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metronome charisma
a.k.a. Наська


Зарегистрирован: 05.01.2010
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СообщениеДобавлено: Пн Апр 26, 2010 6:57 pm    Заголовок сообщения: статьи и интервью для перевода Ответить с цитатой

Друзья!
Здесь мы выкладываем интересные (ну, иногда - неочень))) статьи и интервью для перевода. Вы можете также оставить здесь интервью (желательно со ссылкой на источник), перевод которого вы бы хотели прочесть. Ну и со временем он у нас появится Smile
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metronome charisma
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СообщениеДобавлено: Сб Авг 28, 2010 4:14 pm    Заголовок сообщения: Ответить с цитатой

INTERVIEW: OMAR RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ
[Recently, Alternative Press did a feature called "Class of 2000," wherein they looked back at several important/influential albums that are now 10 years old. One of them was At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command. So I interviewed guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez for the third time, to get his thoughts on that record and the disintegration of ATDI soon after its release. Some of the Q&A didn't make it into the magazine, for space reasons, so here's the full transcript.]

What was your relationship with producer Ross Robinson like?
On that record, Ross basically ran the show. I was very eager to be learning at that time. I always say I?m still in training. I?m still learning, but the root of my training was from [producer] Alex Newport, who came before Ross. Then Ross and then Mario [Caldato Jr.], because De Facto?the other band Cedric [Bixler-Zavala] and I had?recorded with Mario C right around the same time. Then of course, there was Rick Rubin. My schooling was watching those guys and seeing what pieces of gear they had and asking questions about why they?d choose to use that particular gear. Ross, at that time, had the reputation for being the wild guy who would throw things or drive you around, doing things like method acting, but for whatever reason, he didn?t really do that with me. I know he threw a trash can a couple of times, and he took Paul [Hinojos, bass] and drove him in an SUV really fast through the hills in Malibu, where there was no barrier, to get his adrenaline going and recorded him that way. But with me it was a very different type of relationship.

How did Iggy Pop wind up on the record?
That was by way of Ross Robinson. He had been talking to Iggy because they were gonna work together. I don?t know if they ever did, but they?d sort of been chatting, so Ross had passed him our previous records and he liked them. So, of course I brought up the idea, ?Why not [have Iggy] come and do something on the album?? Ross mentioned it to Iggy, and he was completely open to it. He came down to the studio for a whole day in which he sang [on ?Rolodex Propaganda?] and did the ransom note on [?Enfilade?].

When you were making Relationship of Command, was the band already divided into you and Cedric versus the other three?
It was always like that. You see, that?s a thing people don?t understand because we never really talked about our internal affairs. There wasn?t the ?reality show? approach to bands like there is now. It was like that from the beginning. It was always me and Cedric. We were in tons of bands before At The Drive-In and we continue to be in bands after At The Drive-In. It was always sort of us against particularly Jim [Ward, guitar] and his candy-coated way of doing things. For example, people always say we broke up out of nowhere and we imploded because of the popularity, and that?s something that always makes us laugh. We?re all good friends now. We all talk now. I invited Tony Hajjar [drums] and Jim and Paul [Hinojos, bass] down to my house in Mexico and had them over. I flew them down here. We?re all good friends, and we still laugh about that [rumor] because [the break up] had nothing to do with that. It was just that I felt it was our time. I felt that the lifespan of the band was over and I broke the band up. It was all personal affairs. It was very much a life thing, it had nothing to do with external pressure and all those theories. Going back to this point again about the way people say that we imploded out of nowhere, they don?t understand the context that we broke up at least three or four other times before we finally broke up. There were three or four times where I or Cedric or Cedric and I both talked about leaving the group because our desires were so different [from the rest of the band]. Looking back on it, it?s part of the beauty of that band and what made it work. It wasn?t what we wanted versus what they wanted. It was a really special dynamic, even though it was volatile in that way. It was what made the band what it was. I don?t regret it at all.

If the band hadn?t broken up, what do you think the album after Relationship Of Command would have sounded like?
It would have been a heartless piece of garbage. I mean, I can only assume that because I wouldn?t have been doing it for the right reasons, and I don?t think that expression or art should come second to anything else. I think the only reason to [play music] is expression?getting out the thing you have inside that can?t be conveyed through any language, whether it be English, Spanish, Japanese or German. So I think when something isn?t real, people will perceive it. Even if they don?t, I just think we would have imploded. I would have been very unhappy; Cedric would have been very unhappy doing it just to do it; and then a true resentment and a true hatred for each other would?ve grown. That?s what happens in a normal human psychology?you start blaming each other. Even though I would have only blamed myself for not leaving, that would be the true blame. It would?ve been easy for me to blame someone else and be like, ?Oh, they?re the reason this record sucks.? When in actuality, I would have been the reason?for not being honest. You know, it?s like I always say when people ask me about the breakup: It?s like staying in a relationship with a woman you?re not in love with. It doesn?t work for anybody. You?re lying to yourself, you?re hurting yourself and in the process you?re hurting the other person. You know the way life is. Life is not gonna make it easy for you when you?re living a lie.

What?s your least favorite thing about the album?
In a heartbeat I could tell you, one of my only regrets out of anything I?ve ever done is the way that record was mixed. That record was ruined by the mix. Up until I moved to Europe in 2005, I had the rough mixes that we made on the console [for reference]. Those CDs that I kept were so much more potent and raw. People think that was a raw and energetic record, but what they?re hearing is nothing compared to what it truly was before it was glossed over and sent through the mixing mill that was Andy Wallace?who is a wonderful person and a very talented mixing engineer and has done great albums?I?m not trying to offend him? And I understand he had the pressure of the label and all the people who had dreams of it being this grandiose thing, and being played on the radio, which it was, [but] that record was ruined by the mix. I just find it the most passive, plastic? It?s the one record [I played on that] I still to this day cannot listen to. The mix ruined it for me.

The cover art has a lot of Trojan horse imagery?was that related to the lyrical content, or was it that you guys felt the band were sneaking into the mainstream or something?
It was a running concept that Cedric had going through his lyrics that we all noticed. It wasn?t even a conscious thing for Cedric, but it was more looking at the overall thing that we had created and seeing the lyrics and the music and the themes we talked about at the time. We realized that, first of all, it?s a nice story. It can also be seen politically. I think we always thought of it conceptually more as ideas or a passion. You?re surrounded by something that?s passionless and you bring a heart inside. I don?t think it was ever as grandiose as us sneaking into the mainstream world. We had no idea what that record would end up doing. We were just happy to be making our album. I think it ended up taking on that context for people, but at the time, being in the middle of it and making the record, it was way more of a personal thing. In all of our music, whether it?s evident or not, our politics are in that music. At the time, we toured a lot with other bands and were exposed to a lot of people. For me in particular, I just became completely disillusioned and saw what bullshit the music scene was. It?s why to this day, I don?t have opening acts. It?s like the term ?Sex, drugs and rock ?n? roll.? Rock ?n? roll, which is supposed to be the musical aspect of it, comes last?sex and drugs are first. It was the sort of thing where you run into other bands and they talked about anything else but the things that were actually important. So it just seemed like a lot of the illusion of what art was and why you do music were shattered when you met all these bands who were really just interested in partying and girls. They put very little time or effort into their craft. So what that means to me is that it?s something without soul and something without heart, and that?s what I relate about coming in with heart and being surrounded by a sea of things that don?t have anything truly to do with the path of healing.

How did the album come to be released by Grand Royal?
That was our dream come true. We used to put out our records ourselves, and then we did them on Fearless and Flipside. When the idea first came that labels were asking about us, we had the conversation with our manager about what would be the ultimate label for us. This was years and years before [Relationship of Command], but we said Grand Royal. It just seemed like the perfect thing. They had the right attitude and seemed to be doing it for the right reasons, yet they were sort of considered a major. They had some push behind them, tour support, all that kind of stuff. So if we could dream, it would be Grand Royal. Then years later, when we got signed after Fearless, we signed actually to a company called Den, and they were really ahead of their time, actually. It was sort of like this internet label. In fact, that was kind of the weight that crushed them. They were making TV shows that were gonna be strictly on the internet. They gave us a digital camera when we first signed with them that was nicer than our own. We kept filming everything and cut them up and with that we made these little programs. But at the time, most people?s internet connections weren?t fast enough, so it didn?t work. You?d sit there to watch the TV show and you?d give up. Then Den crumbled under some sort of scandal, I don?t know what it was. I wouldn?t wanna start a rumor, but one day the owners told us, ?Den is closed. That?s the bad news. But the good news is that you?re gonna be on Grand Royal.? It literally happened from one moment to another. We couldn?t believe our ears. So the same core of people we were working with remained the same, just all of a sudden now we were talking to [Grand Royal owner and Beastie Boy] Mike D. Mike went on to put out a De Facto record, and we never asked him to. We never pushed it on him and said, ?Oh, by the way, we have this [album from our other band].? He sort of just heard about it and put it out. Once I broke up [ATDI], I drove straight to L.A. and he was the first person I told. He was kind enough. I expected him to be mad at me and never want to talk to me again because they had gotten distribution with Virgin based purely off At The Drive-In. But instead of being mad at me, he said, ?Well, whatever you do next, I definitely want to put it out.? So he was gonna put out the first Mars Volta record, and then Virgin pulled out completely and he decided to close Grand Royal.

Any more solo albums coming this year?
There?s four that have already come out and there?s six more coming this year. Then I?ll be releasing another film that hopefully will be in the winter festivals and then one that I?m making now that?ll hopefully be in the spring festivals. And touring in between all that, of course.
Posted by Phil Freeman at 5:43 AM

http://runningthevoodoodown.blogspot.com/2010/08/interview-omar-rodriguez-lopez.html
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СообщениеДобавлено: Вт Авг 31, 2010 8:25 pm    Заголовок сообщения: Icons of Rock: Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Ответить с цитатой

By Ted Maider on August 22nd, 2010 in Hot, Icons of Rock

Back in my youth, when I attended summer camp, my Polish councilor (the lead singer of Polish rock band, Cool Kids of Death) introduced me to the glory, the legend, and insanity that was At the Drive-In. At the ripe age of 13, songs off of Relationship of Command were so cool to me, even though I had no idea what they were even saying. Cedric Bixler-Zavala?s lyrics and vocal style were unlike anything I had ever heard before, and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez? guitar sounded like what I wanted my guitar to sound like: Satan on cocaine. When The Mars Volta took fruition and all my friends began to rave about them, I thought they had taken everything to an all new and even crazier level. Something about the way Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez work as a team is fantastic during this day in age, and in a way, inspirational to create something far greater than anything most people?s ears have ever taken in. Not to mention, they both hyphenated last names. It just seems these two were a match made in rock and roll heaven that is the post-hardcore progressive punk equivalent of Lennon and McCartney.

It seems like an act of the magnitude that Cedric and Omar create could only come out of a place like Texas (El Paso, no less). While bumming around the El Paso hardcore scene, the two met each other when Omar was singing for a band called, Strattled Calf, and met through future At the Drive-In bass player and mutual friend, Paul Hinojos. When At the Drive-In took form, however, Jim Ward was the band?s original guitar player. Together, they formed the band after leaving another El Paso outfit, and recorded to EP?s in the early nineties entitled Hell Paso and ¡Alfaro Vive, Cajaro!? Both of these EP?s did not contain the riffage of Puerto Rican born sensation Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, because he was busy hitchhiking around the country. Eventually though, Bixler-Zavala called Rodriguez-Lope and told him to return to El Paso and when he did, he became the bassist for At the Drive-In.

The band recorded their first full-length album, Acrobatic Tenement. The album had more gritty, punk sound, almost reminiscent of the Replacements sound, but with Cedric Bixler-Zavala?s distinct vocal style. Their following EP, El Gran Orgo was a bit more melodically inclined, with epic tracks like the tight and rhythmic anger of ?Honest to a Fault?, and ?Fahrenheit?, a two-minute poetic collision from Bixler-Zavala, complete with shrill and early Rodriguez-Lopez genius. The band then recorded another full length album, in/Casino/Out, which was the climax of the band?s work as a unit. While it still contained their gritty punk sound, things began to sound a bit more polished and intense. The fast-paced and chopped ?Alpha Centauri? and clear-sung and beautiful ?For Now?We Toast? are included among the tracks recorded on this live-in-the-studio modern day masterpiece.

The reason behind this recording method was because people didn?t think they were capturing the glory of At the Drive-In?s live show on record. Their live show would define everything about them for the rest of their careers. The way Cedric Bixler-Zavala moves on stage, almost hurting himself for the good of the song. He literally hits the deck on numerous songs, only to bounce back up, while throwing the microphone into the air, catching it in time to deliver a chorus. He flails and thrusts in such a way that looks like slam dancing in Hell. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez on the other hand would pound on his strings in such a way that it looked like he could start gushing blood at any moment. Their live show projected them so fast, from touring with the likes of AFI and Mustard Plug, to suddenly opening for Rage Against the Machine. But, it wasn?t until 2001 that everything boiled over.

This moment arrived with At the Drive-In?s final masterpiece, Relationship of Command. The album includes their hit song, ?One Armed Scissor?, complete with Bixler-Zavala?s fantastic lyrics and what would become Omar?s signature guitar style. Tracks like ?Sleepwalk Capsules?, ?Mannequin Republic?, and ?Enfilade? capture the fury, the rush and the mayhem within Rodriguez-Lopez?s guitar playing, as well as Bixler-Zavala?s ability to scream until his throat went numb. It?s just too bad the band broke up shortly after this album. In their time, At the Drive-In lit a new spark in modern hardcore, by turning it into a more intellectual type of music and it was all due to a combined chemistry and anger between the band?s leading two members.

However, there was no reason to fear because Rodriguez-Lopez and Bixler-Zavala kept at the music industry. It was clear they were destined to continue blowing minds for a living. They formed the Mars Volta shortly after, and recorded the Tremulant EP, which picks up right where Relationship of Command left off. Shortly after that though, they recorded what would go down as the Mars Volta?s masterpiece De-Loused in a Comatorium. While the record contained bizarre, post-modern lyrics, shrill guitar riffs that sounded like a derailing train and hardcore rhythm that seemed impossible, this oddity was a concept album about a man who tries to commit suicide by overdose, has a crazy head-trip while sleeping, and wakes up only to jump off a building since he is so disappointed with humanity. Songs like ?Inertiatic ESP?, ?Roulette Dares?, ?Drunkship of Lanterns?, and ?Televators?, all tell this horrific tale through their suspenseful and unprecedented sound. Who else could create a fucking album like this?

As a follow-up, the band released Frances the Mute, where things got much, much more experimental. The band began writing series of songs, increasing the instrumentation to a whole new level (so, so, so many bongos on this record), and creating twelve-minute epics. And for subject matter and lyrical inspiration, the band told the story of an orphan searching for his biological parents, which came from a diary found by their friend in a repossessed car. Songs like ?The Widow?, are haunting with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez?s flamenco style, combined with Bixler-Zavala?s ability to tear it the fuck up. The band also wrote two songs, constructed of various parts under the titles, ?Miranda, That Ghost Just isn?t Holy Anymore?, and ?Cassandra Gemini?, which ranged up to 32 minutes. It was here the Mars Volta claimed their throne, and the two musicians became icons of modern day music, showing that they could escape the boundaries of what music enthusiasts could perceive as possible.

The problem was that it was becoming too insane for most human minds to handle. Their next effort, Amputechture, was their first non-narrative record, and dealt with themes in current events. With eight tracks, a number of them being about 15 minutes in length, it marked a new style for the Mars Volta, that people did not seem to understand or enjoy. Then came The Bedlam in Goliath, an album I have only listened to once and thought it was too shrill and wild for my brain to handle while I read over biology notes. There was also, last year?s Octahedron took them back to their roots a bit, with shorter and tighter songs. The Mars Volta though have kept their torch lit for the insane live shows that they put on. As a result they are still one of the most relevant and important bands of our time. They still tour, and they still put on a tremendous show, and they are still putting out albums.



Together, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala have been the driving force to keep their bands moving forward, experimenting with new types of sound in their rare brand of post-hardcore progressive jazz salsa punk. They have never been afraid to do anything, both live and in the studio. Nobody can truly classify the music these two have created, and that?s what makes them so iconic. They created something nobody can name. As long as these two keep plugging away at their respected instruments, their station of genius will always be operational.

Оригинальчик: http://consequenceofsound.net/2010/08/22/icons-of-rock-cedric-bixler-zavala-and-omar-rodriguez-lopez/
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WEB-EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: THE MARS VOLTA?S OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ ON ?OCTAHEDRON? AND HIS NUEVO
June 25, 2009
Omar Rodríguez-López is a busy man. Not only is the guitarist releasing Octahedron, the new record from his award-winning experimental rock band the Mars Volta, but he also recently dropped Cryptonesia, the first of three albums recorded in 2004 by side project El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. Top that all off with multiples high profile tours and production jobs, and you?ve got one full plate. Somehow Rodríguez-López found a few minutes to talk to Revolver about his forthcoming projects and his band?s rabid fan base.



REVOLVER How was touring in March with the Omar Rodríguez-López group?
OMAR RODRÍGUEZ-LÓPEZ The tour was great. I got to go to Athens and Moscow for the first time?in 15 years of touring, I?ve never been there. Moscow was incredible! They?re a very passionate people. It?s something both very similar and different to playing for Latin countries?very loud, very excited, very passionate. It felt like people there absorbing every moment of music they could, which, nowadays, is a very rare thing.



El Grupo Nuevo de Omar Rodríguez-López just released Cryptonesia, which was part of a triptych recorded in 2004. Why release it now?
If you look at any of the releases that I have, none of them are current. I make a lot of music, and a lot of it ends up on my drive closet. I?m not thinking about a record as a means to an end, you know? And once I?m done, I?m chasing the next high??That was that, now something new!? And then there comes a time where I want to put out a record, and then I go and dig it up and put it out. A great example is last year: I started having a lot of nostalgia for Jeremy [Michael Ward, the late Mars Volta sound tech]. I thought, Whatever happened to that record he and I made together? It?d be really nice to put that out. So I had to look in the closet and look all the way to where the stuff from 2001 is and find the record, and looking there, I see this whole other record that I?d completely forgotten about, and while Jeremy didn?t play on it, I remember that he was in the studio the whole time?the experience, the problems, where we ate when we were done at 3 in the morning. It?s a reliving experience, because it?s the other parts of making a record?putting together a lyrics sheet, making the artwork, that type of stuff.



What, then, were/are you trying to get out with Cryptonesia that you weren?t getting out in your other projects?
?I don?t know! For me, it was sort of like a little vacation. At that time, I had just released Amputechture [the Mars Volta?s 2006 album] and I had just begun working on the music that would eventually become Bedlam, and I just had this primordial urge to take it away from that? I sort of consider Cryptonesia my ?punk record.? It?s a very generic term, but I wanted to get away from writing horn sections, string sections, all these different parts, and get back to this guttural, aggressive thing with just guitars. I wanted to strip things down for myself and write very simply. Plus, I was dying to play with Zach [Hill of Hella and Team Sleep]; I really wanted to do a lot of collaborations together.



The Cryptonesia press release says you?re ?quick to point out that the Mars Volta is your top priority.? Do you ever feel like other projects might encroach on the Mars Volta?
No, not at all, but I think when you work a certain way, people start to create hysteria, like this swine flu bullshit. If you show someone that you have a new group, they?re like, ?OhmygodtheMarsVoltaisbreakingup!? and they run away with their imagination and project everything on you that they want to. So this was me saying, ?Look, let?s make it clear, so there?s no room for your fantasies: the Mars Volta is my baby and my pride and joy. And nothing will tear me away from it beside the point where I lose interest in it.?



