A talk with
JOHNNY KETLO (Guitar & Vocals)
(Questionnaire by Officer Nice)
Q: Hello guys, how are you? Hope you’ll enjoy my questions…
A: Hi, we are doing great.
Q: Omega Crom is not a band with a big name around here. So feel free to tell us all interesting things we should know…
A: Hmm where to start. We play metal in the vein of power/thrash with shred guitar and death metal moments. We have been around in the Vancouver Canada scene a long time but only released two albums thus far due to a shifting pantheon of rad musicians that have come and gone through the band over the years, including Vinnie Borden from Tyrants Blood and some other really sweet people. Now we have an awesome line up with my main man Sylvain Maltais on Bass. This guy absolutely rocks and is a Steve Harris / Cliff Burton aficionado type player and it really makes things cook.
Q: Did you read our review at the METAL TO INFINITY webzine? Satisfied? Agrees or disagrees?
A: I read your review and it was like you knew us all personally. A really great review, and thank you. The reference to Daniel Heiman was especially flattering. That guy is second to none and so amazing. I was walking around with a big shit eating grin on my face all day after reading that.
Q: I did label OMEGA CROM as a US Metal band although your guys are heading from out of Canada. Was the US METAL SCENE influencing to the band? If not, what are the main sources of inspiration?
A: Yes it was. Stuff like Pantera, Megadeth, Slayer, old school Metallica is what we cut our teeth on. We live about 15 minutes from the US border. In our local scene we have some pretty amazing heavy hitters like Strapping Young Lad and Three Inches of Blood and Zimmers Hole to name a few that inspire us too. Of course bands like Priest and Maiden influenced us a lot, and then there is Sepultura, Edguy, Blind Guardian and a bunch of shred stuff like Cacophony, Impelliterri. I really like Helloween and Michael Kiske. Country stuff like Johnny Cash and the Charlie Daniels band. Our tastes are eclectic to say the least.
Q: This is the second band in a few months, from out of Canada, that releases a fantastic album. What’s going on over there in the Metal scčne nowadays?
A: Just a lot of new people coming out with some really great bands. Also, people that have been in the scene for a long time are coming out with new projects. The festivals are becoming more and more. There was a metal boat cruise that was especially awesome featuring one of my favourite bands to watch called Over the Coals. It is a badass time.
Q: This isn’t the first effort. Tell us anything about the debut album. How were the reviews worldwide?
A: The debut album was a huge learning process. For example I had to learn how to sing after the departure of our original vocalist. It took 8 years to make that album happen. Mostly because my life was in turmoil the entire time. I finally got my shit together and got it done though. I feel like I sang too high on some parts but some fans really enjoyed that where some people did not. We toured our asses off and played our heart out and through it all I found my own voice which is more what you hear on Beyond Control. The debut album was something we did with the original members and I wanted to preserve what we had created. Through that process Beyond Control was also created. Through the help of so many people. Colin Furness, Sylvain Maltais, Celine Derval to name a few.
Q: This is a trio band, a choice or will the band search a second guitar player in the future?
A: We decided to go trio after searching in vain for a second guitarist. It was the best choice because a lot of cool bands guitar/bass/drums/vox and they sound great, like Pantera or Ozzy. Some of the stuff needs to be rearranged for live but it is just as awesome. The crew that is Omega Crom right now to me is the best version of the band and I am so happy about it.
Q: There was a cooperation on the album with a woman that listens to the name of Celine Derval. What can you tell us about this cooperation ad will we hear her back in the future?
A: Celine was my roommate for a long time when I was going through a rough patch in my life. I would wake up in the morning and she would be singing Blind Guardian songs and Judas Priest songs. We would always sing together and she taught me a lot about vocals and harmonies by singing Alice in Chains songs. When we were in the studio doing Beyond Control she was there with us and stepped into the booth to lay down some really sweet vocals. She has played with us at live shows a lot too. We would be happy to have her as a fulltime member and sometimes it is like she is.
Q: I adore the skills, the song writing, the dark atmosphere… So yes, what were the ideas when you started the song writing ad performances for this album? Did it all work out in studio as planned?
A: These songs were kicking around in my brain for a long time. It was an amazing process to hear them finally come to life. All worked out in the studio better than planned because our engineer Curtis Buckoll and Producer Stu Mckillop are amazing people to work with and they were all about giving me exactly what I wanted. The facilitated the process so wonderfully and it all came to fruition very naturally. The overall emotion and vibe was captured perfectly and I think you can feel it when you listen to Beyond Control.
Q: Of course the vocal lines are more than awesome! They’re varied so who were the idols that influenced you?
A: Thank you. Vocal idols and influences… Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, Chris Valago(Lorde Heathen), Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Joseph Shore, the two dudes from Air Supply, Stu Block, Devin Townsend, Max Cavelera, Rob Rock, Tobias Sammett, Michael Kiske, Daniel Heiman, Phil Anselmo, & Dave Mustaine & James Hetfield for the thrashy stuff, the list could go on for awhile.
Q: How about OMEGA CROM on stage? What can we expect from a band like OMEGA CROM on stage and do you play abroad?
A: You can expect a proper evening of ripping metal. We have not played abroad. It is in the plans for us to play abroad.
Q: Another awesome eye-catcher is the front cover. Who’s responsible for it and what’s the idea behind it?
A: A guy names Warren Kirshner who does tattoing in Kelowna BC and also has created creature effects for movies. I met him on tour in 2010 and then once again when Crom was doubling as a Pantera tribute band in which I was Dime, Syl was Rex and Colin was Vinnie, and a friend named Ron on vox. Warren approached me at that show again and we always hit it off instantaneously.
He said he wanted to do the art for our new CD. He took magic mushrooms and listened to the album in it’s raw form. Then he built a model of all the things you see on the cover. So the Conan guy in chains on some planet with pillars that have our standard atop them and a big pink tentacle wrapping around. Then he painted the power Soul ripping out of the guys back. So what you are looking at is a model.
I wanted it to be all purple like the Painkiller album. Celine is also a graphic design artist and she set in the background of far flung galaxies and stuff and did the overall layout through the CD.
Q: How about promotion? Interested labels? Can we expect some new about that in the future?
A: Right now we work with Marjo from Metal Revelation. She is awesome, she handles the promo and it is all I can do to keep up with her. As far as labels go I am not sure.
Q: How do you describe the new album or why should our readers pick up this one?
A: It is hard to describe but you do it very well in the review on your site. Why pick up this album? Pick it up if you love Heavy Metal cause that’s what it is, but don’t take my word for it. Go see for yourself.
Q: Where can our readers pick up the albums? Is there a website/facebook page were they can learn more about OMEGA CROM?
A: We sell them through CDbaby
Q: Any last words for our readers?
A: Yea, thanks for supporting Omega Crom and listening to our tunes.