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Aug. 3, 2022

Interview with Bad Omens

We had the pleasure of interviewing Bad Omens over Zoom video.

Bad Omens slither through boundaries, only to ultimately choke convention in the process. The quartet—Noah Sebastian (vocals), Joakim “Jolly” Karlsson (guitar), Nick Ruffilo (bass),...


We had the pleasure of interviewing Bad Omens over Zoom video.

Bad Omens slither through boundaries, only to ultimately choke convention in the process. The quartet—Noah Sebastian (vocals), Joakim “Jolly” Karlsson (guitar), Nick Ruffilo (bass), and Nick Folio (drums)—materialize with ghostly atmospherics, striking hooks, and the tingles of sensual high-register harmonies uplifted by cinematic production. Racking up over 250M worldwide streams to date and earning acclaim, the band presents an uncompromising and undeniable vision on their third full-length album, 'THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND' (Sumerian Records).

The group’s 2016 self-titled debut, 'Bad Omens', yielded fan favorites such as “Glass Houses” and “The Worst In Me” which eclipsed nearly 25 million Spotify streams. On its heels, 2019’s 'Finding God Before God Finds Me' spawned “Dethrone” (13 million Spotify streams) and “Careful What You Wish For” (10 million Spotify streams). Along the way, they toured with numerous marquee acts and received tastemaker praise.

After their first headline tour was canceled mid-way at the top of the global pandemic, the band found themselves at home in Los Angeles with plenty of time. Where they absorbed and imparted a different palette of unexpected inspirations. Channeling what the frontman describes at times as a “cursive sound” they embraced newfound confidence and boundlessly loose creativity. Anything went in the studio, and all “rules” were broken. Noah and Jolly wrote, produced, and engineered the music themselves while GRAMMY® Award-nominated producer and songwriter Zakk Cervini (Halsey, Grimes, Poppy, blink-182) lent his talents with the mix and master. Challenging himself, Noah decided to “make a track sampling items around the house, none of which were musical instruments”.

This ultimately became the framework for the first single “THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND”. Claps puncture the icy soundscape as his voice stretches from a breathy moan into an evocative and entrancing hook, breaking from a whisper into the seductive chant, “It wasn’t hard to realize. Love’s the death of peace of mind.” It culminates on a climactic scream uplifted by a distorted crunch.

By speaking it aloud, Bad Omens offer a level of comfort and empathy, with a sinister shroud. At the same time, they also give rock music a sexy new shape on 'THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND'.

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Transcript

What's going on?! It is Adam. Welcome back to bringing it backwards. A podcast where both legendary and rising artists tell their own personal stories of how they achieve stardom. On this episode, we had a chance to hang out with Noah Sebastian of bad Omans over zoom video know was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. And he talks about how he got into music, got a guitar around 11 years old and took some lessons, but really learned self-taught learned off YouTube around this time is when he was getting into heavier music. He talked about a few local bands. He performed in, he ended up dropping outta high school at 16 to join a band that was getting signed. 6 (2m 6s): They eventually get signed and the label kind of flops and the band disbands. And while this is going on, he's writing lyrics and songs and he just knows that he wants to be a front man. So as the timing fell, he decided to start his own project, which became bad omens. Noah tells us about how the band was signed before all of the members were solidified and they ever had one rehearsal. Basically he put the record together, which landed him, a manager, which landed in front of Subin records and they get a deal. He talked about working on his first record with will Putney, who we've had a chance to interview. 6 (2m 46s): You could check that out on our, our website or Facebook, YouTube. He tells us about going into that second record, trying to follow up the success of the first one, where they were when COVID hit and all about this brand new record, which is called the death of peace of mind, which actually started out as a challenge. Noah was trying to do online, where he was gonna produce a song, not using any instruments. So he was going around the house, kind of creating fully sounds and manipulating them and created a song which ended up becoming the death of peace of mind that sparked the record. And now we have a new album from him. You can watch our interview with Noah on our Facebook page and YouTube channel at bringing it backwards. 6 (3m 29s): It'd be awesome if you subscribe to our channel like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok at bringing back pod. And if you're listening to this on Spotify, apple music, Google podcast, it would be awesome if you follow us there as well, and hook us up with a five star review, 7 (3m 48s): We'd appreciate your support. If you follow and subscribe to our podcast, wherever you listen to podcasts, 6 (3m 54s): We're bringing it backwards with bad. Omans 8 (3m 58s): Yo, 6 (3m 58s): Yo, what's up Nell. How are you? 8 (3m 60s): What's up? I'm good. How are you? 6 (4m 2s): I'm doing well. I appreciate you doing this. 8 (4m 4s): Yeah, yeah, of course we could do it. 6 (4m 7s): Awesome. Awesome. I'm Adam and this podcast is about you and your journey in music. And we'll talk about the new album as well. 8 (4m 14s): Sweet, 6 (4m 15s): Sweet. So I did see or read the band formed in Virginia. Is that where you were born and raised? 8 (4m 22s): Yeah. Richmond, Virginia. 6 (4m 24s): That's where you, you were born and raised there as well? 8 (4m 26s): Yes. 6 (4m 27s): Cool. What was it like growing up there? 8 (4m 29s): It was cool. It felt like the like, you know, stock suburban experience, I guess, you know, like kind of on the outskirts of Richmond city. And I lived in an, in an area called Bon air growing up, which was, you know, just a regular, you know, middle class suburban kind of vibe. And it was cool. And you know, I got into music and dropped outta school and it's all downhill from there. 6 (4m 58s): Rad or anyone else in your family? Musical, you come from musical household? 8 (5m 2s): No. No, not at all. 6 (5m 5s): Interesting. So how, what drew you to music? Like how, when did you get into music? 8 (5m 11s): I don't know. I just, I don't, it's hard to remember the first time I was exposed to it. I guess it was always like, like growing up people would listen to music. Like one in my family is just like, did any, you know, played instruments. 6 (5m 24s): Sure. 8 (5m 26s): And yeah, I remember like always really enjoying so many types of genres, even when I was little through like phases. Like I went through an M and M phase going through like my goth, like disturbed, industrial phase, like, and yeah, I I've just always like really appreciated various things about all kinds of music and yeah. I don't know how it happened. I know I got a guitar for like Christmas when I was 11, I think 11 or 12 and took guitar lessons for a little bit. And then like YouTube started becoming a thing. So, and like the internet and everything. So that started getting easier to like self teach and yeah, I mean, from there I played guitar in and out of local bands and until I was like 17, when I started what became be Oman. 6 (6m 17s): Okay. Well, was there something that drew you to wanna play guitar or was it just a present? Your parents ended up buying you? 8 (6m 25s): I think I asked for it cuz I was like, I guess I was in my rock phase around that time or my metal phase. I, I do vividly remember like the first time I heard heavy music or like modern heavy music, cuz there's obviously like such a spectrum to metal now. 6 (6m 38s): Right, right. But 8 (6m 40s): I remember hearing disturbed the sickness and thinking this was the most depraved unhinged thing I've ever heard and I loved it. That's funny. Yeah. I think it was like around that time where I was like, I wanna learn how to play guitar. 6 (6m 55s): And were you when you took your lessons and everything, were you trying to learn heavy songs like that or like, is that what you essentially wanted to play? 8 (7m 2s): That was the goal I think, but I was also just, you know, learning what the teacher was teaching me and you know, he tried to teach me to read music and that, that didn't go over well. Cause I was like most young, ambitious guitar players and just wanted to like learn the cool stuff. 6 (7m 17s): Yeah, sure. Like, yeah, that scale's cool. But like teach me how to play this RA riff, 8 (7m 22s): Play this cool riff from this classic rock song or, you know, so I, I kind of fell out of it at least like practice wise for a little bit and I would dabble in it here and there. And then like, I, I got exposed to, I don't even know. I guess at the time he would call it screamo. It was like double horse Prada, like starting to try to learn their songs on guitar. And I don't know, I was always just like experimenting in some way or another with music. I think even before I really got into recording, I like downloaded audacity to my grandma's computer and like started, you know, fumbling around. And what, what is like the world's most primitive and like, you know, experimenting with recording and like trying to learn how to like get sounds from this like little electronic keyboard they had in their house, like in the basement or something into the computer. 8 (8m 15s): And yeah, I was just always like really interested in music and recording and stuff 6 (8m 20s): With, well, like when did you learn that you could sing well, was that something that came later? Cause obviously you've got a killer voice, not only for what the genre you do, but like the, the unplugged versions of these acoustic songs that you guys put up as well are like insane 9 (8m 34s): Money is the number one cause of stress and the number two cause of divorce, make your money go further and work harder with a certified financial planner from facet wealth, financial planning used to focus on retirement, but facet helps you with today. You get a dedicated financial planner that guides you through every financial decision inflation interest rates, stock market changes, home prices. How do you figure it all out? Well, every advisor at facet is a certified financial planner and fiduciary. That's just a fancy way to say they have the best training and they're legally bound to do what's in your best interest. This isn't just about investments. It's about taking care of your money so you can start living a better life. Today. 