Are your fans the rabid, rumor-prone type?
Yeah, they?re completely fucking insane. I think it?s really great?I remember being 15 and being completely obsessed, so I understand that aspect of it. But it?s really insane how much they read into things. And it wouldn?t effect me ?cause I don?t read reviews or what people are saying, but it effects me in that I?m walking around in Los Angeles and someone comes up to me and says, ?Hey, I love your music.? Oh, great! ?So is it true that?? For me, it?s just coming out of left field because I don?t live in that world, and so when I hear some of the insane perceptions people have, you have to sort of sift through them.



Do you ever feel a reluctance to take part in the press side of being in the Mars Volta?
?I see it as part of the equation. We are a band on a major label that?s in the public eye, and we?re touring, and?I get to do this for a living. I don?t take that for granted. You can either say, ?Fuck the press! How uncool! How un-rock and roll!? Or you can say, ?Fuck, man, I make music for a living! I don?t have to make pizzas anymore! All I gotta do is talk to somebody about what I?m doing? Hook me up!?



After 2008?s The Bedlam in Goliath was so well-received, how are you feeling about Octahedron? What can we expect from it?
You can expect that it?s different. That?s always a problem with music?everyone loves your first record? Good! If it ain?t broke, don?t fix it! For me, it doesn?t work that way. You made it, now destroy it and start over. Bedlam was the most violent record we?d made to date. When I think of it, I think of fire, claustrophobia, asphyxiation, darkness, no space?when I think of making that record, I think of a small crawlspace. So when I got out of that and life started changing, I looked to the polar opposites. Water, light, big open spaces, sky, these kind of elements. That?s what Octahedron is to me. It feels so good to be in a different space like that.



Interview by Chris Krovatin

Оригинал: http://www.revolvermag.com/features/post/web-exclusive-interview-the-mars-voltas-omar-rodrguez-lpez-on-octahedron-an/
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СообщениеДобавлено: Пт Сен 17, 2010 10:58 am    Заголовок сообщения: Mix Ответить с цитатой

The Mars Volta

Sep 1, 2003 12:00 PM, By Mr. Bonzai

Perched high above Laurel Canyon is the supposedly haunted mansion chosen by the Mars Volta to record their much-anticipated debut album, De-Loused in the Comatorium. In 1991, it was the home of the Red Hot Chili Peppers while they made their classic Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Both albums were produced by Rick Rubin, and for the Mars Volta album, he chose engineer Dave Schiffman, who has manned the board for Audioslave, System of a Down, the Juliana Theory and the Peppers' Californication. Rubin also brought in Flea of the Peppers to take care of bass duties.

The Mars Volta are singer Cedric Bixler, guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, drummer Jon Theodore, bassist Juan Alderete and keyboardist Isaiah Owens. After the band's triumphant European tour this spring opening for the Chili Peppers, rave reviews at the Coachella Festival and more U.S. dates with the Peppers, their electronics wiz, Jeremy Ward, died on May 25 at his home in L.A. But the band is carrying on and has been gaining momentum with each passing month.

Bixler and Rodriguez were known previously for their work in the El Paso post-punk band At the Drive-In, aggressive art rockers famous for their energetic live shows and seen by some as ?the next big thing.? Following the dissolution of that band, the Mars Volta released Tremulant in 2002, a three-song EP that critics and fans compared to Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Yes and even Led Zeppelin. It was big music: long songs with broad strokes and cinematic detail.

However, Rodriguez cites salsa music as his main influence, along with such unlikely sources as Gang of Four, Miles Davis, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Genesis and dub reggae. On the spiral staircase leading up to the dark rooms of the mansion, Rodriguez tells me he started out playing the bass at age 12, but at 15 switched to guitar because he ?needed more strings.?

When I asked Rodriguez about the difference between his previous work and the debut of the Mars Volta, he replied, ?This one is fun! Just kidding. This is a lot looser, a lot more interesting for us, and there are a lot of different areas we are going into now.?

Bixler says that Björk is his main inspiration as a singer; both have an affinity for dramatic and dynamic stage acrobatics. When quizzed about the mysteries of the old mansion, Bixler explains, ?We really don't go up to that certain room at the top where the bell tower is. There are doors leading to the attic. I keep closing them, and they are always open when I go back. Weird.?

In the secluded mansion, engineer Schiffman set up a control room complete with a vintage Neve console, priceless outboard gear and rare microphones from the renowned Ocean Way collection, along with his own stash of outboard engines. Drums were on risers in the grand ballroom, while guitars and stomp boxes festooned the adjoining chambers. A makeshift vocal booth was assembled from goboes and packing blankets. Smaller rooms and walk-in closets housed banks of amplifiers, while more recording gear filled an adjacent spa. Schiffman tells us about the complex process of recording the Mars Volta.

You've worked with producer Rick Rubin on a number of albums. Why do you think he picked you for this daunting project?

I think it's because we have a real good relationship; he likes things to sound a certain way. I know how he likes things to sound, and I can achieve that relatively quickly.

What is the difference between recording here and in a traditional haunted recording studio?

Basically, we had to build the recording studio from scratch, which meant treating the live room to dampen it down because it was like an echo chamber. Ocean Way's Classic Equipment Rentals, which we refer to as ?Ocean Way to Go,? provided the majority of the gear and technical assistance. We had to set up the control room and run all of the mic lines and bring everything up here, as opposed to a studio where it's all in place.

Do you get a distinctively different sound?

No, I would say this setup sounds as good as a good recording studio. It definitely has its own signature, but I would put it on par with the best rooms I've tracked in.

Could you tell me about the monitoring in your control room?

Rick really loves ProAc monitors powered by Yamaha 2002 amps. Sounds great. It seems that with the ProAcs, the more wattage you send to each side the better; I think we're sending 250 watts per side. We also have a pair of Yamaha NS-10s, because I just know them so well and feel comfortable with them. I'm running a pair of BGW amps on those, 150 watts a side.

What do you have in the way of consoles?

The main console is a beautiful old Neve 8058 alongside a small Neve BCM-10 with 1066 mic pre's. I put all of the drums, guitars and keyboards through the 8058 faders, and the bass and vocals through the rack of outboard mic pre's. We have a big Pro Tools rig, running 96k straight to two FireWire drives simultaneously; close to a Terabyte of space. On the front end, we use Benchmark Media Systems AD2408-96 converters, running at 96k, 24-bit, 24 channels.

How did you record Omar's guitars?

We tracked using an old Marshall cabinet with Celestion drivers, with a Neumann U67. Then we got into some serious guitar science. We were on a quest for clarity. Omar's vision was of a very dense soundscape with a lot of complex parts. The challenge was to make it all come out clearly and still maintain the excitement and power. The first thing we did was address the amp issue. Omar had been playing live through an old SVT bass head into an old Marshall cabinet. For live playing, this setup works really well, but under the microscope, the tone was not punching through enough: not enough focus. We turned to combo amps.

A major portion of the guitar sounds came from an amazing Supro amp, a Fender Princeton and a very small Fender Tweed. We also used a Fender Super Reverb and a Vox AC30 for some songs, as well. The beauty of these small amps is that they cut through the track but don't overpower it. Also, because they don't push as much air as a cabinet, I can use tube mics and not be afraid that they will blow up. I used Neumann U67s with the -14dB pads in on all of the combos and stuck to a single mic per amp. Sometimes, I would put an SM57 in the back, but found the sound to be clearer and punchier usually without the back mic.

Because we were recording 96k/24-bit, I ran through a bunch of tube gear: a Fairchild 670, Pultec EQP-1 and sometimes a Distressor or 1176, or an LA-2A. With the higher sampling rate, the tube equipment sounded even better to me, because nothing gets lost in the murk of low-level analog tape or lower sampling rates. It was an awesome feeling to get a sound exactly how you liked it and have it sound identical on playback time after time. 96k, I am sold!

Omar's guitar pedal collection is massive, and we dove into it wholeheartedly. I own a couple of Roland Space Echos that worked great as tape delay and reverb for special effects, as well as slap. In keeping with our clarity mission, a lot of times we would record a part drier, less effected, and then double it with a heavily effected track playing the same or slightly simpler part, sometimes editing the part to work with the effect. A really nice result from this was being able to pan to two guitars hard left and right, and we would get this really lush, but clear, sound. Of course, Omar's arrangements really created the dynamic, but I think we outdid ourselves in creating some of these tones. The guitar soundscape of this record is very dense and complex, but I think we got everything to fit, and in listening back, it all makes sense. I learned so much about creating unique guitar tones; it was truly a gratifying experience.

For Cedric's vocals, I see you have a vocal booth made with goboes and blankets set up in the sunroom, with sightlines into the main hall. What mics did you use for vocals?

I used a Shure SM-7 for the main vocal track with a 57 taped to it, which sent a feed to Jeremy, the vocal voodoo dude, which went into his mixer, through his toys and then back to me. Once we got into overdubbing vocals, we used a Neumann U67 for quieter sections and the SM-7 for louder parts. Also, I used a Neve 1073 for preamp and EQ, and an 1176 for compression. For Jeremy's effects tracks, we ran the comped vocal back to his pedals through a Little Labs distribution box, so he got the vocal at -10 and it came back to me at +4.

How did you record drums?

For the kick drum, I had a Sennheiser 421 inside and a Neumann FET 47 in front; for the snare, a Shure 57 on top, a Sennheiser 441 under; hi-hat was AKG 451; overheads were a pair of AKG C 12s; for the toms, a pair of AKG C 12As; the close mic is a Neumann P-47, a cool old omni mic that sounds great; and we had a pair of Neumann M-49s for the room. All the mics came from Ocean Way's mic locker.

Can you give me the details on recording Flea for this album?

For the bass, we had Flea play a beautiful '64 Fender Precision P bass through an SVT bass head and 8×10 cabinet. I used a Neumann FET 47 on the cabinet and a Demeter DI. I compressed with LA-2As on both channels. It was a slightly different sound for Flea, but he is such a talented musician that he fit in perfectly. The bass needed to be full and present, because, essentially, the bass was the foundation of every track.

What percentage of the entire project was done here at the house?

Just about everything, including vocals, with mixing taking place at Cello with mixer Rich Costey, just to get a different perspective?and automation, of course.

Did you spend much time with the band before recording?

No, I didn't. I usually like to go to one or two rehearsals to get the vibe of what it's all about. But for this project, I picked up the Mars Volta EP to suss from that, and I had conversations with Rick about what he was looking to get out of this situation. Then the band told me what they were looking for, we did a bit of searching and listened to a bunch of different drum kits tuned in various ways. All of the songs have very involved arrangements, very involved parts, and we wanted to hear it all together, so it was very important that the drums sound clear and precise.

Оригинал: http://mixonline.com/recording/interviews/audio_mars_volta/
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СообщениеДобавлено: Пт Окт 15, 2010 6:13 pm    Заголовок сообщения: The Mars Volta: In Control Ответить с цитатой



The Mars Volta: In Control
by Tom Vale Photography by Bryan Sheffield

?There?s a misconception that we?re so serious, and we?re so artsy, and we?re trying hard to be tortured,? says Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, lead guitarist and founding member of The Mars Volta. ?We have that part, but we have the whole other side too.?

Their music is so consistently ambitious and challenging that one might picture them brooding quietly offstage between shows, working out complicated time signatures or perusing ancient texts. They?re not. They?re just as likely to be listening to Badfinger or watching Reno 911.

This side of them, the unpretentious enthusiasm for ideas, music, art, and life itself, is the most striking thing about Omar and lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala in person. They?re more like passionate college kids than rock stars; they?re eager to bounce ideas back and forth and get at the truth.

They?re also happy just to talk ? they touch on Luis Buñuel, Big Star, Pier Pasolini, Family Guy, Radiohead, Drive Like Jehu, and Frida Kahlo. They recommend a series of obscure British comedies; they tell stories from the road. The rapid-fire profusion of ideas should be no surprise to anyone who?s heard their mazelike albums. But they?re also open and down to Earth in a way that?s difficult to reconcile with their onstage command.

Cedric and Omar have been playing and touring together since the early nineties, many of those years as part of El Paso?s influential hardcore band At the Drive-In. The minimal press coverage they enjoyed during their first few years was usually centered on their championship-caliber afros. The band?s reputation has grown since their 2001 breakup, but it was a long time coming.

?We played to five people for ten years,? is how Omar put it. At the Drive-In would eventually release Relationship of Command, an album hailed by many as one of the masterpieces of the genre. Omar and Cedric don?t remember it fondly. The band dissolved soon after.

?Now we look at that band, we look at all the material we presented, and we think, ?God, it could have been so much better,?? says Omar. ?And people think it was so great and blah blah blah, but we were dying inside the whole time. Those records we can?t even listen to anymore. I can?t listen to Relationship of Command. That mix sounds so horrible. It sounds so much like a toy.?

Without second thoughts, Omar and Cedric left a band with newfound success to start something wholly new. Walking away from At the Drive-In, they knew they didn?t want to be stuck with compromises again.

?We said, ?From now on, we don?t want to be dicks about it, but we?ll make it clear to everybody once they walk in that this is a dictatorship,?? says Omar. ?And when we finish this band, we can say, ?That was great.? And if we don?t feel that it was great, we can know it was because of us.?

Omar brings this kind of levelheaded, practical intensity to most decisions. The recent decision to close down Gold Standard Laboratories, Omar?s co-run independent label, was made largely because it became too much of a headache, too much of a distraction from the primary goal of creating his own music.

He explains, ?It?s hard enough as it is to say, ?Yes, I will manage a business as well as a creative thing.? For a creative person, that?s a really hard step to take, to say, ?I?m going to divide my brain into two parts, and I?m going to tend to one and then the other.? You lose a part of yourself.?

When the business got too crazy, he shut it down. ?We had a great run where we just put out our records and we had complete creative freedom. The only things we had to think about were simple things: let?s get the ads into the magazines, let?s get the bands on the road ? the old-school approach, the approach that we come from. Now it?s turned into this thing of, ?No, you need MP3 players, and you need a little keychain thingy, and you need MySpace.? That?s what the business has become.

Omar and Cedric?s top priorities are always The Mars Volta and their vision for the band ? a vision that can be stubborn and contrarian. ?When we started The Mars Volta, we were anticipating all the hate,? says Cedric. ?People wanted more At the Drive-In. But we?ve always had very thick skin with that kind of stuff.?

True enough ? artistic bravery (or simple restlessness) may be the defining characteristic of the Cedric & Omar team. They gleefully test their audiences. Cedric cites notorious audience baiters Andy Kaufman and Suicide as influences.

?Those stories about Suicide opening for The Cars or Elvis Costello and causing riots because people hated them so much ? that?s inspiring,? says Cedric. ?I wish I were in that band.?

One of their recent shakeups included the replacement of popular drummer John Theodore. The Mars Volta don?t question Theodore?s talent, but they were losing him to a digital world.

?Video games are cool and all,? says Cedric, ?but there?s this whole other world out there.? The new drummer, Thomas Prigden, seems to fully embrace real life; he beams behind the kit like a kid with his favorite toy. At least part of the joy now evident in The Mars Volta originates in Prigden?s heart.

Lineup changes often draw objections from fans. The fact that The Mars Volta have never experimented themselves out of a job is more surprising. This is partly because they?re not always contrary; they?re not always experimental.

The Mars Volta like to push at the sides of conventional music, but they like their regular old rock and roll too. ?It?d be boring if it was only experimental music,? says Omar. ?You gotta have a good Slade, or Big Star, or Badfinger.? It may be that the war between those two impulses is what provides the backbone for the band?s powerful and precise sound.

Critics often compare the band to Pink Floyd, Yes, and Led Zeppelin; The Mars Volta acknowledge those influences. But the difference between that set of influences and The Mars Volta is like the difference between a doll and a child. You can see how one leads you to think of the other, but if you can?t tell them apart, you?re in trouble.

?People are constantly trying to relate it to the colors that they know,? says Omar. ?It?s like we know: blue, green, yellow ? Zeppelin, Floyd, Yes. People stick to that, and they say, ?Yeah, that?s what it is, that?s what it is,? because they don?t want to invest the time.?

Yet the legendary leaders of Yes and Led Zeppelin have both tried to crack The Mars Volta?s code. ?If you ask [Yes keyboardist] Rick Wakeman, he has no way of describing what we are,? says Cedric. ?If the main member of Yes couldn?t even say what it is, and it sounded like chaos to him, we?re on the right track.?

As for Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page, ?He said, ?It?s wonderful sound. I can?t put my finger on it. I don?t think you sound anything like us.?

The Bedlam in Goliath has already sparked confusion in some quarters. Spin Magazine offered a brief, uninterested review, the most telling statement of which was that ?their context has always been obvious.? The reviewer explains that context as prog.

This is a categorization that has plagued The Mars Volta since their inception. It isn?t necessarily wrong; the problem is that progressive rock is an all-encompassing term, ultimately meaning ?not simple,? or ?features long songs.? But that doesn?t get any closer to explaining The Mars Volta, and it?s usually applied in a dismissive way: it?s just prog, you see, and that?s already been done. Lack of originality is an odd complaint to lob at this band.

Live in Burlington, Vermont to kick off the Bedlam tour, The Mars Volta blast a heavily bearded crowd with a set equally drawn from their four studio albums. The material from The Bedlam in Goliath is staggered throughout, all of it working well. The show is seamless. Their nearly three-hour set passes in an instant. Really, they owe their survival to being a beastly live band.

Their studio albums, however, don?t conjure thoughts of a great live band. The albums are fractured, dense, and difficult for singing or dancing along.

Their eleven- and twelve-minute songs feature nearly formless passages and odd breakdowns of winds, trumpets, and computer beeps. One might think they would struggle to be compelling live, let alone be able to transport their equipment. Yet they?re consistently ranked as one of the best live acts in music.

This is a reputation they fully deserve. They?re punishingly loud. (When the ex-drummer of Suicidal Tendencies offers you earplugs, take them.) They get your attention. They don?t bother much with stage patter, but they project confidence and tremendous focus.

They?re a band in complete control, and they have a gifted sense of dramatic timing ? they lack instantly hummable melodies, chants, or traditional crowd-pleasing weapons, but they know how to pull back and wallop the crowd. They know how to tease and deliver.

This precision is hard earned. ?I rehearse the band nonstop ? as much as I can,? says Omar. ?And we do long days. At the beginning, it was very much boot camp. I literally had them rehearsing twelve hours a day.

?They both laugh about the common impression that they?re an improvisational band. ?There?s the misconception that even our records are improvised,? says Omar. ?Our records are the least improvised of all ? they?re complete architecture.

?It?s good on one hand, it?s a compliment, to know that it sounds natural, it sounds like a band playing together, because it?s made as the complete opposite. It?s made one person at a time; it?s made very scientifically, very cold, so it?s great that it comes off warm.

?But when people say, ?Oh, that?s great, you guys just jam and record,? on the one hand, that?s great. On the other hand, I want to pull my hair out, thinking of all the work it took to make it sound that way.?

To anyone raised on blues-based rock, their live show often feels as though it?s left the map. But The Mars Volta just have different maps. They take great risks with the audience, veering between thumping rock and roll charisma and introverted noodling.

Cedric is the real showman, whipping the microphone cord in huge loops around himself and frightening the roadies with equipment-endangering leaps and lunges. Omar wears an absorbed and happy expression, occupied with his clear purpose in life.

Together with Thomas Prigden, they form a triangle of power, building a series of addictive, mind-peeling crescendos. The music becomes incrementally more ferocious and mesmerizing. The show has a wavelike rhythm to it; the band pummels you and then pulls you closer. It?s like they teach a new musical logic in the course of a show.

Omar and Cedric speak with great admiration of the filmmaker John Cassavetes, telling the story of how he once overhauled a film because the test audience laughed and cried in all the predictable places.

?He said, ?They?re seeing all the surface stuff, but they?re missing the point,?? says Omar. The band?s artistic goals are not so far removed from those of Cassavetes. Seeing The Mars Volta live calls to mind Bill Murray?s character in Tootsie, who said, ?I don?t like when somebody comes up to me the next day and says, ?Hey, man, I saw your play. It touched me; I cried.? I like it when a guy comes up to me a week later and says, ?Hey, man, I saw your play. What happened??

