Known for their formidable musicianship and powerful songs, delivered with passion and conviction, OmnisighT is Vancouver Canada’s premier progressive hard rock/metal band. With their extreme musicianship, intense live show and huge melodic hooks, OmnisighT have been said to be “heavy music’s best kept secret”.
Prog Sphere is bringing you an interview wth the drummer Chris Warunki, as part of the “Band of the Week” feature. Read it below.
What does the name of the band represent? Where is the connection between the name and the music you create?
“Omnisight” is a term I coined which means to see from all directions/angles. It’s not intended to be taken literally as it’s more about open-mindedness… it’s the opposite of “tunnel vision” and suits the music which has heavy, and at times busy elements offset by Raj’s melodic vocals. We feel like this sound/style we’ve created is constantly evolving. The capital “T” comes from the logo I designed and decided to keep it in type font as well for a visual continuity of sorts.
How did the story of forming OmnisighT go? Would you mind introducing the band?
Well, Raj and I met and started our musical journey back in ’97 – if you can believe that! I was just a teen! We’ve been writing heavy/melodic/progressive music ever since then, though always on and off, never really full-time. We recorded demos throughout the years and played gigs as a trio (with Brent MacKenzie of Gross Misconduct/Soulscar on bass) around town but didn’t get serious about it until releasing our proper debut album “Path” in 2011 (remixed/remastered/reissued in 2012), which is also when Dave Shannon (bass / bg vocals) and Blake Rurik (guitar) joined the lineup.
It’s like “Epic Hard Rock”… it has elements of Metal, Prog and a serious shred factor with Raj and Blake both being relentless lead guitarists. There’s strong melodies, musicianship and most of all: SONGS… as opposed to just technical demonstrations. It can be technical at times but always has soul/emotion behind it, and meaning to the lyrics/themes. We’ve always had a difficulty fitting into any single genre or scene. We just do what we do!
Which artists/bands influenced your work with the band?
Well, since Raj and I have been writing together for a long time now, we’ve gone through phases, usually simultaneously. We started out heavily into Dream Theater, Tool, Faith No More, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, Incubus, etc… then we got into Slipknot, Meshuggah and some heavier stuff… nowadays we’re listening to stuff like Animals as Leaders, TesseracT and tons of other bands/genres. My personal greatest influence would have to be Sean Reinert and Cynic. Raj was really into Van Halen and Yngwie Malmsteen as a guitarist.
Your debut album “Path” features a guest appearance by Dave Martone and it’s ben compared with the likes such Dream Theater, Soundgarden and Tool. Are you satisfied with the reception of the album? How did the creating process of the record go?
Yeah, we’re happy with the positive response we got. It certainly launched the band and we’re constantly building our fan base ever since. We don’t deny our influences but at the same time feel like we have “our own” sound. It’s a huge compliment to be compared to those bands and was great to have Martone on board for a cameo! The recording was totally DIY. We got Dave Shannon to produce/mix/master the album, who was a long-time friend and fan, then Raj and I handled all the tracking; just bringing in Martone and Blake Rurik as guests for a couple of killer solos. As stated before, both Dave Shannon and Blake Rurik have joined the band full-time since! We’re very much a DIY band. I did the artwork myself and then released the album on my own independent label “Warunki Media”.
In 2013 you released Wave Particle, comprised of five songs. Where does this record stands in comparison with the debut album?
We’re really proud of “Wave Particle” (EP) as it’s the first recording as a full band and also shows a stronger, more developed sound from us. It’s more of everything, features some of our best songs and never a dull moment! The debut had years of “artist development” jam-packed onto one disc… which is why it’s a whopping 80 minutes of music! I personally think we could have scaled it down, but we wanted to just get it all documented and out there and move forward (onto what became the EP), rather than turning it into two separate albums and dragging it out, or cutting too many songs. So, yeah… the EP seems a bit more mature/evolved.
Which song off the two releases you put out so far would you chose as a track that sums up what OmnisighT is about?
That’s a tough question, but it’d either be “Harmony/Shallow” (last track off “Path”) or “Eleven” (from the new EP), as they both have pretty much elements of everything we’re about, and everything we do as a band within them. They are our “epics”, both nearing 10 minutes each. The best showcase for our musicianship would have to be “Heavy Weather”, which also features virtuoso guitarist, Dave Martone (Magna Carta Recording Artist).
What is your method of songwriting?
Raj is the primary writer/lyricist, so he most often will bring in the skeleton of the song, then we arrange it together and work out the details. Sometimes I’ll throw a drum groove at him and then he’ll come up with a guitar riff to match it, that’s how we wrote most of “Hectic”. Usually Raj has a pretty strong concept of the song to begin with though, in most cases. Then after everything is written/arranged we bring in Dave and Blake, they’re really great at learning the tunes and then adding their own creativity/abilities to them… which is why the live versions of the “Path” songs are a whole other beast!
There’s a pretty strong musical synergy between Raj and I, so just getting in the studio and jamming some spontaneous riffs/rhythms is pretty inspiring… but I guess a lot of our external inspiration comes from our surroundings and the music/art that we gravitate towards as people.
What are the themes you deal with in your lyrics?
Inner conflicts, truth, beliefs, unity, the earth, mankind, global events, personal experience, manipulation, corporate greed, psychology, life. Raj has some great lyrics, check out “Stop This World”, for example. Not your typical Rock lyrics… then there’s “No Atrophy” on the flip-side… heh.
Name five most inspiring and influential albums that were/are crucial for OmnisighT’s existence.
When I met Raj and we started jamming we were both really into…
Tool Aenima (so progressive AND hooky).
Faith No More Angel Dust (we are huge FNM fans!)
Dream Theater Awake (early DT is part of what really sparked OmnisighT)
Meshuggah Destroy Erase Improve (there is, and was, nothing else like it!)
Slipknot debut (we just loved the blend of pure aggression, groove and melody)
What non-musical entities and ideas have an impact on your music?
I’m pretty big on visual artists, cinema (actors/directors) and entrepreneurs. I like people who are successful and on their own terms. Too many to single out. I know Raj is influenced by people who are very compassionate and intelligent… Ghandi, Chomsky, etc. We owe a lot to our family and friends as well, don’t know where we’d be without them! As for ideas/concepts; the idea that we are all connected, all one and in this world together, has had an impact.
What is it like with OmnisighT on stage? How do people react on your music?
It’s relentless as we don’t hold anything back… we don’t use any tracks, we don’t use a click… it’s the way hard/heavy music should be played… without a safety net! There’s a special energy that’s undeniable and the audience is usually fixated on the band. Our show has been described as “visceral”, “moving”, “epic”, “inspirational”. People say we “should be opening for Dream Theater or Rush”. It’s nice to hear these comments from people after the set and to know we’ve left an impression. I’d like to think they weren’t “just being nice”!
Where do you see OmnisighT in the future? What are your goals?
We have a solid lineup, a couple of well-received recordings, and now we just need to get in front of more people… touring and/or opening for a larger act that we dig. Perhaps joining a larger label/roster of likeminded artists – InsideOut/Century Media, Roadrunner, Metal Blade, etc – who would have the means to get us into these avenues and beyond – eventually performing in Europe and Japan would be a dream come true and where I think we’d be well-recieved. And last, but not least… writing and recording more! Progressing!
OmnisighT on the web: