Home to nearly 5.6 million residents, Atlanta is somewhat of a seething metropolis still searching for its’ unique identity, akin to an adolescent claiming that, “who they are today, is what they will be tomorrow.” With so many people relocating to Atlanta, the city has an unearthly way of feeling like this “adolescent metropolis” will one day soon spontaneously combust from within. From deep within this mantle lies a “cultural pressure cooker” that has often times produced rare gems. These rarities have been presented to me, in the form of great local musicians and the foreigners that have now claimed Atlanta as their musical hub. One such band, that I was graciously granted the opportunity to chat with is Atlanta’s own, Avant-Pop trio OMNI.
OMNI is the offspring of best buds Philip Frobos (lead singer/bass), Frankie Broyles (guitar) and Billy Mitchell (drums). The trio first knew they had a rhythmic commonality back in 2008, while playing a house show with their respective bands. The rest is as you say “musical history.” We loved the noise that these guys made in their previous bands, but if you want or need a history lesson, then this is not it. The the topic at hand is OMNI’s new LP Deluxe (out for the masses as of July), which has received favorable accolades since it’s release. A well rested Philip, who just ended the band’s Summer tour a few months prior, agreed to meetup with me at our favorite stomping ground The Earl; to give our readers an insight on what the band has in store for 2017. I nervously caught up with Philip on an unusually warm Fall evening at The Earl, where we agreed that the perfect place to conduct the interview would be at a table on the outside patio. As we began to warm up to each other over beer (I haphazardly, forgot my wallet at home while trying to make it on time. As a true gent, Philip offered to purchase mine as well); I began our dialogue soon after. I thought I had it all figured out and knew the direction the interview would go. Yet, as I went along I found myself whimsically following Philip down the “rabbit hole,” to discover things about the band I would have never thought of to ask.
JB: With your debut album Deluxe now available, what does the future look like for OMNI?
PF: Just finished touring for a total of 7 weeks for the [Deluxe] record. We’re taking a break for the rest of the year to record the second album. There is one more show this year at the Earl on December 29th. We’re hitting the road again late January 2017 until April. We got a European tour and U.S. tour.
JB: This year was the Summer tour, what states did you hit? And did you go out of the country?
PF: This Summer we did Canada and all the major cities in the US, the whole country really.
JB: When you finished your tour you ended it here. Is there a connection that the band has with the Earl?
PF: Damon [show promoter] here is one of our dearest friends. It’s [The Earl] a very well rounded, open-minded spot and just a great dive bar.
JB: Are you guys interested in exploring new sounds or are you sticking with the lo-fi?
PF: I think you’ll find that the next record will have a similar sound, there might be a little bit of improvement in the recording quality but not much. I never been a big fan of bands that change up everything about them record to record. I think that our second record is going to please people in that way, and you know we’re happy with that.
JB: I’ve come to associate your sound with the Brooklyn based band Parquet Courts.
PF: Yeah, we get that from time to time. I think that our bands are similarly influenced by a lot of stuff from the 70’s and 80’s, so I think that’s probably where we come to blows a lot. That’s good.
JB: You both remind me of New York’s pop scene during the late 70’s and early 80’s. You have a message that’s not delivered in the conventional “poppy” format. I guess what type of audience are you trying to reach? Is there a particular audience, perhaps more intelligent?
PF: I’d hate to say intelligent, but some of our influences lean that way and others really don’t (laughing). We do write pop songs, but Frankie and I make sure there’s at least something interesting there.
JB: Will we see OMNI play any local house shows in the near future? You don’t have to book it, but would you play it?
PF: (replies with a smile) Um, maybe, we’ll see, not right now. Maybe later, if we do, we’ll think about it next year, we’ll see. Not in Atlanta, but…
JB: (laughing) Is it because you would like to broaden your audience more?
PF: Well honestly, I don’t know if we were going to play a house show, I don’t know where that would be? So, yeah. (laughing).
JB: I love seeing OMNI perform at venues like the Earl, but I want our AMG readers to know about you too.
PF: Oh, right, the younger audience, is that what you mean?
JB: Well no, I would say the older crowd too. It’s like everybody has their “normalcy” or where they’re used to going and I just feel like, bringing you to our readers and knowing where you guys like to play often, will help get it out.
PF: (smiling) If you could have us play and it was up to you, where would you have us play?
JB: (stumped for a good 2mins) I like Eddie’s Attic for the atmosphere, not so much for the acoustics…
PF: Yeah, I don’t think we’d fit in there?
JB: (laughing) Yeah, I know. I like it for where it is, but not so much for you guys, but I come here [the Earl] to see shows and I go to 529. Maybe the Buckhead Theater? That would be more to broaden.