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This is your summer. That means six flags in the taste of an ice cold Coca-Cola we're talking thrilling coasters, delicious burgers, real moments together. And this Coke is summer refreshment when you need it most. So you can hop on another ride or race down a slide at the water park, six flags in Coca-Cola come make it yours. Visit six flags.com/coke to save up to $20 on passes. Plus daily tickets starting at 34 9. 8 (10m 35s): Yeah. I mean probably like last year. I don't know, 6 (10m 39s): Like right before I recorded the no dude. 8 (10m 44s): You're great. Yeah. Cause I played guitar for a long time. And then when I started what became Batmans I wanted to do, like, I wanted to be the front man and like do the vocals and everything. And I really had no idea what I was doing. Like I, I had a good tone, I guess, for like my, my screaming vocal and my singing vocal. I was not even close to being refined enough for what, what we were doing so early, I guess. So that's something I kind of learned as we, as we went on. And it's interesting because like looking back, I definitely don't think I was qualified for the job when we were recording our first record, just because I was still in that phase where I was trying really hard to like emulate other people instead of finding my own voice, which I believe now is like the most crucial step 6 (11m 33s): And the hardest thing to do. Yeah. Right. I mean, how hard is that? 8 (11m 37s): Well, I think a big part of it to me and I like preach about this a lot. Whenever I people ask me about like singing and stuff is so much of it is like holistic and psychological. In my opinion, I think like once you get over that hump of being like insecure or like, like not very confident or like shy or anything of like being heard by people around you, like once you really like let that go like internally and start experimenting and just not being afraid to hear your own voice and being afraid of other people, hearing your voice. That's when you like really start to discover what cool stuff you can do. That's like only natural to you and like your, your voice and your body. That's kind of what I feel like we did with our most recent record. 8 (12m 22s): And yeah, it's like, it's just been a blast ever since, because now I'm such a much, a more comfortable singer, both live and in studio. And like, if someone, even if like the vocal booth is just a mic in the room and it's not a booth and they're like, Hey, just sing this part. I'm like, okay. And I just go up and you know, I'm not afraid of people hearing me untuned out in the room, you know, like, 6 (12m 42s): Yeah, 8 (12m 43s): Once you get over that and you realize like we're all musicians, we all have bad days and sound kind of rough sometimes without tuning here and there and reverb and processing. Like once you get over that, it's, it's just so easy. 6 (12m 55s): Right? I mean, it's, it's not, not that it's easy, but like it's, that's the hardest thing. I mean the only, I'm not a songwriter or singer, but I, the way I relate to that is like, I, I came from radio from ter radio for my, you know, 17 years and the, I would always try to emulate and, and like do, or say things that I would hear not say things, but like try to have the cadence of somebody that I looked up to on the radio or listened to. And it wasn't until like, you don't do that, cuz it's like, well that guy's already gonna be the best one at doing that. Cuz it's him. Like I, you will never achieve that. And then you find your own voice, which is like literally the hardest thing there is to do. 6 (13m 36s): Like, 8 (13m 37s): Yeah, I there's like an expression. I, this was such a deviation of it, but essentially it's like, you don't want to be the next blank band. You want to be the first, you, you know, 6 (13m 46s): I right, no, that's a hundred percent. 8 (13m 48s): The next nine-ish nails, you wanna be the first bad O like, that's how I approach it. 6 (13m 52s): Right. 8 (13m 53s): You want to be that, that artist, that other people are emulating someday. And then hopefully ultimately realize that's not the move and find their own thing, but right. You know what I mean? Like you want to kinda lead that path. And I think, think that's how like music gets reinvented and gets like evolved in really cool ways. 6 (14m 11s): And for sure though, it's like the hardest thing though, to kind of come out of that and just know, and, and the voice is such a thing too, where I I've had this conversation with people before where it's like, it's a different world. Like you could go on a guitar. Like I could grab a guitar and just like Dick around and hit some strings. And you know, it's not like a personal thing, but if you like try to sing and you like, can't hit the note or you people are like, Ugh, like it's like, oh ouch. Like that's my voice. I can't really, yeah. It's do anything about it's 8 (14m 41s): Like guitar note or something like the guitar you can just tune, you know, and assuming it stays in tune well, like it's gonna be the right note when you hit that threat. No matter what, with your voice, there's so many variables, whether it's like, you know, you're not feeling too good or allergies or is my kryptonite personally. And just stuff like that where it's, it's kind of a, a gamble almost every day on tour. Like, oh, I hope I don't wake up sick tomorrow. 6 (15m 5s): Right? Yeah. Because, and again, it's just such a vulnerable it's you? And if someone goes, you suck at singing, you're like, oh, UCH just should probably never do this again. No worries. You suck at guitar. Well, yeah, of course I do. I have to keep practicing, but like, yeah. It's just, but like I said, man, you've got a great voice. So I was just curious if it was something that you knew early on, but it sounds like you kind of had to develop it even later you were playing guitar for a bunch of bands prior. 8 (15m 30s): Yeah. Yeah. Just a bunch of local bands in, in Virginia and one band in Northern Virginia. And around that time, I think I was 16. And I was like, that was as like, far as I'd gotten in like success with music as like in a potential career. Like I dropped out of high school to play guitar in this band cuz they had like record deals coming in and offers and stuff and 6 (15m 50s): Oh, is that right? Wow. 8 (15m 51s): Yeah. And, and more or less like it, we signed with this like flagship record deal instead of this established record company, because our mindset was like, well, if this is like their first like flagship band they're signing, maybe they'll put way more into it versus a company that very established that isn't that worried about this band flopping versus a company that's trying to like really prove themselves as a record label and that at the time turned out to be the wrong choice. Obviously now personally for me it was a good choice because everything led to this moment, but right, 6 (16m 28s): Right. Cause if you would've been wrapped up, so you would've signed a three record deal with X record label, then you might not have had the opportunity to kind peel out. 8 (16m 38s): I had, I kind of had the know how to know like when to bounce essentially. And that record company basically just kind of went under and dissolved and didn't last very long and everyone in the band got kind of defeated after that. And around that time I was learning more and more about recording on the side. And I was like, you know, I kind of wanna just start my own band and like write my own music cuz I wasn't really writing or doing anything in that band besides just showing up and playing guitar. I wanted like way more, both creative control and just like, you know, final say in decision making when it comes to like business decisions. Cause I thought even at the time as like a 16 year old, I thought like they were doing some kind of stupid things and making bad choices with the business. 