INTERVIEW WITH OMAR ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ
This is our interview with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, we did it last June, 20th: it may contain some errors, we'd be glad if you address them to us.
Huge thanks to:
- Sonny K. and Barbara M. (without them, this interview couldn't be possible),
- Eva B. (who transcripted and translated the interview into Italian -and for the support),
- everyone who submitted questions for this interview through our forum or our myspace,
- every member of The Mars Volta Italia community (we should thank you if we've had this interview).
And, of course, thanks to Omar for his patience.
(If you wish to use this
interview for your site/blog/forum, please contact also. Also, we'll be glad
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myspace, there's a blog dedicated to this interview)
O. Ciao P., esto es Omŕr!
TMVI. Hi! How are you? Are you back in New York from Los Angeles?
O. Yes, my plane came a little late.
TMVI. Were you in Los Angeles to finish the new The Mars Volta album?
O. Yeah, I was just tracking the few last parts out there, I was tracking Ikey out there. Now I'm back here, back home in New York to finish the record.
TMVI. What can you tell us about the new album? I read the title will be "The Bedlam in Goliath".
O. Yeah, that's the title but beside that I can't really tell you anything about that...I don't know. I guess I've been working on it too long. I don't know what it sounds like at all anymore! (laughs)
TMVI. Which are the changes in this album? Can you tell us something about that? ...If you tried new instruments or if there is any special guest and how did you feel making it?
O. Again I'm not really prepared to say anything about that now...You'll hear it once I finished mixing it.
TMVI. Ok. Let's talk about you last solo album "Se Dice Bisonte No Buffalo”: it came out as reaction to your work for "El Bufalo De La Noche" soundtrack, what can you tell us about this experience?
O. You know, it was very laborious. It was a very, very long process and most importantly it was the first time that I had to tend to action to someone else... that I've been directed by someone else. It was very different for me to have to... you know, "What about this? ..No? ...Ok, more or less?". So for me it was a big learning experience because it was so different for me and I learnt a lot from this, I learnt a lot about film making as well as making music for movies as well as just having patience and you know what is like to work for somebody else.
TMVI. Yeah, in fact this album sounds minimal and I don't think we can expect something like that for a The Mars Volta album. Which is the difference between the music you make with The Mars Volta and music you make for your solo works?
O. Uhm I think really the only difference... because is all my music and when Cedric sings on it, Cedric sings on it. So really the only difference between what I make in Omar Rodriguez records and The Mars Volta records really is time. It is another time I get to stand on the record which of course means money. When I get to make The Mars Volta records there are labels, major labels...I get a lot of money which means I have more time and more resources to let the songs evolve but sometimes picking one of my songs to make it a The Mars Volta song is just something like "Oh, I really like this song, I would like it to evolve more so I'm gonna see this when I know that I'll have more time" and then when I have more time I can record it a little bit better, I can do more instrumentation, I can ... I start to put more changes in there, you know the song stats to evolve more and more. When I make my records if I pay for everything out of my pocket and put it out on my label, you know it's pretty much just like it's the idea in its wildest form. It's pretty much the way all my songs start and it's just that some songs get to go on till I.. You know "Ok, let's change this, let's put this in another part..." You know, you start fucking it with every piece out of that work.
TMVI. I guess that the track "Please Heat This Eventually" was yet ready when you played it in the live session with Damo Suzuki but, if it was possible, have you liked him to sing even in the studio track?
O. Oh! Yeah, yeah! I would have like. I mean, you know, the studio record was recorded way before. This record (“Se Dice Bisonte No Bufalo”) and that version were recorded way before I did my version with Damo but I would love to have Damo in the studio which is...He's uhm ...That is not his thing...
TMVI. Yes, I know he doesn't play anymore in studio
O. Yeah, for him it had to be recorded in a certain way, on stage... He does it far from the studio! (laughs). I asked him a couple of time if he wants to come in, come here to New York in my house, down here in my studio but...
