***LOMA PRIETA EXCLUSIVE INTERIEW***
OPENmind/SATURATEDbrain was lucky enough to talk to Sean, one of the founding guitarists/vocalists of LOMA PRIETA. If you haven't heard of LOMA PRIETA...ah, you've heard of LOMA PRIETA. The band last released a split 7"EP with Italian screamo founders Raein and basically tour non-stop.
I'm Sean Leary. I play guitar and sing in Loma Prieta. Val (our drummer) and I started this band in early 2005.
Can you reveal anything interesting (and perhaps not well-known) about yourself or the other band members?
Val has a law degree from university of San Francisco. Brian and I have bfa's from San Francisco art institute, which is where we met. Aside from the band that's probably the most interesting thing about us.
When did Brian “officially” become a member of LOMA PRIETA?
In 2008, just before our first tour Of Europe.
Can you describe any of your personal (or band) conflicts?
We don't argue much, we're too busy talking shit about everyone that isn't in the band.
You guys travel together, from what I gather, all the fucking time. What tour specific jokes and stories do you recite on a regular basis?
You'd have to be there. Seriously, I don't think people can make sense of what we're talking about when they have to step inside our tour vortex and communicate with us.
Loma’s “I.V” and split with Reain are heavier than previously released music while staying true to the “Loma” we all know and love. Is this the band maturing or are their other influences driving your heavier sound?
It's been a natural progression. After Derrick left the band (post 'Dark Mountain') we went back to the heavier sound we'd started with in our infancy. We wanted to do something with more immediacy and that would be more physical when we play live. We write collaboratively and in that way we arrive at our end result pretty naturally.
Do you feel like your new/next material can be likened to something in regards to its significance – such as a thought, idea, feeling or specific purpose? Is this communicated lyrically, instrumentally or thematically?
We tour enough that we have a lot of time to talk out new ideas about where we want to go next. Also, we listen to music together all the time in the van so I think we tend to be in similar mindsets about music In general. That said, I have no idea how people will perceive our next outing, that's up to them. I don't want to paint anyone's experience. We will make something we are all happy with, we work well together song writing wise.
What can you tell us about the new bass player?
James is our good friend, he lives in Jacksonville FL and plays in other awesome bands Captive Bolt and Warm Hands among many others.
I personally felt that your band was pretty obscure for quite some time. From what I can gather, this is not the case anymore. If you have noticed a difference, when did you notice? What changed specifically?
That's all relative I guess. Our popularity has been slow and progressive. A lot of bands have really unnaturally fast ascents and get popular fast but burn out fast. We were completely DIY/independent with all booking, merch and releases until the last year or 2. We still book our own tours for the most part, and handle our own merchstore. Things tend to move more slowly this way, but I'd prefer that to hiring some promotions company or some bullshit. I guess any successes we have had are based on our own merit, which feels good.
Beau Navire is fucking awesome, and like LOMA PRIETA, seems to be talked about more these days. I’m also a fan of Punch. Is there any interference from those side-projects?
I play in Beau Navire, and we aren't doing a whole lot these days as we don't all live in the same place anymore. Val plays in Punch and they stay pretty active. For me Loma is the project that takes most of my time and energy. I have a new band that's a spin off from Beau Navire, and recently played on a record with a rad band from Oakland called Starskate. Val also plays in Living Eyes and sometimes tours with other bands. Brian runs a publishing company and is a designer.
May I inquire as to the conversation that followed your previous Toronto show in March, when your equipment kept fucking up and then you broke a string, screamed into the amp, ripped out all of the strings, threw the guitar down and stormed off stage? I think I actually saw your brain melt when you broke that string.
People oftentimes think I'm really pissed when we play. I guess I am, but not about anything that is happening onstage, I write songs that make me feel strongly. I'm an angry person, at least some part of me is. But yeah, I don't recall being especially mad about anything that night. I am always in a good mood when we play toronto. Sometimes it just feels right to break some shit. If I was a contained, contented person I wouldn't be making this kind of music.
Who were your primary influences when you started playing music and who are they now?
Born Against, Shotmaker, Philip Glass, Sonic Youth. The same then as now I'd say.
Discuss your thoughts and opinions regarding the ‘screamo’ genre. I really like a lot of bands people call 'screamo'.
