Singled Out: Nowhere Nation's Omicron
Nowhere Nation just released the song "Omicron", the title track from the special concept album and comic book project (with illustrations by Aidan Hughes of KMFDM fame). We asked mastermind Arthur Blume to tell us about the song. Here is the story:
I've wanted to make albums since high school. I held onto that dream through college and into the beginning of my other career. When I was about 26, I realized that if I didn't go to Berklee College of Music by age 30 -- this being an idea I'd had and put off multiple times -- I would never do it. I got a diploma in Songwriting, started working at a music software company, and spent several years filling up a hard drive with song demos. But my goal was to still create complete albums, that stand as cohesive works and are meant to reward listening through from start to finish, and I couldn't really find a way to tie any subset of the songs together.
After several years I noticed from the pile of songs, which tended to be about love and relationships or about politics, I saw emerging a couple of "desert adventures" songs -- characters doing political things in romantic settings. I had also discovered GarageBand loops for the first time by then, and just a few key loops sent me off in a new sonic direction, with minor keys and atmospheres unlike anything I'd created before. Then one day it hit me that though I'd never particularly been a "concept album" person, if I came up with a story, that would be the way to coalesce one group of songs into a coherent album.
One of those songs ended up being about a US government operative in North Africa who comes to realize he's done something terrible in the name of the global war on terror. I gave his employer a name -- Omicron -- and when I put this song together with a couple of other new tunes and characters, I ended up with enough arc to hang an album on. I intended Omicron as sort of a "light concept" album, like American Idiot: not a musical (at least, not yet), but with characters and a plot you could sense if not exactly read. Later we went to record the vocals at Resonate in Burbank and I was stunned to learn that American Idiot had been mixed in the control room we were using.
Omicron was produced by the amazing Doug Rockwell. Here's what working with Doug is like: You send him your song demo, and without asking for a chord chart or really any other input, he sends you back something fresh, intricate, and overall insanely better than you could have ever imagined or made for yourself. All I had to do was lay down the vocals. The album also has incredible art from Aidan Hughes of BRUTE! Propaganda, perhaps best known for his work with KMFDM. You'll see Aidan's art in the videos and Web site accompanying this album, where you'll also find a good deal of subtext that draws you deeper into the world of Omicron.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more right here!
Singled Out: Nowhere Nation's Rubaiyat (Sky on Fire)