Nate Smith interviews guitarist Omar Zehery
Enoch Magazine: Who was an influential person in your life that exposed you to music or
OMAR: Green Day started to break when I was in the fourth grade. I was obsessed.
My sister was like, “These guys are ok, but THESE GUYS are better.” She gave
me a cassette of Jawbreakers’ 24 Hour Revenge Therapy and it went from
there. She single handedly got me out of Ace of Base, Hootie and the
Blowfish and MC Hammer and into punk bands like Black Flag.
Enoch Magazine: Tell us about the writing process and band practice. What do both of
these things look like?
OMAR: Our writing process is just like any other band’s writing process; we pay
good money to songwriters and session musicians and let them deal with it.
Psych! We’re all iNerds and spend a lot of time fiddling on Garage Band
(Apple! Send us some free s@#$!) then through little snippets and ideas,
songs will start to form when we come together in the practice space. I’m
pretty sure we’ve never written a song the same way twice.
Enoch Magazine: It seems a new band is presented to us every month that looks and sounds
the same. What sets you apart and makes you different?
OMAR: I’m proud to say that there are no hair straighteners and product used in
HTL. It seems that there is a new trend of bands getting signed off of image
alone with no prior touring experience or substance in their music. The same
looking and sounding bands are getting lumped with the same songwriters and
producers and churning out the same boring songs. We take pride that we’re a
real band in the sense that we toured independently before getting signed
and we write our own music. That’s hard to come by these days. BTW, Where
the f^#$ is our trophy?
Enoch Magazine: If you could take a vacation away from touring where would you go and
what would you see?
OMAR: Being able to tour full time is pretty much a vacation. My vacation would be spent at home in Ohio taking the day off, reading and enjoying
Enoch Magazine: The prices of gas are rising quickly. Would you ever consider touring in a vegetable powered van or bus? Why or Why Not?
OMAR: One of the first tours we did after signing with our booking agent was with Hot Rod Circuit and Piebald. At the time, Piebald converted their van into
the veggie grease running contraption that you speak of. They were
constantly having problems and missed some shows because their van would
break down a lot. I’m totally down with wasting money on gas to get to our
shows and not smell like french fries. By the way, the government is withholding the technology to let cars run on other fuel sources because they’re in bed with the oil companies.
Enoch Magazine:Who is your choice in this upcoming election and why?
OMAR: Hit The Lights are Anarchists, baby! Listen to Crass and Chumbawamba.
Enoch Magazine: Everyone in the United States grew up having a
perception of Jesus. What is your perception of Jesus and Why?
OMAR: Growing up Muslim in a rural part of a Ohio wasn’t as difficult as some
would think. Early on, I had a really good friend who dumped me because I
constantly thwarted his attempts to convert and ultimately “save” me. I
couldn’t understand why he couldn’t be one religion, I could be another, and
we could still hang, listen to music and talk about comics and GI Joes. That
definitely stirred up some weird vibes towards Christianity and the J-man.
Since then I’ve learned that not all Christians are as dismissive and closed
Enoch Magazine: What’s an up and coming band that you like? Why?
OMAR: There are a couple off the top of my head. The Swellers, Fireworks and
2*Sweet are amazing bands because they’re real. I respect the s@$* outta
them cuz there’s no fluff with these guys like there is with a lot of bands
coming out nowadays. Just real song writing and real boys who tour for the
love of playing. Plus they’re all really good kissers.
Enoch Magazine: What was your high school experience like? Would you do it again if you could?
OMAR: It was pretty boring and typical. We graduated with only around 200 kids in my class so everyone was really cool with each other and really civil. Dave
(our bass player) and I were in bands and playing music together since
middle school and everyone knew about it and was really cool and supportive.
It wasn’t like one of those, “f@#% off, punk faggots!” sort of things. It
was more like, “Hey! Your band sounded really good at the talent show!”
Sometimes I wish I had that “Ally Sheedy/Breakfast Club” experience in high
school because I feel like that is the ultimate inspiration for some really
great songs. That, and I’d die to have Emilio…