TMVI. Yeah, I thought so! What do you think about him as performer? Do you like his philosophy of “creating time and space at the time”?
O. I love it! I love it and I respect him. I think that it's important for people to have their attitude toward music and I think that it's a really, really healthy thing. I mean I don't necessarily share his believes in a hop but I still cut up in not only capturing but also controlling and shaping music until you've made the picture that you want but I hope at some point to not care about the things that I care about now and be a little more like him.
TMVI. Jon Theodore plays on the last track of “Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo”, I suppose that has been recorded before his departure from the band. Do you still talk?
O. Uhm...Yeah, you know, we talk here and there. You know we don't talk obviously as much as when he used to be in the band but you know it's difficult always when you fire someone, when you kick someone out of the band. It's always difficult at first there are always feelings even if he knows that it was the right thing for me to do. When I said he was agreeable with, he understood my decision. It's still to touch it softly, it's like being boyfriend and girlfriend, you know! (laughs)
TMVI. Speaking about drummers: what didn’t work with Blake Fleming this time around? And What’s now with Thomas? In studio does he contribute with his own input to The Mars Volta music?
O. Blake just didn't last that long he just, he lasted a little bit over a moth. He just wasn't...You know, he was the original drummer so when I fired Jon I thought "Oh, I'll give him a second chance an everything". He was a kind of, how do you say this...? A kind of "out of shape who had lost his chops", you know? And I said "I'll rehearsal with him for two months" which was more than I ever wanted rehearsal with anyone, trying to get him back in the shape and we went on tour and you know, two things: is just he wasn't as the drummer as he once was, you know, he wasn't in shape he could not playing drums for a while and he didn't get along well with others so, you know, his reputation was still preceding him, his attitude.
It didn't work at the first time which everyone, here in New York, and people who have toured with his own band ...nobody's reputation just he hasn't change very much so he didn't get along well with others and it just didn't work. Thomas on the other hand he's been amazing. We went to tour Europe and did some show on the west coast. He's just amazing, very professional. He loves being here, he loves what he's doing. It's not the situation we had with Jon Theodore where he essentially didn't like the band but he liked getting payed and he never wanted to play, he was lazy... Thomas would play anytime, anywhere, all day, for 4 hours... He loves the music, loves the band so he's excited. Thomas actually would put an input unlike Jon who just didn't, he didn't want to be told what to do... Thomas likes, you know, Thomas likes being here and working it harder! He's a member of the band.
TMVI. I think he's young and professional!
O. An amazing drummer and he's only 22 so...You know, it's a whole different vibe in the band like we get so many e-mails now from people and people that saw our concert in Australia saying like "Wow!" not only "that was the best drummer I've ever seen play with you! Guys you're amazing" but they always make out a point to say this: "And you guys look so happy now! I've never seen The Mars Volta smiling on stage!!" (laughs). This is a completely different vibe, we finally have, you know, it's different when you have...You know, Theodore was a great drummer but he never really liked the band or wanted to be in here. He just kind of he came out in a way or another, he got stuck with us. Even if you have 8 happy people, you know, 7 happy people...If you have one guy that is unhappy and doesn't wanna be there it really ruins the vibes for everyone so now with Thomas it's a different atmosphere. We do a lot more hanging out now as a group of people, you know.
TMVI. An Italian music journalist (Claudio Sorge of Italian music magazine “Rumore”) described the track “Please Heat This Eventually” like “Tijuana’s traffic during the peak hour with traffic lights handled by Alejandro Jodorowsky”, do you like this definition? Do you think it may define your last album in its wholeness?
O. Oh, I definitely like it! It's a very (laughs)... It is a very colourfully view! I guess, you know I have a hard time knowing what my music sounds like and like I said earlier that's why I can't say anything about TMV record, I have to be away from it for a couple of years to really draw on me what my music sounds like but I find that image quite exciting!
TMVI. Is there any particular artist, movie or book you've been inspired while making your solo album and TMV new album?
O. Yes, well that solo album, I mean, I made it in 2005. That was a while ago so at that time I was living in Europe so for me the inspiration was really, you know, like I said before the working on “El Bufalo De La Noche” and in general Guillermo Arriaga's work and in general I like “21 Grams” and “Amores Perros” and at that time I think I was as always trying to catch up on Pasolini's and I was particulary watching a lot of Korean and Italian cinema.
TMVI. Yes, I remember last time we met in Milan you told me about your passion for the Italian Maestros like Pasolini, Fellini, Visconti...
O. Yeah and that never goes away. You know, that's something that's kind of funny to answer...Anytime, every year that we make a record people say: "Oh what was it influenced?" And I say those things will always be there just in the same way that sort of music will always be there. Pasolini will always be with me, Fellini will always be with me just like Frida Khalo will always be with me, Alejandro Jodorowskij will always be with me, Carlos Castaneda, Elijah P. Lovejoy, Martin Luther King. They're inspiring people, people who really took their ideas and stucked to them. You know, they didn't matter about what people say about them.
TMVI. But maybe, beside these influences, you also have been influenced by something else, something new. I guess anytime you make a new album you can be attracted by something in particular, for example, I read that, while working on “Amputechture”, Cedric was influenced by reading the story of the crucified nun. I don't know if it's the same for you too.
O. Yeah, definitely. It's everything. Again it's a hard question to answer because it's everything. It's not only the books that you read in your life or the films or the music but it's also everything that happens. I mean, because of what we do we have pretty active lives that engaged us in the world so it's meaning that we travel all over the world and we get to see things from many different people's prospective. We're not just stuck here the way most Americans are only seeing American film propaganda tv . So we go to Europe, we go to Italy, we go to Croatia, we go to England... We get, you know, many different takes on what's happening in the world and stories that we would never hear in America and we go to Australia and places like Japan...I guess in general culture is our main influence. Culture in the way people conduct themselves in the world. It is a very strong aspect of what we do.
TMVI. You're going to play in Tokyo with the Omar Rodriguez Group: will it be just for one gig and then are you planning to focus again on The Mars Volta?
O. Yes, of course. That was just, you know, I had the opportunity to do it. They invited me and I'm going to Japan, you know, I do the Group but like I said about my own records I do when I have the time because my main focus is what I'm...my vehicle is The Mars Volta. You know, especially this that's a kind of my little, you know, that's my form of vacation, my way of taking a vacation: going somewhere and playing instead of making a record. (laughs). But now that I've done with The Mars Volta record, now that I'm about mixing it I'll be down. That'll be my little vacation, I'll go to Japan and play that music then I'll come back and I'll get right back to work: rehearsing, putting TMV group to rehearsal and then to go on tour.
TMVI. Who is gonna play with you on that gig? Will it be the same Quintet which toured Europe during November 2005?
O. No, actually the Group is gonna be a sextet this time and the line up will be pretty much the same except my brother, instead of playing drums, he is gonna play keyboards, additional keyboards. You know, two keyboards now: Money Mark and him. And then on drums will be Deantoni Parks who is an amazing drummer also and he is from New York, he also played in TMV for a couple of months. He'll be the drummer.
TMVI. I was wondering if Cedric will sing the song he sings on your last solo album...
O. It'll be nice, I have to talk him about it...Let's see if wanna come to Japan...He should, he should come with us.
TMVI. How is Juan? I’ve read he discovered to be afflicted by a rare blood disease…
O. Oh yes, he's been getting a lot better. He was going to the doctor a lot, taking some form of medication that they give to people who have this blood disease and the people who have been afflicted by cancer and he's been doing everything that he's in force to do. You know, eating in a certain way, get exercising everyday... And so now, when he goes for his regular check-ups, his blood is filling back out and going back to normal and probably he'll have to take one form of medication or another for the rest of his life. But he's back to normal now.
