By Lynn, Columnist-Rock At Night-The Netherlands
‘UNDER THE SURFACE’
‘Under the surface’ is a series about artists accidentally found on music platforms. Some of them are setting their first steps on their way to a breakthrough, some of them share their music just for a niche market. Lynn reviews the music and interviews the artists to discover the ‘story behind’.
“I’m doing my homework at the moment, I have to. But homework sucks, it takes too much time, I’ve so many ideas to work out.” Lila is talking, she’s a 17-year-old musician. I ran into her on Twitter, in her bio she linked to her Bandcamp account omniq. She lives in North West England, for decades a very fertile ground for good music and famous artists.
Lila told me she started about 6 years ago after taking a music course at school and playing the piano. A teacher suggested getting into composing. There she learned working with MIDI editors and discovered openMPT, which she still uses. According to her it’s simple and very powerful.
omniq is a high productive musician and producer, recently she released within a couple of weeks on Bandcamp and YouTube the full-length debut album ‘Crying’ and the EP ‘n#’ with 3 songs.
The music she composes as omniq is mainly electronic, mixed with a lot of influences. ‘Crying’ is a kind of ‘wall of sound’, pretty dark, full of energy, good compositions with catchy elements. It is in my opinion very well produced – you can distinguish almost every brick in the wall – and too good for a debut.
I’ve been following omniq for a couple of months, and besides releasing good music, I’ve seen she’s building her brand. She has created a visual style for the video’s and ‘sleeve covers’ by use of text style and a good logo. In addition, she has been releasing streams of the albums on You Tube linked to Bandcamp to buy the album. Everything fits together. She said, “omniq arose after i needed a rebrand into something more professional and laid-out about a year ago. I want to get into making music professionally and releasing it rather than just a thing for myself. I want to make a living out of it.”
One of the characteristics of the omniq tracks is they contain a lot of layers. Every time I listen to the tracks, I discover new elements.
I asked omniq about her source of inspiration. She responded, “The way I compose cannot be pinned down to one specific inspiration or trigger. It was merely an accumulation of thousands of influences, namely my favourite artists, YouTube videos, fellow musicians and friends who I collaborate with. You can label the style of ‘Crying’ as genre binding. We mixed idm, hyperpop, 80s rock and even a bit of reggaeton to create a massive hodgepodge of genres. It just came naturally as we were producing.”
omniq collaborates a lot with friend and producer Noxw. omniq explained, “I start with an outline of a song, structure, theme, sphere, sound. Record simple versions, for example of drums. Then Noxw takes it over and adds a lot of layers with drum and percussion. Then I add some melodic lines, etcetera. It’s a very experimental and spontaneous process, with instruments, vocals, uncommon samples like airplanes, a singing bowl, a number station, you name it. Two things are important: is it naturally and is it an ongoing flow. And we polish up layers, time consuming but it keeps the sound clean, so you can hear every detail.”
omniq and Noxw got so many questions after the release of the album, they decided to make a clip about ‘the making of’. In omniq style, of course.
Some of the tracks are instrumental, some are with vocals and lyrics. They are pretty gloomy. omniq: “I got inspiration from myself but also just the world around me. Mental health has been on a massive decline, or at least more people are opening up about it instead of hiding it so i just wanted to write about certain issues people have. I think it’s good to reflect on that and ask ourselves why we create so much darkness.”
Shortly after the release of ‘Crying’ omniq started together with Noxw producing a new EP ‘n#’ with three songs. It’s about the same musical concept, but in my opinion a bit more extreme and also full grown in sound, composition and production. It’s still a ‘wall of sound’ but the bricks are better to identify.
On my question if omniq already knocked on the door of BBC6 or another station for airplay she said she wasn’t ready for that. “First I need to make more songs, I think. And expand my other alias, Xtasis.” And about playing live in the future: “For sure. Once I find a way to do that.”
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