So we managed to pop in for a chat with Noah Sebastian and Vince Riquier from Bad Omens ahead of their headline show at the Boston Music Rooms in London, and after being introduced to the guys, this is how it all unfolded:
Noizze: So you guys have already played three shows prior to tonight, how has the UK been for Bad Omens so far?
Noah: The UK has been extremely nice to us, obviously there’s a cultural difference and it’s quite refreshing being somewhere else than what we’re used to. We all enjoy travelling and going new places, meeting new people, and the fans here have been super nice, waiting outside the shows for us. We talk to them after we play everyone is just so passionate about the music, so it’s been a blast, so far my favourite show has been Birmingham but I have a good feeling about tonight too, so tonight might beat that.
Vince: I honestly have to agree with Noah, this is my second time playing shows overseas, and the first time doing so with Bad Omens, it’s a true honour for me to be able to play music that I helped write in front of foreign fans, and just to be in a country I never thought I’d come to, in a city and bar I never thought I’d step foot in and to have a bunch of fans sing words that I helped write back at us is so incredible, it’s very humbling, so I’m truly hoping that tonight goes as well as Birmingham.
Noizze: You’ve done several tours over in America now, is there anything about the UK that stands out compared to touring over in America?
Vince: I think the thing that is so drastically different about touring in the UK (aside from the plug sockets) is that there’s a very different calibre of fans here, we meet a lot of people in America who see a new band and they’re just like ‘oh cool’ y’know? And we have those fans that are a bit more passionate about Bad Omens, but it seems like every person coming out to a Bad Omens show over here is just like in complete awe and we don’t know how to really act about it, it’s a very new kind of sensation, again very humbling and I can’t even begin to tell you how remarkable that is to me when I never thought I’d even be here playing these shows.
Noah: And I think aside from the fan experience like Vince said is a little bit different from the US, I mean we do still have some crazy awesome die hard fans in the US, but people here well, I like to think we are a very emotionally driven band especially when it comes to lyrical content and here people I guess are more friendly and open about that kind of stuff, so they aren’t ashamed to admit and talk about it with us in an artist to fan conversation. And yeah the catering and the whole venue and touring experience here is a lot better and nicer towards the band in terms of the levels of respect that have been shown to us in terms of like food and dressing rooms and stuff are much better than the headlining tours in America.
Noizze: So after this tour you guys are heading over to Warped Tour, but do you have any plans extending further than that, what’s the next move for Bad Omens as a band?
Noah: Right after warped, well, this is something we’ve been wanting to do all this year but great tour opportunities keep coming up that we can’t really afford to miss out on and we don’t really want to miss out on, but unless something extremely awesome and great tour wise comes up we just wanna get straight into writing the next album. Jolly (Joakim, Guitar) and myself both write and produce in our free time, so whenever we get that time we like to brainstorm new ideas and we’ve dipped our toes into that to the point where we’re really eager now because we have a lot of cool ideas down, so every time we get new tour opportunities it’s bittersweet ‘cause it’s like oh wow this amazing we’re about do warped but we have this, I guess like blueballs when it comes to writing new songs, and we’re so eager to get them out there so after Warped that’s what we’d like to do, start work on the next album.
Noizze: So you guys decided to straight for an album rather than the common strategy of dropping a few singles and an EP before going for a larger release, what was the thinking behind that?
Noah: Ah well we did actually have an EP, but it never got released because we got picked up by a label before we self released it, which was originally the plan as it’s ideal to release it with a label rather than self release, I guess depending on the circumstances, but then we didn’t start to release any songs as singles until the album was already finished. We were even getting comments from fans like ‘oh this band gets better and better every time they make a new song’ but in reality all the songs had actually been written and recorded for a long time already, so that’s kinda how that process went.
Noizze: As a relatively new band, what’s it like for you guys stepping out on stage every night and just generally being in a band?
Vince: I think that at first, I’ll be honest, our first few tours before our album came out were very disheartening for me, we played massive crowds but they were all for the bands we were touring with, that was their fanbase, and we had basically no published material we were just selling t-shirts at the time and there were a few people that would come up and be like ‘oh hey I saw that one music video that was great’ or ‘hey I loved your set I’ve never heard of you guys’ and that was cool but after our album came out, that very first tour, stepping out on stage to what started as 20 fans, turned into 50 fans, and then the craziest experience was being in Montreal and Noah holding the mic out during 'Worst In Me' and hearing the entire room sing the lyrics back at him. I actually teared up onstage, it was just such a huge feeling.
Noah: I think, touching on that, our hometown Richmond Virginia where the majority of us our from, we played there when we only had two songs out and our experience playing there on that tour versus once our album came out was insane from a hometown perspective, because the first show the only people that really knew the words were our friends, but then the second time when we came back it was a bunch of people that we didn’t know from out hometown which was quite refreshing.
Noizze: So your debut album, which is self titled, is really rich in production value, it sounds very professional from the get go, how did that come about?
Noah: Well that had always been the plan from day one, that’s why this band, despite the fact that we only have this one album out and have only been touring for about a year now, we’ve always taken our time with everything between the music and recording production, the music videos and songwriting, every part of it we would always elect to wait versus putting out something that sounds kinda half assed. For example we even shot new music videos before we had them released because we didn’t like how they were turning out, because we’d rather put out something that we know is good. Quality over quantity is a slogan we definitely have attached to this band, that and depth over width, and it’s a thing that sometimes takes patience, you can’t rush these things if you really care about them y’know?