TMVI. A question about “Scabdates”, The Mars Volta live album which has been released a couple of years ago: you talked about the band recording all the shows and your wish to make a series out of it, with the second "Scabdates" tentatively exploring “Frances The Mute” tour (while the original “Scadates” has basically “De-Loused in The Comatorium” songs on it), is that intention still on?
O. Yeah, I think that what I was saying at the time was that the first live record was exploring more the first two releases which are “Tremulant” and “De-loused” because it's songs from those. Definitely the new live record which will come out at the end of the year will have “Frances” and some songs from “AmpUtechture”.
TMVI. The Mars Volta didn’t came to Europe during “Amputechture” tour, was it intentional or was it just a consequence related to the many changes of drummers? And when can we expect to see The Mars Volta in Europe?
O. Yeah, yeah, of course! It was because of all that shit was going on. You know, this is the first time since the beginning of the band that we haven't been to Europe. You know, Europe is essentially our home. When I was planning out the beginning of the band, I always wanted to go play Europe first because we were so much more appreciated by people as artists in Europe and so I planned our tour: "We're gonna go on tour with the Locust, we're gonna do our first tour for TMV in Europe" and then it was a very similar problem, it was like I said before when Blake, when the original drummer was in the band, it didn't work out. People didn't like him and he hasn't been get along with people so I had to fire him just weeks before going on a trip so I had to cancel our trip, start all over again getting a new drummer which has gonna be Jon Theodore. Europe has always been a very, very important part of our routes you know, of course, obviously (even) South America, West America but more important in Europe is the way we all are accepted and, even when “De-loused” came out and we've been touring for “Deloused”, the reaction to our art and to our music was much better and much stronger in Europe and so we spent most of our time touring in Europe that anywhere else and of course, obviously, I love Europe in general that's why I moved there two years ago... But it's been really hard because it's the first time since the beginning of the band that we didn't get to go and of course we tend on getting our ship together and going over there and playing very well concerts and making up of the last time with everyone... Everyone miss that!
TMVI. And we miss The Mars Volta here in Europe so come here soon! Last time you played in Europe was at All Tomorrow’s Parties festival curated by you, on December 2005. Fantastic experience. Would you like to organize another edition?
O. You know, I would. That's as chaotic as it can be to organize a big event like that...I really would, I really had a good time and we were surrounded by our peers and our friends, people with who we wrote up to so for us it was a really, really, really a great charming point.
TMVI. I remember we were so frightened as we saw you cancelled the concert in Manchester few days before ATP so we were asking each other "What if TMV won't play at ATP organised by them!?"
O. No, no, it was...unfortunately we had to cancel that concert but absolutely the ATP thing happened.
TMVI. Can we speak about your other side projects?
TMVI. About “A Manual Dexterity”, will we ever be able to see the movie and to listen to the second part of the soundtrack?
O. Oh, yes we will! (laughs)
O. I don't know! (laughs) The problem with “A Manual Dexterity” is this: is for some time now, even after I finished it ... The first thing is this: it is a project I had abandoned all together. It is a project I said: "No, this is..." You know, especially after Jeremy died... I don't want anyone to see this, this is a movie with him, it is very personal. But during his life Jeremy had always encouraged me, he said: "No, you need to put that film out! I really like it, I know people would like it! It's an art film or whatever it is but I think it's important you do it because I like it and I think it's good and your friends too. It's just you should do the way you do with your music and not care." And I said: "Hum... but you know I don't have time, I'm not gonna do anything with it." I put it on the shells and unconsciously were asking about me "What about “A Manual Dexterity”? ...What about “A Manual Dexterity”?" and so then, when he died in 2003, I thought two ways about it, like I said I felt I didn't wanna do anything with it and then right about at the end of the year I could not stop thinking about how much he wanted it to come out so that's why I decided "You know what? There's a part of me who doesn't want it to happen, what I'll do is just put out the soundtrack." And by putting out the soundtrack there was a certain matter of things, of emotions. It wants to come out even if I don't want it to come out. I would make it as Jeremy requested it long and it all had to come out so then I put out the soundtrack thinking that it was an essential part of the movie and then just when I was about to put out the movie and the second part of the soundtrack I had legal problems with people that wanted the film back. The people that I'm not friend with now, they don't wanna give me.. they don't wanna find the right for me to put out the movie with their scenes and that were scenes that were very essential for the film so... Now 3 years later, now I worked out this thing with one person in particular and they're not so angry with me anymore (laughs). And you know, it looks like now legal problems will be over so I can put the film and the second part of the soundtrack out.
