This Melodic Death Metal act from the USA – from Death Metal Mekka Florida, Ft. Lauderdale – simply blew me away with their debut record „Earning Damnation“ (read the STALKER review). Therefore I was very surprised to learn that the band doesn´t have a record deal… Frontwoman & growler-from-hell Nina explains why and tells a bit more about AT ODDS WITH GOD:
First, please introduce all band members with all their characteristics, spleens etc.
First of all, all of us live for the band, all of our time goes into the band… the band and our music means everything to us. Besides that we are good friends with each other.
Diego (Montoya): Guitar. “The spine” in the band. He is the founding member of At Odds With God and is coming up with the catchy riff´s and solos. Technically (playing) the most advanced of us. His guitar playing is his life. Very stable/calm within himself and projects that stability to the others. Visionary, intelligent, and always keeping the peaceful positive atmosphere in the band. Also he is a great communicator and diplomat.
Alejandro (Maya): Guitar. The “philosopher” in the band. He joined Diego first of us. These two are close friends and are a perfect match for the compositions, since they actually compose together. He is incredibly creative … whatever melody he comes up with, touches you deeply. He is playing piano as well and all sorts of other instruments. .. he is into metaphysics and always on the search. More introvert than extrovert, but full of humor and a really hard worker.
Rob (Stokes): Bass. The “good spirit” in the band. Always positive and motivating and full of energy. An awesome and very tight bass player. Rob also came up with the Band name. He listens to all kinds of different music genres and is definitely the opposite of being narrow minded. He integrates even sometimes a funky bass slapping in our music. Always up for hanging out together. Always with the attitude “we are one big family”.
Moises (Lujan): Drums. The “music expert” in the band when it comes to Death and Black Metal. He has a pretty complex and deep character, full of emotions and creativity, which is expressed in his compositions of our drum patterns. He takes the band very serious with a positive attitude and does a lot for the bands communication + PR to gain new fans.
Nina (Saile); Vocals. I wished someone else answered that one… I guess I am the only female in the band and I got too much testosterone in my blood .. haha ..no just kidding. Maybe I am “the organizer” of the band. My motto is always: Have an idea – make a plan – get it done today. And then I guess I´m the “visual creative” in the band. What you see is build upon my weird ideas. Since I am running a recording studio specialized in extreme music such as Metal, the album was recorded and mixed by me…so maybe I might have added to our musical character a bit? And last, but not least I implement my philosophy in the lyrics I am writing for each song by questioning everything “untouchable” in society, religion a.o personal matters….too long to get into here, I guess. What else… I got too much energy and too many ideas… I wished the days were longer than they are…
How did it all begin?
Quote from band history: During the first period of the band in 2002, it was Diego Montoya (guitar) and Dario Camacho (drums) writing the original tracks to four of the total seven songs on “Earning Damnation”. Due to lack of time of some band members, Diego started looking for other musicians to pursue his vision and finally found Alejandro, Moises and Rob by the end of 2003. They started rewriting the existing songs by composing faster drum beats, adding odd time parts, speeding up the guitar riffs and composing haunting guitar solos. At Odds With God went trough a few vocalists until they found Nina in 2004, who had just moved from Sweden to South Florida. She adjusted some of the lyrics in the existing songs so they would resemble her and the bands philosophy, but only evolved completely by writing the words from scratch to the bands new songs “Thunder Of Wrath” and “Prey On the Weak”.
Who are your musical idols, what are your most important musical influences?
Each one of us has different bands that we listen to and probably influence us in one way or the other. Definitely the Swedish / Scandinavian Death Metal sound runs through our veines for some reason.
I know that Diego loves Dissection, Megadeth, Death, Amon Amarth, In Flames a.o.
Alejandro is into technical Death Metal such as Necrophagist and also likes Dimmu Borgir, Death a.o.; Rob´s bass influence comes from Iron Maiden a.o.; Moises is a big Dissection and Dream Theatre fan, Watain, Arch Enemy, Decapitated. And me… I wake up listening to Nile every morning. Vader, Suffocation, Rotting Christ, Bloodbath…. too many to list.
What kind of music do you play?
At Odds With God is playing Melodic Death Metal mixed with thrashy and Black Metal parts.
Who do you want to reach, or what do you want to achieve with your music? What is your dream?
When someone comes up to us on a live show or a fan writes to us on myspace or website saying they love our music – that it made their day listening to the CD – that´s what it´s all about for us: Sharing our music with people that love it. We don´t want too force our own attitude and philosophy upon anybodies throat, but if we can reach someone that might start “to be at odds” with something that our society and culture stamps to be untouchable-undoubtable and therefore find his/her own truth… well that´s a plus.
Also we would love to reach people that might have not been into Death Metal before and discover this music genre with all the great bands that it has to offer…crossing the boundaries. Our dream ? Already stated above, but it would be awesome to play in front of a thousand or go on tour with one of our favourite bands. And most important really, to keep on being creative and coming up with new songs for a long long time.
Who writes the music /lyrics, or are all in the band responsible?
Each one of us writes the music concerning their instrument. Usually a song is created in the following order: Diego and Alejandro come up with the melodic compositions. Rob creates the bass lines. Moises composes the drum patterns and I write the lyrics.
Where does the inspiration for lyrics come from?
When I hear a new song that the guys came up with…I just listen and listen and suddenly I get a very clear visual picture (almost like a movie) to the music and then I start translating this image into words. I was grown up in a atheist household, so definitely Christian institutionalized religion, I have a critical point of view on….
Why haven´t you found a label yet?
Since we recorded “in House”, at my recording Studio Gorgol Productions… it wasn´t really important to find a label that would help us cover production costs at the time. Now since we got it published via our own Record Label At Odds With God, we started communicating with various Labels/Distributors, but nothing is decided yet.
What is it like to be a Death Metal band in Florida/in the USA now?
The Death Metal Scene in Florida is on the rise again…there is a pretty strong Death Metal Community down here in South Florida and Florida overall – awesome new bands…you can find them all on myspace. The great thing is that most of us bands are networking with each other and a lot are friends, that help each other. Thrash/Death Metal and technical Death Metal is getting big here again…Melodic Death Metal like us are a bit less around for some reason, but the fans are there for that kind of Metal…and its growing
How do US audiences react to a female growler? Are there male groupies?
Hehe… actually yes. Male “groupies” / fans exist… they might be not showing their worship that much in public like girls… you can imagine…., but at gigs there are lots of screams and compliments and photos taken… The US audience is awesome…I think it´s the whole band music / image and not just me as female Death Metal growler that has created such positive reactions from audiences. I would say that as many girls as guys are liking it…especially cool to see that at our gigs there are a lot of head banging girls too…which usually is not the case when there is a Death Metal Band playing….also cool that the male metal fans are 100% accepting and respecting a female Death Metal growler…
What do you do if you are not in the band (studying, working)?
I am a sound engineer and run my own Recording Studio for Extreme Music such as metal…also I do graphics, web design and artwork for bands and others. Diego is doing Marketing/Management for a Holistic Health Company. Alejandro is a certified Electrician. Rob studied Music at the Conservatory and still studies (I don´t know which subject though) and works as a cook temporarily. Moises is doing renovations and door installations.
What will you do if you don´t get to have a career in music business?
We will all still make music – always. I stay in the recording business running Gorgol Productions, recording/mixing/mastering other Metal Bands.
What do you think about those reality TV shows – finding a new idol, creating a new band? Would you ever participate?
I don´t really watch TV…so I don´t know what´s happening out there with Reality TV shows.
For my part, I wouldn´t join….still for other music genres it might be good for some artists´ exposure…
What was the most exciting/the most disappointing moment in your band history?
So far there has not been any disappointing moment in our bands history.
The most exciting for me personally was when thousands of CDs arrived from the Duplication Service… and I had the finished product in my hands with the Booklet, I mean the whole package…that was exciting….another exciting thing was our very first At Odds With God´s gig beginning of 2006 with Transmetal (a long known Death Metal Band from Mexico) invited us to play with them.
What was the most absurd thing that happened to you?
Well… that I ended up in South Florida. I was born in the New York/US, but grew up and lived most of my life in Europe such as Germany, Sweden, England, Portugal, Switzerland… I was living/working in Sweden (Vittsjoe) and decided to finish mixing a Swedish Band in Miami… A friend who owns a studio in Florida offered me to take over for some weeks, and after finishing this project I had met so many people here from the South Florida Metal Community and was offered so many new projects, so it was like „Ok I stay for those projects“, and I stayed, and I stayed, and I am still staying…
What happened during your best/your worst live show?
The best: Every single show we play is just such am awesome experience.
Worst, when in the middle of the set one of the guitars pick-ups somehow broke and there was no replacement. So we had to cut it short. People were pretty mad about it…they wanted to hear more apparently… but we had another show a few weeks later and made up for it.
If your song is to be used as soundtrack for a cornflakes commercial, would you agree?
Why not…maybe the Corn Flake eaters are turning into Metal fans…hehe
Which song are you most proud of, and why?
Every single one… since they all sound different. Today I like Thunders of Wrath best…tomorrow it might be Earning Damnation…it varies on my mood. I know Moises favors Black Omen. Alejandro Earning Damnation. Diego Thunders Of Wrath. Rob Prey On The Weak….I will have to ask them to make sure.
What do you think is cool/totally sucks about being a musician?
Cool is being creative collectively. Can´t find anything that sucks really….
Which band would you enjoy touring with?
For my part… Rotting Christ.
What do you plan in the near future?
We are going on a 2 week East Coast tour most probably with with Aghora (some Ex-Cynic members) end of this year. Trying to get a national/international distributor deal for the album. Writing more songs for the next album, which we plan to record middle of ´08. Playing more shows.