Obsidian's Francisco and Mike Talk Debut Efforts, History, and the Future of Touring, New Music, and More!

Trio thrashers Obsidian will be releasing their debut EP "Bite the Bullet", following their debut album due out next summer with touring and show playing to follow through. Guitarist/backing vocalist Francisco Lombera and drummer Mike Lopez discuss the EP, history, namesake, influences, creating music, with everything else in-between.

1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Francisco: Obsidian started with me and a high school friend, at first it was just a jam band. I had an official band in high school which was an emo band, I was a metal head and I would look completely out of place in that band. Then I met a younger guitarist and we decided to jam one day to metal songs, after two hours we had a couple of riffs and then just decided to start a band. It had no name so it wasn't Obsidian yet. We wanted members from our current bands to join in this side band and some people auditioned but not a lot were serious about it so we went out to look for members. At one point I had met our current drummer, Mike, but it was a quick one minute meeting. My friend said he was the drummer he had in mind but that he didn't want to do it.

Mike: Yea he wanted me to join officially and I didn't want to do it because I was studying guitar at CSU Dominguez Hills and I really had no interest in playing drums at all. Then there was a show that Francisco and our friend were performing at and I was asked to join them, it was a one time thing so I did the favor. We played the Ramones and Jimmy Eat World so not really metal but then we played Master of Puppets in its entirety and that convinced me to join the band.

By 2012 our friends, the rhythm guitarist and the singer we had both left the band. Then it was just Francisco and I in the band. I met our vocalist/bassist Carlos at Cal State Dominguez Hills and I would see him around but didn't speak to him until one time when he was talking to a girl that I was interested in and as a way of getting to know the girl I went up to him to get to her but we ended up talking about music and invited him to jam on bass. He joined the band a week later.

2. Why did you pick the name that you did for your band?

Mike: We had a band meeting to see what names we could come up with, I had a list of words that had stuck out to me and the word Obsidian was on it. I first heard it on the show Parks and Recreation, there's a moment where the character of Tom said the word Obsidian, it’s pretty funny, you can find the clip on YouTube. Later I found out that Obsidian is a rock and something out of Minecraft. We voted and Obsidian Symphony was the name but after the loss of some members it became just Obsidian.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Mike: The band is based out of different cities in Southern California, I'm from South Central Los Angeles, our bassist Carlos is from Gardena, and our guitarist Francisco is from Compton. I've come to find that there's a lot of pockets of the music scene where different groups are gathered in. Everybody that probably went to high school together have built their own part of the scene based on their area. Obsidian has gone into each of those crowds to connect, network, and build a bigger scene. Ultimately we are all in it for the music, I feel like there's a great scene in LA.

Francisco: Local bands I would recommend are Social Overload, they are heavy as fuck, Arsynic is another fast band, they're cool too. They're not a local band but Insecticide have a lot of energy I look forward to playing with them in the future. Another of my favorites is Hydra from Wilmington they have a lot of heavy songs.

Mike: I haven't seen them live but I've heard a lot about Ascendancy, I heard their album and I enjoyed it. I've had two chances to see them but something always happens and I miss their set.

4. How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?

Francisco: It's funny because our songs offer different things like our song Repeat After Me has a thrashy groove and at the end we play this heavy metal style riff. If we would compare something it would be Iron Maiden.

Mike: It's hard to describe the style because each of us are influenced by different things. We've taken things and made them our own, which ultimately is what evolves in music, each artist takes things from the past and makes them their own. In my style of playing, I am very influenced by Lars Ulrich from Metallica, he was the guy I listened to when I started, simple stuff, but it has influenced a lot of what I do live, the energy, even mannerisms and faces I make a lot of that came from him. If I could compare my style and overall style of the band it would be early Metallica.

Francisco: When we played at shows early on, we’d say that we're a thrash band and people would say we sounded like heavy metal.  After a while we would say we were heavy metal and then we would be described as thrash. So we came to a conclusion that we're heavy thrash. For influences, just a lot of fast stuff, early slayer, early Metallica, and current Megadeth.

5. What’s the story behind your debut EP? What can the fans expect from it?

Mike: It's the story of the beginning of our band, from line up changes to getting our foot in the doors of venues, it's all encompassed in this EP this is our story from start to where we are now. You'll hear that the songs are fast because that's what we like to play, this is our call to arms, get in the pit and let loose. Fans can expect a lot of energy, when we were recording it I was playing like if I was playing at a live show, same energy, same attention. I was a sweaty mess by the end of the recording so fans can expect speed, technique, and catchy music.

6. Do you play live as well? What do you have planned in terms of shows and touring, if any?

Francisco: We play almost every Saturday and most Fridays. We do a lot of practicing, we make the set lists and we do change things depending on the crowds we play for.

Mike: We play live a lot now, compared to 2012 when we only did three shows. 2014 has been a great year for us and we want to keep the momentum going into 2015. As the booker I've taken it upon myself to make our shows not just shows but events. We have themed events like Guitarmageddon in January where we invite guitarists from different metal bands and put together a friendly competition. We also have the LA Drum Off in April and Bass Masters in October. We like to make our shows stand out. Bands usually get in the routine of just coming to play and leaving. We want to make shows that are worth staying at. We are planning a tour in 2015, it's going to be for a couple of weeks and we'll be stopping by in different cities from California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Canada.

7. What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?

Francisco: I believe our music has wide appeal. People frequently ask if the songs we play are covers and I always let them know that they’re originals. People tell me that our songs sound like songs.

Mike: They should be interested because we can be very marketable, we are more than a band, we are a brand.  The music industry has changed and bands have to bring more to get noticed. I believe that we can work well with labels, zines, and promoters, we are hard workers and are motivated to reach new levels. Our shows are different, I believe that each individual in this band has a certain charisma and it comes out when we perform.

8. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Francisco: We're completing more original songs, the EP entitled Bite the Bullet is coming out December 25th. Our first album will be released in the summer of 2015 followed by a North American tour.

Mike: We plan to continue playing live shows around LA. We have a show at the legendary Whiskey A Go Go on February 13th, tickets are currently available through the band members and obsidianmetal.com. We have our annual event, Guitarmageddon, in January, the second annual LA Drum-off in April, and plenty of shows in between. We’re also looking into putting a show together for charity in the near future, details on that and all of our plans can be followed at Facebook.com/ObsidianLA and ObsidianMetal.com.

9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Mike: First and foremost, you can listen to the band live, we have shows often and that's where you can talk to us personally. The EP will be available December 25th on iTunes, Amazon, and CD. You can also check out our videos on YouTube, a link to our channel can be found on our website ObsidianMetal.com.

10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Francisco: I'd like them to remember all the catchy guitar parts, and the vocal lines. I find myself singing the catchy vocal parts sometimes.

Mike: I would like for listeners to have an experience like when I first heard Metallica, I remember I was in class, I was blown away and I repeated Sad but True like 12 times. That's the kind of reaction I want, I want them to remember where they were and what they felt when they heard us for the first time so they can tell their grand kids about it.

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