If you like your music heavy and drenched in riffs, then you’ve come to the right place. Leeds-based trio Nomasta – made up of two thirds of the equally as heavy but now defunct Canaya – claim to mix “doom-laden thrash with bursts of elephantine riffs and dancing time signatures”, create “sonic brutality for the discerning metal fan” and cite the likes of Meshuggah, Gojira and Sepultura among their influences. In short, shit’s about to get loud around here.
We have a chat with drummer Andy Richards to find out more.
Can you introduce yourselves – where are you from, who does what and what are your roles in the band?
“We are Nomasta, hailing from Leeds, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom. The line-up is Owen Wilson – vocals/guitar, Kris Allen – bass/vocals and Andy Richards – drums.”
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
“Owen, Kris and myself (Andy) have been best friends and colleagues for many years. We’ve been playing together in various bands and creating music in different projects, but never all three of us in the same band at the same time. When myself and Owen’s previous band split up, we decided that we wanted to continue working together, we had developed such a cohesive writing relationship that it was a shame for it not to continue. So we wasted no time, locked ourselves in the rehearsal studio and setup camp. We wanted to write an album’s worth of material, it all came together quite quickly and was brilliant experience to create. Kris joined shortly after and he fit right in immediately, the line-up was complete and Nomasta was born.”
What were your key influences/inspirations in getting the band together?
“We are huge music fans – all genres. All three of us grew up listening to metal and all the sub-genres, from thrash to doom to stoner, etc. We are big fans of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera, Sepultura and Meshuggah – all the big players, I think you can hear how some of the influences have seeped into our music. The current crop of metal bands that we are all really into and respect include Gojira, Mastodon, High On Fire and Baroness. The mission statement with Nomasta was to write metal music that we as fans, would want to listen to - that’s how we’ve approached it since day one.”
How would you describe your sound in three words for people who’ve never heard you?
“Heavy, dynamic and melodic.”
What makes you special/different to other bands out there?
“We concentrate on carving out our own little niche,we’re not reinventing the wheel but we’d like to think we have something original and different to offer. We want it to be fast, slow, aggressive, heavy, challenging and have odd time signatures – but more importantly we focus on song writing and arranging.”
What’s the story behind new album House Of TheTiger King, and how did it come together?
“There is a recurring theme throughout the album; epic tales of atrocity that have befallen mother earth and mankind. It really came together in an organic fashion. We would jam and build the best arrangements out of ideas that everyone had brought to the plate. With a heavy feel throughout, the emphasis was on tracks flowing smoothly and showcasing interesting dynamics; if we were the listener, what would we want to hear?!
It was so much fun to write considering just how dark the subject matter is; Stories of Spanish conquistadors invading Peru in search of lost gold, the burning of books during World War II that didn’t agree with National Socialism. All these crazy events impacting on the world, affecting us all as time goes on.
Lyrically a lot of imagery was used in the hope of allowing people to adapt their own meanings and conclusions regardless of the fact each of those songs has an origin story. If an individual can feel a personal connection with our music then our work here is done.”
You guys have been playing in various bands for years – how does it feel to be releasing your debut as Nomasta?
“Fantastic, it’s the culmination of years of writing, rehearsing, playing and jumping in the back of a van and touring together. This time everything feels right, we get on like a house on fire, lots and laughs and a shared love and enthusiasm for what we’re doing. We are all on the same page with Nomasta and we are really proud with how it’s turned out.”
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How does the band differ to projects you’ve been involved with in the past?
“I think age and experience goes along way, we’re all at a point where we know the pitfalls of the music business and how best to avoid them. Playing in a band has been a huge learning curve, it’s not just about playing the instrument. We’ve all made mistakes – now we know what to do and what not to do. We’ve learnt how to be a good colleague, musician and most importantly, a team player – otherwise in the long run, it just doesn’t work out.”
What’s your favourite story/anecdote from recording the album?
“I’m totally to blame for this and I admit it… I’m not very good at saying ‘Finished, it’s done!’ or ‘Yes, that’s a wrap!’. I constantly tweak parts, arrangements, mixes and masters. I’m never content and second guess everything, I always think that we could do it again, make it better or add more! It drives the other guys in the band to despair – so much so they nicknamed me ‘Lars’. But I’ve had my appraisal and I’m working on it, they have given me a personal development plan!”
What, in your opinion, is the stand-out track from HOTTK?
“For me it would have to be Dawnbreaker – It’s melodic, riff-heavy, some odd time signatures and a bit of dark and stormy storytelling mixed in for good measure. It’s 5 minutes and 17 seconds that shows what we are all about.”
What do you hope people will take away from the album, and your music in general?
“I hope that people give it time and give it a good listen or two, whether they like it or not – it would be nice to think that the listener can appreciate we are trying our own thing.”
What’s been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
“We’ve played some awesome shows and met some great people and bands along the way, and we are really only just getting going with this band. The highlight so far would be hearing people’s response to the album, we’ve had great reviews and feedback on it. When you get to a point where your product is finished, all done and dusted, it can be a daunting prospect putting it out there for the world to hear. However, it makes us feel like we are on the right track and the listener or critic gets what we are doing.”
If you could choose, who would you most like to tour with in future?
“Oh that’s great question! So many to choose from… I guess the dream bands for us to tour with would be either Gojira or Mastodon… or both! We are massive fans of those bands! They are the next generation of legendary metal bands – they’ve constantly evolved, developed and continued to release amazing music, plus they have incredible live shows.”
What are you most looking forward to about the future?
“Playing gigs, touring, working on new material and making new friends along the way. Excited to see what the future has in store.”
What do you have planned for next year?
“Next year we are planning some touring and festival appearances, so watch this space!”