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Gavin's Underground

Afro Omega

by Gavin Sheehan
- Posted // 2012-03-12 - This past weekend, we saw a couple of release shows all settled in at The State Room. Rather than just discuss them, I decided to head over and check one out. For me, personally, I couldn't have picked a better show, as the decade-long-running reggae band Afro Omega were releasing their third album. They kicked the show off with DJ Dubwise Selecta playing his personal favorite remixes of classic reggae, followed by Miss Omega singing some of the group's popular numbers from the first two albums, kicking right into a full set of the latest release ... and the room smelled pretty damned good, too!
Today, we're chatting with lead singer and guitarist Bronte about the band and its history, along with thoughts on the new album and the current music scene -- all with pictures from Saturday's show, which also served as a tour kickoff for the group as they hit the road for the next six months.

Afro Omega

Gavin: Hey, Bronte. First off, tell us a little about yourselves.

Bronte: We're a reggae band that writes and records all of our own music. The core members have been playing together for 10 years.
Gavin: What got you interested in music, and who were some of your favorite acts and musical influences growing up?

Bronte: I liked all sorts of shit growing up but didn't get into reggae until I was in college, and that’s when I started going to festivals and concerts all over California. I found reggae was really conducive with my lifestyle.

Gavin: How did you all come together to form Afro Omega?

Bronte: I started writing songs with my guitar in 2000. A few years later, I needed a band to complete my ideas so I started recruiting members. Some were friends from the past, others I met through the musical community.
Gavin: What was it like coming together and putting your own spin on reggae and bringing that music out to venues that cater more to rock and indie material?

Bronte: Not really trying to put a new spin on reggae, just keep it rolling.

Gavin: Back in 2006, you released your debut EP, Pick Up The Pieces. What was it like for you putting that album together, and what issues did you deal with along the way?

Bronte: Besides people leaving the band and coming back during the recording? It was a learning experience, let's just say that.
Gavin: What did you think of the public reaction to the EP when it came out?

Bronte: For the people that follow our music, they were just glad we finally recorded something after being together four years with no CD. So it was good. People can still check it out on iTunes.

Gavin: In 2008, you followed it up with your first full-length album, Love Emergency. How did that session go compared to the EP, and what was your take on that album as a whole?

Bronte: It was a lot more fluent process having the experience from the first EP. I feel the album was a good stepping stone to get us to where we are at now.
Gavin: At the point you started to become a really popular group in SLC, you started getting added to bigger shows and receiving recognition from press. What was it like for you to see that kind of exposure five years after starting?

Bronte: It feels good to see all the hard work paying off.

Gavin: Since then, you've been playing off and on over the past three years and have had some lineup changes. How have the past few years been for each of you and how is it keeping the group together this long?

Bronte: The past few years have been really good and really busy. People booking us is what kept us playing,  and now Afro Omega is what I do for a living.
Gavin: You're releasing a brand-new album this month, Move Like Light. What was it like coming back to the studio after being out for four years and making a totally new record?

Bronte: It was good to write for myself -- having written for other people for the past five years -- and laying down most the instruments except drums and lead guitars this process allowed  me to take full control of the album. And taking over as lead singer has been an amazing and humbling experience. I live in my studio, so I never really left.

Gavin: After the release, do you have any plans to tour or will you be staying around Utah for now?

Bronte: Yes, planning on touring! And no, we don't plan on sticking around Utah -- as fun as it sounds.
Gavin: What are your overall thoughts as a band having been together as long as you have and starting to come up on your 10-year anniversary this year?

Bronte: It's more than a band at this point; it's become a career for me. I am Afro Omega.

Gavin: Going statewide, what are your thoughts on the local music scene, both good and bad?

Bronte: The local scene here is pretty dope on some levels, a fuckin' joke on the others, and everything in between. Just like any scene, I guess.
Gavin: Is there anything you believe could be done to make it more prominent?

Bronte: Get the "local music" out and touring; otherwise it becomes stagnant.

Gavin: Not including yourselves, who are your favorite acts in the scene right now?

Bronte: Hmmm ... my favorite local band was Tre Vaughn & Stylz but they are no longer together. There's a lot of really cool bands, DJ's and producers in Salt Lake, but I don't have a favorite right now. Not a hater, just on some other shit right now that my local music community isn't providing, with all due respect.
Gavin: What's your opinion on the current airplay on community radio and how it affects local musicians?

Bronte: I love it. Without it there would be no local scene.

Gavin: With so many sources out there to get music off the Web, both for publicity and sharing, what are your thoughts on putting out free tracks for anyone to listen to?

Bronte: I think free music is good. I also think nothing is free.
Gavin: What can we expect from you guys over the rest of this year?

Bronte: I expect to be playing a ton of shows and working on the next album.


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