TMVI. Ok! We'll wait for this! About De Facto, some months ago GSL released a dvd which contained live footage taken by one of De Facto concert, can we consider this video as the end of the band or, as Ikey told me during ATP, maybe there'll be released a disc with unreleased tracks?
O. Yeah, my intention has been to put out a record of this stuff that we never realised and our last ep which came out shortly but then got pulled right away when once gone out and under and there's the De Facto film from our tours in Europe. You know, just a little film I shot and you know...Who knows what the future wants for De Facto.. I don't really know...
TMVI. Can you tell me something about the side project with Zach Hill from Hella? I read you described it as very close to math rock and focused on the guitar sounds.
O. Yes, I mean it's one of my forward records that I made. I made it up in 2006 and I guess I said math rock because... (laughs) When I showed it to my friends that's what they said it sounds like that because you have to understand I don't know what my music sounds like and so I'm far away from that. So, even if I do describe something, it's usual because somebody else told me "that's what it sounds like" and as I don't like math rock I said: "to me it sounds very very beautiful". I was able to get a certain element out of Zack Hill by directing and producing that I don't think I've heard before on his records. It's still his insane sounds and insane drumming but there is some certain new elements that sounds so great to me. It's such a beautiful record, I really hope it comes out soon, hope it comes at the end of this year which is the plan.
TMVI. Can I ask you what do you think about the so called math rock? Do you like bands like Shellac, Battles etc?
O. Yeah, I like all forms of music, man. It's just that there is good examples and there is bad examples of every single form of music. So "Do I like math rock?" "Yes of course I do!" And "No, of course I do not." Because there is good and bad on it. I like Shellac, I like other shits that just sound...You know I like pieces you can tell are inspired, you know a journal like math rock and you can hear bands like Shellac that you can tell they're honest and inspired on what they do because this is what is inside of them and need to come out and then you can hear another record by a different band that you...It's not inspiring. You can just tell that band sat there and unconsciously thought "Ok let's make a math rock record now!" (laughs).
TMVI. Yeah, I think it's just a label made by journalists.
O. Of course! Of course but that's the problem! With every label invented by every music journalist there is a group a kids who fallow that label and think it's a sort of rule for them. You know that's how it is. Look at that all stupid labels... Emo-core, screamo, all that bullshit. And now, 15 years later when really, really is the mainstream and I mean, all this articles saying "Oh, emo! You dress like this, you rock like this, you..." How many fucking bands do we have now way after whatever music really was instead? That now dress a certain way, sound a certain way... You know, it's like with every label that's created you have tons of shit that will fallow it and say: "Oh, mum and dad, I'm not a hippy anymore, I'm an emo or whatever now it says the label!" (laughs) ...Stupid labels! That is the point, there's good and bad of everything. You know, it could be reggae or hip hop... Whatever damn label we wanna put certain forms of music into but really it's all about people's individual and cultural experience. That's what it all comes down to.
TMVI. So you can speak about inspiring and inspired music, I read to much often recently that music journalists spoke about The Mars Volta as a progressive band when I know you said that TMV are progressive in a certain way because they're ready to see all, over and over they want to explore other musical concepts. I don't know if this is the right definition, anyway it isn't 'progressive' in its strict sense but I think you love bands like Crime in Choir or Jaga Jazzist which are a sort of progressive bands that explore new musical territories, right?
