Canterbury based metal band Ohhms are in a positive place, with a fair bit of momentum behind them. Currently signed to Holy Roar Records the 5 piece have gained positive publicity from various big name media outlets, and their breed of progressive doom influenced heaviness has gained airplay on the radio 1 rock show. I had a quick chat with vocalist Paul to discuss the world in Ohmms surrounding the release of the album The Fool –
Ohhms have just completed a co-headline tour with Hark how did that go?
Killer. We went down well every night, the promoters and punters were ultra-cool with us… Honestly, we have to pinch ourselves sometimes knowing what lucky guys we are to be in the position we are in. For me personally, it was a strange one though, for sure. I was battling laryngitis from the off but surprisingly it went really well. As a singer, you have to take care of your voice whether it be for one show or a whole tour. If you don’t take care of it you will be fucked. getting over a case of laryngitis i was pretty much doomed from the off but drinking loads of beer and guzzling caffeine and god knows what really didn’t help matters. We got through the first 3 shows fine but I had nothing left for the last one. I’ve been to the doctors and a vocal coach since, and I’ve now got this whole regime to follow for whenever we play live. I’m annoyed by the whole thing. I just want to be able to deliver the goods, it’s frustrating as hell when I can’t.
Does the nature of a co-headline tour provide a competitive vibe between the bands?
Not really for us, as cliche as it sounds all we want to do is give the very best that we have got. The only difference between headlining sets and support slots is that the sets are longer if you are last on. I prefer the raw energy that you can pack in a 30-minute blast myself. Leaving the crowd wanting more and at the same time delivering something they won’t soon forget.
The Fool was released at the end of last month, are you pleased with the reception the album has received?
Of course, this time though there has been a fair amount of coverage in the national print press that we haven’t had before… We’ve had articles and reviews in Kerrang, Metal Hammer, Terrorizer, Zero Tolerance and Prog Magazine. It’s all been positive too. It’s cool that critics are taking notice and of course being played a couple times of the radio one rock show hasn’t hurt either. With an underground band that’s the sort of thing you hope for, but don’t ever expect. Fingers crossed we can keep the momentum going…
The album is challenging and heavy as hell however it’s also stacked full of melody, (which, in my opinion is something a lot of doom bands fall short on), was the presence of melody a clear aim when writing the record?
Absolutely, a lot of the time the guys place hooks within the instrumentation and that makes my job so much easier. Melody is super important for me, i am always on the lookout for an ear worm. Whether its utilised just the once or if its placed all the way through a song. The key to it is this, if you are putting it in there for the song to be financially successful or to make the song appeal to a larger audience then for me that always shines through and feels fake. If the melody comes naturally and adds to the song in a way that feels appropriate then it will hit the spot with each listen.
In your metal hammer interview, you said four fifths of the band had come from hardcore bands but you didn’t really like hardcore anymore, do you feel that the genre as a whole has run its course in this day and age?
The thing with hardcore, or at least the punk and hardcore scene that birthed me is that the rules are very rigid, as soon as you venture outside of the norm you are no longer hardcore. You are Metalcore or tech or doom or power-violence or whatever. I always believed hardcore was a set of ideals with a great musical soundtrack. Four of us still share those hardcore ideals, we just don’t play the rigid musical style. Now I like to think of myself as a hardcore guy still to this day but if that means I can’t also be a metal guy, then fuck that. That elitist attitude doesn’t work for me…and I say four out of five of us because of Chainy, who knows what musical scene that guy cut his teeth on!?
Your record label, Holy Roar records has an impressive roster up fresh and exciting bands, and in the broader picture, it feels as if heavy music is going through somewhat of a resurgence with so many new and upcoming bands sounding fresh and pushing boundaries, how does it feel to be part of this?
It’s awesome to be part of Holy Roar, we have made good friends with pretty much all of the bands that we have met on the roster. Namely, Slabdragger., Conjurer, Employed to Serve and Body Hound. But as for a resurgence of heavy music, I’ve not noticed that heavy music has always been there for me. It’s just that the bands I love are underground. Nobody has broken through to a degree where they could be considered mainstream for so long now, its weird. When Witchsorrow are on the front cover of Rock Sound or Conan grace the front page of Kerrang! that’s when things may change. until then the underground will just keep on keeping on.
There’s a lot of Black Sabbath influence in what Ohhms do amongst other things, but are there any bands who have influenced you as artists that the might not be apparent to the average listener’s ear?
Hmmm, apart from Ozzy for me Simon Le Bon from Duran Duran and Paul Stanley from Kiss and also Bob Dylan are my main points of inspiration. I’ve pinched a lot of my vocal phrasing from their techniques for sure. I see a lot of hardcore influence in some of Marc’s playing and some classic rock-isms in Daniel’s but I wouldn’t like to speak for them.
What’s next in the pipeline for Ohhms after the tour?
We have 4 days with Bossk lined up and a few festivals dotted about here and there. including ArcTanGent and Mammothfest in England, Void Fest in Germany and Into The Void festival in the Netherlands. Plus, in October we go back to Europe for a tour including our first show in Berlin. I’ve never been there before and i can’t wait. Also, we will be heading back into the studio soon enough to record some new ideas… We are full of energy right now… I don’t want it to stop.
Photo credit – https://www.facebook.com/Angelique-Le-Marchand-745518452149417/