Noizze: Are there any bands that you’d like to bring back to the UK with you on a future tour?
Vince: Oh wow there’s so many I don’t even know where to start with that one!
Noah: Cane Hill, Sylar, Too Close To Touch, Darke Complex. Those are all our buddies and those are all bands that, well, most of them have been out longer than us but they’re all kinda coming up in the same time frame that we are, and we had the opportunity to tour with and hang out with all of them, they’re all really great and talented dudes and it’s really cool because for a minute the alternative metal and rock scene had this sort of competitive element to it, everyone was worried about how they looked but with us and those guys I can tell they’re all just genuine and we don’t really care about anything but the music and just hanging out and having fun. I would not mind playing underneath one if not all of them just because I wanted to tour and hang out again.
Vince: It was really strange like, what Noah was saying about that kind of competitive dogma that you see sometimes in the music industry, we went into the tour with Attila and Cane Hill and on our first day we all felt a bit guarded, but after talking with the Cane Hill guys it was like oh my god these are like our best friends, I mean Nick and I both tattoo and we ended up tattooing them and all stayed in close touch after, yeah I love those guys, I’d love to tour with them here.
Noizze: So sometime after the initial release of the debut album you did a limited run of colour vinyl editions of the record, have you got any plans to maybe re-press that in the future?
Noah: I would love to honestly, it took so long to do because the whole vinyl printing process is quite a long and expensive one, that’s why we did such a limited run because we wanted to make sure it would do well first but I totally see us doing that again with different colours and that kinda thing.
Noizze: And your merch range it quite extensive already too, you mentioned you do tattoo’s, do you guys have anything to do with your merchandising designs as well?
Vince: Y’know it’s funny but we actually don’t, Nick and I have been offered the opportunity to do so but we were both just way too freaked out about it, but Noah and I were recently discussing something we wanted to do coming up where we have Nick and myself do one respective special edition shirt each, like a Nick shirt design and a Vince shirt design but we haven’t pulled the trigger on that yet.
Noah: I’m sure we will in the future though, it’s just that when it comes to those pieces of merch we wanna make more of an experience about them and their profession as tattooists as well, kinda like a cross promotion so they get the showcasing they deserve rather than it just being a cool shirt on our merch store that no one knows they designed.
Vince: Right now is just about the band really, and then once we’re where we need to be that’s when we’ll start making things a bit more special and exclusive.
Noizze: So you guys called the band Bad Omens, is there any story behind the name or was it just a cool name choice you came up with?
Noah: Funnily enough our song "Glass Houses", well that was originally titled Bad Omens, and before that the band went through three different names before we were publicly announced, and we had this one name that we were pretty sold on before we had Bad Omens, and we all liked it and we all felt good about it, and then Ash, the owner of Sumerian, he didn’t really like it very much and thought we could do better, and we agreed, and he came up with the idea to name the band Bad Omens based on the track title because it was just kinda a cool expression, like it’s kinda spooky and it rolls off the tongue, not too long, I mean personally two word band names are some of my favourites, Cane Hill, Sworn In, stuff like that is long enough to be remembered but not too long that it starts to get confusing y’know?
Vince: The first time it was suggested we name our band Bad Omens I honestly hated it, I think I was just so stuck on our last band name, which was just "Children" without the vowels and I was so sold on that at first, like you call something that you’ve been working on a name for so long you start to believe it, and when we started going by Bad Omens it took me a while to grow into it but as soon as I saw our videos and our promo’s and album art and everything, it just kinda made itself.
Noah: I think the whole "CHLDRN" thing was so appealing because of the industrial elements in our album, and Vince is the biggest Nine Inch Nails fan, so when you picture anything without vowels or something with cool fonts or symbols it just looks cool when you put those industrial elements to it, so it definitely felt cool for a second but overall Bad Omens kinda covers all those grounds a bit better.
Noizze: So which member of the band does actually have the bad luck? Who is the bad omen?
Vince: Oh, so Joakim, Jolly, our guitar player, well he’s from Sweden, and one of the greatest adversities that this band has faced over the past couple of years was getting him from Sweden to America, our first 3 tours he was not with us whatsoever, and it was a constant uphill battle dealing with all the legality of it, and he had to pay like several thousand dollars to a lawyer to process his visa, and we got this huge tour offer, the biggest one that we had ever had at the time, the Asking Alexandria tour last year, and it wasn’t til like a month and a half before that we found out Jolly was gonna be able to finally join us for that tour, so that was a long string of bad luck that eventually turned into the best luck, so at least it all had a big payoff.
Noah: The band overall hasn’t really had bad luck so far, like no huge setbacks of hiccups yet which is really nice, and I don’t wanna jinx myself or anything but when we first started it was like oh god we shouldn’t have named our band Bad Omens, like anytime anything goes wrong we’re gonna be like damnit why did we do that, we deserved this, I guess it’s worth it for the cool name.
This concluded our chat with Bad Omens, a great band that are headed towards big things in the coming years, check out our review of the show from the very same night here: Bad Omens | Boston Music Rooms