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Interview: Omnia

mit Sic und Jenny vom 2. März 2012 im Knust, Hamburg
Es ist immer wieder faszinierend, wie groß eigentlich kleine Locations auf einen wirken, wenn erst einmal menschenleer sind. Solche oder ähnliche Gedanken schossen uns von Metal Trails durch den Kopf, als wir uns gleich nach dem Soundcheck mit Sic und Jenny auf ein Sofa vor dem Mischpult zurückzogen, um über ihr Musikprojekt „Omnia“, Weltraumaffen, eine sterbende Welt, McDoof-Kulturen, Spiegelbildikonen, finnische Märchenerzählungen, Harfen und ignorante Politik zu sprechen.
Nun, wenn es für alternative Menschen eine Steigerung gibt, dann stünde dieses Pärchen aus den Niederlanden sicher sehr weit oben auf der Punkteliste; was nun gar nicht negativ gemeint sein soll. Umso interessanter verlief das Gespräch, in welchem die beiden nicht nur rhetorischen Scharfsinn sondern auch eine sehr differenzierte Weltanschauung offenbarten. Ob man den Vorstellungen und Ideen der zu Unrecht mancherlei als „Hippie Folkler“ abtitulierten Musikern nun zustimmt oder nicht, sie werfen interessante und schwerwiegende Fragen auf. Seid also bereit für ein Interview der etwas anderen Art!
Und weil Gevatter Pech jedes noch so gute Magazin eines grauen Tages heimsucht und wir von Metal Trails unsere Portion Fluchpotential Ende Februar für zehn Jahre im Voraus weg bekommen haben, mussten wir das Interview für euch leider transkribieren. Dem Tonabnehmer wurde das Gespräch nämlich zu akademisch und so verkroch er sich lieber auf die Bühne, um an Jennys Harfe das Lied vom Rattenfänger von Hameln einzustudieren! Flöten waren leider gerade aus. Daher kommt das Interview auch mit leichter Verspätung.
Doch nun genug der Worte und viel Spaß mit Omnia!

Das Interview

Arne: Hi guys! It’s Metal Trails again. Today we’re in the Knust in Hamburg, talking with Steve and Jenny from Omnia! Hey there! Nice to have you here. You’re on tour through Germany and the Netherlands right now. How has it been so far?
Sic: Chaotic, but fun! Yeah, that’s cool! We love playing in Germany. It’s always chaotic on the road. You’re just coming in and out of hotels and in and out of venues and looking at the backstage catering to see if they have soy milk and your vegetarian stuff ... but it’s going really well up to now! The German audiences are amazing!
Arne: Yeah, we’ve noticed that you have a lot of band activity here in Germany. Since you are a band from the Netherlands, how does it come?
Sic: I think there is a big “freak scene” here in Germany and they are open to new things. The rest of Europe is quite conservative in their music taste. But in Germany, we have this weird “mittelalter scene” and even though we don’t really make medieval music, we play a lot in this scene. So that’s why we are a lot in Germany.
Arne: Do you think that this “freakiness” is required for people to like your music, or are there other countries where your work is quite welcome?
Sic: The freakiness is not required, we also have a lot of straight people listen to our music as well. A lot of people from different genres. But we like freaky people because we are some kind of it ourselves.
Arne: You are now on your „I don’t speak Human Tour 2012“. That’s a quite interesting phrase I think! Why did you choose this one?
Sic: Well, we’ve noticed that most of our life we try to keep telling people that they’re doing something wrong with the planet, with nature and everything the like. It seems they just can’t understand it! And every time I try to cope in this society – talking to government people, police or just people on the street – it’s just they can’t understand us or why we think and how we feel. So I feel like we don’t speak the same language as the rest of this species of space monkeys on this planet. So that is „we don’t speak human”! And it’s also the animals and plants themselves on this planet. I feel like they are trying to tell us something. And they’re saying it constantly! But nobody understands it because, well, they don’t speak human. Human is a very specific language to speak! Humans understand a very strange language, not ours …
Arne: It sounds like it’s important for you to have a deep meaning in your songs and your band activities overall. Do you agree?
Sic: Yes! Yes, our band Omnia is not a project like most bands. It’s not just something to have a little bit of fun with and make some music and score some groupies. It’s really special to have this band because it’s our life and this music is an expression of what we think. Our lives make sound and the sound is the music that you hear in Omnia. So everything we do has a deeper meaning and a deeper message.
