he restlessness for a new sound either allows a band to grow or drives nail into their coffin. The southern metal band ANTI-MORTEM made a name for themselves with bottom heavy, groove laden heavy rock anthems just like your dad used to listen to but with the band's creative nucleus LARADO and NEVADA ROMO giving the proceedings a youthful, angsty vigor. There was certainly no reason to beleive that this little enterprise couldn't have gone the distance but the brothers ROMO detected a widening chasm between the music they were listening to and the music they were sharing with the masses. Because of that chasm, ANTI-MORTEM is no more and the band COSMIC WOOL has emerged with a wider musical palette complete with experimental guitar riffs and dance breaks and a "sky's the limit" attitude to their ambitious musical direction. The ROMO brothers are still calling the shots creatively but a new lease on life has led to the creation of their self-titled LP and an electrifying live set. ROCKWIRED had a chance to speak with guitarist NEVADA ROMO of COSMIC WOOL regarding the new album. Here is how the interview went.
This self-titled album is quite an introduction to COSMIC WOOL and there is no evidence of you previous band ANTI-MORTEM on this release. Now that it's been out there for a bit, how do you feel about the finished work?
I can't tell you how proud of it that I am. We've been working on this thing for about two and a half years. The songs came from this place of leaving another group and looking into a new genre. We had this complete disconnect from the genre we were in and what we were listening to since five years before ANTI-MORTEM had broken up. We were coming from different places but all in all with the album being done I think it's a real honest reflection of where our minds are and what we've been listening to. I couldn't be prouder of it.
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It sounds like the dissolution of the ANTI-MORTEM informed the music here. Or am I wrong? You tell me.
Everything we did musically on this album was a big 'fuck you' to that band. We were playing shows - I'm not going to mention names - but we were on some great tours. There was this festival we had played in Texas one time and I looked at the bill and thought this was going ot be a good show and I figured that there was going to be a lot of people here. I looked out inot the crowd and saw that there was this complete disconnect from what kids were listening to and what I was listening to and in what we were playing and participating in. I just felt like I needed to be in a different spot. I mean I'm still in another heavy band still (TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION) and I still love the metal crowd and stuff but when it comes to the stuff that I want write and play, it's all inspired by the randomest stuff. It was nice and liberating to be like "Hey, this is what we're really into!" We cut this whole record in a day and age when people are stacking shit to the ceiling and you've got thirty guitar tracks. This album was cut live. We put the vocals on top of it in post and few overdubs but over all, the meat of the recording was done live. We're all in the same room at the same time looking at each other and recording on 35 mics. I don't think we'll ever do another record like that again but for us we had recorded so many big rock records and LA records, we wanted to make an album that was more realistic and homespun. That was what ws cool about the seventies. There were these recordings that just had this certain kind of vibe. Records like that capture a moment in time and it's not 37 little snippets over two years or six months or something like that.
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It's sounding like the production of this album was handled internally or was their a producer behind the recording console?
Oh we had a great fucking producer. TRENT BELL has worked with THE FLAMING LIPS and he's worked with MAYNARD from TOOL. He himself had a band in the nineties called CHAINSAW KITTENS and BILLY CORGAN had put together a label for them to put their album out on. He also studied under BUTCH VIG and I am a big BUTCH VIG fan as far as all of his recordings go. What I always liked about BUTCH is that he tried to capture the band sonically and never tried to embellish them. He just did a good job of recording what was there. For TRENT to have worked underneath him was amazing. We got out first "deal" when we were fifteen or so and I've worked with a lot of producers in great frickin places. Amazing places. When I found out that TRENT was in Norman I could drive their in 35 minutes form my house right now. He's recorded some bands that I really respect in this area as well. As a producer, he is very minimal in what he brings in but what he says is so important. His studio is one of the nicest facilities in this country. Teaming with him has been a good thing.
Have their been any reactions to the band and it's music that have surprised you or that you didn't see coming?
Yeah there has. We got one review. It's was French review and they compared us to CHRIS CORNELL and SCISSOR SISTERS. I thought that was kind of out there. I've listened tot he SCISSOR SISTERS but I don't quite hear that sound in our music. And in another review the guy said that our music was something you could play as you are driving to BURNING MAN. The album has been reviewed and received very well. There was one review that I read that was from Croatia which had said that we were rhythmically moody and htat was the closest thing to a review of us that wasn't very nice. I've had records that were ripped by critics before so I'm very grateful that people have been nice about this one. In terms of online reviews, we've gotten nothing but good stuff. We did a release at MCCAINS BALLROOM which was great. That was a really fun show. It's been a good time. Things have been going really good with this record.
