ONOMY is an experimental fusion of progressive, alternative music and aggressive dark ambient and industrial themes. Inspired by a wide variety of artists, surrealists and film soundtracks. ONOMY seeks to access an organic core within the digital medium, using discomfort and dissonance a playground for atypical sounds, arrangements and album flow.
Read the Progstravaganza questionnaire with ONOMY’s mainman Drew Griffiths.
How did you come to do what you do?
Music is a compulsion – it”s easier to do than not to.
What is your first musical memory?
Listening to Dynasty by KISS on a skipping CD-player.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I’m a very visual person, so music speaks to me in images. Films and film soundtracks affect most of my compositional inspiration, which is – I’m sure – why I tend to write concepts into my music. I see individual ‘songs’ as a means of dictating scenes or acts in a greater overall structure – the album – which I mourn as a dying art. Music seems to have somehow lost its ability to capture attention in the modern age, and I consider that to be a great loss.
What message does the song on our Progstravaganza compilation carry?
‘Pariah’ is something of a culmination of the themes expressed on the debut ONOMY album – the track closest to being a ‘prog epic’ in scope. Primarily it expresses the acceptance of rejection; a submission to the unpopular truths of existentialism in the face of popular wisdom. Ultimately, though, I’d say that the Pariah suite is not so much depressing as it is bitter. The first half of the song also features guest vocals by the always amazing Wren – so that’s definitely a plus.
Do you tend to follow any pre-defined patterns when composing a piece?
Not at all. I tend to find that the more compositional approaches that are taken, the more diverse the range of resultant material will be. Why just the other night I got together with a co-conspirator of mine and recorded a fender amp by placing a microphone inside of a nearby harp, as opposed to pushing it up against the cab speaker. We ended up writing an ambient piece instead of the song we’d originally had in mind (which we ended up tracking later on anyway, but that’s beside the point).
What is your method of songwriting?
Generally I start with a single concept – a riff or a sequence or a beat or a sample – but more often than not I start with a poly-rhythm. Usually, a rhythmically complex poly-rhythm based on a melody provides me with the idea I end up depending on for a specific piece, even if I had no intention of using it to begin with. I consider Meshuggah to be a major influence in most of the music I write, regardless of the fact that we share very few textural similarities.
How do you see your music evolving?
At the moment I’m following two different paths – an ambient, organic style based on tracks like ‘Seitenkansha’ and ‘When The Last Clock Stops’, and a more intense, industrial direction which I hope to carry forward with ONOMY as a live band. I have a variety of outlets for aggressive music, like One Too Many Camel (a prog/sludge outfit), for which I write and perform vocals, and Corpsebitch (a studio-based parody prog/death band for which I program, sing and play guitar and bass, as do two other very talented and similarly bizarre individuals) but I’ve always intended – or hoped, at least – to incorporate live ambience and soundscaping into a live performance, and I hope that ONOMY will eventually enable me to do that in a band-oriented environment.
I also intend to release a series of ambient albums in the distant future based on Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’ (as a trilogy comprised of Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso). This is a project for which I’ve been sampling and recording for almost twenty-four months now, using the disgustingly harsh physical landscape (and, as philosophical inspiration, the emotionally draining political landscape) of Western Australia as a backdrop. I find this particularly suits the ‘Inferno’ themes, given the source material’s focus on hell. I may have to move to another state or country If I ever intend to complete the afore-mentioned Paradiso album.
What advice would you give to other musicians, trying to make inspired music and get it out in the world?
Honestly, I’d say that if you’ve uploaded anything to the internet at all then you’ve already ‘made it’. If that’s not enough for you – at least on an emotional level – then you’re into the wrong business. Go and get a real job.
What are you looking forward to?
Honestly, I’m very much looking forward to seeing what Gojira comes up with next. That and releasing the four new albums which I’ve been working on the for the past twelve months (or thereabouts). Can’t wait to start working on the next batch of tunes! That and the follow-up to Power Steve.
Bands, send your music submissions for the Progstravaganza compilation series to firstname.lastname@example.org