оригинал: http://alarmpress.com/2506/features/music-interview/the-mars-volta/
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СообщениеДобавлено: Ср Фев 23, 2011 10:29 pm    Заголовок сообщения: интвреью с омаром Ответить с цитатой

by Rob Perez / Noche Latina

Omar Rodriguez Lopez wants you to be initiated. Disputedly the most prolific artist in music today, Rodriguez has been the creative force behind two influential bands for the past 15 years?At the Drive In and The Mars Volta. When Rodriguez performs, he channels the electric spirit of Jimi Hendrix, the smooth guitar rhythms of Carlos Santana, as well as early punk rock sensibilities, ?90s teen spirit angst, and today?s social unrest. With Telesterion?a collection of 38 songs that offers a taste of Rodriguez?s music?it is the quintessential introduction?or initiation as he puts it?to fans just discovering his genius. Be warned: Rodriguez?s complex musical arrangements, wailing vocals, and pounding rhythms can be too much to take in at first, but it will keep you coming back for more. We spoke with the world renowned artist about his new album, the meaning behind his music, and the future of The Mars Volta.

nocheLatina: I know I?m going to mispronounce the album title, Te-les-te-ri-on. Is that correct?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Yeah, Telesterion. I wouldn?t know either. It comes from the Greeks, so I?m not even sure how to pronounce it.

nocheLatina: No worries. I do know that its meaning in ancient Greek is ?a building in which religious mysteries were celebrated.? Can you explain what the correalation is between the Greek meaning and your album?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: The whole album happened because our Japanese distributor had the idea. I was told, ?Listen, I?d like to put together something concise. Someone just finding out about your music could be overwhelmed because there are so many records. I?d like to put together a collection from all the different records. Let?s do that.? My partner Cathy, from the label, loved the idea. She thought it was important for us to do it. Then, my art director put together the order of track listings and everything. I just thought the whole concept of it should be a place where people can come and discover what it is that I do for fun. That?s why I took that title. It?s part of my love for Greek mythology and literature. The title, Telesterion, is a place of initiation. That?s what it translated to in my head when they were saying, ?We want a record where people can get an overview of what it is you do.? I thought, ?Oh, like an initiation. I get it.? I immediately thought of Telesterion.


nocheLatina: So the album is like a celebration in a way.

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Yeah. Everything I do is a celebration. The idea of this album is a place where people can get a general understanding of that ritual. It?s not something to be taken so seriously. It?s what I do to enjoy life. It?s what I do for fun. It?s how I communicate with my family and friends. It?s exactly that. It?s a ritual. It?s a celebration.

nocheLatina: Can Telesterion be considered a ?best of? album?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: No, not at all because that has nothing to do with celebration. That?s judgement. That?s putting value on something that I do. Again, I didn?t choose the songs. I said, ?Cool. Go with it. If you want to create an overview you go do it because I don?t have that objectivity.? I can?t pick songs that I think are better than others. I just have fun. It?s not that serious.

nocheLatina: You?re certainly one of the most prolific artists today. There are 40 albums, 25 solo albums, and the stuff that hasn?t been released yet. How do you keep coming up with new music? Where does the creativity come from?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: I don?t edit myself. I just express myself. It?s simple. I think artists have bought into the rules made by business people. There?s a whole set of unspoken rules, like only put out a new record every two years or you need a hit on an album in order for it to be worth putting time into it. These are all rules that were created by the industry, not those who are trying to express themselves. It was created by people who are trying to sell the expression. Now, I?m not going to complain about that because I?m in the fortunate situation where I make a living off of having fun. But what I?m saying is that at the heart of what I do is exactly that?discovering myself and enjoying it. When that?s the center point, it really frees you up. I?m not living by other people?s rules, so I can just express myself all the time. It?s like having an opinion. We have opinions all the time. Therefore, my records are just opinions. They?re notebooks, journal entries, or Polaroid pictures. It?s a big scrapbook of me discovering life and all the beautiful things in it, all while learning a lot of lessons.

nocheLatina: Is it a challenge to keep it fresh?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Yeah. I just challenge myself the same way I do in life, which is to be open to new influences and ideas. At the end of the day, I think, everything I do kind of does sound the same, unfortunately (laughs). Meaning that, it?s coming from my inner vision of the world, so I definitely have a certain type?I?m me. I have a personality. When you strip it all down I think a lot of it is very similar, but it?s all a matter of how you perceive that similarity. For me, I want to get to the truth. That?s been my biggest goal in life since I was little. It goes back to that time when my mother explained to me what her concept of God was. I?ve been searching for what that internal truth is and how it relates to the entire universe. For me, the music is a way to get there. But, I have to make it clear, it?s not separate from when I cook dinner for someone. It?s not separate from my relationship, how I love my woman, and how I understand her needs. It?s not separate from my brothers and my best friend, Cedric. It?s not separate from sex, writing, or any other activity I can possibly name. It all boils down to the same singular concept, which is, ?How do I become better? What is the truth??

nocheLatina: How would you describe your music?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Searching. My music is just searching. I?m just searching. That?s it. I want to become one with God. I want to be God, if that makes any sense. I?m just searching for how to better express myself. All my life I?ve had problems with controlling my anger. Slowly, but surely, I searched how to do that. Music is a tool because I let out that aggression. When I was younger I used to break into houses, trash windows, deface statues, and spray paint. Then, I found a more constructive way of releasing my frustrations. Anyone can destroy, but not everyone can create. There?s a hundred different ways to break a glass cup, but there?s only one way to make that glass cup. I started becoming more interested in that. That became the search of myself and my place in this world. Maybe it is experimental, I don?t know. I?m just constantly looking for that thing beyond my reach. I?m trying to paint this picture that I can?t put into words.

nocheLatina: You?ve mentioned God a few times. Would you say there?s also a certain amount of spirituality in your music?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: It?s all that. That?s the root of everything. The world is a mental creation, so there?s nothing else. Understand when I say God I don?t mean any form; I?m not talking about some man. I?m talking about that instinctive thing that lets you know you pertain to something. There?s something greater that bounds it all together. Even if that greate for you is chaos, violence, or whatever.

nocheLatina: You also mentioned control. Are you still very controlling or have you learned to let go a little bit?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: I?m still very controlling and yes, I?ve learned to let go. I?m glad you brought this up. This is a perfect example of searching and the role of music. It?s exactly that. I don?t want to be that way forever. That is an extension of my personality. It?s not just music. I?m that way in my daily life. That?s me and I want to get rid of that because what is that? That?s only neurosis. It?s a lifelong process. I wasn?t born that way. I want to rid myself of all those things and go back to the original form that I came in. That?s the most important thing to me. So yes, the process of creating music is my search for finding this type of happiness and letting go. In that sense, I?m a very sick person and I?m really trying to heal that.

nocheLatina: What?s the future of The Mars Volta? When can we expect to hear new music?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: The record is done. Whenever the record label decides to put it out that?s when we?ll hear something new (laughs).
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СообщениеДобавлено: Вс Апр 17, 2011 11:30 am    Заголовок сообщения: Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Everything Sparks Ответить с цитатой

By: Dennis Cook

The Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group is currently on tour. The band plays this evening, April 1, at the Grog Shop in Cleveland, OH and full tour dates can be found here.

new anthology
Telesterion is a heavy title for an album. A place of mystery, prophecy and insight to the Ancient Greeks, Telesterion is also the title of the first comprehensive anthology of the voluminous solo work of Omar Rodriguez Lopez outside of the official Mars Volta catalogue. It?s cheeky yet oddly fitting that a place closely tied to the Eleusinian Mysteries serves as the jumping off point for a carefully assembled, lovingly herky-jerky expedition through some of the most blessedly gnarly, wild ass music made in the past decade. Telesterion, the anthology, arrives on April 16 (Record Store Day), and serves as a concise place for people to begin exploring Lopez Rodriguez?s genre obliterating, rock infused muse. Rodriguez Lopez Productions creative director Sonny Kay picked the songs and sequence because, as Rodriguez Lopez says, ?I have no perspective on how to give someone insight on me having fun.?

We pulled up a chair with Omar and dug into God, creativity, the music industry, Afros and more in anticipation of this killer-diller compilation (full track details here) in a conversation that highlights that Rodriguez Lopez is one of the most fearless, open-minded and downright enlightened cats making music right now.



Omar Rodriguez Lopez by Jake Krolick

JamBase: The overriding impression your solo material gives is that you?re having a blast just seeing what you can get into and seeing what interesting sounds and musical byways you can explore. As much as I love The Mars Volta, there?s an immediacy to your solo work where the ideas feel like they?re being born in real time.

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: That?s really what it is, my ideas unrefined. I?m just going through my ideas and putting thoughts together. It all started not because I wanted to do solo records but because my contract with Universal bought my Mars Volta name. I?m only allowed by contract to put out one record a year under The Mars Volta name. For someone that composes 300-400 songs per year, it?s pretty brutal to be allowed twelve songs per year. And that?s them compromising! So, I got a [clause] put in that allows me to put out music as a solo artist under my name. But really for me, there?s nothing inside or outside Mars Volta. Mars Volta is my heart and soul. It?s my baby. <p>

So, I have a lot of ideas, and out of those I choose twelve to expand upon [in the official Mars Volta capacity] and the rest I can put out on solo records, where I don?t really go in and scrutinize or judge these ideas as much. For some people, it?s like, ?Well, these are just leftovers [laughs].? I don?t see it that way. People will always make judgments. Even other musicians have judged me because they think I put out too many records. They think it?s me being arrogant. I think, ?Don?t you play music? Isn?t that what you do in your life?? They say they edit themselves, but I don?t have that in me. I was raised in a much different way. I was raised to speak my mind. I have two loving, forward thinking parents. I?m from Puerto Rico, Latin culture, where there?s a set way to do things. So, raising a kid on meditation and vegetarianism makes you the village freaks. That?s very, very different from what was happening in the First World in the 60s & 70s, especially in England and the United States.<p>

JamBase: I find your perspective, as an artist in general, is a few degrees left or right (or wherever you want to put the angle) from industry norms. The fact that anyone, especially other musicians, would give you grief for putting out more than one album in a year means they?ve internalized that bullshit thinking. A band like The Beatles put out three albums plus singles in a year, and that was the norm!



Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Creative people have bought into the rules that business people set, business people who say this is how a song should sound and this is how long it should be, etc. And that dynamic just keeps getting more refined, if you can call it that [laughs].

In your process, how do you decide which ideas are going to be Mars Volta pieces and which are going to end up on solo albums or even the cutting room floor?

In Spanish there?s an expression that means ?whatever you crave.? It?s like one day you wake up and think, ?Mmmm, Indian food for dinner tonight!? and other days it?s a dilemma. It?s as simple as that. I?m not going to block the sun with my finger and pretend there?s not a part of me, having made a living off of just playing music, that doesn?t listen when someone says, ?That part is really catchy. You might want to use that for Mars Volta.? But for the most part, it?s just answering that craving. The mind narrows it down for you. Sometimes during the process, I realize I?m wrong or the craving changes and I?ll put this one in that pile and move that one back into this pile and use that one to fill in a gap. It?s like I have a storage place full of stuff and I?m constantly putting it into piles and moving it around [laughs]. People have this idea of what a traditional process is and that?s just not what I do.

Your work always keeps the conversation with the listener interesting. You don?t dumb down that conversation for anyone, too. One sees that right in the title of this upcoming anthology, which is the kind of word that sends folks scrambling to Google. I love that you raise the level of discourse with your work.



I have to point out that I only do it because it?s fun. I?m not trying to please or challenge anyone but myself. I love history and literature. My senses go off and I start imagining things, all the great things that are out there in books. Making music takes on a whole new dimension when you?re interested in EVERYTHING. I?ll be walking down the street and I see a funny phrase or see a sentence or catch a word as someone passes by, and I record it in my mind. It sticks in my mind even if I don?t know what it means. If it sparks off an image, then it?s worth using. That?s all being creative is ? pulling from yourself and others and what?s happening in life.

The best art is that which overlaps in multiple places with other disciplines. Film is a more obvious example of this because it?s clear you have writers, cinematographers, sound design people, actors, etc. pooling their creativity for a shared goal. Music isn?t as obvious in this way.

People perceive that things are separate but they?re not. Anything and everything can inspire notes and those notes become songs. It?s all out there happening all the time. My only craft, if I have one, is being able to translate what the antenna is receiving. My antenna is always on, and I?m able to receive and translate that into music. But we?ve all been dumbed down and conditioned by society to not listen to that antenna. We?re conditioned by society, some of us are conditioned by our parents, and then we?re conditioned by school, relationships, etc. I?ve been VERY fortunate to have parents who from the start said, ?Listen to that antenna. Always listen to the inner voice.?



My concept of God is much different than someone who was raised to see God as someone to fear and obey. From a very early age, it was made clear to me that the inner voice is God and I am God. God only means ? after being raised by my mother ? what you shape it to be in your mind. Whatever shape you give it in your mind, that?s what it is. It?s knowing that you pertain to something, that you are part of something and it?s not just the ?I? - there?s something bigger you?re connected to. By experiencing the love between my mother and I, the day I realized I came from her and that she bled to have me, that day I found God. I found God in the violence it took for her to give birth to me. When you think of the world in those terms, the world becomes beautiful and everything becomes inspirational, everything becomes great.

Sadly, that?s not how many, many people see the world and one another. Many are raised in a way that nurtures an appetite for fear and distrust and judgment on others. An organization like Fox News just stokes all the darkest parts of human interaction. That?s not the world I see when I wake up each day, but it is the landscape inside a lot of people?s heads. I think what you?re talking about gets to a much older notion of God. In the Gnostic gospels for Christianity, for example, the depiction of Jesus? Last Supper is very different than the hierarchical depictions by the church. In the Gnostic telling, Jesus says, ?He who drinks from my mouth will be me and I shall be him.? The apostles then drink wine directly from his lips, and the understanding of the God-Man relationship is more Buddhist in nature. It?s a direct answer to sky gods and authoritarian religions. But I digress [laughs].

I do think there?s a spiritual element to what you do. From the first time I heard your music, it was obvious that you are seeking to create something more than product.




Definitely, without a doubt! The end result is not even an issue. That?s why it doesn?t matter whether someone likes or dislikes what I do. The end result is not the thing. The thing is the process, what you have to do to create what you?re discovering. That?s just a superficial metaphor for life and spirituality, but the thing is not where you end up, it?s what you learn during the process, it?s how you look inward and how you find yourself through everything you?re doing.

The first principle of the Bhagavad Gita - which my father and I read at a very early age ? is think of the work and not of its fruits. That is the lesson. So, if someone?s thinking, ?I want to be enlightened, I want to be enlightened,? they?re thinking of the wrong thing. The work, the process, what you?re doing is the thing. The little micro IS the macro. For me, music has never been a means to have a record and then a record deal and so on. That?s never been the point. Yes, those things happen along the way, and these superficial things, I might add, were manifested by the intent and the process. The process is what got us there. We wanted to play music and express ourselves and reach deep inside and push out all the sickness and things we reject of society and ourselves. And we love music, so we used that to push these things out. And we love travel and we get to do this healing thing, and we get to do it everywhere, all the time. I feel blessed that I get to do this for a living. I can?t be upset about anything [laughs].

There?s something powerful about recognizing the gift of your existence.

It?s become a trend for bands to complain all the time. I think, ?Man, have a sense of humor! Think about the fact that you get paid to travel around the world and play your music.? The concept [of complaining] is just silly in that situation. I work, I don?t have a job ? there?s a big difference.

I like that you bring up humor because you often get labeled as a serious artist. I think your music is very playful and flecked with humor. Maybe a bunch of people just don?t get your sense of humor.



That?s the best compliment I can receive. I?m really glad when that comes through, but it usually only happens with people who know me; when you?re talking to a much broader audience around the world, that doesn?t always come through. If you?re open to it, you can receive. I have a very dark sense of humor, and I have a very sarcastic sense of humor. A lot of the time I?m making fun of myself, or even someone else or a phrase I?ve heard. It?s all very lighthearted but I guess it doesn?t come off that way. I don?t know why [laughs].

I think a lot of it is unfortunate, but it?s part of the program of what you have to be to be blessed enough to play music for your living. It?s part of what we?re doing now ? media ? but at least we?re actually talking so I?m able to impart some of my character. Then that has to be filtered through you, then you have to filter it through an editor, and then your words are on a piece of paper, and then someone interprets them?

When I speak to a musician, I want to get past the latest album, the new tour, etc. and get down to operating principles, the stuff that drives them to make music, what fires them up to do this in the first place. I want to collaborate with artists to communicate something revelatory and fun and pleasurable about what they do.

The thing that?s wrong with media is that what you?re talking about isn?t usually the goal. That word you use ? collaborate ? doesn?t come up a lot with most media. The new record, etc. is just surface stuff, but do you have a philosophy? What is the point? That?s what we should be talking about, if anything.

The other side of media I?m trying to appreciate more is when they take an image. Image is - at least from my experience - is created by other people. I know a lot of artists want to project a certain image, but image, from my experience, is something people put on you. You can?t really control that. Coming from At The Drive-In, this thing that?s just normal for me ? having my hair be natural like anyone from where I come from ? gets made a big deal of. When I was younger and used to shave my head and color my hair all different colors, and my mother would say, ?You have such beautiful hair, why do you do this to it?? So finally, I did it for my mother and for myself, truly. Then, all of the sudden, people are writing about the Afros and not our music, and what it has to do with style and how it relates to the MC5. No, man, it?s just that my mom likes it when I grow my hair out natural [laughs].

So, for a while, I was standoffish for a while because there was a lot of unhappiness there. Through the years, I?ve tried to relax in front of the camera. I like being behind the camera though, and I realized that photographers are generally trying to get at something that?s just superficial and they go for that. Photographers are either too shy or too nice or too superficial to get anything real out of you.

It?s the rare photographer than goes further than skin deep.

This creates a situation where we just want to get a [photo shoot] over with. And then everyone just uses the serious pictures, even when we have a session where we?re laughing and having a good time. For some reason, the editors don?t choose those pictures.<p>

That observation cuts to the heart of a problem with the perception of you and your music. People come in with preconceptions and they?re looking for confirmation of their them, which bars them from seeing what actually is.

Without a doubt. I find most writers have their story written before they speak with you. Normally, when I do interviews I feel the writer is trying to get to some point in their head, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it speaks to that idea of having a preconception and trying to prove it. That?s not a great tactic with me.

JamBase | Free As Fuck

[Published on: 4/1/11]
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Mission to Mars
Your culture: stale.

By Brian McManus / Posted Jan. 16, 2008

art credit: ALEX FINE

http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/music/mission_to_mars-38464144.html

Just when you thought Mars Volta couldn't get more strange, more alien, they let long-dead spirits write the lyrics for their new album The Bedlam in Goliath. And not just any long-dead spirits. Evil long-dead spirits. Ask anyone who knows (Art Bell, Ray Parker Jr.). They're the worst kind.

The story goes like this: Mars Volta guitarist and master of the blow-out comb Omar Rodriguez-Lopez was bumping around Israel when he came across a Ouija board. He bought it as a gift for frontman Cedric Bixler-Zavala, who started messing around with it once it made its way back Stateside.

"The more I played [the Ouija] the more it played into my compulsive nature, and the more I started getting head-over-heels involved in it," says Bixler-Zavala, over the phone from the road in Connecticut.

And then the weird stuff started. Their studio flooded, a studio engineer had a nervous breakdown, and the spirits went Bernie Taupin on Bixler-Zavala's ass.

"I got messages and wrote them down," Bixler-Zavala recalls. "I started reading them over and thought they'd make great lyrics, better than anything I could've written."

The "lyrics" the evil spirits were writing had to do with an old-fashioned honor killing, "the kind that happens in Muslim societies," says Bixler-Zavala. They also sent messages about the abhorrent treatment of women by organized religion as a whole.