6 (17m 20s): Yeah. Like it's interesting cuz when, when, when I hear you talking, I mean being 16 years old dropping outta school to pursue this thing, like that's a bold move. 8 (17m 33s): Yeah. I, well, I kind of lived on my own at that point. I'm like not gonna get too far into like the back 6 (17m 39s): Door. Okay. Yeah. Yeah. Sorry about 8 (17m 40s): That. Yeah, no it's all good. I just, I was like pretty independent as a teenager for most of my years as a teenager and I kind of just adapted this mindset of like, cuz that's like the oldest like thing or trope or whatever in the book where it's like, oh, drop outta school to pursue music and it fails and you're screwed. Right. But I kind of just had this mindset and this like internal like confidence or like, like sureness that I was like, I'm going to, you know, bend the world around what I want to do. I'm not gonna like bend myself around what the world wants of me essentially. So I just, I don't know. I've kind of always just had this like tenacity so to speak where if I don't know the answer to something like I'll ask the right questions until I find the answer. 8 (18m 28s): Like I just, I like to figure things out, whether it's musically or recording or like a logistical thing with like the band and the business that we can't afford to pay a professional to do, whether it's like tax stuff, you know what I mean? Like right, right. Stuff. That should not be a musician's job. I've just over the years, like had to pick up the slack on here and there because someone has to do it, you know? 6 (18m 50s): Right, right. With, with that, like, I mean, you said you were in this band and you were what, writing your own songs kind of on the side because you just didn't have a big enough voice in the, in the band itself. 8 (19m 0s): Yeah. I mean, I get it. They were all like in their mid twenties and I was 16. Like, okay, 6 (19m 5s): Why 8 (19m 5s): Would I show up and start running the show? 6 (19m 7s): Yeah. I mean, that would be hard in any circumstance if you just join the band to be like, all right, I'm gonna start making some changes around. Exactly. I wasn't 8 (19m 13s): Even making an original member. So it totally makes sense. Right. But yeah, I got like a little recording package from Sweetwater. I think, you know, little interface and two monitors and just started learning all the ways I could start writing my own songs and kind of, you know, starting to do MIDD drums and like just get a general idea of a demo and a song outlined in the earliest form of the song. 6 (19m 39s): Okay. And with, with those songs, like at what 0.0, was it the label thing that happened and kind of that dissolving? Was that what led you to, you know, peeling off and starting your, your own project? 8 (19m 51s): Yeah. Okay. That, and like, again, like the decisions that the band I was in was making like they started doing like these corny covers and stuff and it felt like they were just trying to do anything to like get noticed or like pick up steam. And I like, I have a very, like, I guess strong opinion about that type of stuff and like the integrity of the band, so to speak. But I just wanted to do my own thing and like write my own songs and just see what would happen if it was like, if I started a band that I was in charge of, now that I had like this newfound knowledge and experience. And like at this point, like at least in the local scene, like a small reputation of being in a bigger band. 6 (20m 27s): Sure. And so how do you do that? Like what's the first start like you have what, a few songs and you're able to record 'em yourself and you start to try to find members or Mary 10 (20m 38s): Redeemed, a $50,000 cash prize playing chubba casino online. 11 (20m 43s): I was only playing for fun. So winning was a dream come 10 (20m 46s): True. Chubba casino is America's favorite free online social casino. You too could have the chance to win life-changing cash prizes. Absolutely. Anybody could be like Mary, be like Mary log on to Shambo casino.com and play for free. Now no purchase necessary. Void prohibited by lock 18 plus terms and conditions applies. See website for details. The voice of the proceeding commission was not the actual voice for the winner. 12 (21m 9s): We could week fly. This is your summer. That means six flags in the taste of an ice cold Coca-Cola we're talking thrilling coasters, delicious burgers. Yes. Real moments together. And this Coke is summer refreshment when you need it most. So you can hop on another ride or race down a slide at the water park, six flags in Coca-Cola. Come make it yours. Visit six flags.com/coke to save up to $20 on passes. Plus daily tickets starting at 34 99. 13 (21m 39s): Other banks go out of their way to make redeeming credit card rewards, needlessly complicated, like how they require minimums or force you to use your rewards before reaching some arbitrary expiration date. But discover isn't like that with discover, you can redeem your rewards for cash in any amount at any time. So you'll never have to jump through hoops unless you're like a trapezes then by all means, go right ahead. Learn word, discover.com/redeem rewards terms apply. Sure. 8 (22m 9s): I wasn't good enough at recording to like, do get that far, but I was enough to like lay down the riffs and like a drum idea and maybe like a vocal idea. And then I went to it's it's funny how it all tied up, but this guy's Zach Jones. He was in the band, a band called my enemies and I at the time and he also recorded on the side. He recorded another band. I was in named amorist and he was like a pretty popular like producer in the local area in like Virginia. So I took my demo ideas to him to like, try to get a more like mixed and mastered like final version essentially that he would produce with me and mix. And yeah, I think I made like three or four songs with him and took those somehow those got into the hands of our previous manager through like a friend of mine that worked under him. 8 (23m 0s): It's like a whole like connected network at this point. Right, right. Okay. People I still work with to this day, but in, in Virginia there was a whole scene with like, you know, my, my buddy Ari, who does our music videos. Now he's from Virginia, my buddy Davis that does graphic design for us. Now he's also from Virginia and we were all part of this like local music network and yeah, he worked for a guy that managed bands and owned a venue back there and more or less, he, I got the demos and his hands and he got them in front of the manager and the manager managed to get them in front of Sumerian records and they liked it. They, it spoke to them for whatever reason. I, I think looking back they were awful. 8 (23m 41s): But so 6 (23m 42s): This is before you even had the band really formed it. Yeah. Oh my gosh. 8 (23m 47s): Show or practiced or anything. I, I have a best friend named Nick who now plays bass in bad Oman's but it was kind of always understood cuz he, he played guitar at the time. Like he would just be in the band because we're we're 6 (23m 59s): Best friends. He's your friends. He 8 (24m 0s): Play guitar. Like why wouldn't he, you know? Right. So yeah, around that time that things got more serious with like the manager and the record label. I started trying to put together more of like an actual band and that's where we got Vincent and then Vincent reached out to his friend jolly from Sweden who was in a band that was about to break up and, and then last week got our drummer Nick from like a online submission thing. 6 (24m 22s): Oh yeah. Yeah. I did read that. He, he submitted like a video of himself, like playing to one of the demos or something. 