The American psych/prog rockers ELDER released their latest album Omens a while ago. The album is on my heavy rotation and surely there were some questions that I had in my mind while listening to the newest release. So I used this interesting timing to ‘digitally’ interview Nick DiSalvo about the new album but also his perspective as a person and as ELDER on these interesting times… Read on!
Hello guys! Firstly thank you very much for taking the time for this interview! How are you doing?
All of us are doing fine health-wise. It’s been pretty boring the past few months, to be honest. But better to be bored and healthy than to have the excitement of something worse…
Congratulations on the new album Omens! It is an amazing record and brought color into my life. How has the feedback been so far?
Thank you! Feedback on the new album has been mostly positive, but more mixed in some areas than the past records. To some extent, we expected this record to split listeners, since it steps further away from the sound we honed on the last albums and towards something more mellow and melodic. One way or another, people are listening and that’s a good thing for the band.
The first thing that caught my attention was the cover artwork. What does it mean in the context of Omens?
Most people would probably recognize this kind of Greco-Roman statue as a symbol for a fallen civilization or downfall from greatness. It’s a reminder of the fragility and temporary nature of human societies and hints at the themes of the record.
What inspired you in making a concept album? How did the songwriting and the themes evolve in this sense?
The themes for the record were already planned well before we decided to make a concept out of the record, but this was really the first time we spent a bit of energy working on the flow of the entire album, making the songs work with each other and speak to each other within the album context. When the music was finished, it felt like a real complete work that could be further tied together by a concept. It also strengthens the idea that these are records that are meant to be listened to in entirety, not one song at a time.
You were also planning to go on a tour but due to this crisis, are you planning any online gigs which has become the ‘normality’?
No, no online gigs are planned. Our bassist lives far away from the other 3 of us and it wouldn’t be possible, but anyhow I think I’d rather wait until real shows are possible again instead of filming something. All or nothing, you know?
This situation made a lot of us realize that life, in general, should not be taken for granted. What are some of the things that you (as a person and artist) want to to do but never got the chance to do?
I’ve been fantastically lucky so far, especially being in a touring band. If I were sent to the grave without having lived as a musician, I would have some real regrets, and I feel very fortunate and fulfilled. However, this period has really reinforced my desires to travel and not just with the band. Being trapped in your own four walls makes me yearn for all of the places I haven’t seen or experienced yet and I’d love to just drop everything and travel for some months when this is over. If only there weren’t that pesky money thing…
Also as a music enthusiast and a journalist, I am curious to know how a crisis like this affects you, the artists’ lives, not only from a financial aspect but on all levels. Did these past months make you more ‘productive’ in a way or were you able to retreat for example?
I have had phases of creativity and written perhaps more music in the past months than I otherwise would have, but the quarantine has taken its toll on my creative side as well. Some days there’s just a sense of depression that doesn’t inspire creativity. And anyhow I find it difficult to be inspired when you have very little input from outside. Sitting at home means you have time, but not necessarily the fuel to make something.
In the past years, some amazing artists emerged in the psych rock/prog scene. What are some of your favorites?
Needlepoint is my current favorite prog rock band, hands down! There’s a great local band here in Berlin called Perilymph that I’ve also been listening to a lot lately. They play kind of French psychedelic rock. Then some bands that have been going on for a long time but are still around like Motorpsycho, Dungen, Den Stora Vilan.
As we close the interview, is there anything you want to add for your fans and the readers?
Thanks for reading and hope to see you as soon as we can!
Special thanks to Nick as well as Mona at ALL NOIR!