"It's a love story of people whose spirits were trapped in this board in solitary confinement for years and years, unable to speak to anyone until they contacted us," Bixler-Zavala says without a wink before adding, "I'm sure people don't believe it. And I expect people not to. I need to have that kind of energy being thrown at us. Some cultures are so stale and boring that they've never experienced anything remotely like that. The only mention of anything evil in their lives is when they go stand up and down a million times in church. But you talk to some Latin cultures, it's a very real thing."

Also very real: the wealth of credibility capital Bixler-Zavala's accumulated over the years; the kind that keeps people from abandoning ship when he takes a left turn into deep, deep space--by, for instance, talking about long-dead evil spirits writing his lyrics with the assistance of a Ouija board bought in Israel.

Throughout the '90s he and his Ouija-board-buying buddy Rodriguez-Lopez were the driving force behind At the Drive-In, the El Paso, Texas, band that defined emo before its definition was destroyed by becoming the world's new mall punk. The ATDI version of emo was potent stuff done in a similar vein to Guy Piccoto's the Rites of Spring and other bands of their ilk spilling out of D.C. in the late '80s.

Live ATDI were a spectacle to behold, each member whirling himself around the stage as though caught in a tornado with no regard for personal injury. Between sweaty bursts of energy, Bixler-Zavala would rant and rave about immigration reform and fascism and the ills of capitalism and the perils of Big Brother and the politics of war and loads of other things a good 90 percent of their tween audience didn't know or care about, but remained too awestruck to roll their eyes at.

ATDI's seminal album Relationship of Command exposed them to bigger audiences. The nation took notice just as it all ended. The band fizzled, its members copping that all-too-familiar breakup excuse: "musical differences."

Rodriguez-Lopez and Bixler-Zavala took their differences (and what differences they were) and formed Mars Volta, quickly getting snatched up in the jaws of a major label still high on Command's magic.

But Mars Volta was a tougher animal to digest. The only thing they shared in common with ATDI was Bixler-Zavala's high-pitched squeal.

Their debut De-Loused in the Comatorium turned off some fans and confused others--saddened perhaps that their emo heroes of yesteryear formed a new space-prog band that sounded like King Crimson on speed being finger-banged by Rush.

Over time, the group's sound has gotten more odd, and the narratives of their records more difficult to comprehend. Says Bixler-Zavala happily, "We don't do concept records the way Green Day or the Who do them. We don't hold your hand and give you training wheels. Our narratives aren't linear, like, 'He sure plays some mean pinball.'"

It's a wonder they haven't been dropped from their label. Only "wonder" isn't the right word exactly.

"It's an anomaly," Bixler-Zavala chuckles. "Most major labels think whatever band they've picked up is in on some secret. I think if you have a relationship with them where you keep them guessing and every once in a while throw them a bone, you'll be all right. Hopefully this is our last album on a major.

"You kind of get into bed with people who don't really view music the way you do," Bixler-Zavala says. "Not everyone can be Fugazi and have this socialist control over their art. Some of us have to flirt with the big guys in order to take all the cash to get our names out there. Once your name is established, you can start doing your own thing and just borrow the parts of the system that you need--like distributors. I definitely come from the school that thought all that shit was evil. More and more I realize money isn't such a bad thing--just another device to help you make stuff."

What kind of stuff Mars Volta might make without feeling the need to throw a label an occasional bone is anyone's guess. Best consult the Ouija.
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Perl rulz!

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СообщениеДобавлено: Сб Апр 14, 2012 4:47 pm    Заголовок сообщения: Then it must be true (Tony) Ответить с цитатой

Tony Hajjar (Sparta)
June 14, 2002
MUJER Festival

For the past few years, drummer Tony Hajjar has lived the life every kid with a rock 'n' roll dream would die to have. Originally with At the Drive-In and now a member of Sparta, Tony has toured the world, worked with musicians he's idolized and best of all been able to make a living off what he loves doing most. In L.A. you have to jump through impossible hoops of red tape and annoying publicists and record company middlemen just to get an interview request to these guys. But on this day in our hometown, anybody was able to sit down for a casual chat with this one of rock's most hyped musicians.

I bet you guys have been running all over the place since you got into town.

We literally just got here! Well, I was here earlier to see Siva play, and then I went to the hotel to take a shower and stuff, and I got back and wanted to keep watching other people play but then, eek! [Mimes being pulled around]

I know how it can be - I've been trying to talk to you guys for a while now, so I'm glad that finally we're back in our mutual hometown and everything's cool and we're not going through the industry machine.

Me too!

I've heard Jim talking a lot about how it was important to do this particular event and what it means in general in a political sense and for human rights. But tell me what it means to come back here and what El Paso did for you guys as musicians and human beings?

I think it's pretty simple - I think it relates to what we're doing here today more than anything. I always use this as an example. I grew up staying a lot at my best friends' houses and their parents treated me like family, I grew up lower to middle-class and a lot of my friends' families were in the same boat or less on a political or financial level. And it relates to this: The man or woman of the house worked all day and at the end of the night if all they could bring to the dinner table was a bowl of beans and a few tortillas, it was something that they were proud of. And I think we learned that as people in general, being around that kind of mentality.

Unfortunately, a lot of people here and in Juarez don't have these opportunities that we do, traveling and so on, so you earn and respect what you get. And anything you do get, you don't take advantage of it. I think being in this kind of situation and being in this kind of environment all your life, you learn a lot about what a lot of people don't have, and I think the more you get, the more you try to give back.

Yeah, and bring it full circle.

Yeah. I think that's what it's done to us as musicians. It's made us a little bit modest and very, very aware of things that I think a lot of people would never be aware of.

And how has this attitude been affected by all the temptations of success?

You know, I think as all human beings, if you're doing one thing, you wanna be doing something else. If you're at work, you'd rather be out. If you're not working or are unemployed, whatever the case, then you wanna be working. So as human beings, yes, we get tired sometimes, and yes, we don't wanna be on the road, and yes, we don't wanna play, but you know, that's just human tendency - that's not anyone being a baby. That's just being human, and I think that you get tired and you get worn out here and there. But at the same time, we're very lucky to be doing what we're doing, and we know that. We're never gonna take advantage of that, and we're lucky to be from such a great city that has such a great support.

And this festival shows that more than a lot of things ever will. I mean, I am literally in shock, I really am, and that's not rude for me to say because I was even talking to Marina about this. I mean, we can't believe it. It happened, and there are people here, and there's a lot of spirit here - you can see it! And I literally am in shock and I can't wait to see more bands play tonight.

Yeah, it's gonna be great - and capped off with you!

Yeah! But this could be the beginning to a lot. Hopefully, we can start telling our friends to come and do these festivals, you know, those who are in bigger bands, and make this a bigger event. If it's for this reason, for the women, or if it's for cancer or AIDS or whatever the good cause it could be for, then I think it's a good thing. And I think if we can bring more awareness to any of that, it's our responsibility.

This cause being so specific to this area, what are you guys doing to explain it to your own peers, to the musicians that you work or tour or hang out with?

Well, it's specific to this area in the sense that it's based in Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, but it's not specific in general, because there's these kinds of problems all over the world, and I think everybody can relate to that. But unfortunately, we're in a situation that?. Mexico is a third-world country, and this example is always used and most people won't like this comment but I don't really care - it's really about these people don't have money. There's no money pushing any buttons, and that's why it takes all of us, you know - you coming to do interviews and us coming to play and these people setting up the festival and making us food - to make this happen.

I think it's not specific and the way you bring it up is by saying, "This is what happens here, but we know it happens everywhere else." But here it's gotten less attention because there is no money behind it, and it's not gonna do anyone any good. It really isn't - I mean, for someone else that doesn't know anything about this, it's not gonna do them any good on a business level, and it's bullshit.

Right - they're asking, how can this profit me if I pay attention to it?

Exactly. And that's why you gotta relate it to a lot of people by saying that it could be your sister, it could be your mom, it could be anyone, and it could be any night - it doesn't have to be a person leaving a maquila. It could be a person coming home from work that works at some kind of business as a receptionist or from a corporate office or whatever the case. It just depends on who has the money to actually bring the attention to it, and these people obviously don't and hopefully we can help with awareness of that.

In terms of the future of not only this event but also the music scene in El Paso, what's your feeling behind it having kind of kick-started a lot with the bands that you've been involved in? Where do you see it going?

I see it going a lot of places. There's a lot of talent here; unfortunately, what happens to a lot of people in our age bracket and younger is that when they graduate from high school, their big star at the end of the mountain is Austin, Texas. They go to UT and they see how cool that city is - it's a beautiful city, don't get me wrong - but we gotta bring them back. And it's slowly happening, you know - downtown [El Paso] is building stuff and there's low-rent apartments for students and stuff and I think it's gonna become - hopefully, eventually - cool. And when you have the cool factor in any city, that brings kids. Luckily we already have a good university so we're not worried about that.

I think the scene in general thrives on a lot of support, and hopefully?. Like I was here earlier to see Siva and it was kind of empty and I was saying to myself, "God, there's a lot of kids I've never seen before in my life!" And I don't know if it's because I don't live here anymore or whatever the case, but it made me feel good because that means there's some attention, and if we can bring more attention to it - being in a band that is doing a little bit more than other bands are right now - then more power to us. We'll try our best to do that.

And always come back home.

Yeah, we'll always come back home, and never take advantage of what we get.

Оригинал: http://www.thenitmustbetrue.com/mujer/sparta.htm
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Interview: Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (Australia)

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez - A separate reality

Don?t let 20 minute songs scare you ? Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is as down to earth as they come. No stranger to Australia, the man has gone from punk rock pioneer in At The Drive-In to prolific experimental rock virtuoso with The Mars Volta and his solo project The Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group. He?s also an accomplished director, artist and producer. Not bad for a self-proclaimed ?rowdy Spic from the equator?.

Caleb Goman (CG): You?ve toured Australia a bunch of times with At the Drive-In and The Mars Volta, but this is the first time you?ll be here doing solo shows with the Omar Rodrguez-Lopez Group. Can you give us a hint of what to expect?

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (ORL): Oh you know, just more music. Just more music. I never know what to say when people ask what to expect. If you?ve seen us over the years, you know we never have any big, spectacular shows; it?s just people on stage playing songs and music you know.

CG: I?d say some of the Mars Volta shows I?ve seen were pretty big and spectacular.

ORL: Oh you know, it?s not like we have pyrotechnics or costume changes. It?s nothing special, just old fashioned guys on stage playing music which is fun for us, and we hope that it?s fun for other people as well.

CG: How many members in the group this time?

ORL: We try to and make it different and change it up each tour. It?s a three-piece at the moment, that?s just where I am right now. I?ve played with everything from a five-piece, sometimes eight- or nine-piece band and now I?m just playing as a three-piece.

CG: Is there much improvising?

ORL: No, it?s all composition. We never really improvise. There?s jamming on sections but that?s all planned, you know like ?once we get to this bridge section we have 32 bars where we can be expressive but we?ve got to come back in on the pre-chorus?. It?s all very planned out but if it?s done right it feels natural and it should feel to the crowd that it?s happening in the moment, otherwise it?s too uptight, you know.

CG: For all of your releases over the years you?ve overseen pretty much all the aspects of an album including production, artwork and video clips. Is that something you strive for?

ORL: I just love doing it. It?s that simple. It?s really fun and I love doing it so what else can you do? I have friends that have kids and some of them have full time nannies and they go and do their thing and the babysitters take care of the kids and they come home at night and kiss their kids and put them to bed and that?s enough for them. Other friends take their kids everywhere. They spend all their time with their kids, they take them to the studio and the park and they want to be around them all the time. It?s like that with me. I can?t help it. It?s just so much fun and I absolutely love what I get to do. Simply put I?m a very, very lucky individual and I don?t want to ever take that for granted. I get to do the same thing I did in my dad?s garage as a kid and I get to do that now as an adult and that?s pretty cool.

CG: One person you do trust with your kids is artist Sonny Kay, who?s been doing a lot of artwork with you over the years. Can you tell me a bit about your collaborations with him?

ORL: Yeah we?ve had a very interesting relationship over the years, we used to run a record label together and have done all sorts of stuff. We have a lot of similarities but we?re also completely different people, which is always a good thing if you are creating art.

CG: In what ways?

ORL: Completely different cultures. He comes from an English background and he?s a very proper gentleman, very well spoken and knows proper grammar and I?m just a rowdy Spic from the equator and I?m not very proper at all. Latin culture is very loose, very improvised, very much the opposite of the English culture with the ?don?t put your elbows on the table? things. I?m constantly butchering the English language and having bad etiquette and it drives him crazy and it drives me crazy that he could be so uptight.

CG: Sounds like a good balance.

ORL: I think that?s part of the chemistry. We work really well together. It?s good to have tolerance and remind yourself that it?s a great big world out there and there are completely different kinds of cultures and culture clashes.

CG: You?ve mentioned before that you were a fan Carlos Castaneda and his books on shamanism and what he calls ?non-ordinary states of reality?. Have they influenced your creative work at all?

ORL: Yeah, well it?s my reality. That?s what I was raised with. That?s the type of household I was brought up in. He calls them ?non-ordinary states of reality? but for me it?s my reality, it?s the way I view the world. Some people are raised believing that you die and the worms eat you and that?s your reality. I?m Latino, I was brought up with Latin culture and I was brought up with magic and spirituality and meditation and vegetarianism and rituals my whole life so that?s just where my heart is.

CG: You incorporate that a lot into your art. There are lots of magical sigils in your artwork and references to occult and esoteric knowledge.

ORL: For me its things I grew up with and it?s not because I read about them in some book. It?s because I lived them and I?ve seen them work. It?s what I was brought up with and it?s just family tradition for me. The same way as eating fried plantains and beans is family tradition. Rituals were always a big part of my upbringing: sun rituals, moon rituals, rituals for healings or for opening your mind.

CG: And you?re able to tap into that for creativity?

ORL: Yes of course. Everything is a way of transmitting energy and expressing yourself. Everything you do is an expression of yourself, whether it?s the way you move your body or the way you form sentences. So all of your music, lyrics, if you film something; everything is symbolic and has a double meaning; even the most superficial things. That?s the beauty of it. I have a close friend who?s the exact opposite, he?s very straight and down the line. He says, ?Why does everything have to be something?? That?s his joke with me. It?s just two different ways of viewing the world.

CG: I was thinking about you being a left-handed guitarist and as a left-handed musician too it got me wondering if it sets you up to a different approach because you are playing from a different hemisphere in your brain than most people. Any thoughts on that theory?

ORL: S?-. I hadn?t even thought of that! That?s a good question. You know since I was a kid someone grabs my guitar and goes ?oh it?s backwards? and that?s the normal comment I get but that?s their reality. In my reality it?s like ?oh my god all these other guitars are backwards and mine is the only one that?s correct!? It?s just a matter of perspective. It seems so normal to me that all guitars should be left-handed!

Catch the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group on their Australian tour with Le Butcherettes this December.

Caleb Goman

Оригинал: http://omarrodriguezlopez.com/post/13842872575/interview-omar-rodriguez-lopez-australia
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Bianca Interviews Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: Love, Communicating With God & Le Butcherettes



Omar Rodriguez- Lopez is one of my favourite musicians. You might know him from At The Drive-In, The Mars Volta, De Facto or his 20+ solo records or you may know him for his films (his most recent The Sentimental Engine Slayer ? trailer at end of post). He is incredibly prolific and offers beautiful insight into creativity and life through his eyes. Whenever we catch up we always have the most thoughtful, inspiring chats. I?m super excited about the Australian tour that kicks off on December 9th?I?m even more excited he?s bringing the Mexico/Los Angeles band Le Butcherettes he signed to his label. He will also be joining them on bass! These shows are not to be missed. Seriously. - Interview by Bianca

What?s life been like for you lately?

OR-L: It?s been mellow. I?ve been taking time off and just being around my family.

That?s lovely, family is so important.

OR-L: Definitely! Without a doubt.

You live in Mexico now these days?

OR-L: Yeah. I?m in the process of moving. I?m actually going to move back to Texas to be with my family.

What inspired your move to Mexico?

OR-L: Just being around my culture. I?m Puerto Rican so I like being around Latin culture. I was raised in Mexico as well. We went from Puerto Rico to Mexico and then to America. I just wanted a higher quality of life than what America has to offer.

Do you play music and create every day?

OR-L: Yeah pretty much. In some form or another, yes, I express it every day.

Do you have a daily routine at all?

OR-L: Yeah to a certain degree. I wake up, I eat, basic things like that. It?s not like when we spoke last time and I pretty much had the routine of at 11am to midnight I?d be in the studio. It?s just laid back now. My priorities are waking up and eating right and figuring out the day from there.

You?ve said in the past that your records are just opinions, notebooks and journal entries; you discovering life and beautiful things and learning lessons ? is there any important lessons that you?ve been learning lately?
OR-L: Oh sure. There?s a lot. If I had to simplify it and boil it down to its most common denominator it?s that there is nothing more important than love. There is nothing more important than love whatever that is to you?family love, people? everything else has to come second to that. I?m a romantic and with most romantics it?s easy to fall under the illusion that love is enough and that love will fix everything?it?s not enough! Love is an art form, love is a craft, love is like anything else. If you want to be a good piano player you have to practice playing piano. If you don?t play piano for 20 years you?re not going to be a very good piano player. Love is the same way. You can?t just think because you love your mother or you love your father or you love your woman that that?s enough, you have to refine it and you have to work on it every day. What the means is that because it?s a craft and an art form it has to come before anything, it has to be at the top of the list. All things being equal, if love is an art form and if guitar is an art form, painting is an art form, it comes down to you have to decide which art form is more important to you because that is the one you are going to excel at. If you spend most of your time painting you?re going to excel at painting. If you spend most of your time playing piano, you?re going to excel at playing piano. I want to excel at loving and I realise that everything else is secondary. It is the root of everything. If you?re great at loving you?ll be great at playing piano or painting. Everything else becomes so small in comparison. It goes back to why spending more time with the family and doing things outside or whatnot it important.

You?re an avid journal keeper, is that something you?ve always done?

OR-L: Yeah since I was very little. Like any kid, you have your notebook where you draw your dragons and space monsters and whatever else comes to your mind. It?s a way of creating your own personal world. I love keeping a journal.

What?s one of your first musical memories?

OR-L: It would have to be my father and my uncles and my mother, just basically being at home. It?s just part of my culture and my upbringing. Puerto Rican culture revolves around music and food. Everybody plays something even if they are not musicians. Music is used as a language, it?s a second language. Before I ever learnt English I already knew the language of music because it was what was most spoken at my house besides Spanish, those are my musical memories. In other cultures, in America say for example, they have Christmas songs? when Christmas time comes around ? I say that because it?s almost Christmas time now ? there are a lot of communal Christmas songs that everyone knows and sings, they have that thing where people go door-to-door singing, well, Puerto Rican culture is like that all the time, it?s not just Christmas, it?s everything. There are songs that talk about the food you?re eating, there?s songs that talk about what it is like to be Puerto Rican. There?s songs that talk about what it?s like to be like from this village or that village?it?s just inherent in the culture. For me I?ve never thought of music as something separate from life or family life. I?ve never been cognisant of music like when people ask, did you ever think you?d end up being a musician? It would be like saying, did you ever think you were ever going to eat rice and beans with fried plantain? It doesn?t enter the consciousness when it is something that is around you all the time, it is just something that is there.

It?s like breathing.

OR-L: Exactly!

You also film lots of things. You?ve been filming since the beginning of At The Drive-In and documenting your journey as a musician; why do you feel you have such a need to document everything so avidly?