O. Yes, of course. I love any band searching and exploring because of their heart and their soul and for no other reasons. And to me when I hear those bands like Crime in Choir or Jaga Jazzist that's what come out to me and that I like.
TMVI. Yeah, me too! In a recent interview you talked about a not well identified project which should sounds "more electronic". Can you tell more about this?
O. That record was supposed to come out in august and again I only used that word (“more electronic”, ndr) because that's how one of my friends like Cedric described it when I played the record for them. You know, it sounds more electronic. I mean, it's still a live musician but it's more...I think that record was definitely influenced by you know, it was also written and recorded when I was still living in Amsterdam and I think that record most definitely above of the others was very, very influenced by you know the electronic music that I always love but that is definitely big in Europe and you definitely hear it played in coffee houses (laughs) and coffee shops. And you know, what people call acid-jazz or whatever. It was influenced by that which means of course that is not that it sounds exactly like that but it's mine own interpretation. Once again is my interpretation of that style of music with my own personality and the things that make my music 'mine' you know, so...It's definitely influenced by that, really.
TMVI. You’ve released a single with John Frusciante on GSL, you’re friends, he plays with The Mars Volta and on your solo albums, you’ve played on a track of last Red Hot Chili Peppers album and on some of his solo albums: on this basis, can we expect for you a whole side project with him?
O. Yes, something is always in the works with me and him. I mean, I have many projects always in the work and the thing with him like the single that put out that was...You know, I recorded that, I engineered it, I mixed it... And I have several recordings like that sitting around that I hope to put together and make one album out of but then we've also done other things and we have another group that we were supposed to record and we never seem to get the time to do because of their busy schedule and because of my busy schedule. I had a group with Flea and John which we joking re-called "Omar, Omar, Omar!" and we played a couple of concerts in L.A. and stuff with other drummers. We had just additional drummers but you know, now the Chili Peppers are down with their world tour and everything. I mean, they're going to Europe now but after the European tour they'll be down for a while. You know, they're gonna take a long break and even they will. Right there on the time they stop we'll start working on The Mars Volta again but the fact that John will be at home...John and Flea will be at home relaxing that means they'll finally have time to sit down and record that record because it's really good art, they really like it.
TMVI. Are there any special guests you would like to become part of The Mars Volta band, even for what regards tours?
O. Oh, I mean that's a matter of imagination! Of course I would have love Alice Coltrane to be part of The Mars Volta but she passed away, you know. And Ornette Coleman…And… The list could go on and on there's a lot of people that I feel could be part of The Mars Volta.
TMVI. Are you satisfied with your work with The Mars Volta and with your solo records?
O. Yes, definitely. I mean, you know, satisfied is such a tricky thing to answer because when I finish a solo record, when I finish a TMV record I think is the most beautiful thing, I love it, is my favourite child, I can't wait for everyone to ear it but by the time people really ear it... By the time it was conceived and recorded to the time that people really ear it, by that time I've already moved over to next thing and it's not something like that I'm ashamed of that records or I don't like them but already at this point I start to think "Uhm oh yes, I like it but it could be better. No, no, no it should be like this now. This is what it should sounds like it!" And so I'm already moving on to the new scene. It's just important to keep in mind that I don't ever want TMV records or my records to sound the same. I want each record to have its own personality and its own audience, its own group of people. I like and I love the fact that we have of course fans that would say "No, no, no. “Deloused”, that was the best one! No, I can only listen to this one!" Great! Or people who say "Oh no, I only can listen to “Frances”. “Frances” is the best one!" and there's people who say "No, I like “Amputechture”. I don't like “Deloused”." "I like “Amputechture” and a little bit “Frances”". But I like the fact that people get upset or... (laughs) You know, I'm not doing this to win fans at all so I like the fact that we have different houses that people can visit and if they only come in visit to one house and they never come back I feel really honoured and special that at least they came and stayed in our house for a little bit and enjoyed it.