I remember when I first heard people use the term in the mid 90's it was sort of a joke or diss on that kind of music. I never really aspired to be in a screamo band, if that what people want to call us that's fine with me. My old band Archeopteryx got lumped in with that too, which I never really understood. I guess maybe my voice is just really 'screamo' sounding ?
If you had to slap a genre label on LOMA PRIETA - so potential new listeners could get a good idea of your sound without hearing you, what would you label yourselves as?
Art rock/false grind.
What kind of emotions and thoughts occur when people define your band, on purpose or by accident?
People need ways to try and articulate what they are hearing. It's really hard to describe a band's sound, so I don't fault anyone for trying to classify bands by genre, but it's rarely accurate.
On your tumblr blog it was said that there would be no LP soon as it is hard to get everyone together outside of touring and practice. What are all of the band members up to? Side projects, hobbies…?
We are currently demoing songs for a new record. I think they are really great songs.
What things have happened in 2013 thus far, that you would like the readers to know about?
We are working on a new record an have plans to tour Europe and Russia and Mexico and Central America later this year. (which the band has just completed)
Why hasn’t Beau Navire or Punch been through Toronto with LOMA PRIETA in the last 2 years?
We try not to have tours where any member is doing double duty every night. Beau navire got up to Toronto about a year ago. It was great.
What are the band members’ favourite LOMA PRIETA songs to play and why?
That seems to change tour to tour and depending on what equipment we are using as well.
What song that you play do you like least, and why?
There are some songs that don't translate live, so we don't play them. I can't think of any songs I really don't like though.
Do you ever play songs just because they are fan favourites? I have spoken with bands before that play older, more popular songs and they have a downright shitty time doing it.
Yeah we play what we want to play. I don't think anyone wants to see a band just going through the motions. If we were a different kind of band then we'd have to make those kind of concessions. I'm glad we aren't that kind of band.
I have noticed that LOMA PRIETA pretty much always watches the other bands that play. Do you find that most other headlining bands do this?
I have found you guys to be an exception to most other bands that I have seen. Perhaps I’m being pessimistic. I like to watch bands, music is pretty much what I'm doing with my life. I mean I have a job when I'm home so I can afford to pay my rent while i'm on tour. So yeah, it's awesome to watch new bands play. Also, Toronto has so many good bands, I have rarely been disappointed when watching bands there. When we play with shitty glam rock bands or whatever, you probably won't see us in the crowd.
What have you given up to play in LOMA PRIETA, especially while touring? Almost everything haha. Seriously though.
What was LOMA PRIETA’s best show/tour?
Impossible to say. Too many great experiences.
Do you have a favourite Canadian band/artist? Do they have any influence on LOMA PRIETA’s music?
When I was first getting into hardcore a lot of my favorite bands were from Canada. Shotmaker and Okara were 2 bands that really changed the way I looked at music. Still to this day there are so many Canadian bands I love.
Do you find it hard to balance objectivity with emotion when listening to/playing/talking about music?
Yeah, I think that's only natural. Art is always subjective, that's what makes it fascinating and what allows it to have its own development over time.
Why the name LOMA PRIETA? I would presume it’s because your band is from California and your music is devastating, but I’ve been wrong before.
Yeah I just alway thought it was a pleasing sounding set of syllables to describe such a horrendous event. That's how I see us as a band, sort of this tension between pretty and horrific.
What unknown/obscure band would you like everyone to know about?
I think we are pretty obscure, I want people to know about us. Here's a few bands that have blown my mind recently, I'm sure I'll forget so many great bands, but... Sine Nomine, Mean Man's Dream, Lord Snow, No Tongue, Mahria, Republic of Dreams, Fucking Invincible, Sugartown Cabaret, You Are Plural, The New Trust and Stares.
What are your thoughts on the young
generation? Your generation? The older generation?
I am the older generation, I used to have to book tours through the mail and use an atlas and shit. Seriously though, mentalities have more to do with ethics than generations or age. Trust me that most people you meet in punk will not be involved in a couple years, that is one of the few lessons I've taken over the years. The difficulty of punk is that it's so elitist, which makes it alienating to be deeply involved in. I think that spans all generations of people involved.
What does the “I Hate You Rob Crow” sticker signify, other than the obvious?
Val will put any sticker on his drum cases, there is absolutely no significance to that. I assure you.
Once again, many thanks go out to Sean Leary for taking the time to answer my questions!
Go back to the original post here to watch a full live set from 2011.
Go here to purchase rare and out of print LOMA PRIETA items.