OR-L: Because I can, because it?s there. It?s another brush stroke and another colour on the palette of paint. I was born in era where the average person can walk into a store and buy a video camera. Thirty years ago that was only something that was there for rich people. We live in an era where you can get a couple of hundred bucks together and you can by a camera and document things. Going back to it again, it is how I was raised. When we moved to America and my father starting doing well with his business, one of the first things he did was by one of those VHS camcorders. He used to film all of our family outings (pretty normal stuff, families film their family outings) that was always stuck in my head. When he first brought a camera he showed me how to use it and I started filming right away. I?d make little short films. It felt very natural. My dad didn?t film family vacations in the normal way, he always turned it into a narrative somehow. There was always a narrator. He?s always would turn it into this big fun event that would involve everybody, so then everybody wanted to play with the video camera. Being the second oldest son I was allowed that luxury. It?s just there in your subconscious or the makeup of how you do things. When I grew to be an adult and At The Drive-In started making some money, one of the first things that I did was go and buy myself a video camera. I filmed stuff because I thought it would be a cool thing to show my mom back home and eventually my children.

Do you think the footage will ever come out to the public?

OR-L: I?m sure parts of it will, yeah definitely. I have about three films in my closet/vault, together with unreleased records. I imagine at some point as the years pass by I won?t care and I?ll just put it out. Over the years they?ve just been journal entries. I cut together a small film of my experience of At The Drive-In. I cut one together about my experience in De Facto. I started to cut one together about my project The Mars Volta, about what became very, very long. You also start to lose interest after a while and you start to film other things or become interested in other things. I imagine at some point parts of it will come out definitely.

I know that the new Mars Volta album has been finished for a while, the musical parts were finished for a very long time while awaiting the lyrics/vocals. In an interview recently when someone asked you about what the record sounded like you said ?The first thing that pops into my mind is that it sounds like me and Cedric finding answers and insight into each other?s spirits.? I thought that was really beautiful. I was wondering what insights you found?

OR-L: It runs pretty deep so it gets tricky. Off the top of my head some things would be like, I never realised how much my controlling-ness or my dominate personality affected him. I just always saw it as I was doing it for the greater good of us both. I never stopped to think about how it affected him and in inadvertent ways. I was able to see that during that process. It?s hard to get into because it is so layered and a lot of it is so personal which is why I usually just try to speak in general broad brush strokes. You learn a lot about yourself when you do a project and you learn a lot about whoever you let into that project. At the end of the day that?s the only real reason to do anything ? to make records, movies or anything else ? it?s to learn.

I know exactly what you mean. I learn so much from each conversation I have/interview I do. Our last chat taught me so much.

OR-L: Exactly. I remember it well.

[Le Butcherettes Teri Live by David Summers]

You are bringing Le Butcherettes (pictured above) to Australia on your tour. I?m so excited to see them! I read an interview with Le Butcherettes? frontwoman Teri Gender Bender and she said that you discovered them when you went to a show they were playing. She went on to say that the power went out and that they keep playing regardless. What was it that you saw in them?

OR-L: What I saw with them is something that is undefinable. When you talk about it you can only use general terms like, I saw that spark or that spirit. It?s so abstract in a way. You see that thing in people where you know that it is honest, you know that they are doing it because they have to do it, you know that it?s a primordial type of urge.

There?s people that like entertainment, there?s people who like playing music and then there are people that are searching for God. God not being? I?m not talking about Christianity or Judaism or anything like that, just in broad terms for whatever the fuck you want that to be. Those are the three different sections that I found when you talk about art: entertaining, people that are being expressive and that want to play music, that love to play music and there?s people that are trying to communicate with God?they fell into that category and that was what I was able to see very quickly. Like you were saying, the electricity went out but they still played! Somebody else would say, well what?s the point of playing with no electricity? Another person would say, because they absolutely have to, this is how I?m trying to communicate with God. God could be me, it could be myself, I could be trying to get to know myself?the point being, it is absolutely vital. That?s what I saw in Le Butcherettes.

Оригинал: http://omarrodriguezlopez.com/post/13812089818/bianca-interviews-omar-rodriguez-lopez-love
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Guitar Player Magazine Interview






Omar Rodriguez Lopez is no pussyfooter. In the past seven years alone the 35 year-old guitarist and composer generated enough music to fill six albums by his band, the Mars Volta, and twice that many solo albums, as well as numerous collaborative projects with artists as diverse as Damo Suzuki, John Frusciante, and Lydia Lunch. During that same period, he also produced more than 20 albums and made numerous guest appearances, and that?s not to mention the dozen or so albums he made with various bands previous to 2003. Rodriguez Lopez is also a skilled vocalist and plays drums, bass, and keyboards; writes, scores, and directs films; and is reportedly a badass chef.

The Puerto Rican-born maestro began his career in 1990, singing for El Paso, Texas-based punk rockers Startled Calf. After taking a year off to dharma bum around the States, he returned to Texas to join his friend vocalist Cedric Bixler Zavala in the band At the Drive-In. Originally the band?s bassist, Rodriguez Lopez soon switched to guitar, earning a reputation for conjuring cosmic sounds from?and brutalizing?his instrument throughout the band?s often orgiastic sets. Rodriguez Lopez and Bixler Zavala also helmed a dub-reggae side project called De Facto, the members of which solidified into the core of the Mars Volta in 2001.

The Mars Volta retained much of the pugnacious attitude and hard rock energy of ATDI, while evolving a broader musical aesthetic embracing ?60s psychedelia, ?70s art rock, and ?90s electronica, with traces of free jazz, musique concrete, Latin, and myriad other idioms providing additional color. Frequently categorized as a ?progressive rock? band by less-than-imaginative critics, the Mars Volta is one of the few contemporary groups thus pigeonholed that actually do progress, as illustrated by their latest album.

While Octahedron [Warner Bros.] is still replete with the rapid-fire angular riffs, tricky time signatures, disturbingly warped tonalities, torrid solos, and brilliantly effected tones that characterize the Mars Volta trip, those elements occur within more concise and tightly scripted structures, and pieces such as ?Since We?ve Been Wrong,? ?With Twilight As My Guide,? and ?Copernicus? are downright halcyon compared with the sublimely chaotic din of 2008?s aptly named The Bedlam in Goliath (containing the song ?Wax Simulacra,? which scored a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance). The differences embody Rodriguez Lopez?s newfound desire to play fewer notes with greater finesse, and the influence of more acoustically based artists such as Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, and solo-era Syd Barrett.

But as fans are still wrapping their minds around Octahedron, the creatively restless Rodriguez Lopez has already journeyed parsecs down the line. In addition to releasing a magnificent solo album titled Xenophanes (featuring members of the Mars Volta with Spanish lyrics penned and sung by himself), he was already at work on a new band album when he his creative soul searching lead him to rethink the way he produces records?an approach calculated to deliberately introduce discomfort by not allowing players to hear the music before a session, yet expecting them to quickly grasp and execute their parts anyway, often without listening to other key tracks while recording.

?I made a record right after Octahedron that I thought would be the follow-up, and it was nearly finished when I realized that it really wasn?t?so I shelved it and started from scratch,? he explains. ?I?ve gotten comfortable with my way of dealing with musicians and the compositions. So I?m struggling to discover something new to make me uncomfortable.? Any wagers he?ll have found it by the time this goes to print?

You once said that you hate the guitar but were warming up to it. How?s that relationship going?


It?s going well. What I meant was that after 17 years of playing, I had accepted that the guitar is the instrument that I can communicate my ideas on most quickly. I just always wanted to be a piano player because my brothers and uncles are all really good at piano, and it seemed like an easier instrument to compose on. But I enjoy playing the guitar very much. Part of my discomfort also stems from the fact that I consider myself to be a very brute player. I?m not a guitarist with a lot of finesse or warmth, and I?m always awed when I hear those qualities in the playing of others. Most of the time I?m so much of a brute that I pull the strings out of tune. My mixing engineer [Rich Costey] always says that he can tell when he?s hearing a Mars Volta record because the guitars are slightly out of tune.

Nonetheless, there is a lot of subtler guitar playing on Octahedron.

Yeah, that?s what I?ve been focusing on. I want to figure out how to play less, and more subtly. I?ve gotten to the point where I?m most interested in my weaknesses? another one of which is that I don?t compose in major keys. I don?t know why, because I don?t really understand theory. Writing in major keys just isn?t something that comes naturally to me, or that my ear finds appealing, and I want to figure out why.

Octahedron also features a lot of acoustic guitar.

There is a lot of acoustic guitar, though some people were expecting it to be an all-acoustic record because early on I said that it was going to be ?acoustic-inspired,? and people interpreted that one-dimensionally. They thought that because I said I had been listening to Nick Drake and Leonard Cohen and Syd Barrett that my record was going to sound like those artists or even be just acoustic guitar and vocals. But what I meant was that everything about those artists and their records influenced me.

You have released many solo albums in addition to albums by the Mars Volta. How do you decide which songs go where?

I don?t make a distinction between a solo song and a Mars Volta song when I?m composing?it?s all my music and it?s my band. I?m just writing and trying things constantly in the studio, and then at some point I get a big check from the record company, which means that I can get more time, assistance, and other resources that will enable me to up the production. At that point I look at everything I?ve written or experimented with and select the best of the best. Then I refine it, which mostly just means that I get to butcher it more and say, ?Okay, I?m going to take this little snippet out, and that one, and let?s get in some of these so we can put them over here,? etc.

Do you take that same approach once you have the songs recorded, or do you try to record them pretty much the way you want them from the beginning?

I do both. I try to get the form I like from the start, but I?m never opposed to altering my way of seeing things. It?s very much like working on a film. You can have things scripted one way and then you realize when you?re in the cutting room that it?s not working. At that point you can decide to take scenes out or add scenes or put things out of sequence because it makes a stronger picture. I?m not precious about anything. I?m very much in favor of creating in order to destroy in order to create again.

When crafting guitar sounds using effects, do you start with a sound in your head and try to find the right pedals to achieve that sound, or just experiment until you find sounds that are useful?

0.00gp0210_covTrejoUsually I have a clear idea of what I think something should sound like, and the process of finding that sound is fairly quick because I have a good understanding of what the pedals do. I?m not saying I?m an expert, but as far as my own little bubble and what it is that I like, I know exactly how to get a sound I?m imagining. Then, I apply that sound and the record either accepts it or rejects it, and if it rejects it I have to keep looking.

Do you swap out the pedals on your pedalboard depending on what you?re doing?

In the studio I do, but I also definitely have staples. Like, I can?t ever seem to let go of the Electro-Harmonix Deluxe Memory Man and Frequency Analyzer pedals, or the early Boss Vibrato. But when I?m beginning any new project it?s like, ?Yeah, let?s get these new toys and see where we can apply them,? and that becomes an inspiration for recording.

What are a few of your other essentials?

There?s a Moogerfooger Ring Modulator, a Boss DD-5 Digital Delay, an MXR Phase 90, an Ernie Ball Wah, and a Russian pedal that somebody gave me when I played there. Everything on it is written in Russian so I had no idea what it was until I got it home. It turned out to be the most amazing delay pedal I?ve heard in a long time, so I?ve been using that quite a lot.

Speaking of delays, would it be fair to say that you have a particular fondness for tape delays?

0.00gp0210_covboardThat would be quite fair [laughs]. I have about five Echoplexes, all of which have unique qualities?but my favorites are the Roland RE- 101, RE-201, and RE-301 Space Echoes. I own eight RE-201s and people ask, ?Why eight?? But each unit has something different about it. I also buy ?broken? ones that I?ll never fix, because to me they each do something that none of the others will do. Somebody will be like, ?I can get that crackle fixed for you,? and I?ll say, ?Are you kidding? When I need a little crackle, that?s the one I go to!? I also used a Pigtronix Echolution on one song on the album and that thing is really great.

Wah is an effect that you also use a lot, and you mentioned the Ernie Ball. Is that your favorite?

That?s a great wah, and the one that I mainly use live. The other one I like is the Ibanez WF10 Fuzz Wah that they made back in the ?80s.

Are you mostly playing your Ibanez ORM-1 signature guitar?

Yeah. I have a lot of other guitars, though, and every once in a while a record will reject what I?m doing with the Ibanez and I?ll try something else. But I?m not really picky about guitars, because I mostly change the tone with pedals or by adjusting my amp.

What amps do you use?

On Octahedron I mostly used a Vox AC30 and the Orange reissue amp that I use live. I?ve been using the AC30 since we recorded Bedlam, and before that I mostly stuck to my Harmony 2x12 and Supro Thunderbolt and 1606 combos. I don?t know much about guitars and the equipment. I just go into a store and if something sounds good I?ll take it home. I?m not a snob, or one of those people that say, ?No, these pedals are better because they?re analog? or whatever. I love the Roland Space Echo but I also love, say, the Guyatone Micro Digital Delay because it can do something that the Roland can?t.

Do you track with effects?

Always, because I like being stuck with what I?ve done?no turning back!

What did you use to get that ?60s-style distortion sound on ?Since We?ve Been Wrong??

I don?t recall, probably because I wrote and recorded that song so quickly. I had just moved to Brooklyn and was setting up my studio, and I came up with that song while we were testing gear, just playing parts to make sure that everything was working. The whole song from beginning to end other than the drums and bass?all the acoustic and electric guitars and the Mellotron?I did in just a few minutes. It was one of those things that just came out naturally.

On that song there is a cycling chord progression with a long pause between each cycle, and it is difficult toidentify the time signature. What is the count?

I forget. Because I?m not versed in theory, at first everything comes down to how I count it. Then when I show it to my band they laugh and say, ?No, this is the way that we would count it traditionally.? I may have been playing in four with a three feel, or three with a four feel, but I know that after I played the last note I counted to five before starting again. I wasn?t trying to be tricky, and I don?t even know why five rather than some other number. That?s just what felt right at the time.

There?s also a very synth-like sound. Is that an Electro-Harmonix HOG or POG?

I definitely use both the HOG and the POG, though I?m not certain about that particular sound, as I also use filter pedals for those types of effects. I have loved those sorts of tones since early on; anything that would make my guitar not sound like it was a guitar. For example, people think there are a lot of synths on our first album [De-Loused in the Comatorium], but all of those sounds were generated using guitars.

How did you get that pixilated modulation sound on ?Teflon??

That?s a Menatone Pleasure Trem 5000 with the Depth control turned all the way up, and probably some other effect like a phaser or a filter to give it a different feel. I can?t always remember the specifics of how I got particular sounds because I have so much fun doing what I do that I?m usually just rolling through relying on my instincts and not being cerebral at all. It?s like, ?I?m looking for this? there, I found it?okay, problem solved.?

There are also some intense echo effects on that song that sound like you are just soloing the echo returns. Is that a tape echo?

Yes. And I very rarely blend the sound. Usually a guitarist or other person will blend the echo sound with the dry sound?but my setting is ?10?! Like I said, I?m a very brute player. There?s very little finesse or sophistication in my approach.

There are lots of interesting textural things going on at the beginning of ?Halo of Nembutals.? Can you recall how that section came about?

Yeah, there is a sequence happening there, along with some guitar swells run through backwards reverb and other stuff. A couple of those sounds are also made with synths.

Are you using a volume pedal to get the swells?

No, I always use my finger for volume swells. I don?t ever use volume pedals. I can?t wrap my head around them.

On ?With Twilight as My Guide? there are what sound like modulated, swelling, reversed, slide, and half-speed guitar parts. Do any of those ring any bells?

Yeah, all those things ring bells. That song is a good example of my trying to do less, because for the first time I mixed those sounds into the background where they are just sort of swimming around. Normally when I was mixing a record I would put all of those sounds out front really loud.

To get those reversed-reverb sounds are you just playing into a reverse reverb with a long predelay so that it is repeating afterward, or are you actually flipping the recording around?

I do often record and then flip it around, but another thing I like to do is just the opposite: I record it, flip it around, add reverb, then print that, then flip the whole thing back around. That way you get the reversed reverb up front before the dry sound.

The half-speed parts sound like the same lines that are being played alongside them at full speed, creating halftime, octave-down harmony parts.

Yeah, I love doing that!

How are you getting the super-heavy guitar tone on ?Cotopaxi??

That?s the Orange. My preference is to get distortion from an amp rather than pedals, particularly on rhythm parts, and I prefer smaller amps when recording. I mostly just use fuzz or octave-fuzz if I really want to push something over the top.

You get some gorgeous modulated clean sounds at the beginning and end of ?Desperate Graves.?

That?s a good example of where I actually used a different guitar because the album rejected everything else. That was a ?64 Fender Mustang through the Harmony amp. I had hoped to use my Dunlop Rotovibe on both sections, but it broke after I?d recorded one of them?I can?t remember which?so I used a Boss Vibrato pedal for the other section. The guitars are layered, which produces a 12-string-type effect.

There?s another nice clean sound on ?Copernicus.?

I recorded that in Australia while we were on tour there, and just used whatever amp they had at the studio. On tour I don?t really have days off?I just check into a studio and work when we aren?t playing. I also have a special hotel laptop rig for working while touring. I used to bring everything with me, including a Neve 8301 Kelso Sidecar, AKG C12 microphones, and a little amp that I would put in the bathroom. Needless to say my gear took a beating, and I also got lots of complaints from different hotels, so I joined the digital age.

There?s a little slide playing on Octahedron.

I used to play a lot of slide back when we were making the first record, but I haven?t done it in a while, and it felt really nice to get back into it. The slide thing is part of the Barrett influence.

Have you experimented with non-standard tunings?

Not yet. I get asked that question frequently because people think particular songs must be in some special tuning?but I can barely handle standard tuning. Maybe that?s another weakness that I need to work on.

You play with a pick and your fingers. Do you do those things individually or using a hybrid approach?

For some of the quieter parts I slide the pick to my pinky and use my thumb and first two fingers.

What picks and strings do you use?

I like the orange Dunlop Tortex picks and I use Ernie Ball strings gauged .013 to .056 with a wound third.

Wow, is that why you don?t use a lot of vibrato?

Maybe. I never realized my strings were so heavy until other guitar players were like, ?What the f**k are you doing?? When John Frusciante realized I had them he was amazed and kept asking me if I was really doing all those bends using those strings. But if I use lighter strings I really pull them out of tune, because as I said I don?t have a gentle touch? and that also affects my vibrato. Someone like John plays with a lot of finesse, so you can hear all those little things that he does with the vibrato and everything, whereas my playing is sort of bulldozer-esque.

Speaking of Frusciante, what were his contributions to Octahedron?

Besides being a very close friend of mine who understands what I?m trying to do, John is another musician that I utilize to execute my compositions. What I look for in a musician is the ability to learn and memorize horribly fast, because I?m impatient. And they have to be able to do it without fear or reservations, and to play with all their heart and soul so that their personality comes through. In filmmaking terms, I?m the writer and director and the musicians are actors. They learn their lines and say them, and then we share the bigger story together.

In what ways has he influenced your playing?

He?s the reason I don?t have the affinity for the guitar that I should: because I know that I?m a phony. John?s one of those people that I?ve always wanted to be. He picks up the thing and there?s no separation between him and the guitar. Every single thing that he plays has finesse and beauty to it. He?s a natural, whereas for me it has come through a lot of playing and stubbornness, and thinking that the guitar and I are stuck with each other so we?d better make the best of it.

You?re a pretty good guitar player.

Thank you. I?m not feigning humility, I?m just facing reality. Some people need a reality check. I play rock music, which is like the lowest common denominator [laughs]. There are lots of truly extraordinary guitarists all over the world and the music can get really deep. To be hiding behind distortion and loud drums, and delay pedals has its charm and you can definitely do cool things that are interesting and exciting, but if you take all of those things away and put me in a room with an acoustic guitar and ask me play for a few people I will be terrified and clam up every time. I?m very flattered and proud to be perceived as a good or interesting guitar player, but it doesn?t define me.

How do you get into the right headspace when working?

For me ?working? is really playing. And it?s all part of living, because I don?t really have a life outside of it. I don?t drink, I don?t do drugs, I don?t smoke pot, and I don?t smoke cigarettes. I like to be up early, I like to meditate in the morning, I like to eat a great breakfast, and I enjoy food and watching movies and recording my music and making my films?it?s all tied together. If I?m doing those things then I?m doing what I need to be doing to make music.

