MEB Staffer Sebastian Fonseca exchanges words with Kramer Lowe of Onward To Olympas, touching on the theme of their new album, the hardships of being in a touring band and some obvious (and not so obvious) influences.
Mind Equals Blown: First off, if you could introduce yourself and give us your role in the band?
Onward To Olympas: My name is Kramer Lowe and I do vocals in Onward To Olympas.
MEB: Most bands tend to have 2-year period in between albums. What motivated you to begin work on a new album so soon?
OTO: A lot of the Facedown bands release an album a year, but we also were ready to get back out there after our debut cd and release another record to let people know we’re still here and ready for 2011.
MEB: What were some of the main differences when it came to recording This World Is Not My Home and recording The War Within Us?
OTO: We had 2 member changes and a lot more experience since the first album, which we recorded before we were signed. We had a lot more time and knew what we wanted sound-wise during the production of this album as well. We really like how this new one came out.
MEB: The War Within Us seems to follow a theme of war. Was that intentional, and if so what relation does it have with the band and your message?
OTO: Yes, it was intentional. The War Within Us is compared to a constant “war” that we all face whether it be mentally or spiritually. As Christians we are called to love and be “Christ-like,” so the concept basically started from seeing other Christians bringing each other down, arguing, judging, etc. It also has a lot to do with the struggle with every day problems and keeping your faith through it all. There will always be a war within our lives and we should stand strong and stand together through it all. Which leads to more describing in the next question and how we all act can change our whole outlook on certain problems and the ways we live.
MEB: When recording The War Within Us who were some of your biggest musical influences?
OTO: I was influenced by just wanting to record quality songs. After touring and being out there more, I was excited to get in the studio again as a progressed musician. Growing up I’ve been inspired vocally by Misery Signals, As I Lay Dying and some others I can’t think of now, but those are main ones. Now I basically just work at it and do what I do. Not try to be influenced or copy another person’s sound, you know?
MEB: For those who have never heard Onward to Olympas before, how would you describe the band’s sound?
OTO: We are basically a melting pot of several different aspects of music. We all listen to different genres, and we take what we like from those, and turn it into something that we can call our own, and it seems to have worked. Both people and critics alike have complimented on all that we bring to the table musically.
MEB: What are some of the main musical differences between this record and your previous one?
OTO: I would say that the writing was a little more technical than the previous record. We tried to take what was done on the first album, expand on those ideas, and make them even more intense musically. We are very happy with the result.
MEB: Now that your new album is coming out, what are Onward to Olympas’ plans?
OTO: We plan on touring as much as possible to get this new album out there. We are heading out to Facedown Fest in California in April and then headlining the Young & Wreckless tour after that. As well as Cornerstone and Sonshine Festival and other tour plans are in the works.
MEB: What has been the greatest hardship that has come with being a touring band?
OTO: Basically just being away from your friends and family for long periods of time. But in the end when you get done basically doing a huge workout playing every night, to see kids enjoy your music and meet new people while traveling the country, it’s all worth it.
MEB: Name a band or artist you enjoy that most fans of Onward to Olympas would never expect you to be a fan of.
OTO: I’ve said this in a couple interviews already, but I really enjoy Taylor Swift. I think her music is awesome and super catchy.
MEB: You’re going off to spend the rest of your life in solitude, and you can only bring one album to listen to. What album is it?
OTO: Hmm, that’s a tough one. Probably Anberlin‘s Cities. I don’t think I could get tired of Anberlin.
MEB: Who would you say is your celebrity crush?
OTO: That goes back to the band or artist question. It would definitely be Taylor Swift, again.
MEB: You can only chose one: The girl of your dreams, or a jetpack?
OTO: Girl of my dreams….If I wanted to fly, I’d just buy a hang glider…much cheaper, and already invented.
MEB: For our readers, could you suggest an up and coming band that you think deserve some recognition and promotion?
OTO: If you like indie/experimental, pop rock, female fronted bands, check out Carson out of North Carolina.
MEB: What advice would you give to a fan who wants to embark on a music career?
OTO: Write quality songs that you like, but also that others will like as well. Then find somewhere to record that can produce something that is radio-quality, and just have fun. If you are looking to get signed to a label, you have to work hard and find connections. Make your band stick out (not necessarily in an off-the-wall way), and you’ll get noticed.
MEB: Before we wrap up this interview, is there anything you would like to add?
OTO: Thanks to everyone who has come to a show in the past, and supported our music. We hope to see you again on the road this year.