TMVI. After “A Manual Dexterity”, TMV videos, your collaboration to “El Bufalo De La Noche”, would you like to keep on working as a video/movie director, maybe inspiring yourself to models such as Jodorowsky, Fellini and Pasolini? And, if so, how would be music into your movies? Do you think that Cedric could be helpful on writing the script or giving you ideas to develop?
O. Yeah! Yeah! I think... Yes! It's a wonderful question!! And I think I want to keep evolving in that medium and I want to have more the opportunity to develop myself in that medium right now I'm only doing a little sparkle, you know, "I have time here I do it here, I have time here I do it here..." and more and more I would, like I said, I would like more time and time is money. I would like to have a situation when I can just focus on a film and focus... I've written more than seven scripts now and I don't know when they'll get you know film is.. and I would like to have the time right now just to focus on one. And I think Cedric, for example, would be a greater.. he would be a very good actor and I think yes, he would also give me art direction ideas because he's so good with visual, you know and I think that my crew people, them, you know because our crew, the crew I put together for The Mars Volta, the people, the technicians, they're all good friends of us as they work very hard, they love being in the band and we've known them from years and years so our crew would be essential in a movie crew you know to put the lights up together. What I'm trying to say is, I think I really want this moment were just a matter of shifting my attention and dedicate this shifted all to the film and bring all the people with me who are around me now that are creative that want to help and want to be a part of my vision. They can come now and "Now ok, we take a break and now we make films!" Then of course films still involve music obviously I get still write music I get still idolize my musicians like Juan Alderete and my brother and anyone else and for anyone that ask. Any other kind of skill when it can help us with, you know because obviously making a film always take a lot of people and a lot it's not gonna be as easy as it is for me to make my music. While my music I can pretty much did it home, I can write everybody's part and then show them their parts and we come together and we rehearse it and we make it happen. You know that always takes 8 people, you know 8 people, 8 band members and 2 technicians, 10 people. But a film...you need a lot of motherfuckers to help you.
TMVI. Too much motherfuckers!
O. Yeaaah! (laughs)
TMVI. Will be “Rapid Fire Toolboth” included in next The Mars Volta album, maybe in a brand new different version?
O. Yes, it will appear. It's a song that I love a lot. Again as I was saying earlier I wish I had more time to change it a little bit and so now I gave that song more time and I changed it, I ended it up, I asked Cedric to change the lyrics a little bit so it can be a very different and distinct version, very ended up MV version. It's one of my favourite songs.
TMVI. The title of The Mars Volta new album, “The Bedlam In Goliath”, reminds me to a biblical scenery: is there any link with “Amputechture” concept?
O. Well, you know (laughs) .... I don't wanna say anything about it yet.
TMVI. Do you have yet ideas for the next The Mars Volta album?
O. Of course! Each....as I tried to explain before, by the time other people get to ear our record I've really started to select a lots of ideas for the next record. For example, what I mean is just that you know, “The Bedlam in Goliath”, this new record was essentially written while and after I finished mixing “Amputechture”. What I mean is I started writing it during mixing “Amputechture”. I started creating songs for that and then I took my first vacation in the last five years and I went to Italy, I went to Palestine and Syria and then I came back and I wrote this record and then we've been making a sense on it and now that I've been sitting around, just finish off this record I pretty much start writing the next record and that's pretty much always how it happens. It's, by the time you've done mixing, the next thing is always there, you know the architecture is there. You know, it's time. If only I could have more time...if only time didn't cost money! (laughs).
TMVI. Some days ago I watched an old video interview to Pier Paolo Pasolini, he said something like: "Fascism here in Italy didn't create a unique mass of people but democracy did it with consumerism, hedonism etc. and all this homologation destroyed the little culture reality, the underground reality". He was pessimistic and said that there's nothing left to do now. Do you agree with him or you think there's a light out of this tunnel?