Jenny: I completely agree there, actually! It’s Steve and me, we write most of the music and we are just so lucky that we can actually live from this. But you know, you have to find the balance between not doing it for the money but still being able to live from it. So it’s always like a tricky balance. We could be much more commercial, but we don’t want to be! We want to be authentic! But it’s really hard in the world of music business. There is a lot of fake stuff. And the fake stuff is actually what sales the best. But we want to stay real.
Arne: Where would you see the differences between the „fake stuff“ and the „real stuff“?
Sic: I think most of the world is made up by fake stuff, actually. It’s like anything you see on television. You see smiling people all having fun! And their lives are so much better because their washing powder is like „super”. And you go to McDonalds where you can buy happiness for like 3 Euros. Lalalala! It’s all fake! Governments and politicians saying: „Well, you vote for me and I’ll make your life better!“ And then? What do they do? So everything is fake in a sort of like most people want it to be fake. We just hate that! We want that everything we do is real. What you see is what you get! We believe in honor, trust, honesty and stuff like that! Those are sort of things like kind of dead in the modern world. Nowadays, it’s kind of strange to be honest to people and to say what you mean, to say what you feel. And always smile! You know what I mean?
Arne: Have you ever been criticized as being some kind of maybe like „Hippie Metal Band” or something like that? If „Metal“ at all.
Sic: Yeah! Well, I don’t know if it’s actually „criticism”. People have told us that they think we’re „Hippie Gothic“, „Hippie Metal“, „Hippie Punk“, „Hippie-all-sort-of-things“. And I think they say „hippie“ because we love nature and it’s sort of not done to love nature. You’re supposed to love your iPhone and you laptop and your big fucking clock!
Arne: I think it’s quite interesting that you’ve got a lot of quite exotic instruments in your band and actually a lot of instruments I’ve personally given up on trying to even pronounce their name! How did you get to play these? I mean, it’s not like you can just walk into any random musician school to learn them …
Sic: We travel around a lot and we meet a lot of really interesting musicians! A lot of them are ex metal people, ex this or ex that. People want to come back to the traditional roots and they play freaky instruments. Sometimes you meet somebody and you think: „That’s a fuckin’ freaky instrument! Could you teach me that?” And he just shows you a few things, teach you and you play it. And we collect instruments! We like to play a lot of different instruments. That’s our passion, we like real instruments. Things that are not synthetic, things that you can still play just like this, without having to plug in all sorts of stuff or switching on your computer to generate beats.
Arne: Sounds like it might be interesting for you sometime to invent your own instrument!
Sic: We actually do! A lot of the instruments we built ourselves. Well, the double-flute we use I built myself. We’ve built different types of weird combinations of instruments. But most of them we don’t use on stage because it’s very hard to get the sound right even with the acoustic instruments we have.
Arne: There’ll be this bunch of instruments ... about eleven, twelve instruments everybody of you plays. How do you manage to switch them on stage, to keep them all part of the performance?
Sic: The hardest thing is keeping them all in tune, because most rock venues aren’t really made to have classical instruments staying in tune, like cellos. They are made for electric guitars and stuff you just plug in do a bit of tuning. So it’s tricky, but with a lot of perseverance and skill you can keep it all running.
Jenny: For me it’s always tricky, because I play harp! And my harp has 34 strings and it’s made of wood. So if the temperature changes or the humidity level of the air changes, which happens, because right now we are sitting here in an iced empty club and it’s a nice temperature, you know? And my harp is like tuned and fine. But when the people come in and the lights go on, it suddenly goes like 15 degrees warmer. All the people are breathing, so the air gets more humid. So at the end of the club shows I always have to re-tune. For a lot of people this is hard to understand, for the audience they go like: „Ah! They just play!“ But it’s horrible! And I’m always struggling with the lights, because they keep blinding me and I can’t see the strings. But I love it so much that you know, I still want to do that and the sound is great. So, there you go!
Arne: Yeah. One would have never thought that being musician is an easy job, right?
Sic: No, if we wanted an easy job, we would go and work at some fuckin’ office like an idiot!
Arne: But you’re not only using special instruments, you’re also diving into very different languages in your song like English, Irish, Breton, Finnish, German, Latin and Hindi! How do you manage to bring all this languages into your songs? Do you actually speak them?
Sic: No, we don’t speak all of the languages ourselves. Part of the languages we speak ourselves and some of the other ones we just like to send them into the songs to send them into a certain type of a poetry or a text. We just got friends of ours who speak this languages, for example from Scandinavia, we will get them to explain us exactly how to pronounce it and how to get the feeling right and then perform them on the stage.