PF: Well, I guess I was asking you because it sounded like you were kinda saying, that we weren’t reaching an audience that you thought, that we could be reaching?
JB: Yeah, that’s why I said the Buckhead Theater, not to say you guys fit there or that’s your “thing”…I mean it’s more “yuppie.” I saw the Kills there a couple of weeks ago and it was a great show, I just felt like it was a “yuppier” crowd. The energy that was given off was as if you took a bunch of folk, who more so interested in the aesthetics/scene of a minimalist/working class lifestyle, verses being part of the actual community. The Growlers same thing, I saw them at Terminal West, um same thing Georgia Tech, so…
PF: We’d be down to play over there [Terminal West] at some point.
JB: When you guys perform, where do you prefer to perform at?
PF: Oh, we like the Earl! We’ve played 529 in town as well, those two are good. Um, I like Starbar, I don’t think we’ve played there yet with this group, but I like it.
(Andy (Earl’s bartender) says bye to Philip)
PF: See ya! Thanks Andy!
JB: Are you from here, born and raised?
PF: Yeah basically, I’m from a little bit north of Atlanta. But I’ve been living here for 11 years.
JB: (giggling) Oh ok, you got the Atlanta swag thing going on, It’s different but it’s a good thing.
PF: (smiling) Oh ok, alright. What’s different about it? From New York or LA, is that what you mean?
JB: Um, yeah but it’s a southern…I don’t know, how can I define it? I would say it’s like an intellectual, um…I don’t know? (laughing)
PF: (laughing) I don’t want to put you on the spot.
JB: (laughing) I’m digging myself in a hole!
JB: So you were roommates with Frankie[Broyles] at one point, would you ever do that again?
PF:I enjoyed being roommates, I mean I think we both liked it, but it was maybe out of necessity at the time. We actually did kind of talk about it recently, where we kind of said it was probably not a good idea for anyone in the band to live together anymore. Just because we spend so much time together that you know…
JB: Yeah, over kill.
PF: Yeah, especially like, when we’ve been touring more lately and it’s just like, 24/7 for over a month, you know? Sometimes you got to be able to get away, you know?
JB: Um hm
PF: Not to say that we…we still spend, we still all spend a lot of time together. We’re a close knit bunch.
JB: I was going to say that you “like each other,” you don’t have like that “Oasis complex” type of thing.
PF: Naw, yeah, fuck that.
JB: If anything, I would honestly say you guys [Phillip&Frankie] remind me of Thom and Johnny from Radiohead, that it’s kind of….I know I know, your face is like “where the fuck am I going with this?” No, but honestly when I was reading about you guys and everything and how you play off of each other, you [Phillip] kind of come up with your ideas after, like you know, like a rift or something like that. Yeah, no I mean that’s unique!
PF: Cool, sounds like a good relationship.
JB: (laughing) Yeah no! It is, it really is!
JB: This is like a start, to see who you are, I guess a better understanding, so it’s not like I’m just going to a show and saying “Hey, this is OMNI’s sound!” but I’m actually asking [you] “what is your sound? Where do you guys like to go?” I feel like this kinda makes it more personable, I’m not just on top of my soapbox (kids ask your grandparents!) yelling “Come see OMNI perform because they sound like this!” and etc. Atlanta Music Guide is all about local music and all of that, and this is kind of why I’m doing it; focusing more so on Atlanta based bands. Philip you have been a pleasure!
PF: Oh ok, well thanks so much.
JB: Yeah, I thank you, this was awesome!
OMNI’s next and last performance of the year will be held at the Earl December 29th. Definitely checkout OMNI’s website at https://www.facebook.com/omniatl/ for future dates on shows and other interesting tidbits.
*Below are a couple of shows you may want to checkout and as always show these artists some Atl lOvE!*
I Love Concerts So! Check These Out!
- Dorothy (Underground House & Techno to East Atl) Nov 22 @529 Bar
- The 1975 Nov 22 @Fox Theatre
- The Good Life Nov 23 @The Earl
- BlackBerry Smoke Nov 25th @The Tabernacle
- NoBunny Nov 26 @The Earl
- MUUY BIIEN Nov 29 @529 Bar
- Shampoo & Material Girls Dec 01 @529 Bar
- Cory Henry & The Funk Apostles Dec 03 @Aisle 5
- Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe Ft. Jimmy Herring Dec 03 @Terminal West
- SAD13(Sadie From Speedy Ortiz) Dec 9 @Drunken Unicorn
Until next time kIDs! Keep your HeAdpHoNEs on!