Оригиналы: http://omarrodriguezlopez.com/post/7503655275/guitar-player-magazine-interview
http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/the-methodical-madnesss-of-omar-rodriguez-lopez/274
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[REMEZCLA MUSICA]
Q&A: Omar Rodríguez López, All Pleasantries
BY Paola Capó-García | PUBLISHED: Thursday, April 14th, 2011



If Omar Rodríguez López never wants to talk to me ever again, I completely understand. Not because I offended him or because he?s some prog-rock heady diva, not at all. He?d be prone to try and forget my existence because he might think I?m going to go all Misery on him. Admittedly, I?m a fan. Admittedly, The Mars Volta?s De-Loused in the Comatorium is one of the reasons this little San Juan schoolgirl became a music journalist. Admittedly, it?s Omar?s guitar playing and composition skills that made me think of music in a different way, after being so violently saturated by reggaeton and La Mega my entire life. Admittedly, I?m a little obsessed. And all of this was admitted over the phone, gushingly and with no regard for the art of cool, to Omar Rodríguez López, as I interviewed him prior to the release of what feels like his gajillionth album under his solo moniker, the mammoth Telesterion (out April 16th, Record Store Day).

He?s pleasant, well mannered, assertive yet soft spoken. He?s everything I wanted him to be. It wasn?t like meeting mall Santa when you?re 7 and realizing he?s a dick and has an alcohol problem. It was like having a nice conversation with a nice person. Omar talked about his roots (both Boricua and now Mexican), his will, and what he is and isn?t.

________________________________________________________

Omar-frame2I wanted to ask you a little bit about your upbringing, going from Puerto Rico to El Paso. How Latin would you say your upbringing was?

My upbringing, in reference to our culture, was 100 percent Latin. I don?t think I had a friend that was outside of the Latino community until I was about 13 or so. I was born in Bayamón and then we moved from Puerto Rico to Puebla in Mexico. I lived there for five years before eventually going to El Paso, which is, as you know, mostly Hispanic. We were being taught to speak English, but we weren?t allowed to speak it at home. And the food was the same at home, even when we moved to the States, we lived as if we were still on the island. That was always something that was really important to my mother and my father, also in the way that things played out for me. I got along more with the chicanos, and the Mexican culture, and whatnot.

What kind of music did you listen to growing up?

There was salsa and The Beatles, pretty much.

Was it influenced by your parents or was it mostly you?

To me everything comes from my parents, there?s nothing that I?ve learned as an adult that wasn?t already put into place for me at some point as a child by my parents. Parents are single handedly the biggest influence on the human spirit. As the spirit enters the body, the very first trauma that any human being can experience is ?Does my mother want me? Is she afraid of this pregnancy, does she welcome this pregnancy? Am I wanted?? And from there on out, after your parents would be, obviously, society, school, church. But that having been said, that was the music that was around me. That?s what everyone around me listened to. That?s where I came from. So people like Héctor Lavoe were big stars for me and the only English-speaking music I was exposed to were things like The Beatles, and eventually when I moved to the States I found punk rock. But even that I wouldn?t say I found on my own. Because, again, my parents placed me in a situation where those are the people I ended up meeting and my father was the one who took me to the record store. I am blessed to have a very solid family system and to have been wanted from the moment I was conceived.

You were talking about making the transition to the U.S., was it hard or were you so young that it felt natural?

No, it was an awful transition. For me it was the one defining moment of self awareness. You know, I wasn?t actually aware of myself or of the things I chose to do, or the color of my skin, texture of my hair, or my features, until I moved to the U.S. We moved first to Columbia, South Carolina, which was at the time a very, very divided place, and full of racial tension and overtones. And so I was completely surrounded by racism and because I wasn?t white I was thrown in with the black kids. It was the first time I ever heard the word ?spic,? it was the first time I ever realized the food I brought to lunch smelled funny or that I smelled funny, or became aware of the color of my skin, or that my hair was curly. Our move to the U.S., in that way, was very, very marked. In another way, as I said, we were completely insular. Even in South Carolina my parents found a Puerto Rican community, so we ate at Puerto Rican restaurants, we had Puerto Rican friends, and all the festivities were Puerto Rican. In fact, I was only around English-speaking people at school.

________________________________________________________
I THINK AT THE CORE OF MY BEING, LIKE ALL OF US, I?M A PERFECT REPRESENTATION OF THE UNIVERSE. I WAS BORN PERFECT.

________________________________________________________

Do you think if you wouldn?t have had that hardship, that tough transition, you?d be the person you are today, or the musician or artist? I mean obviously, we?d probably all be different if things were different when we were young?

Like you said, everything influences who we are and what we will become. But, I think at the core of my being, like all of us, I?m a perfect representation of the universe. I was born perfect. My entire goal in life is to shed all the layers that have been put on me by society and eventually get back to that. So I think, at essence, I would have always remained the same, regardless of my environment. Because my particular goals in life are that of getting back to the essence, back to everything that is around me. Regardless of what life would have thrown at me, my will would be the same. My will to accomplish that and to go back to the womb and where I came from, it still [would] have been an obsession of mine. Again, because it?s handed down from my father, and my father?s father, and my mother, and my mother?s mother. I?ve had all these concepts from a very young age. I will say, this is how I perceive it now, maybe I would have had less obstacles. I just feel like I had the obstacle of self loathing, because of moving to the U.S., and how I interpreted peoples? words and actions toward me. And so, that caused a lot of anger, and self loathing, and blah blah blah, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I wonder if I would have gotten to where I am now at 35 at 25 had I not had that anger come into play. For whatever reason it?s what was handed to me.

You?re playing the Puerto Rico Indie Fest soon. Do you still feel rooted when you go over there? Ever since At the Drive In and The Mars Volta, you?ve had a big following in Puerto Rico. What?s that reception like now when you go back? Does it feel like home or home away from home? Or foreign?

It feels like going back to the mother ship, you know? I?ve been away from it for so long?it?s sort of when you see a true friend that you haven?t seen in a long time. It?s never awkward, even if you haven?t seen them for 10 years, when you have a true connection with someone you pick things up as if you?ve never left. The majority of my fan base is still in Puerto Rico, my older brother is still in Puerto Rico. That?s where my spirit is. I don?t get to go back that often and I?m way more surrounded by the Mexican culture. I live in Mexico and my wife is Mexican. My fans are Mexicans or chicanos. And so I go back after I?ve taken on the Mexican dialect and I use a lot of words that don?t exist in Puerto Rican dialect. My family is always making fun of me, saying I?m a wannabe Mexican. And the Mexicans always make fun of me because of my Caribbean accent. There?s always that struggle, or that need, to find your place within any structure. The closest structure, or the home structure.

________________________________________________________
I?M NOTHING AND THAT ALLOWS ME TO BE EVERYTHING.

________________________________________________________

You?re a Mexi-Rican! You just mentioned your wife and we?re obviously huge fans of Ximena [Sariñana]. What is it like collaborating with her? She does come on stage and collaborate with you a lot. What is that dynamic like?

What?s it like? It?s like?oh what?s it like?it?s like when you sit down and you eat food. It?s like when you decide to walk from one point to another. It?s like when you?re thirsty and you drink water. It?s like when you have a thought and then you speak.

So it feels natural?

Yeah, it?s nothing special. It?s something and yet it?s nothing special. I try to explain it this way and I think people misunderstand me because of the word ?special.? What I try to get out is that I feel like it was always there and that?s the way that it?s supposed to be. This is what I mean by saying we eat and it?s nothing special. But if we don?t eat we die. And we drink water and it?s nothing, but water is the most amazing, wonderful drink you can have. That?s how it feels to work with her, to be with her, to be around her, and to know her. It?s absolutely nothing special, it?s exactly what it?s supposed to be.

telesterionTell me about Telesterion, it?s coming out on Record Store Day [April 16th]. It?s kind of a beast of an album.

Telesterion is a compilation album. It happened because our distributer in Japan came up with the idea. He said, ?I?d like to put something together where they [fans] can go and check out the different music, a lot of people are overwhelmed because there are so many records and they don?t know where to begin. I?d like to make a record where they can go check out the different music and within the record you can see where the songs came from, and then you can decide which of the albums you like.? I thought that was a good idea and everybody on this side of the river thought it was a good idea. I had very little to do with it, I didn?t choose the songs. I have no perspective on those types of things, but I understood the concept quite well. It seemed completely pragmatic and a smart thing to do, so we did it. For me it wasn?t a normal record, I didn?t have very much of my hands in it. It was more of a record about me, than a record by me.

Which is flattering, I?m sure.

Yeah, it?s pretty cool.

I wanted to ask you about ?Calma Pueblo? with Calle 13. What was that collaboration like and where did it stem from?

That was like most, if not all, things in my life, very natural. It just happened. I?ve known those guys for a long time, obviously them being my paisanos and from tour. It happened that I was on the island because my grandfather was turning 100 years old and we were making a party for him. And then I got the track from Eduardo [Visitante], but I was flying home the next day. He told me to feel free to do whatever I wanted to do but they needed it by tomorrow night. So I sent it out the next morning. It was very spontaneous.

Tribeca is coming up and I remember you had The Sentimental Engine Slayer screening last year. Do you have any plans to film anything new?

We made another film in Juárez [El Divino Influjo de los Secretos] for the fall festival season, and we shot another, Los Chidos, in Guadalajara.

If you weren?t a musician or a filmmaker or an artist of any sort, what do you think you?d be?

People see me playing guitar and call me a musician but I don?t relate to musicians. I love to cook but I?m not a chef. I take pictures but I?m not a photographer. I?m nothing and that allows me to be everything. I?m not a musician. This is only one calling to awaken to the truth of everything, to become perfect again.

________________________________________________________

Omar Rodríguez López?s Telesterion comes out April 16th on Record Store Day.

Оригинал: http://music.remezcla.com/2011/latin/omar-rodriguez-lopez-telesterion-interview/
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LA WEEKLY Interview: The Mars Volta and At the Drive-In?s Omar Rodriguez-Lopez




Omar Rodriguez-Lopez wears the same thing every day: teal-colored jeans and a fitted canvas jacket. His eyes are intent behind his glasses; his focus is acute. For the bulk of his 35 years he?s been consumed with expressing his creative vision. Relentless in the pursuit of his own voice, he has alienated friends and collaborators. By his own admission, he?s behaved like a dictator.

The brain behind Grammy-winning progressive rock group The Mars Volta, Rodriguez-Lopez has written all the band?s music, mixed the recordings by himself and fired musicians at will ? sometimes without so much as an email to let them know.

?I?ve been a real bastard over the years,? he admits, perched on a couch in the top-floor sun room of his Echo Park production offices, looking out over L.A.?s sun-soaked Eastside hills. ?All in the name of following my vision.?

Wiry thin, he has an Einstein-style wild mess of dark hair and big, round, smudgy spectacles. He?s the kind of guy who forgets to eat, shower or brush his teeth when he gets on a roll writing music.

He certainly has his admirers; devoted Mars Volta fans liken the band?s members to gods. They obsess over their innovative, genre-shattering, long-winded compositions, full of changing time signatures, singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala?s high-pitched howling vocals and Rodriguez-Lopez?s experimental guitar riffs.

But he senses that something?s coming to an end. The Mars Volta?s sixth album,Noctourniquet, goes on sale this week, and Rodriguez-Lopez is calling it his swan song with them. The band isn?t necessarily calling it quits, he clarifies. ?But something has to change drastically in it. I have to step down as a dictator.?

He has decided to actually start collaborating with the folks he makes music with. What a concept.

First up on Rodriguez-Lopez?s new agenda is getting back together with seminal post-hardcore outfit At the Drive-In for Coachella this year.

At the Drive-In formed in 1993 in El Paso, where Rodriguez-Lopez spent much of his youth. He was hitchhiking around the country when longtime friend Bixler-Zavala urged him to come home and join the group as its bassist. He later switched over to guitar.

At the Drive-In amassed a large underground audience during the mid- to late ?90s, but Rodriguez-Lopez says he eventually got tired of ?having a meeting about every single detail, every single note.?

One day he blew up, he says, and he and Bixler-Zavala set out on their own.

But about four years ago, while living in Guadalajara, Mexico, Rodriguez-Lopez called up his old bandmates and invited them for a visit. They hung out and talked about old times, and he says he apologized for how he had behaved. ?I knew that was my duty ? to me as a person, first and foremost, not even to them,? he says. ?To admit it to myself and to say it out loud.?

Born in Puerto Rico, he says his upbringing has a lot to do with why he?s been focused on personal expression for so long.

The second of five boys, Rodriguez-Lopez was raised by hippie parents who ate vegetarian, fasted every Sunday and read ancient religious texts as a family. At a very young age, he says, he was taught to ?examine the deeper meaning in things.?

But the family?s home was also one where salsa and bolero music played constantly. Having never been classically trained as a musician ? or trained at all, really ? he calls this part of his life his true musical education. Though largely it was just plain noisy. ?The loudest person in the room was the one who got to speak, because everyone was speaking at the same time.?

He now realizes that this affected how he?s wired, and he believes that coming to terms with it helped him make amends with At the Drive-In. Since January, when the band members announced their Coachella reunion, they?ve also added summer shows in Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan.

In fact, it was the last time Rodriguez-Lopez played in Japan (with the Mars Volta last summer) that push came to shove with that group. It was there that Bixler-Zavala said he was tired of Rodriguez-Lopez running everything. ?He was, like, ?Listen, you?ve had your way for 10 years. It?s been your band, your project, we do everything you want ? that isn?t a collaboration,? ? Rodriguez-Lopez recalls. ?And he?s right, it hasn?t been.?

How it usually worked was this: Rodriguez-Lopez would record each musician?s parts separately, and only when he was finished with the mix would Bixler-Zavala hear the music. Then Bixler-Zavala would write and record his vocals in isolation before handing it back to Rodriguez-Lopez, who?d finish it.

But for the recording of Noctourniquet ? which actually was started more than three years ago ? Rodriguez-Lopez took things even further, playing most of the individual parts himself. After he turned the record over to Bixler-Zavala, momentum stalled. It wasn?t until late last year that the vocalist tackled his part, and only after the assurance from Rodriguez-Lopez that this would be the last record they made together with Rodriguez-Lopez driving the creative process.

As for the album, he says, ?Whatever people think about the record is irrelevant. The only important thing is the process. Making this record got me and Cedric to that point in our relationship and that point in the band, and that?s what?s important.?

Listening to it now, he says, the music on Noctourniquet ?sounds like an old friend, but it sounds dated to me.?

For the last nine months, Rodriguez-Lopez has taken up temporary residence in Highland Park. Before that, he?d been living in Guadalajara with his then-girlfriend, singer-actress Ximena Sariñana. They broke up a year ago and he decided to move back to El Paso to be closer to his parents and brothers.

He says there?s no ill will between him and Sariñana, ?but life takes you on different paths, you know?? He doesn?t disclose if he?s currently romantically involved with anyone.

His stint in L.A. has him playing bass and producing an album for garage punkers Le Butcherettes. At the same time, he and his longtime editor Adam Thomson have finished up his fifth feature-length film, Los Chidos. The movie premiered at South by Southwest earlier this month.

Rodriguez-Lopez plans to head back to El Paso to open a new recording studio. The offices of Rodriguez-Lopez Productions ? which manages his labels, licensing and mail-order operations ? will remain in Echo Park.

That?s where he?s camped out this morning, his mind meandering from great existential questions to the topic of Mexican drug cartels. Suddenly he?s questioning his decision to eat a waffle for breakfast; the sugar, he complains, is making it hard to concentrate.

But maybe that?s OK; perhaps he could use a little less focus. After all, his bandmates and his film collaborators have finally gotten through to him, it appears, and they?re more than happy to bear a bit of the artistic load.

?I?m entering a new era, thank God,? he says. ?At 35 years of age I feel like I?ve just entered my body, like the way one feels maybe just when you?re born or something. I can now, just barely, get started.?

Оригинал: http://www.laweekly.com/2012-03-22/music/Mars-Volta-At-the-Drive-In-Omar-Rodriguez-Lopez/
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Omar Rodriguez Lopez Interview - Telesterion

Q&A Sessions: Omar Rodriguez Lopez
by Rob Perez / Noche Latina

Omar Rodriguez Lopez wants you to be initiated. Disputedly the most prolific artist in music today, Rodriguez has been the creative force behind two influential bands for the past 15 years?At the Drive In and The Mars Volta. When Rodriguez performs, he channels the electric spirit of Jimi Hendrix, the smooth guitar rhythms of Carlos Santana, as well as early punk rock sensibilities, ?90s teen spirit angst, and today?s social unrest. With Telesterion?a collection of 38 songs that offers a taste of Rodriguez?s music?it is the quintessential introduction?or initiation as he puts it?to fans just discovering his genius. Be warned: Rodriguez?s complex musical arrangements, wailing vocals, and pounding rhythms can be too much to take in at first, but it will keep you coming back for more. We spoke with the world renowned artist about his new album, the meaning behind his music, and the future of The Mars Volta.

nocheLatina: I know I?m going to mispronounce the album title, Te-les-te-ri-on. Is that correct?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Yeah, Telesterion. I wouldn?t know either. It comes from the Greeks, so I?m not even sure how to pronounce it.

nocheLatina: No worries. I do know that its meaning in ancient Greek is ?a building in which religious mysteries were celebrated.? Can you explain what the correalation is between the Greek meaning and your album?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: The whole album happened because our Japanese distributor had the idea. I was told, ?Listen, I?d like to put together something concise. Someone just finding out about your music could be overwhelmed because there are so many records. I?d like to put together a collection from all the different records. Let?s do that.? My partner Cathy, from the label, loved the idea. She thought it was important for us to do it. Then, my art director put together the order of track listings and everything. I just thought the whole concept of it should be a place where people can come and discover what it is that I do for fun. That?s why I took that title. It?s part of my love for Greek mythology and literature. The title, Telesterion, is a place of initiation. That?s what it translated to in my head when they were saying, ?We want a record where people can get an overview of what it is you do.? I thought, ?Oh, like an initiation. I get it.? I immediately thought of Telesterion.


nocheLatina: So the album is like a celebration in a way.