O. I think there's always a light out of the tunnel. And I think that we as people will always got to face this. You know, if you asked me that question, let's say we did this interview two weeks ago, very honestly I could have said "No, I think you are right. I think there's nothing left to do" and it could have been the state of mind I was in but when you ask me right now, today, on this day because of the way I feel right now I say "No, no, no, there's a light at the end of the tunnel!" And things keep evolving. You know, the human mind, our ideas are always changing and we're going to move swing into depression and anything else. You know, for a time I thought that same way but then I've always learnt, you know, how it is just when you think you have something figured out and right when you think you know something then you realise you don't know a goddamn thing. You know that your all world can be turned upside down and you're full of shit. So in this sense there's always a light out of the tunnel because there's always, always, always time for adjust which means there's always time for a rebirth.
TMVI. Have you listened to some albums which came out this year? Do you have you favourite album of 2007?
O. No I haven't, fuck. I mean.. Of course I loved the new music I heard coming from Bjork and I like that group, Animal Collective, I don't know if they put out something new this year but I haven't been listening too much music in general this year just because I've been focusing on The Bedlam in Goliath so when that happens I just tend not to listen to music I just tend to go back to movies that I love and seeing new movies and reading new books. I don't ever want my music to sound like something that I'm listening to.
TMVI. I read you that on the first track of your new album, “Se Dice Bisonte, No Bufalo”, you use your voice, have you recorded some voices, is it true?
O. Yeah, yeah it's just...it's my voice but it's many of my voices pretending like I'm in some sort of lounge band you know and as I'm on stage and there's a few people in the club and my voices that are...I do the voices of the people in the club also but then it's set up in a very, very high speed so it sounds like a scream or something.
TMVI. It reminds me Battles.
O. Oh, ok. Cool!
TMVI. Yeah I was thinking about what Tyondai Braxton does in their new album.
O. Oh, ok. I hear everyone loves it. I've haven't heard it but Juan keeps telling me about it, everyone seems really like it.
TMVI. Is it true The Mars Volta new album will be out in fall?
O. Yeah, it was supposed to come out in August, the end of August but they say in September.
TMVI. Well I hope you'll come to Italy to promote the new album so we can meet again!
O. Of course, we will. And we will meet again.
TMVI. Oh thank you! I really have no words to explain my gratitude to you and also to Sonny and Barbara to let us talk to you. I'm so happy about this call and you are a great person and a great musician, Omar. Thank you very much.
O. Thank you very much, man. You have my gratitude also for having such passion and interest in what I'm doing, honestly.
TMVI. And I have to tell you "Hello!" by fans from everywhere because I received lots of emails for this interview from Mexico, Europe, USA and South America telling TMV is the greatest band in the world and they would all love to see you playing in their own place.
O. Oh...Oh, thank you, man! It makes me feel so good right now.
TMVI. Honestly I would love to see The Mars Volta playing here in Rome.
O. We are going to! C'mon, man I told you! We're young, it feels so long!
TMVI. Would you like to do a movie like “Pink Floyd Live in Pompeii” maybe “The Mars Volta Live at the Colosseum”?
O. WHUUUUU! That would be fucking good! It'll be great! That would be amazing! But we do have a concert film that's also gonna come out in the fall.
TMVI. Oh, yes! I read that you will release two dvds, is it true?
O. Yeah! It's two films. One film I've been working on for a while which is just, you know, it's a very personal film it's all the history of the band and all that footage that I shot in the studio when I'm working and I rehearsal and then our time spent together on tour. It's just the whole history of the band so there is Jeremy and different people that has been in the band. But the film that is gonna come out in the fall is just a concert film it's from our concert that we did in Australia, you know, with Thomas with the drumming and it has a little bit from any record and it's really, really, really beautiful shot. The director of “El Bufalo De La Noche” (Jorge Hernandez Aldana) shot it for me and that should come out right around the time that the album comes out. This is really nice, I can't wait for fans to see this!
TMVI. Ok, so I hope to see it soon! Thanks a lot Omar for this interview. You are amazing! Ciao!
O. Ciao, Ciao!