8 (24m 27s): We were trying to find a drummer and our manager was asking around and he reached out to our manager and he didn't reply. So he just messaged me on Facebook, directly with a video. 6 (24m 38s): Oh brilliant. Yeah. 8 (24m 40s): So I don't know, like maybe our, our manager at the time was like trying to speak for us or just decided it wasn't for us. I don't know, but why he didn't reply, but he just instead FOIA reached out to me directly and I, I loved it and I was like, let's go like come to practice, you know? 6 (24m 55s): That's cool. So you already had the deal and everything and then as you're now you're putting your band together. 8 (24m 60s): Yeah. Yeah. We, we didn't even rehearse until after we signed the record deal 6 (25m 4s): For the first. Wow. That's crazy. Yeah. It's it's were you nervous signing the deal just in the sense that you had already kind of seen the thing fall before? 8 (25m 13s): Yeah, I mean, of course I was, I was super nervous, but I, I mean for where we were and where I was at at the time, it felt like the only possible way to like get my foot into the door of the music industry, I guess, because Samari, you know, there's, there's weight to that name in the alternative and rock and metal world. So yeah, we signed the deal and we went and did our first rehearsal ever in Virginia and started practicing the songs and you know, we, then we started working on our first record. 6 (25m 45s): And then you did that first record with will Putney. Is that what I read? Yeah. He's a great dude. I've interviewed him for this podcast before. 8 (25m 52s): Love will. I haven't actually, haven't talked to him in a long time, but I, he, we had a great experience there and we, we pretty much, pre-pro the record in Folio's basement in Maryland, cuz it's super close to Jersey or at least closer than any of us were, 6 (26m 4s): Were these, the songs that were on the demo or some of those songs, 8 (26m 7s): Some of them were, and we, we changed them a lot from what they were on the, on the demo, on the, on the EP, so to speak. 6 (26m 13s): Okay. So did you ever put that out? Did you put the EP out or no, 8 (26m 18s): We put one song on the internet. I might still be on there on like band camp or something. We went under the name man versus self. 6 (26m 26s): Okay. 8 (26m 26s): For song that I put out was exit wounds. They, that was before we were even a band like that was Zach's mix and master where it was pretty much just me and Zach recording the songs and him mixing them. And now Zach Jones actually, he he's out in LA and he does huge productions. Like he's worked with crazy cool bands and stuff and he's producing full time now out here. So it's cool. That's cool. Career also like took off and did really well. 6 (26m 53s): Yeah. Wow. So once you, so you signed the deal and then you you're, you're doing the pre-production and everything in, in FO's basement and then that takes you to, to will, and then you put out your first record that way. 8 (27m 5s): Yeah, we, we had already been scheduled for will, but we wanted to just show up prepared as possible and jolly and I both, you know, recorded or had enough recording knowledge at the time. So we all like went to Folio's house for a month and hashed out the demos and like tried to revise them and fine tune them and get them as ready as possible for wills. That way we didn't show up with nothing. 6 (27m 25s): Okay. 8 (27m 26s): And from there, yeah, we just engineer and record everything and will produced it and came out, came out good for its time. 6 (27m 33s): No, for sure. For sure. And like what, what would you like after writing that record or releasing that record and you know, having now a record label and what, like, what do you do from there? Like what's kind of like the next milestone for the band. 8 (27m 46s): We were touring a lot. Like we, we started touring really, really fast right off the bat when that record or first single even dropped. We were touring before the record dropped and we did some really big tours like in our early in our career that probably shouldn't have been on in retrospect. Like, like we just weren't at least in my opinion, maybe, maybe I shouldn't say we, I wasn't good. I was not satisfied or happy with my ability live the first year or two re touring. Our drummer was great. Everyone else was great. I just I'm sure everyone has their own critiques for themselves, obviously. Leah. Yeah. Cause 6 (28m 22s): We all your own worst critic type. 8 (28m 24s): Yeah. But I just, I don't think I was prepared as a singer to be on the caliber of tours we were doing. Like our first tour ever was the Sumerian 10 year anniversary tour. And we were playing, we were playing like 1500 people at night. Sometimes it was crazy. So, which 6 (28m 39s): Is awesome. And what great exposure for the band obviously. 8 (28m 41s): Yeah. I mean, everything obviously worked out so far, like for the best, it was just, you know, looking back if I was whoever would've made the decision to like put this van on this tour, I would've been like, no way they're not ready, but they did. And that's, I'm grateful for that. It worked out, we got, we still got fans on it. People still liked us, even though I think we were ass. 6 (29m 2s): I'm sure you aren't bad. Well then talk to me about putting out the next record. It took, it was a few years later then and, but it also does really well. 8 (29m 13s): Yeah. Finding God before God finds me. That was a fun one. That was also like the most difficult one to make because you know, the, the pressure was there of having a semi successful first record. And now like people are, 6 (29m 23s): Had a followed up 8 (29m 25s): Who we are and yeah. So at the time me and Jo were living in Santa Clarita and we had set up a studio in our garage and we pretty much just worked on that record whenever we were off tour and at home and engineered that one ourselves and produced that on ourselves, except for drums. We did go to our buddy Alex Frito for drum engineering. Cause he has a really cool drum room in north Hollywood. And yeah, that one, that one was cool. It was, it felt like an appropriate second record without deviating too far from our sound in our roots to like get people a little more warmed up to the idea of us being a more experimental band, I guess, and not just restricting ourselves to like the metal core genre 6 (30m 9s): And with, with like, I mean finishing up that record and you put it out towards the middle to end of 2019. Were you able to do like, like support it enough to where when the pandemic hit you? Like where were you guys at when that all kind of 8 (30m 25s): Happened? I can't can't remember like the exact timeline, but I think we, around the time that record came out, we did a tour with bullet from I Valentine and we came as Romans. Wow. And then we did one with all the remains and then we went to with Caliban and Lionheart and then 2020 rolls around, we put out the deluxe issue of the record to promote our first headliner. And that went great, honestly, in my opinion, for, for where we were at the time, it, it was a really, really good tour that, that got cut in half because of the pandemic. So we only got halfway through, but 6 (31m 4s): Okay. So where were you guys when it, where, when it hit, were you on the road? 8 (31m 9s): We were in Cleveland, Ohio and we honestly had no like Le like warning leading up to it. Like no one was saying, Hey, this tour might get canceled soon cuz of this pandemic, like no one was talking or hearing about it. Huh. And I just get a call from our manager in Cleveland while we're like sound checking. And he's like, Hey, you guys might have to come home today. And I was like, what are you talking about? And he's like, there's this pandemic. Right. And we're just 6 (31m 34s): Like, there's this beer it's called Corona. And it's causing all these people to get sick. It's 8 (31m 39s): All just so out the loop, cuz it's not like this huge sensation yet. 6 (31m 43s): Right. Right. 