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Yeah. Everything I do is a celebration. The idea of this album is a place where people can get a general understanding of that ritual. It?s not something to be taken so seriously. It?s what I do to enjoy life. It?s what I do for fun. It?s how I communicate with my family and friends. It?s exactly that. It?s a ritual. It?s a celebration.

nocheLatina: Can Telesterion be considered a ?best of? album?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: No, not at all because that has nothing to do with celebration. That?s judgement. That?s putting value on something that I do. Again, I didn?t choose the songs. I said, ?Cool. Go with it. If you want to create an overview you go do it because I don?t have that objectivity.? I can?t pick songs that I think are better than others. I just have fun. It?s not that serious.

nocheLatina: You?re certainly one of the most prolific artists today. There are 40 albums, 25 solo albums, and the stuff that hasn?t been released yet. How do you keep coming up with new music? Where does the creativity come from?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: I don?t edit myself. I just express myself. It?s simple. I think artists have bought into the rules made by business people. There?s a whole set of unspoken rules, like only put out a new record every two years or you need a hit on an album in order for it to be worth putting time into it. These are all rules that were created by the industry, not those who are trying to express themselves. It was created by people who are trying to sell the expression. Now, I?m not going to complain about that because I?m in the fortunate situation where I make a living off of having fun. But what I?m saying is that at the heart of what I do is exactly that?discovering myself and enjoying it. When that?s the center point, it really frees you up. I?m not living by other people?s rules, so I can just express myself all the time. It?s like having an opinion. We have opinions all the time. Therefore, my records are just opinions. They?re notebooks, journal entries, or Polaroid pictures. It?s a big scrapbook of me discovering life and all the beautiful things in it, all while learning a lot of lessons.

nocheLatina: Is it a challenge to keep it fresh?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Yeah. I just challenge myself the same way I do in life, which is to be open to new influences and ideas. At the end of the day, I think, everything I do kind of does sound the same, unfortunately (laughs). Meaning that, it?s coming from my inner vision of the world, so I definitely have a certain type?I?m me. I have a personality. When you strip it all down I think a lot of it is very similar, but it?s all a matter of how you perceive that similarity. For me, I want to get to the truth. That?s been my biggest goal in life since I was little. It goes back to that time when my mother explained to me what her concept of God was. I?ve been searching for what that internal truth is and how it relates to the entire universe. For me, the music is a way to get there. But, I have to make it clear, it?s not separate from when I cook dinner for someone. It?s not separate from my relationship, how I love my woman, and how I understand her needs. It?s not separate from my brothers and my best friend, Cedric. It?s not separate from sex, writing, or any other activity I can possibly name. It all boils down to the same singular concept, which is, ?How do I become better? What is the truth??

nocheLatina: How would you describe your music?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: Searching. My music is just searching. I?m just searching. That?s it. I want to become one with God. I want to be God, if that makes any sense. I?m just searching for how to better express myself. All my life I?ve had problems with controlling my anger. Slowly, but surely, I searched how to do that. Music is a tool because I let out that aggression. When I was younger I used to break into houses, trash windows, deface statues, and spray paint. Then, I found a more constructive way of releasing my frustrations. Anyone can destroy, but not everyone can create. There?s a hundred different ways to break a glass cup, but there?s only one way to make that glass cup. I started becoming more interested in that. That became the search of myself and my place in this world. Maybe it is experimental, I don?t know. I?m just constantly looking for that thing beyond my reach. I?m trying to paint this picture that I can?t put into words.

nocheLatina: You?ve mentioned God a few times. Would you say there?s also a certain amount of spirituality in your music?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: It?s all that. That?s the root of everything. The world is a mental creation, so there?s nothing else. Understand when I say God I don?t mean any form; I?m not talking about some man. I?m talking about that instinctive thing that lets you know you pertain to something. There?s something greater that bounds it all together. Even if that greate for you is chaos, violence, or whatever.

nocheLatina: You also mentioned control. Are you still very controlling or have you learned to let go a little bit?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: I?m still very controlling and yes, I?ve learned to let go. I?m glad you brought this up. This is a perfect example of searching and the role of music. It?s exactly that. I don?t want to be that way forever. That is an extension of my personality. It?s not just music. I?m that way in my daily life. That?s me and I want to get rid of that because what is that? That?s only neurosis. It?s a lifelong process. I wasn?t born that way. I want to rid myself of all those things and go back to the original form that I came in. That?s the most important thing to me. So yes, the process of creating music is my search for finding this type of happiness and letting go. In that sense, I?m a very sick person and I?m really trying to heal that.

nocheLatina: What?s the future of The Mars Volta? When can we expect to hear new music?

Omar Rodriguez Lopez: The record is done. Whenever the record label decides to put it out that?s when we?ll hear something new (laughs).

Оригинал: http://www.nochelatina.com/Articles/8701/Interview-with-Omar-Rodriguez-Lopez
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I Paint My Mind: Omar Rodriguez Lopez Interview
OMAR RODRIGUEZ-LOPEZ:
IPaintMyMind Exclusive Interview

?Definitions of what I?m doing exist in other people?s minds, but not in mine. In my mind, I?m chasing what it is, and my tastes are constantly changing?Music. Art. Whatever you?re doing, it should mirror your life.?

For all the hyperbole surrounding The Mars Volta, there?s something affirmative about people who are unwaveringly devoted to making their mental projections a reality. The size-able niche Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has carved around his various projects is entirely based on his vision. He adds and subtracts pieces, instruments, and people, who come together creatively in shifting proportions, based on the tone of Rodriguez-Lopez?s his next artistic revolt. In a years time, he releases more music than most artists release over 5 years. His impetus for pushing the boundaries of his own creative output is the same driving factor that has framed all great art that has ever existed in the world ? a desire to grow and evolve through creative expression. Despite the formulaic nature of the music industry, Omar has been able to stay busy, almost even working ahead of himself in an attempt to chart unexplored soundscapes who?s birth occurs in his minds-eye.

IPaintMyMind was able to photograph and meet up with Omar before his show at The Congress Theatre in Chicago, IL (9.18.10), where he was finishing up a tour with the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group, one of of his many musical endeavors. This was a rare occasion since Omar hasn?t tended to bring his lesser known projects on tour, opting for an array of studio releases instead. On this night, it was clear that the devoted fan base was excited to see his latest incarnation, despite a lighter crowd than can be expected when The Mars Volta rolls into town. The groups? set-up for the show was apropos ? drummer Deantoni Parks was sideways, front and center, with Omar behind him, and the band playing in a circular shape, as if huddled around the main power source in a one-room jam space.

Before the gig, we sat down with Omar as Le Butcherrettes blasted behind us. As the crowd livened, so did Omar, and we?re glad he let us engage his synapses despite a crazy night of travel before arriving in Chicago. The reality is, at IPMM, we admire Omar?s passion, perspective, and most assuredly, his music. Topics of conversation? The latest Omar release, Tychozorente, what?s next for The Mars Volta, fake democracies, and how Omar and I both want to apprentice under Madlib.

words by Evan La Ruffa

photos by Brent Murray

EVAN: Lets start with whats been going on lately..I know I?m gonna butcher the name of the album you just released this week?

OMAR: ?You can pronounce it however you want, it?s a made up word?

EVAN: I thought it had to be?(Laughs)

OMAR: Yea yea?Three different pieces of words I had seen somewhere and written in my journal at different points, and then they just sorta came together and I just thought it looked like an interesting word.


EVAN: And you made that album with DJ Nobody?

OMAR: Yea, actually, it was done awhile ago. It was just sort of sitting in the vaults, and I had done all this electronic music and had Ximena sing to it, and then there were some areas where some beats were missing, so Nobody just placed the beats in there?.and then I was hanging out with Elvin (DJ Nobody) when I was in LA a couple months ago and he asked me what ever happened to it, and then so, I put it out.

EVAN: I was gonna say, cuz I hadn?t heard about it coming out, and then I was like, oh shit, new Omar album?

OMAR: Yea, I just kinda pulled it out and posted it.

EVAN: Nice man, and you don?t play any guitar on the album?

OMAR: Yea, that was during an era when I made several albums with no guitar on it?and then I started doing a blend with very little guitar?it was just where I was at, probably where I?ll be going again.

EVAN: Awesome?and as far as the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group, this is one of the first time?s you?ve done a tour in the United States.

OMAR: Yea, I?ve usually done Japan, Europe, Russia, anywhere but the U.S. (laughs)?

EVAN: (Laughs) Why exactly?

OMAR: It?s hard to explain, it?s just a different mentality in the U.S. than in Europe or anywhere else, as far as what?s happening behind the scenes. You have to understand, when you?re an unknown band for example, when At The Drive In was first touring?when you tour in the US in a van and are unknown, everywhere you show up you?re treated as a nuisance. So you get there, and they don?t open til late, and then you ask them for water, and they?re like ?argggh, hold on, well, I don?t know, you?re gonna have to talk to the promoter,? and blah blah blah. You get to Europe and they?re happy to receive you, they work out a place for you to stay, they cook food for you, it?s just a different mentality. Even on the level of being a person who?s known and who?s bringing people into their venue, and selling out the venue for them, it?s still a little weird?

EVAN: ?It?s like shit man, am I imposing?

OMAR: Yea yea! There?s still just red tape?although I have to say, like The Troubador is a cool place cuz I have a good history with them, and they?re always really great? Highline Ballroom is really cool too?..but here?s an example, at another place, the promoter was great but the people who run the place?I brought cameras with me cuz I just wanted to film the shows and edit them for the fans, instead of all those shitty camera phones, and the promoter wanted to charge me $5000 per camera. They just wouldn?t let me film. But at the same time, people have HD cameras in the balcony, but they?re busting my guys? balls. It?s just kinda ridiculous in this day and age?

EVAN: Not being able to film your own show seems nuts. As far as your music, I wanted to talk to you about seeing music visually, as shapes and concepts, as opposed to thinking of it musically all the time. One of the things that has always interested me about your stuff, was the thought of, did he really think of this ahead of time? Ya know, do you conceive it in smaller parts and then realize what the overall piece is as you organize it, or are you always focusing on the mental image you?ve had of the whole?

OMAR: It?s generally about the album and what the album?s missing, and so I think of it as a whole. Now that means that at times you have to micromanage things and think about certain individual parts once you realize what?s missing from the whole. Like when I wrote Frances (The Mute), when I first showed it to Cedric, I showed it to him as a drawing before I showed him any of the music.

EVAN: What was the drawing?

OMAR: It was just shapes. There was a triangle-looking thing at the beginning and at the end, and when I showed him the acoustic part that happens in the beginning and the end, he understood that?the pieces that grow and get bigger, like a film. Cedric, also being a non-musician thinks very much in those terms also, so he saw it and he got it right away.

EVAN: As far as the way you seem to change your focus from album to album, and go in a different direction. Do you look back at the previous album and say, as far as Volta, Octahedron, it was that, it was missing this, I want to make sure the next album contains what that was missing?.

OMAR: In general, I definitely look at the previous album and try to revolt against it. Bedlam was a very heavy album, that?s why Octahedron sounded the way it did, and ya know, Octahedron for me was a failure, and so now I?m trying to do what I couldn?t do then, and see how I can do it differently? eliminate elements that I thought were right on at that time, and maybe bring in elements that I was afraid to do at the time.

EVAN: So why is Octahedron a failure? Just because it?s the last record? Sounds harsh?

OMAR: But that?s for me ya know? The difficult thing about creating something that other people get to hear is that everyone has their own perception of it and they get really tied to something. If you fell in love or had a breakup during a certain album, it represents something totally different for you than it does for me. And the same goes for me?people can get stuck on one thing, and it?s easier when you?re on the other side of it, when you didn?t make it, when you didn?t live with it for months, it?s easy to get stuck on it and say, ?This is their best moment,? or ?This is The Mars Volta.? So, definitions of what I?m doing exist in other people?s minds, but not in mine. In my mind, I?m chasing what it is, and my tastes are constantly changing. I have to chase that?

For instance, the album that neither of us can pronounce, that just came out (Laughs), it has some of my favorite stuff on it. I think this is amazing for me because it?s the first time I?ve written in a major key. It?s something I?ve been wanting to do, because it?s not natural for me. I have to work at it. And a lot of people have already come up to me and don?t get that. Like, ?Why does it sound happy? or ?Why does it sound like this??

The easiest way I can explain it to them is, when you first get into a relationship, and you first start having sex, do you just settle on the first position for the rest of your life? (Laughs) You know what I mean? I hate to bring it to such a crude level but you have to think about it in its simplest form?No, you don?t (settle on the first position). Why? Because you want to try different things, the body just craves it. The mind craves it. It?s no different when making music. It?s the same type of high that is achieved during an orgasm or a religious experience, so this means that you want to explore, and see what?s out there. I?m constantly gonna be chasing the next thing because it?s what interests me.

EVAN: It?s funny because I?ve heard you make comments along those lines before, in different settings, and I end up thinking, of course it makes sense to push forward into new territory, just the way one should generally in life, whether you make music or not?

OMAR: Exactly?.

EVAN: ?And I think sometimes the reality is that people fall into habit and a narrow script becomes their life?

OMAR: Most people do?most people are afraid of change. In marriages there are a lot of people who are unhappy, who can?t deal with the fact that they?re not in love with each other. Or just getting into what?s safe and what?s comfortable, I just don?t think it?s a healthy way to live. I think the only purpose for a human being to be here, is to evolve to the point where you?re closer to God, whatever God is to you. The only way you can do that, is by evolving and changing and growing, and getting rid of all the layers that cover God, that cover the inside. Whether that?s society or your parents, and their sickness. So you can talk about it in spiritual terms, you can talk about Jung and Freud, or talk about ridding yourself of that neurosis that belongs to your parents, and their parents, and your parents parents parents. Stripping those layers is important, we crave to be better, we wall want to live healthy and happy lives?.but we keep ourselves from doing it because we fall into what is safe for us and we make the same mistakes.

Every time you fail a test that life puts in front of you, it?ll put it there again. A year down the road, three years down the road. I have a friend that can?t be faithful to his woman? and I always tell him that if he can?t be faithful then he shouldn?t have a woman. Just live honestly with yourself. But each time he gets himself into a really great situation or finds a really great person, where he?s right there and can evolve, and the second that situation gets put in front of him, it falls apart. Ya know, that will never work. I think it was Einstein who said, ?the true definition of insanity is to go through the same motions and expect a different result.? Music. Art. Whatever you?re doing, should mirror your life.

EVAN: I also wanted to ask you about the album ?Old Money? that you released on Stonesthrow. They?re a label IPMM follows closely, basically because nearly everything they put out is quality. How?d you come to release it with them? You?re buddies with Wolf, right?

OMAR: It was mainly that (I know Peanut Butter Wolf) and love the label, and respect their artists, and PBW, and it felt right. Egon over there was giving me these great mixes from Brazil?

EVAN: Yea, Now Again?s re-issues are always on point?

OMAR: Yea, they find great old recordings and put ?em out. We just got to talking about it and it seemed like a cool thing to do.

EVAN: I was going to tie that question into Madlib. He?s another guy who releases about as many recording as you do each year?

OMAR: Madlib is amazing. He?s a big inspiration. For me, Madlib, he?s the real deal. I?m just a person looking for answers, you know what I mean? I tried to climb my way out of something?I don?t know his thoughts on his work?I would like to be an apprentice to him, he?s definitely someone to learn from.

EVAN: I agree completely. I read an interview with Erykah Badu in Wax Poetics recently, where she spoke about times for creative input and times for creative output (there are times to take things in, and times to create ourselves), and that writers block/creative block doesn?t really exist, that we psych ourselves out by thinking that way? I relate to the sense of feeling like a sponge at one moment, and a faucet at others?.

OMAR: I was about to say, writer?s block doesn?t really exist. It?s a myth created by individual neurosis, which can become collective neurosis. Ya know, it?s like, I heard this guy had writer?s block, do I have writer?s block? Am I gonna get writer?s block? I think I have writer?s block! (Laughs)

EVAN: (Laughs) Ahhh, I can?t think of anything!

OMAR: That?s how ridiculous that is. To me, that?s like saying that there are no thoughts in my head. I mean, people work their whole lives to attain that type of? Buddhists work their whole life to silence their mind. We all wake up and we?re thinking things. You wake up and you go? Did I charge the battery on the camera? I gotta go down there? What time do I have to be there? I should call my girlfriend. Did I ever pick up that thing? Your mind?s constantly wandering. Writer?s block is just a neurosis.

EVAN: You?ve mentioned different musicians and filmmakers who?ve influenced you and I wanted to ask you about writers. You mention Jodorowsky within the film context, not as much as a writer, but I also wondered if you had gotten into Carlos Castaneda?s work?

OMAR: Oh definitely. Castaneda?s amazing, and Jodorowsky as a writer is amazing, no one ever asks me about him as a writer. I think outside of Latin cultures it?s not really known?.I think one of his books has now been translated to English. People don?t talk about it but he?s a wonderful writer.

EVAN: His writing is definitely harder to find?

OMAR: Since I was young, I really loved Fromm and Jung. My father is a psychologist, so I?ve always had an affinity towards exploration of the mind and the root of neurosis. Jodorowsky?s books are way more important than his films, and then there?s his work with the Tarot. My mind is drawing a blank, but Octavio Paz is definitely a great writer. Some of my favorite stuff comes from the Sufi poets. They have such great metaphors for love, and God, and have a really great way of communicating big concepts in simple ways.

I think that?s one of my favorite things about expression, and one of the things that I lack that I?m trying to attain? There are those people who take really big ideas and make them very simple. Someone like John Lennon, someone like Jodorowsky. He takes big ideas and makes them into very simple images. I think this is an incredible form of expression.

EVAN: I?ve always felt like you took a more realistic approach in the way you run your bands. As far as, this is my ship?.I want you to play and record this. Ya know, bands employ this faux-democracy?

OMAR: Oh yea, I constantly refer to it as a fake democracy. I learned that from all my bands before this band. On one hand, there?s people who will say it?s negative, that it?s a dictatorship. On the other hand, I agree with you, I come from the school of thought that it?s just realistic. I existed in a fake democracy, we did At The Drive In and those guys resented me and Cedric because we were outvoted but had our way. Our songs made it on to the record, it was what we wanted to do. And so, my original idea was that instead of having all that frustration was to from the beginning make it very clear how things are. But even then, when you tell them it?s like this, I think they come in feeling like they can change you?and it?s not a matter of letting someone in, we can all relate to it in relationships?

EVAN: I was gonna say, I think it happens in other aspects of life also?

OMAR: And sooner or later it creates tension, and then you split up for the reasons that you told them about in the beginning. Either way, it?s kinda what ends up happening, but at least you know you were honest.

EVAN: I mean, I like the ATDI stuff, but it?s definitely not my favorite of the stuff you?ve done, and in my own mind, that level of compromise that people throw into the creative process is what derails the creative vision. Ya know, what if this whole time since ATDI you were listening to what someone else wanted, and the vision you wanted to see happen didn?t happen?

OMAR: Right, right.

EVAN: So that makes me think of other creative people who compromise, and ya know, fuck man! Tell them you want it a certain way and do it!

OMAR: My favorite recordings from the artists? that I love, are the ones where they just start being honest with themselves, and let go of any of the other pretensions, and they say what they want, and say it clear. And it?s usually backwards as far as artists, and scenesters, and really hip people, ya know?the whole joke is that the first record is amazing, but after that? I couldn?t agree less. I love the first Pink Floyd record. Yes, I understand what?s so amazing about it. But I think the most honest things are what Syd Barret does afterwards, where he lets go of all the bullshit, and it?s just his heart and soul. I think what Floyd do without him afterwards gets more and more interesting. I love The Beatles. The Beatles are amazing. I love John Lennon lyrics during The Beatles, but there?s nothing more potent than when he does Plastic Ono Band and he says, ?My mother?s dead and I can?t get over it.? There?s nothing more potent than that.

EVAN: Tell us a bit about your partnership with Jeff Jordan ? Jeff is a great dude, I?ve always felt it was a natural aesthetic fit? What about his art made you think it would serve as an apt visual equivalent/reference point for your music?

OMAR: It?s unexplainable. The same way you?d say, why are we friends? Ya know, what did we see in each other? I remember at the time we had just fired Storm (Thorgeson), it just didn?t work out. So we were searching for stuff and Cedric brought me a bunch of stuff from a bunch of different artists. Jeff?s stuff was just one thumbnail amongst many, and I was just like, that?s Amputechture, right there. I don?t know what the name of the painting is but I?m calling it Amputechture. So, it just happened?and then people give their own meaning to it. It?s so much more instinctual and random than that.

EVAN: For me, the fact that a random intersection point like that comes up makes it more perfect to me. Just the way any one thing can lead you to any other thing?

OMAR: Definitely? Obviously, there is a reason I went to it, not knowing it, it was my subconscious speaking. And the subconscious is way more in tune with what?s happening in here than the conscious mind. It sometimes takes the conscious mind years to catch up to the subconscious.

EVAN: So what?s up next? When can we expect the next TMV record?

OMAR: This is the last show of the tour and then we have a few shows in Russia soon. I?m just waiting for Cedric to finish his lyrics, and I?ll finish recording him and that will end the next The Mars Volta record?. The music has been there for 11 months now, Cedric has sorta just been doing his thing. I?m to the point now where I?m not pressuring him to get it done. Just because that can lead to the type of writer?s block we were just talking about? I think when we got to Octahedron, it just sort of surfaced that it might be better to put it in park and let him do his thing and take his time?.I hope to be done with the record by the end of this year, but it depends on label politics?could be March, June, who knows?

EVAN: Is there any place in time and history, as far as creative things that were going on, that you wish you could have been in the middle of?

