. How delightful to ruminate on art, travel and trivialities with such genuine creative folk. Don’t forget to see Omingnome live at Barrelhouse South in downtown Savannah Saturday June 27th with Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band, and pick up their new EP “Dance Of The Enchanted Fetus” at the show. For more gnomish insight visit www.omingnome.com.

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