Arne: Is it sometimes hard?
Sic: Yeah, but it just takes practice! Everything in life is hard and you just have to practice! And then it gets better.
Arne: Any other languages planned for the future?
Sic: Whatever we feel like comes along. We never really plan anything. Our music just happens …
Arne: So generally, how do you write a song? Is it like your being influenced by poetries or something like that or do you give the songs to your friends who can translate them in their language?
Sic: No, if we write the songs ourselves – like if it’s not The Raven, that’s a piece of poetry we put into music – the words just come from life. I don’t know where they come from. I just think every kind of music is a gift, if you’re a musician like we are. It just comes to you! All you have to do is to be open and get it quiet in your head. Then the music comes forward from it. And also the words!
Arne: You said it’s important for you to put a message into your music. Isn’t that quite hard sometimes when the fans cannot really understand the lyrics of a song?
Sic: That’s why every song with a really fat, fucking message is in English. If they can’t understand it, they shouldn’t listen to our music.
Arne: So every Hindi song is like a bonus?
Sic: Er, yah! (laughs)
Jenny: I have a hung up with Finish! I really like the language, but I don’t speak it. I would have loved to learn the language but I just don’t. But I did read the really special medieval manuscript of folk stories which is called the Kalevala. I’ve read this in English of course and I found some pieces in there that I really liked! It’s a very erotic stories, some love stories, fairies and stuff like this. So for example the song „Leave“ is a poem from the Kalevala, which I really liked and I made it to fit the music. Of course I had a Finnish friend who was recording the lyrics for me and I was listening and tried to get it right.
Arne: Generally, if it comes to this folk music scene, it is not like having hard borders between what is folk music and what is not. What would you say is your music? Would you agree when people call you a „pagan” band?
Sic: Yes, we’re definitely a pagan band! That’s because pagan is a religion and we are very religious people and we make very religious music in a pagan nature loving way. Pagan is basically a nature worship religion. And we use a lot of old religions like pre-christian Celtic religion or Germanic religion and that’s just our general way in life and the things we do. So yes, you can say we’re a pagan band. Well, you could say we’re a folk band because we make traditional music. We write it in a traditional style, at least a lot of it. But including all the traditions of Europe. Still, we can’t really say we’re a folk band, because when you do that people think you play fuckin’ Irish cover songs all the time! (laughs) And I would never do that! I would hang myself before I do that.
Jenny: I think for the folk brand it’s mainly the instruments. So I can play a pop-song for example on my harp and then I’ll think it’s folk, because it’s played on a folky instrument. And it will sound like folk! So we just have acoustic instruments and so for me this whole folk part of the pagan folk is really the instruments. Because some songs that we write, they can not be defined as folk, but still the instruments are folk instruments and also there are some Celtic instruments. So the people can say it’s Celtic folk. But you know, it’s always hard to place it in a certain box.
Sic: Yeah, it’s like we play songs from the hip-hop-genre on folk instruments. Or like playing metal ballads on folk instruments. It’s just the instrument choice for us, because it’s real. You can get a closer connection with the audience and their hearts I think, if you play with real instruments and not just rely on things going aiiiiiihnaaaauuuh (mimes an electric guitar, Ed.), because it’s just the music.
Arne: So generally, what’s up next for the band? What can the fans expect from you in the future?
Sic: Just what we’re always doing! Omnia is constantly growing an constantly changing! Actually doing the same thing, but changing ... It’s like a tree! You see it this year, the tree looks like that. You come back next year, it’s the same tree, but it’s bigger - looks different. Come back in ten years and the tree will be different again, but it’s still the same tree! Omnia is like that tree. So what can the fans expect from us? What we’ve always been doing! Just check it out sometimes, you never know.
Arne: Then thanks for the interview! Would you mind saying a few final greetings to the fans out there?
Sic: Okay, this is the words I always like saying to the fans out there: Hi people! Your world is dying! There’s only one person that can change this world, and that is you! So get off your fuckin’ arse and start the revolution today! Thank you, bye!
Jenny: Nothing to add to that! I completely agree!
Arne: All the best for your future and see you next time! Bye!
Wer sich einen Eindruck vom Sound der Band machen möchte,
der kann unten stehend in ihr erfolgreiches 2010er Album „Wolf Love“ reinhören:

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