What other things have informed the music on this album?
The record has got a number of themes on it. I wrote a large protion of the music and so did RADO. ANDREW wrote some stuff as well. The vocals and lyrics largely come from RADO for the most part but I write with him. I like to leave that space open for him to experiment with. He's the mouthpiece of the band. I would say that thie record addresses a lot of the problems that we have as a society today which are digital problems. Problem that mankind has never really faced before. #LONELY is the song that I wrote. I remember looking through FACEBOOK and seeing some chick I knew and she's posting some scandalous thing and getting attention form these guys. It's this thing where the world has turned into Vegas now expect that what happens in Vegas goes all over the world now for people to read the nesxt morning. It's not what it used to be. #LONELY is a song about the weird problems we have now because of things like social media. As songwriters, Me and RADO kind of lookat things that interest us. You never really know what is going ot inspire a song.
And talk about being in a brother with your band. How do you do it?
Actually it's three bands. RADO is in another band with me and the singer of that band and that band is kind of an outlaw country band. I'm only like six record labels at the moment. I'm not gonna lie. I'm in five bands. RADO is in that band with us as well. RADO is my best friend inthe world. I'll tell a joke and I look back to see if RADO is laughing because I know that RADO was the only person there for that thing that I'm talking about. He'll tbe the only person getting it. We grew up together. I can't explain it. He's my best friend and I love him and we're just really tight. We're so close in age and we've gone through so much together. When a band goes on the road a lot they start to feel like brothers. Well RADO and I have been throught that and we are brothers. He will always be twelve and I will always be fourteen. That's how we work with each other. We've got our moments where we butt heads but we are always quick to apologize. There is still brotherly tension but I can't imagine not working with him. He's not in TEXAS HIPPIE COALITION and its weird going on the road in that band not having him there. I'd prefer to be in any band with RADO in it. If I had my way.
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Talk about the other members of the band and what is it that you feel each of them brings to the table that makes this thing work?
Tom is a amazing. he's an amazing drummer. He's from a pretty well-established band in Oklahoma City called COMOTIO CORDIS and they were like a progressive death metal band. They were really good and I would say TOM is way over qualified for playing COSMIC WOOL music. He knew about ANTI-MORTEM. A friend had referred him to me and he was pumped abotuthe project and wanted to find out about it. We started jamming with him. There was a drummer we played with in ANTI-MORTEM when it first started named MITCH HENDERSON. The kind of beats I would have in my head while I was playing guitar were MITCHELL's beats. When I started playing with TOM, he had those things about him. I'm not trying to say that he was better than MITCHELL but at the same time there were aspects to his playing that were phenomenal and he had that in excess. In the studio he's really quick. He's just really good at going in there and getting a take. I met DREW when got of the road from touring with ANTI-MORTEM and I was looking for a roomate and was trying to find a place tomove my studio to. DREW happened to have this country house that was in the middle of nowhere and had fifteen acres. We had this mutual love for LED ZEPPELIN and he loves smoking weed and longboaridng and reggae.We started off as friends first and then we were peas in a pod after that. He and I went on to do a bunch of other side projects before ANTI-MORTEM phased out. When ANTI-MORTEM broke up me and RADO didn't know what we were going to do. I had all of this solo stuff that I put out on line and me and DREW had been making this band THE DRUG RUGS forever. It was fun but I played drums in it but I really wanted to play guitar. So DREW was the catalyst that sparked the formation of COSMIC WOOL. The band is such a close knit group of guys it's ridiculous.
And with the album behind you , what is next for COSMIC WOOL musically?
The record is out. We've released it online. You can find it on every major online store. It'll be hitting actual stores in February. We're very excited about the physical release but at the same time we're really looking to putting out an EP immediately in March or April with a new single an video ad we're just going to hit it really hard. And honestly, I don't expect it to sound anything like this last album. The goodthing about COSMIC WOOL and the reason that we started this band was becasue of uour rray of influences we're eager to demonstrate them on a recording. I think with the way music is right now it's very exciting because so many new technologies are coming out and there are so many different possibilities. I remember when I was younger there were a lot of things that weren't possible that are now. There are so many different new sounds out there now so this next EP is going to have an array of crazy influences on it.
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