OMAR: Oh, yea?Rome?I love Roman history, from Octavius Cesar to Caligula. That?s one period in history that utterly fascinates me. I?d like to be there, but I?d like to be invisible. I wouldn?t want to get stabbed, or fed to the lions (Laughs)?I?m really amazed by the ability of man to document things, especially in that era. It?s that life-affirming necessity to write things down.

EVAN: Thanks for making the time Omar?I think we?ve got more than enough to do something cool?

OMAR: Ok, great?

Оригинал: http://ipaintmymind.org/music/omar-rodriguez-lopez-ipaintmymind-exclusive-interview/
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Guitar Player Interview With Omar Rodriguez-Lopez




Omar Rodriguez Lopez keeps his creative throttle set to interstellar overdrive. He doesn?t bask in the achievements of his previous band, At the Drive-In, his ten-years-and-counting blockbuster The Mars Volta, his production company, or any of his myriad film scores or solo releases. Rodriguez Lopez is always fully engaged, generating off-balance riffs, cosmically effected tones, and mind-bending song arrangements.

This year saw the release of Telesterion [Rodriguez Lopez Productions], a sprawling collection of all things Omar outside of The Mars Volta. Its seemingly boundless range spans everything from ear-melting monolithic rock to what sounds like salsa music on acid to intergalactic battle scene soundtracks. Subtlety is scarce. You might think that such a dedicated artist would have mountains of information about the material he creates and produces at his fingertips, but the Puerto Rican native and current Mexico City resident has difficulty detailing past tracks. He uses everything around him as inspiration for the day?s music. The next day, he clears his internal Etch A Sketch, and begins anew.

This interview took place in the wake of a GP Presents event with the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Band at San Francisco?s Great American Music Hall?and another show when the Mars Volta opened up for Soundgarden.

The lineup for your ?solo? show was exactly the same as for the Mars Volta show?including vocalist Cedric Bixler Zavala.
Right. I?m the bandleader regardless of what name goes on the marquee or what music we play. That concept is difficult for American rock fans to understand, but it?s common in Latin music. Héctor Lavoe is the greatest singer in salsa music history, but he?s best known for his singing on Willie Colón?s records. You go to see Willie Colón knowing that he?s a great bandleader who always has the best singer around. There?s a reason it?s called a ?frontman.? The singer is out front, but doesn?t actually run the band in most cases. Robert Plant didn?t run Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page did.

You take the second half of that concept? ?what music we play??to the extreme. It was altogether unfamiliar. Was that Mars Volta or solo material?
It was all new Mars Volta material. I don?t really differentiate between the two other than I try to place the most accessible material with the Mars Volta. I hand a finished recording of the music to Cedric, he creates his parts, and the CD is finished when we record them. I expect the band to learn the songs as we create them.

That sounds challenging. Do you make charts?
No. I?m worthless at creating charts. I have far less formal knowledge than most real guitar players because I?m self-taught. I play my ideas for the band, and I expect them to remember the parts because that?s what I have to do. When you?re passionate about something?you memorize it. If I fall in love with a girl, I memorize everything from her phone number, to her birthday, to where she likes to eat.

How do you memorize so many guitar parts?
I memorize shapes using simple things such as fretboard markers. Being unschooled doesn?t give you a license to be lazy. A lot of untrained artists have an attitude like, ?I just play from the heart, man. I don?t know any of that music stuff.? Well, I?ve been playing music for 20 years now, and I know how to play an A chord because I memorized where to put my fingers.

What runs through your head and your fingers as you create new music on guitar?
From a fretboard perspective, I work with shapes rather than patterns. I?m useless at running through scales, but I?m good at arranging my thoughts into geometric shapes and creating chords and melodies out of them.

When you feel a certain way, you see a geometric shape?
Thoughts have shapes just like tones?they have waveforms. You can translate the shapes of thoughts and emotions through your hands onto the fretboard. With experience, you start relating the shape of your hand on the fretboard to certain geometric shapes that enter your mind when you?re hearing those sounds or having those feelings. You hear people use shapes to describe things all the time such as, ?That guy is a square,? or ?This sound is really round.?

Your shapes tend to be more angular than round, and your playing seems to flow backwards? and not just because you are left-handed.
It?s true. My playing flows from my pinky towards my index finger rather than the other way around like most players.

How?d you settle on the shape and size of your ORM1 signature Ibanez?
The first guitar I designed with Ibanez was based on a bass guitar I really love from one of my favorite bass players, Bobby Valentín. For this one, I wanted a more traditional shape. It?s very similar to the Jet King series. We altered that shape a bit, and made it a little thinner and smaller. I?m a small person, so I wanted it to be lighter on my shoulder.

With one pickup and one knob, would you say it?s pretty much built to throw on and go?
Yeah, it?s about as dumb as they come. Anything else is probably too much for me. A real guitar player can probably handle three different pickups, but I like being limited to one.

How is the action set?
I generally like the action set high because I want it to be difficult to play. I like the fight. In general, I like the opposite of what real guitar players like. Real guitar players like low action, more pickups and knobs for more tones, and light strings that they change every night. I like thick, heavy, old strings with a wound third. I want to feel like I just grabbed a beat-up old guitar from my dad?s closet, and I?m just starting to play. I feel like I?m just learning to play every day. If it?s not a challenge, it?s not worth it. My playing is very primal. I beat the guitar like a caveman with a club. I like it that way.

You are aggressive with your guitar for such a seemingly gentle person.
I try to be pleasant and polite to other people, just as I would have them act towards me. But there are a lot of things I see going on in the world and lots of things I read about that make me very angry. I try to channel that anger into creative energy rather than pound my fist against the wall or another human being?s head.

You get pretty brutal tonally. What is it about the sound of an Orange amp that turns you on?
It just speaks to me. It sounds round and full, and it has frequencies that Marshalls are missing to my ears. Maybe I don?t know what I?m doing with those types of amps, but every time I try a Marshall, it sounds like a toy?like when you?re a kid who is not playing with the real thing yet. It?s like the difference between playing with little Fisher-Price cars and when you get your first Tonka truck. One?s made of plastic, and the Tonka truck is made of metal. You can hurt yourself with it if you?re not careful.

Several songs on Telesterion, such as ?Locomocion Capillar? and ?Population Council?s Wet Dream? would be killer for car chase scenes. Where does that aspect of you style come from?
It?s probably just anxiety. We?re all being chased by something.

Some of the stylistic curveballs on Telesterion are enjoyable, such as your salsa-flavored playing on ?Dues Ex Machina.? Who inspired you in that realm?
My father is a Spanish-style, nylon-string player. He?s a doctor?but he always had a band that played celebrations. He never taught me guitar directly, but I learned by attending his rehearsals.

What acoustic guitars do you prefer?
I can?t be picky because I?m left-handed. Lefties are stuck with whatever brand happens to make left-handed guitars. I like the extremes. I like either a really hard-to-play steel-string acoustic with horrible action that takes a lot of work to play, or a nylon-string, flamenco-style guitar that plays like butter.

What are your general thoughts on playing acoustic guitar versus playing electric?
For most of my life I have not been very comfortable on acoustic guitar because you can?t hide behind volume or effects the way you can with an electric rig. Your playing is exposed. It?s kind of like looking at oneself naked in the mirror. These days I?m feeling a little more comfortable on acoustic. You can?t hide forever. You have to grow up at some point. To keep the metaphor going? you have to start accepting your body. My brutish playing is even more accentuated on acoustic. You hear how rough it really is, but that?s okay?for now anyway. That?s me until it changes and I awaken to gracefulness.

You play some pretty graceful, jazzy stuff on ?Coma Pony.?
That?s another style of music my father passed on to me. Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock were big in our house. I heard them and the Beatles before making my own discoveries in music, starting with punk rock. I actually don?t know anything about playing jazz?those are real musicians. That?s why I would never dare call myself a musician. That would be like calling myself a chef because I like cooking.

When the Mars Volta opened up for Soundgarden, your music sounded like jazz by comparison. You were improvising more, and the sounds and songs were far more foreign to my ears even though I?m familiar with your playing.
We played all new material except the very last song. It was basically the opposite of what an opening band should do.

You weren?t worried about winning over the Soundgarden crowd with some familiar tunes?
I figure the real way of winning over the crowd?any crowd?is by being oneself. For me, that means putting across where I?m at right now. I don?t understand the mentality of a band that builds its live show around the fact that they had a hit on the radio once. Why do that? Who cares! I prefer to adopt the same mentality as an unknown band that?s just starting out. We?re going to do our thing, and afterwards you can make your decision about whether we stuck in your head or not. If so, you?ll be interested. If we never cross your mind again, then you?re not. Either way is okay with me. It all goes back to being comfortable with yourself.


By Jimmy Leslie

Оригинал: http://www.guitarplayer.com/article/omar-rodriguez-lopez/147630
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Exclusive Interview: Musician/Filmmaker Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Discusses Symbolism, Fairy Tales and More for Los Chidos

By thehorrorchick
April 22nd, 2012

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has been making waves in the music world with the progressive stylings of his band The Mars Volta since back in 2001, and now his latest film, Los Chidos, is doing the same in the film festival world after wildly dividing audiences during its recent SXSW premiere.

Los Chidos is Rodriguez-Lopez's violently bizarre spin on modern telenovelas that shocked many with its inclusion of thematic material including incest, cannibalism, jars filled with severed penises and a graphic scene involving a meal of feces. And for those who have experienced it, there's one thing you cannot deny- whether you love it or hate it, Rodriguez-Lopez successfully delivers a bold and provocative satire with his latest efforts that is unlike anything you've ever seen before.

Recently Dread Central had the opportunity to chat with the thought-provoking filmmaker about Los Chidos and heard more about how his family and the fairy tales he grew up on inspired his satirical work. Rodriguez-Lopez also discussed his thoughts on the symbolism in his film and how he prefers to leave labels aside when it comes to his creative outlets.

Read on for our in-depth interview with the Los Chidos helmer below, and look for more news on where you can check out the flick for yourself coming soon.

Dread Central: I?d love to start off by hearing a little bit about what inspired Los Chidos and the approach that you took while creating the story.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: The biggest inspiration would be my mother and the second to her my father; but most definitely my mother and the way she raised me and the idea of returning the woman to a rightful place in the holy trinity. Something parallel to that was one of my favorite quotes from Einstein, which he says if you want your children to be smart, read them fairy tales; and if you want them to be smarter, read them more fairy tales.

Those two things really served as a big push for when I was writing the film and the very first line of the film, which unfortunately didn?t make it into the film but I put it onto the poster, which is, if you don?t criticize your culture, you don?t love your mother.

So those three things together formed the one trinity and the sort of jumping off point to disregard any other voices.

Dread Central: So this is your second feature then?

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: Well, it is the second one that I've put out into public forum.

Dread Central: Well, after that first filmmaking experience, what is it that you wanted to do with Los Chidos that was different than your first time? And how did you want to challenge yourself as a storyteller to tell something new and different that fans haven?t seen before?

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: Well, the main thing is that I wanted to do something that served as a therapy for me and my friends to be conscious of and examine the vernacular which we use. And I think there is something really important that is overlooked, especially by the youth culture, in the words that we are using - where they come from exactly and what they mean - and really get to the bottom of it and understand that most of it comes from an exploitative culture and that by continuing the cycle and using them without knowing what they are meaning, we are doing exactly what our exploitators set out to do. And that is like setting a pattern that stays there throughout infinity.

And so for me that was the main thing, and that?s why there is what people refer to as strong scenes or graphic scenes; sure that?s one aspect of it, but really those are all metaphors or, again, fairy tales. Latin culture in general has a very deep love for metaphor, and so therefore the bear is not the bear, the spider is not the spider, the blood is not blood and the knife is not the knife.

So that was what I set out to do - to try to play with those things as well as some that might be right on the nose for audiences, too. Los Chidos isn't for everyone- I'm okay with that. I just want to open up a discussion about these ideas and explore why both sides of the dialogue exist.

Dread Central: We're similar ages, I think, and it?s definitely interesting listening to you talk about fairy tales and traditions, which is something that was integral to my childhood as well. I see the newer generation now as one where I don?t feel that they are getting that same kind of experience; I don?t think they appreciate that there are hundreds and hundreds of years of stories out there they haven't ever heard of.

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: Yes, they couldn?t possibly; I mean, how could they? The culture that has been created for them is one of mass consumption, of this homogenous blob of global consumerism so you know everything has just become what used to be an art form - from the guy who made shoes to film to foods or whatever else has just become this 'get as many out as quickly as possible before the trend goes away' approach. Then, the challenge is to figure out what the new trend is, and therefore, our culture has become like reality TV and in general society is losing its appreciation for not only the metaphor but the myth at large.

Another Einstein quote and Joseph Campbell quote goes something like 'the society that loses its myth is a crumbling society.' And to me that is one of the first tell-tale signs of the fall of an empire, and that?s sort of where we?re at, you know?

Dread Central: It seems to me that you have an incredible grasp on storytelling and are definitely willing to take chances with your work; when you?re watching movies or reading books, what are the stories that speak to you? What is it that resonates with you as somebody who is a creative person and works in the creative arts?

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: Well, my problem is that I like everything and that I try to find the beauty in everything. See, my mother likes to watch Lifetime Movie Network, and they're really cheaply made films, but I?d rather find something nice about it - like a character that I like or a story that I like rather than to say 'oh what a shitty...' because then I?m not enjoying with her.

Being that I am lucky enough to create things for a living, I understand the immense amount of work that goes into it; I mean, it?s not that what we do is hard; it?s just the amount of work that goes into it. What?s hard is to design a building, to be a doctor - those things are hard. So I try to look for the good in things, and by doing that, you can see that the world is moving forward no matter how bleak it might seem sometimes.

Dread Central: Now that you have SXSW behind you, where does Los Chidos go from here? Do you have any other festivals lined up?

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: I think so because that?s not really my department; the only reason why my films are in festivals is because my editor, Adam Thompson, and some of my other crew guys were dedicated to say, 'Hey we respect your philosophy, but people should see these movies' so they got submitted.

Like I said, my first three movies I showed to no one, and so sharing this story is a little different. This is different than those, though; those I made for my friends and myself, and this one I felt was a little broader and was ready to be shared.

Dread Central: Do you think you will release those down the line, or are those just for you?

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: I don?t know; those would be nice to have just for me because being in a film festival or putting out a record is like a funeral. On one hand, you're very happy to see it go on because you're reminded that it was never yours and that it belongs to everybody; but on the other hand, as a human being it?s hard to let go and say, 'oh yeah, it?s not just mine.' So it?s that mixture, and it?s very much like a funeral - that?s the closest thing I can compare it to; it?s definitely a death.

Dread Central: There are a lot of preconceived notions out there that musicians can?t be directors or directors can?t be singers, and for me that?s always such a problem because if you're creative, you're creative. People don't always respond well when people make those kinds of transitions in the industry. Is that anything you were conscientious of when you began transitioning into the film world?

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez: Well, lucky for me I have never called myself a musician because I am not a musician; I have no formal training in music, and I have absolutely no investments in band culture. I come from a very musical family, and music is a big part of my culture, but so is food, so is love, so is metaphor, so is sex - so are all these things. I?ve never called myself a director. I mean, I love to cook, but I don?t call myself a chef so by 'being nothing' I am allowed to be everything.



Оригинал: http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/54896/exclusive-interview-musicianfilmmaker-omar-rodriguez-lopez-discusses-symbolism-fairy-tale
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Omar Rodriguez-Lopez on Pulling Double Duty at Coachella
Rocker played with At the Drive-In and Le Butcherettes
By Steve Appleford
April 23, 2012 4:50 PM ET

Inside a small trailer backstage at Coachella yesterday, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez was trying to cool down after his first performance of the day, and the dressing room wasn't much cooler than the triple-digit heat outside. Rodriguez-Lopez pulled double duty on both festival weekends in Indio, California, playing lead guitar with the reunited At the Drive-In on the main stage just hours after a full set on bass with Le Butcherettes, the fiery garage-punk band whose next album he is currently producing in Los Angeles.

Rodriguez-Lopez is a full permanent member of Le Butcherettes, and during the trio's raging 45-minute set, he stood back with a smile as Guadalajaran singer-guitarist Teri Gender Bender roared through anxious pop hooks with sharp edges, at one point tossing a big Casio keyboard into the moshing crowd. New drummer Lia Braswell slammed a heavy beat from stage left and fans waved Mexican flags, as they would again later for At the Drive-In. Soon after, Rodriguez-Lopez sat with Le Butcherettes for several rounds of bottled water and taleked with Rolling Stone about their busy Coachella week.

Is playing two sets a day a challenge?
Rodriguez-Lopez: No, it's a blessing. Go play music all day? I should be so lucky. Last weekend we played, then we cooled off, we ate, and then just when you really feel like you're winding down, "Oh, it's time to play." It's perfect.

At the Drive-In and Le Butcherettes are both pretty intense bands.
Rodriguez-Lopez: To a certain degree I'm removed from both of them. In this band, I'm the producer, and I'm supporting what they're doing. And with At the Drive-In, those are songs I wrote 13 years ago, and I'm seeing fans that aren't even old enough to have seen us play.

How are the accommodations different between Le Butherettes and At the Drive In?
Rodriguez-Lopez: Over there we have two big rooms and two buses, but we hang out in a little car with our friends. My family is here. I keep my life pretty simple. I stay away from all this stuff. I don't relate to musicians. I relate to people that love playing music, and generally speaking those are two different things, especially when you get into a scene. When you buy into this whole industry and big money and accommodations and a certain type of treatment, you start thinking this is reality. It's happened to my friends, it's happened to me. It's not reality. We just get to play music.

So as the producer, you weren't horrified to see Teri throw her Casio keyboard into the crowd?
Rodriguez-Lopez: No, I thought it was incredible.

I've never seen a keyboard thrown into the crowd before.
Gender Bender: I used to do that all the time in Mexico. I felt a little frustration because the cable wasn't working. So it was like giving up. 'Bye-bye, keyboard. It's your time to go.'

Rodriguez-Lopez: I saw her touch the cable and it was going, khhh! khhh! khhh! Oh shit, it's gone.

Is that the one you're making the record with?
Gender Bender: Yeah, but we already used it up. Next.

How do you play when it's this hot?
Gender Bender: I feel like I play with less energy. I felt sometimes like the air would come up and escape me. Don't leave me here! Come back! I'd get a little light-headed. Play through it, play through it. I don't want to pass out right now.

What's the difference between playing a tent and the big stage?
Rodriguez-Lopez: You're more removed. On the big stages, the people are so far away. When you're on the big stage, it's more of an idea about the people. It's a big mass of people out there. Strange.

Leading up to Coachella, you've been spending your days recording with Le Butcherettes and at night rehearsing with At the Drive-In. You've been busy.
Rodriguez-Lopez: That's how it usually is. Recording, playing, doing other projects and stuff. I'm blessed with the opportunity to do whatever I want for a living, so what else do I want to do? When I had a job, all I did was save up and wait until fuckin' five o'clock to get out and do what I wanted to do. I couldn't wait to get out to put on my headphones. Now the space that was occupied by earning a living is occupied by the same thing I was doing for fun. It's a paid hobby.

Is it different touring with this band than with a bunch of guys in At the Drive-In or the Mars Volta?
Rodriguez-Lopez: Of course. It's a whole different sensibility. The gender thing is pretty obvious. It's not only a bunch of guys, but it's a bunch of guys who have been there, done that. It's a whole different attitude when you're with people who are excited and looking at the landscape for the first time. I tend to live my life more along those lines. I still find things exciting and brand new.

You drove up to the festival this morning, rather than ease into town last night. Does that add or subtract from the experience?
Gender Bender: I think it adds, because you have the fear of missing the show. 'Why did I leave this morning? We should have left last night! We should have been more prepared.' Last-minute thinking. But it adds more excitement, like an action movie.

Rodriguez-Lopez: [Laughs] It's exciting, our lives. We drove on the Interstate ? it's like an action movie.
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