8 (31m 44s): And yeah, we, man, we were allowed to play that last show cause they thought about just cutting that show even. So we played the last one in Cleveland and we all just got hammered and had fun and like jumped on the stage for each other's sets. Cuz that was like a really fun like homey tour. Like we all became really good friends, all the things and yeah, it was, it was a bummer cuz there was like shows on the back end of that tour that were sold out in advance, like chain reaction was sold out in advance. Oh wow. Cisco and stuff. So it's kind of a bummer. We didn't get to like hit those, but we're definitely in the process of making up for it. 6 (32m 19s): Yeah, definitely. Wow. I mean to that was cuz I was gonna ask if you saw any like, like, like people like ticket sales say you sold 500 tickets at a venue and two 50 showed up, like I've talked to artists where they were kind of seeing some little bit of that backlash doesn't sound like you guys had any like wasn't obviously affecting you enough to where, when you get a phone call and you're like, oh Hey, what? That you're like what? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like maybe like March, you know, 11th that you played somewhere and like there it's kind of getting weird, but it doesn't sound like you guys had that experience. 8 (32m 53s): No, it was, it was so strange how it really, I think I had heard about it in like November, like several months before the pandemic started, then that was it. And like, it was kind of just off my radar, maybe it's cuz we were all just having so much fun on that tour and we were just not thinking about it or right. Not like constantly checking Twitter or something, but I don't know. It was weird. It felt like it was outta nowhere. And then we played Cleveland and then we drove home. 6 (33m 16s): Wow. I mean, it's it living in America? You know? It's we're I feel like we're pretty ignorant to stuff like that. It's like, oh will ever happen here. Right? It's like, that's just somebody else. You know? It 8 (33m 26s): Also sounds like just like a media scare. Like there's like, like saying and like the bird flu where you think it's gonna be a big thing and it's really not like the whole world doesn't shut down. 6 (33m 36s): Yeah. It's like these little scares like, oh yeah, this is just another thing 8 (33m 40s): We were frustrated. Cause we're like, we're gonna drive home and this is gonna be over in like a week and then we could have just been on the tour and then we were wrong about that. 6 (33m 48s): Yeah. Two years later. Yeah. That curve still ain't flat. Nope. Well, okay. So you guys get home obviously. And then it's waiting around. When you start working on the death of peace of mind, 10 (34m 5s): Mary redeemed, a $50,000 cash prize playing CHBA casino online. 11 (34m 10s): I was only playing for fun. So winning was a dream come true. 10 (34m 14s): Chubba casino was America's favorite free online social casino. You too could have the chance to win life-changing cash prizes. Absolutely. Anybody could be like Mary, be like Mary log on to Chumba casino.com and play for free. Now no purchase necessary. Void prohibited by lock 18 plus terms and conditions applies. See website for details. The voice of the preceding commercial was not the actual voice of a winner 5 (34m 36s): We could, we could 12 (34m 37s): Fly. This is your summer. That means six flags in the taste of an ice cold Coca-Cola we're talking thrilling coasters, delicious burgers. Yes. Real moments together. And this Coke is summer refreshment when you need it most. So you can hop on another ride or race down a slide at the water park, six flags and Coca-Cola come make it yours. Visit six flags.com/coke to save up to $20 on passes. Plus daily tickets starting at 34 99. 14 (35m 9s): Change your vehicle's oil before your summer road trip and save money now with Penn's oil and O'Reilly auto parts. Right now get five quarts of Penn's oil platinum full synthetic for just 2295 after mail-in rebate, save money and protect your engine against sludge and wear with a synthetic oil chain. Stop by your local O'Reilly auto parts today or O'Reilly auto.com. 5 (35m 29s): Oh, oh O'Reilly parts 8 (35m 36s): Pretty much immediately. Honestly. 6 (35m 38s): Really? 8 (35m 39s): Yeah. We, I got home and I was, you know, bored and still trying to like stay connected with my friends and everything. So I decided to do this like challenge, you know, when people were doing challenges all the time that no one participated in by the way. And I was basically wanted to like produce a song without using any instruments. Huh. So I have this like zoom field recorder that I like to use to like capture samples and stuff and oh 6 (36m 9s): Yeah. Yeah. I have one of those, the little, the mics like split like this. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cross. Yeah. 8 (36m 14s): So yeah, I just started recording stuff around my house, like making percussive sounds. And then I was like trying to figure out how to make like melodic sounds. So I recorded the vacuum cleaner and managed to turn that into a base. Oh wow. There's like this weird decoration in my house at the time that you could like pluck and it would make like a bell sound. So I would like recorded that and tune that to a C and made like a keyboard out of it. And instead of a bunch of shit like that, and I made what pretty much became the death of peace of mind, the first single in the title track, I made like an instrumental with all these sounds and I started singing. 6 (36m 49s): Wow. 8 (36m 50s): Yeah. So I wrote all the hooks over that instrumental and you know, obviously then we refined it and made it like a really, you know, a real song, but it was just cool. Like that to me is kind of what flipped the switch in my brain about like the creative process and how like, you should really just like go with the flow with those types of things because they manifest in like evolve in really interesting ways. And that became what I think is like one of the coolest songs on the record and yeah, no one else, no one else did the, the, no the no instrument song challenge, cuz I have a bunch of like producer friends and I was like, we should do this thing and no one did it, 6 (37m 29s): But then you got like a great song out of it. And obviously yeah. 8 (37m 32s): I'm like now they're like, damn he's, he's kind of crazy, but he's on something. 6 (37m 36s): Sure. 8 (37m 36s): Made a pretty cool song out of this idea, but no, it's just, I think your like creative process kind of, it, it opens like new windows and like new points of view when you approach things. Not as traditionally, as you're used to, which is like most, for most people that's opening your do and like plugging in your guitar and writing a riff or writing a drum part to the riff and going from there. Whereas now I like to make the weirdest sound possible or like the weirdest loop and then write like a vocal hook and then just kind of work around that like vibe that I, that I have captured with that loop. 6 (38m 12s): Is that something that continued with the course of that record where like once you got that song where you're like, oh this is cool. Like I'm gonna continue doing this. Yeah. Throughout the pandemic. 8 (38m 22s): Yeah. Pretty much. I just started approaching things a way different way. And this record is very like for me, I wanted to make it revolve around the vocals in the production, cuz this was around the time we had just done the two like songs on the luxury issue for finding God never knows. And when we did those songs with Eric, Ron, that was when I like discovered my voice in a sense, like Eric really helped push me to stop doing some of the bad habits I was doing in the studio and just sing a little more naturally in like, like myself. And after that it felt like I just like unlocked a new power or something. Yeah. Yeah. And so I started experimenting a lot of my voice and we did the unplugged DP and that's where I was like, oh I think I actually do have a nice voice. 