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INTERVIEW: On Broken Wings

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We’ve been, we exist. Our bodies live.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Kunomuia”?

I can talk to you a lot about it ha, not sure what info is interesting or not.
Kunomuia, like pretty much all of the songs on Disintegrator, was written about 8 years ago now. Some of you may remember a few of the tracks’ demo versions on the On Broken Wings MySpace page from the 2008 era. Kunomuia wasn’t one of them, but has lived as a song in our memories through the years. I’m happy to finally have a recorded version of it, as it’s probably my favorite song off of Disintegrator.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

The lyrics are about struggling to keep something alive that you once had a great passion or love for, but the years have chipped away at the original feelings. It was definitely motivated by specific events, but in OBW I try to focus the lyrics more on feelings that events trigger, rather than make them directly about certain things. Kunomuia could be about a significant other, a job, friendships, your life’s passions or goals in general… I think all of these things can create a mood of wasted time and longing for the original inspiration and motivation they created at some point. I felt at a bad destination only crossroads in life when the lyrics were written.

Most of OBW’s lyrics/songs come out of a self loathing, focusing on the painful things to come out of staying alive feeling. My main goal when writing or contributing to any song is to have the music sound the way I felt while I wrote the words. Music will always be best for me when it’s easily identifiable audio emotions. The talent shows can stay at home if they aren’t delivering any kind of emotion as far as I’m concerned. Music shouldn’t be a math problem.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We have some video ideas mulling around, I’m not sure if Kunomuia would be the best choice if we have to pick one song off the album.

It’s part of being in a band I hate. Without having too much pride in the songs I’ve helped create… they are all my babies and they wouldn’t have seen the public if they didn’t fill the role I wanted them to at inception. But to put a visual emotion on top of the audio is a real trick for me. It’s a harder job to now also convey the vibe of the songs visually. The concept has to be right and then you have to find the right director to pull it off for the budget you have.

I think music videos are a great way to put your art out there in a more accessible way and help establish what your band is actually offering people, but a lot of the time they are just there to be a video. I’m not into the idea of doing things just to do them, I want to realize a vision or walk away from it.

The single comes off your new album Desintegrator – what’s the story behind the title?

Well, I’d hope it would be fairly obvious accompanying the album art, but in the same aesthetic as the song Kunomuia, it’s just focusing on the observation that we are part of a finite world. Everything that motivates and means so much to us personally is crumbling and eroding, including ourselves. Nothing is forever, even evolutions are disintegrating. Everyone in all the graveyards felt the same ups and downs as we do now.
It’s like nihilism and shit ya feel?

How was the recording and writing process?

It was stupid ha. Mike, our guitarist,  now has a studio and since the mid 2000s, has become a recording engineer. I still tour a good amount as a tour manager and am not at home much.  The recording process was a lot of “get in there and do your parts when you can” and when Mike/the studio had free time.

It was unlike recording any album has ever been for me. Where normally you have a deadline and all the parts are tracked at the same time, we went months just getting bits done when we could, and tracking what we could when people and the studio were available. It was a really laid back process which is actually not the environment that thrives for me when making anxious/angry music.

Luckily, most of these songs were written and demoed years ago and we had holes burning in us to get them out and fully hear what we wanted on tape. Or on a computer, whatever.

In any case it took us about a year or more to get it together and have a collection of recorded songs. The band isn’t any of our main life priorities now, but we all write music constantly in some form (Kev, Burke and Rob are all still in active bands), it’s more about creating and recording music for me than it is performing live or doing tours or selling CDs.

You have been called the pioneers of Metalcore – how do you feel about the genre these days and all these -core mania?

I’ll accept that title ha, though I believe we should share it with about 10 other bands. But yes, I see and hear a lot of On Broken Wings in a lot of diverse current bands.

As far as how I feel about contemporary heavy music? There have always been bands doing it for real and bands doing it as a job.

I think it comes down to who you are as people making the music and your live show. I love playing live and having people into what we’re delivering obviously ha, but it’s taxing to also put on the live show I want to accompany the music night after night. Treating hardcore or metal or aggressive music (probably any music) like a job and just running the routine kills it for me. I don’t like seeing kids up on stage screaming but not pissed off. Like just up there stomping around and yelling about your dreams coming true or some tongue in cheek heavy bullshit? Nah.

Give me something real, even if it’s an emotion or vibe I’m not really feeling, I just want to believe you. I never cared about making a career out of OBW, it wasn’t even an option I saw when the band was active. And the raw anger and frustration at and intolerance of things in the mainstream world, musical or otherwise, coming from the bands we played with back then, was real and unmatched.

I’m not saying real aggressive bands don’t exist, I’ve seen lots of contemporary bands I believe and love recently, but to answer how I feel about the whole “-core mania” happening now, I’d say most of the guys getting attention are watered down and for show. It’s just guys who people wanted to be fans of in any capacity. Give a guitar to someone with tattoos and a tumblr following and you got a good chance at a commercial success.

After so long in the scene – how would this album showcase an evolution on the band’s sound?

Jeez I dunno, obviously we all got older. Technology changed, we evolved as musicians and as thinking/feeling beings. It’s impossible to honestly recreate something that existed before. People in general love to build up an underdog just to tear them down. If you don’t sound exactly the same then you sold out or are no good anymore. But Some Of Us May Never See The World was recorded in like 2002, analog, by teenagers struggling to make their instruments sound like they felt inside. That’s just not the situation anymore.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

From the circling thoughts and feelings in my life. A lot of OBW lyrics are exact things that have been said to or by me in real life. If I couldn’t make songs that sound like the lyrics meaning I just wouldn’t do it. Forcing a record out to maintain relevancy is not good for me or On Broken Wings, maybe it works for some people and I’m sure a lot of my favorite records were put out because of that, but I think writing songs and lyrics when they’re just pouring out of your actual life and experiences is when you’ll catch the best of any musician or artist. The works that manifest themselves because of who you are is what makes me feel like maybe it’s time to put something new out, not just writing songs to have new songs.

Any plans to hit the road?

We’ve played a few festivals (TX Independance Fest, So What?! Fest, New England Metalfest) and did a few shows with our buddies in Bury Your Dead when they announced they were back earlier this year. Like I said, I love playing live, but I’m also not trying to be famous or extremely relevant right now ha, so I’m happy playing the select shows that I think are impactful and give people a chance to see us.

What else is happening next in On Broken Wings’ world?

Violence.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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