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InterviewsAn Interview with Bill Kielty of O Zorn!

Posted on Monday, May 04 2020 @ 23:42:00 CDT by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal

Sea of Tranquility Staff writer Carl Sederholm recently caught up with Bill Kielty (vocals / guitars) of O Zorn! The band’s first full-length album, Your Killer was released in March 2020.

Sea of Tranquility: Thanks for agreeing to do an interview. We love Your Killer here at Sea of Tranquility and we hope that readers are catching on to your sound and style. To begin, please give us a short introduction to O Zorn! and to the metal / punk scene in Long Beach, California.

Bill: Of course man. My pleasure.

O ZORN! started out as a two piece around 2010 with yours truly on guitars/vocals and drummer Dan Johnson. Him and I wrote what would become our first album S/T LP. Though the release date for that album shows 2017, it was recorded at snails pace throughout most of 2012/2013. The only instrument that didn’t get recorded, scrapped and re-recorded multiple times, were the drums. It was a true labour of love. At some point, guitarist Jason Hampton joined the band. Our activity was on/off for many years. Would play select shows here and there, but no real touring. Mainly just Southern Cali, and not that often. Eventually Dan left the band and was replaced by JJ Anselmi (In The Company of Serpents, Worlds Apart). Jason left shortly after and was replaced by Billy Meyer. Then JJ left and was replaced by Danny Walker. Was a bit of a shitshow there for awhile, but we managed to weather the storm and eventually get into the studio and put this new record together.

The punk / metal scene in Long Beach is a joke. I mean, there ARE metalheads and punkers, but Long Beach is more of an indie rock/hip hop sorta town. Which is perfectly fine. Southern california just isn’t the punk and thrash metal breeding ground that it used to be.

Sea of Tranquility: I grew up in Long Beach and so I remember some pretty crazy venues like Fender’s Ballroom where all the old hardcore bands from the 1980s played. Where are some of the main venues around town now?

Bill: There ya have it. You know exactly what it used to be like. I caught a couple shows at Fenders toward the very end when my friends and I were just kids. We’d drive out from Moreno Valley, which is where I’m originally from. I mean, ALL AGES/FULL BAR and sea of mohawks, skinheads, long hairs...suicidals. A scary fuckin' place. Downtown LB was scary enough.

There aren’t too many venues to choose from out here now. Alex’s Bar is the place to play if you're a bigger local or national act. There is also the Prospector, which is where we like to book. Super small, super intimate. They treat us really well there.

Sea of Tranquility: Since we’re doing this during the COVID-19 quarantine, tell us a little about what the band is doing while tours are off and things have slowed down.

Bill: Not much. I’m still working every day and haven't been subjected to much isolation. The other two are holed up in their homes. From the looks of it though it seems like “the people” are getting restless. I don’t see this lasting much longer. Until they lift the ban on shows, I’ve started writing what will hopefully be the next album. Pushing myself to having it in the can by year's end.

Sea of Tranquility: It seems like lots of bands are going for hybrid styles these days. How would you describe O Zorn’s overall sound? Since the band loves big riffs, tell us why you think that killer riffs matter so much in this style of music.

Bill: The “doom” sound has been beaten into the ground. We’re just a heavy rock band with pop sensibilities. I’ve always tried to write hooks and patterns that are a little more friendly, but yet someone who is a doom or sludge purist, can still get behind. Our manager calls us “emotional doom”. Kinda fits I guess.

Sea of Tranquility: You’ve mentioned elsewhere that Your Killer has a general theme involving human suffering. How has your sense of the music changed in light of recent world conditions? It seems to me that a track like “Your Killer” could definitely suggest different faces of fear. I’m thinking also of that really hungry shark on the cover.

Bill: Interestingly enough, the timing of everything going on in the world, worked out well with the overall theme of this record. I’d prefer we not be in this shit predicament, but it’s certainly been relatable for a lot of listeners. Planet Earth is in bad shape my friend.

Sea of Tranquility: Looking ahead, what are your plans for taking the band on the road? How are fans liking the album?

Bill: Fans are really enjoying the record. In addition to your review, we’ve had quite a few great pieces on the album. A couple of stinkers though too.

Sea of Tranquility: Where can we find more information about the band or purchase music / merchandise online?

Bill: We’re everywhere, but the best place to find us would be on bandcamp. Download the first record! It’s free. No excuses! Definitely a great starting point.

Sea of Tranquility: I haven’t asked about the band name yet. I know it comes from the novel Watership Down, but tell readers unfamiliar with the source a little about the name.

Bill: It means the shit has hit the fan. A catastrophe is coming. No ones making it out alive. “All dead, O Zorn!”

Sea of Tranquility: Thanks very much for the music and for the interview. I’ve been listening to Your Killer quite a bit and I think it’s a solid and powerful release. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers about O Zorn?

Bill: I appreciate it Carl! Hopefully all this down time will produce another record!

Carl Sederholm

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