8 (39m 9s): So 6 (39m 9s): Yeah, that's a great record. And I love when heavier bands do that when it's like, not only could we be super heavy and, but we can just make this amazingly awesome, you know, acoustic version of a song or 8 (39m 22s): Yeah. So from there I just, I, I really enjoyed starting songs with more like production base, like foundations and samples and stuff and just trying to make stuff as weird as possible. And that's why so many of the songs kind of feel like they revolve around the hook or the production or there's a hook in the production because some of the songs on the record started as just beats like me and my roommate made a beat for one song and I sang a bunch of cool hooks on it. And at the time it sounded like a, a bad post Malone song. And then, you know, we took the vocals and refined the melodies a little bit and then jolly started messing with the production with like just the vocal tracks, almost like a remix, you know, and made it more like us. 8 (40m 7s): And it was writing songs that way, because I feel like you can capture a different vibe and then just like replace the instruments. You know what I mean? Like I, I feel like that way about country music a lot, like a lot of people that like metal music hate country music. And I'm like, you guys don't realize that these are great songs and hooks and it's just, the lyrics are like the accent that's throwing you off. You know what I mean? Right. 6 (40m 27s): Or, I mean, and there are, I'm recently moved to Nashville and I never thought I would ever live here nor would I like country music, but there's two different life, man. There's the, the really bad, you know, just generic, you know, trucks and this and that. And the other thing just like quirky, like really elementary lyrics. And then like there's song writers that are writing like these deep songs. And like you said, it might be a twang or what, but like if you broke it down yeah. The country music has some really great songwriters. 8 (41m 0s): Yeah. There, there are for sure. I, I love country too. I love all genres and that's kind of like how I try to look at things. It's like, okay, how would the sound, if the vocal melody and chords were just on a piano and it's like pretty good, pretty sick. Like this is a good song. That's all a song is it's just like notes, you know, it's just like melodies and chords and stuff. So I try to focus on my first and most like visceral reaction to a melody or to a, to a beat or anything like that versus a genre or like, does this sound like us? Cause that's that's shit. You can figure out later, you know, like you can add real drums later or like distorted guitars and all that later. 6 (41m 40s): Right? It's like when people say, you know, you have a good song. If you can play it on a acoustic guitar, play it on a piano. There you go. And that's, and that's what I think is so cool about your, your songs and the way you guys write songs is that you can obviously, if you can strip it back into an unplugged version of it and it still sounds awesome and makes total sense, then it's obviously a great song. 8 (42m 3s): I'm very excited to get into that type of stuff with this record. Once we have more time, like we're touring a lot right now, but once one time I really wanna get into, you know, reimagined, unplugged, whatever you wanna call it, versions of some of these songs and experiment with them in more ways. Cause I think there's all kinds of different avenues we could take with them. 6 (42m 24s): Yeah, no for sure. For sure. And so was this record done, like via, you know, emailing these back and forth through each other? Or were you able to kind of get into a room once you had the stems of how the songs were gonna go? 8 (42m 37s): No, cuz me, me and jolly lived together. 6 (42m 39s): Oh, that works. 8 (42m 40s): We produced our records. So it was really just a matter of me like exporting the vocal stems, wanna do a flash drive and just going upstairs to his room. 6 (42m 50s): I mean like here you go. 8 (42m 51s): It's like here, make something under this. I'm tired of working. Like, cause I, I like to work with like vocal production and like the post production, like the electronics, like the, and like guitar stuff kind of just like bores me now. Like I there's, there's like I'm into it still like sometimes like, like Peria, I think is sick. Like they excite me, but for the most part, when it comes to at least bad omens, at least with this record, the death of peace of mind, the guitar and the bass and the drum are kind of there to like reinforce like the energy and the power and the chords and like the rhythm section of the songs. And I think that contrast honestly even makes it heavier because they're so absent in certain areas. 8 (43m 31s): And then when they all kick in it like really smacks you in the face, even in songs that aren't so heavy. So I think like, you know, that contrast between having a verse, it's just like eight oh eights and vocals and then like crash symbol and rhythm guitar comes in really helps. Like, you know, give the song interesting dynamics and push it. 6 (43m 54s): Yeah, I, yeah, I completely agree. And I think the record is, is really cool and it's definitely like, it's evolved. Like I feel like the sounds evolved a bit, but it sounds like a, like a, you know, like your guys' record, like it doesn't sound different, but it does, if that makes sense. Right? Yeah. I don't know how to explain it other than sound of like an idiot when I'm trying to do, but no, dude, I think the record's awesome. And you guys are doing a, a big, you're doing a tour of Europe again coming up, right? 8 (44m 21s): Yeah. We just announced a headline tour, UK and Europe. 6 (44m 26s): That'll be exciting. 8 (44m 27s): Yeah. I'm excited. London actually like sold out already and we're doing two nights now in London and wow. 6 (44m 34s): And you just did a us tour too, right? 8 (44m 36s): Yeah. We did a tour. We did a tour at the start of the year with under oath and then we did a tour with this band in this moment last month. And now next month we're starting a tour with the day to remember. 6 (44m 47s): Oh wow. That's huge. 8 (44m 49s): Super busy. 6 (44m 50s): Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's really cool, man. Well, I appreciate you taking time to, to hang out with me today. No, I appreciate it. 8 (44m 56s): Of course. Thanks for having me. It was 6 (44m 58s): Fun. Yeah. And my son's name is Sebastian. So when I saw that was your last name, I was like, that's awesome. 8 (45m 2s): Oh, perfect. 6 (45m 4s): Spelled the same way. No, dude. I have one more quick question before I let you go. I wanted to know if you have any advice for aspiring artists. 8 (45m 15s): Yeah. I would say like as hard as it is to compare yourself to other people, I would try your like your best to deviate that once deviate from that, once you feel like you have, you know, a general knowledge and experience of music, cause obviously like that's how you start, right? Like you start with a vacuum and like emulating other artists or learning their riffs and learning song structure. And just having a general understanding of like how most music works. But once you're past that, like try to like, just be yourself as much as you can. I would say. And just like find your own voice or find your own style of riff or your own style of drumming because that's like what's gonna lead the next wave of music evolution. 8 (45m 58s): You know, not sounding like this band or that band, but sounding like you.

Noah Sebastian Profile Photo

Noah Sebastian

Bad Omens slither through boundaries, only to ultimately choke convention in the process. The quartet—Noah Sebastian (vocals), Joakim “Jolly” Karlsson (guitar), Nick Ruffilo (bass), and Nick Folio (drums)—materialize with ghostly atmospherics, striking hooks, and the tingles of sensual high-register harmonies uplifted by cinematic production. Racking up over 250M worldwide streams to date and earning acclaim, the band presents an uncompromising and undeniable vision on their third full-length album, 'THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND' (Sumerian Records).

“Making the record changed us as songwriters and musicians. In many ways, I feel like it set me free as an artist because every decision made in the writing process was for myself, with no fear for anyone else’s expectations of what our third album should sound like. Be it our fans or our record label.”

They’ve always wielded this level of magic though…

The group’s 2016 self-titled debut, 'Bad Omens', yielded fan favorites such as “Glass Houses” and “The Worst In Me” which eclipsed nearly 25 million Spotify streams. On its heels, 2019’s 'Finding God Before God Finds Me' spawned “Dethrone” (13 million Spotify streams) and “Careful What You Wish For” (10 million Spotify streams). Along the way, they toured with numerous marquee acts and received tastemaker praise.

After their first headline tour was canceled mid-way at the top of the global pandemic, the band found themselves at home in Los Angeles with plenty of time. Where they absorbed and imparted a different palette of unexpected inspirations. Channeling what the frontman describes at times as a “cursive sound” they embraced newfound confidence and boundlessly loose creativity. Anything went in the studio, and all “rules” were broken. Noah and Jolly wrote, produced, and engineered the music themselves while GRAMMY® Award-nominated producer and songwriter Zakk Cervini (Halsey, Grimes, Poppy, blink-182) lent his talents with the mix and master. Challenging himself, Noah decided to “make a track sampling items around the house, none of which were musical instruments”.

This ultimately became the framework for the first single “THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND”. Claps puncture the icy soundscape as his voice stretches from a breathy moan into an evocative and entrancing hook, breaking from a whisper into the seductive chant, “It wasn’t hard to realize. Love’s the death of peace of mind.” It culminates on a climactic scream uplifted by a distorted crunch.

“The whole record really details the loss of peace of mind,” he explains. “The lyrics in the title track are a little more specific in terms of the conflict at the heart of something more intimate and personal.”

By speaking it aloud, Bad Omens offer a level of comfort and empathy, with a sinister shroud. At the same time, they also give rock music a sexy new shape on 'THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND'.

“Sonically, we want to do something you can’t arrive late or early too,” he leaves off. “You can’t cheat your way to the final act. You have to get on the ride and process it until the end. The songs are meant to be heard from start to finish. We want you to take the whole trip with us.”