The band's debut album 'OMNI' is out now.
Another Now have just released their debut full-length album 'OMNI'.
A gloriously guttural and euphorically expansive take on the modern metalcore sound, the band leave no stone unturned and reap the benefits on this truly astounding record. Richly textured, expertly blended and passionately delivered, it's the sort of album that makes the fire in the pit of your stomach burn that little bit brighter than normal.
Though below the experimental heaviness, there is a more poignant and powerful core, one that the band hope will spark the sort of conversations that aren't being had yet.
We jumped on the phone with vocalist Stef Rikken and guitarist Rik Bosmans to dissect an album made to make a difference..
How does it feel to be at a point where your debut album is now out in the world?
Stef: “It feels pretty amazing. This is not just our first album, but it’s also our first release with our own identity. A lot of stuff we have released before was more of a search in us trying to find who were are as a band and the stuff that defines us. I think that ‘OMNI’ is the first record that we can truly say is typical Another Now. We have a piece of who we are.”
Rik: “Exactly. It’s very honest, and it also combines all of the things that we like. That’s a scary thing as well, though, just because it is so diverse. People are either going to like it or be put off by some of the things that we have put on here, like the nods to hardstyle and techno and such.”
Stef: “But that is how we work. We move without boundaries, bring together all of the fun stuff whilst we are writing and make each other laugh in seeing how far we can push things. It’s all about seeing how crazy we can get before it gets too crazy.”
What was the point where you realised you had found the Another Now identity then? Was there a specific moment?
Rik: “So we wrote a bunch of songs at once, and then all of the puzzle pieces seem to click into place before our eyes. It felt like that batch of songs represented something pretty crazy that we were already proud of. So we kept on working in that same way.”
Stef: “Those songs were like ‘Outflow’ and ‘Parallax’. We saw the potential in the demos, but we still knew that it wasn’t quite there yet. So we kept on working and trying to create the perfect formula. It felt like it could be something bigger than it was, but only if we continued to work hard. Go an extra mile.”
A lot of that pushing to create something outrageous and unique must come from the fact that you are dealing with some heavy subject matter on this record. Creating the sorts of open conversations in these songs about mental health and well-being takes a lot of work from the five of you as a group. How did how you wanted it to be represented on the record develop?
Stef: “It was a lot of my input. I write all of the lyrics, and I feel like if you’re writing something, you have to truly mean it if you’re going to share it with the world. If it’s close to you, the message comes across even more. So away from the band, I am a social worker specialising in mental health care. I am faced with these things daily, and it’s not the sort of perspective that you usually share with the world. It’s still such a stigma. The album became a way for me to let it all out and show the world how difficult it is to struggle with such things. There are so many people in the world who are struggling right now, especially within these circumstances. I wanted to express more of the surrounding mental health topics, as you only hear about just a few of them. There are so many other parts, and I wanted to give more people a platform and a voice.
“For example, ‘Cascade’ is about psychotic disorders. That’s the group of people I work with the most. Then there are people with addictions or people on the autistic spectrum, or people with behavioural or personality disorders. I wanted to share absolutely everything I come into contact with.”
To be in a position where you’re able to bring the other side of your life into your art in such a unique way is something you would be amiss not to explore…
Stef: “Exactly. I think just sharing stories that I have experienced in my work is the best way to do it. For example, ‘Parallax’ is about autism. I had a day when I worked with a client who was overloaded by so many different stimuli. I was trying to reach out and connect, but all of those overloads made it so I couldn’t communicate with them. There are a lot more people in those situations that the outside world doesn’t understand. When you can share more information about how you can act towards those people, then maybe it could make our world a better and more positive place to live and to be.”
For you to bring those things to the rest of the band and to know that they want to help craft a place for those conversations to exist is something extraordinary as well…
Rik: “It’s not a secret that Stef is very much interested in these topics. When he gets home from work, he comes straight to us because we will be rehearsing. That’s the stuff he talks and cares about so passionately, and we all take it on and take it home with us when he shares what he has been through in his day.
“We always knew that we wanted this to be a concept album and to tie the songs together in a special way. This was our opportunity to share something with the world that matters.”
Stef: “It was a relief for me to have their support and to be then able to write lyrics about something that really meant something to me and could mean so much to the world.”
With a large chunk of this poignant album being written in the middle of something as scary as uncertain as a global pandemic is one hell of a cauldron to be in. How was it working through it in such a way?
Rik: “Well, playing lives shows is the thing that drives us and keeps us going in the first place. All of that just disappeared. We knew that all we could do was pour our hearts and souls into something. It had to be a big project. Otherwise, we would just fall apart. Even rehearsing didn’t make sense anymore if we had no shows to plan for. And if you’re not performing, what are you even in a band for? So there were a lot of big questions that we had to ask ourselves and then answer them by putting everything we had into this big project.”
Stef: “It made our daily life much more meaningful knowing that we were working towards something. It took a while for us to realise exactly what we had done, though. We had to meet so many deadlines to make everything work, so we were constantly working. There wasn’t any time to look back and reflect on the things that we had done.”
Rik: “The whole process was such a blur. It was a relief when we made it to the end, but because of what we went through to make it, we’re even prouder of what we achieved.”
Did you ever expect that your debut album would look or feel anything like this?
Rik: “Not in the slightest. I think that even making an album was something we didn’t expect to happen. We weren’t expecting things even to get this far. That’s a weird thing to say, but we’ve been in bands before and have experienced these things where it doesn’t work out or go anywhere. It was such a surprise to us when we could put out a new single or make a music video. We’ve learned so much in this band together, and we always so amazed by how much we have accomplished.”
Stef: "It feels like right now, with this line-up, we have the perfect team.”
So how does it feel now that the debut is done and you’re looking into the future? What is exciting to you about what’s coming up?
Stef: “More than anything, we want to be able to reach the whole world. We have an audience in the EU, but we want to continue creating something that feels established worldwide. That’s the thing that makes me excited about where we want to do next. Becoming not just a band but a complete brand. The complete package.”