"Too Much Monkey Business"

By Lord Randall

From the barren waste of the New Mexican desert comes OLD MAN GLOOM. The past 2 years have been kind to them musically - even if not emotionally – resulting in The Ape Of God, a just-under-an-hour opus that will challenge longtime fans and open the doors of the church of Gloom to the initiate. Lord Randall visits the primate house.

Wormwood Chronicles: Originally, OMG was set to be a project, a gathering moreso than a band itself. Over time has this changed into a solidified lineup, or do you ever foresee a time when, like CIRCLE has recently, OLD MAN GLOOM records and album with no original members?

OLD MAN GLOOM: Old Man Gloom is a living spirit currently working through the animated bodies of four human beings who have been lucky enough to be the recipient vessels of this divine energy. Should these vessels falter or cease to be, new vessels shall be found and imbued with this spirit.

WC: The Tortuga era had some of my favorite OMG material, but it seemed your very earliest work was the only thing people focused on ("Meditations In B", specifically). Why the nearly 8-year hiatus between "Christmas" and "No"? Were you either consciously/subconsciously affording Isis room to bloom, to grow into what it would become and end?

OMG: People are short-sighted, thus the current state of global entropy and corrosive violence. We have hope in being able to reach the small portion of the human race that is AWAKE, and that this awakened contingent of humanity might be enough, given the proper motivation, to turn this tide of self-manifested destruction.

WC: With Nate [Newton, guitars] now all fake rasta’d up with CAVALERA CONSPIRACY, can we expect OLD MAN GLOOM getting high profile opening slots? In this case, the kind where the post-beardcore posse leaves after OMG to make way for the scenesters, and hits up the microbrew pub on the way home?

OMG: There’s something wrong with Nate. We haven’t figured out what is. We’re pretty sure it has something to do with having an overripe brain. His behavior is irrational and often troubling, these forays into obviously inferior musical groups, yet the caressing hand of divine provenance brought us together and has seen fit to bestow us with the wisdom and nature to fix our imperfect selves. Through the ritual observance of Gloom by rites of musical incantation, we may one day find it possible to contain ourselves wholly within the folds of its spirit, thus rendering any wanderings into foreign fields unnecessary, and even repugnant to our elevated consciousness.

WC: That said, I don’t recall many musicians reaching to define themselves as “this” or “that” genre, even as recently as the late 80s/early 90s. Bands like HELMET, UNSANE, ONLY LIVING WITNESS just were what they were, and even journalist types weren’t stretching their minds to attach a defining “name” to a genre of music. What do you think has changed since then, and do you find yourself hesitant to describe your music out of fear for creating a “new” genre?

OMG: Our goal is to elevate, to inspire, to invigorate - whatever name or path leads people to us and to the altar of Gloom is a worthy one. There is no wrong way to experience what we do - simple contact is enough to begin the process of holy transformation. The rest is beyond the veil through which human eyes can see, yet is also the channel through which we may pass should we choose the realm of higher being that is our noblest aspiration.

WC: You’ve let it be known that you a) are a supergroup and b) don’t suck. Also, don’t you think it a bit cocky, referring to yourselves as a supergroup and all?

OMG: There seems to be a bit of misconception on this point. We have never individually or collectively identified ourselves as “super-group”. As previously mentioned we feel no pressing need to define ourselves as anything other than servants of Gloom. Should this particular incarnation of OLD MAN GLOOM cease to be, heavens forbid, a new formation would bloom and propagate the essential and eternal energy of being-ness as is currently and eternally underway.

WC: While there’s definitely a hardcore sensibility at work in OLD MAN GLOOM, I believe it comes through in aesthetics/mentality more than actual sonic delivery. On the new album, there are moments calling to mind Swans as well as CAVE IN / KEELHAUL. When you completed No, did you inherently feel you had another album in you, and did you have any idea the direction(s) "The Ape Of God" would take?

OMG: The wellspring of inspiration that drives us is ceaseless. It may take many forms, the level of purity or dilution may wax or wane, but it can never and will never end. We are a vector for vital energy essential to the proliferation and sustenance of humanity. We tailor the aesthetic shell of that energy according to our whims, the cultural climate into which it will be birthed, and the accrued wisdom of our collective history and expertise. Our hands and hearts shape this immaterial essence into whatever forms we believe will be most effective for its dissemination. Because of our vast experience in our field of practice we are able to make these important decisions quickly and without hesitation, and with a seemingly careless abandon (though we are actual quite precise and intentional in our actions) - the joy derived from this process is merely a byproduct of it, though it is also part of what determines the final form of its physical manifestation. The greater the feeling of joy we experience while undergoing our energetic channeling, the more clearly we are able to see the rightness, truth and strength of our rituals.

WC: Electronics have long been a staple of OMG’s repertoire. When in the process of the song do electronic treatments come into play? Are they so ingrained within the soul, the meat, of the band that they’re there from the start?

OMG: Our bodies carry electric current, the current surrounds us, its pulse older than the world itself. In this sense, the presence has been there long before our current forms came into being, not to mention the music we are responsible for incarnating. As such, it is possible to say that according to parameters linear time the electric elements of our work pre-date the current manifestations of it.

WC: Do you think that the geography of your area influences your work at all, the landscape of New Mexico being a far cry from where you may be at any given time.

OMG: When the current leaders of Gloom are laid to rest and new priest/priestesses anointed, New Mexican soil will be the sacred ground upon which these rites will be performed and in which our bones will be laid to rest.

WC: Is there a lyrical theme at all this time around? Where was your head going into lyric mode for "The Ape Of God"?

OMG: See above. All of it.

WC: I believe the 2 songs ‘Shoulder Meat’ and ‘Simia Dei’ work as perfect dual centerpieces to an album that plays like a record, if that makes sense. How did the recording sessions go, and was anything preplanned, or mostly fleshed out in the studio?

OMG: We are fully intentional with our actions, though we ourselves may not always fully comprehend them at the time during which they are performed and documented.

WC: How important is arrangement/track order/artwork (aka these days as “the extra crap”, it seems) when it comes to OMG’s presentation?

OMG: What is important is the subjective experience of those who come into content with the teachings of Gloom.

WC: What can we look for in the DVD "Here Is A Gift For You"?

OMG: All four members of OLD MAN GLOOM doing what we do best - destroying, creating, preaching and praying. There are some other people in the movie as well, which we’re pretty sure was just a small oversight on the part of the director. We’re discussing how to correct this problem with him for further installments of the franchise.

WC: Do you ever foresee a time where you wouldn’t work with Kurt Ballou at the production/mixing helm? In this age of self-produced, “fix it in the mix” albums, has the role of a producer become diminished in any way to you?

OMG: Kurt is merely a tool to help us achieve our goals, a holy scribe as it were. He has been a loyal a dedicated devotee of the cause - this coupled with his sizable proportions, akin to the Holy Ape her/himself, makes him the ideal collaborator for the realizing of our Sacred Art. Since we are born perfect, our work is much the same - so all Kurt really has to do is hit “Record” and the rest is just pure magic.

WC: What’s on the docket next year for OMG?

OMG: Nothing as far as we or you know.