If you would have told me I would be able to interview one of my favorite bands from when I really dove deep into heavier music, I would have thought you had a few screws loose and that you needed help. A decade later (and the perfect set of circumstances arise), and here we are.
Of Salt and Swine gained attention and left that spotlight just as abruptly, leaving many wanting more but with no hope in sight. However, Halloween 2018 changed that when OSAS teased a new logo and began stating that new music is on the way. Finally, on November 1st of this year, Distress was released and this EP greatly surpasses their previous work. It's not too hard to notice the overall sound has matured and these musicians know what they want out of their time and hard work. While this band can shred breakdown after breakdown any given day, the technicality and djenty nature of Distress shows that they are not the same band they once were, but rather a more evolved form of what they started so long ago.
WWU: I couldn't help but notice the two features on the EP are local to you. What's your relationship with the MN music scene like and how long have you been supporting other musicians in your area?
Kenny: We have been out of the game for almost 10 years, but all of us have still been doing our best to keep contact with the current music scene. Social networking has allowed us to stay in touch with a lot of people from the old days, while still being able to meet new people such as Max Zimmer (Tartarus) and Thomas Cross (Writhe). I've been supporting the local music scene since i was 15 years old and saw my first metal show (Nehemiah at the Triple Rock in Minneapolis).
Noah: Unfortunately, I think the best way to describe our relationship with our local scene is "estranged." obviously we've been gone a long time, so it was important to us to reach out to some friends who are kicking ass and collaborate with them as a way of trying to reintroduce ourselves to the scene. Thomas and Max, the vocalists from Write and Tartarus respectively, were super dope to come down and help us out and the experiences really made me look forward to sharing the stage with these guys soon.
WWU: How has the response for Distress been since its release? Was it more of a response than you were expecting after not releasing music for years?
Kenny: The response we have gotten has definitely exceeded my expectations. We have been lucky enough to hold on to a good amount of our fans from when we released Lights Out, while still gaining new fans every day.
Noah: I think by default, yeah, the response we've gotten has been bigger than we anticipated. I've kinda been looking at this not so much as a revival, and more or a reboot - a fresh start. I'm looking forward to getting out there and playing shows so that people can get to know us and our music if they like.
WWU: Any locals out of your neck of the woods that you would recommend people check out?
Noah: Another shout out to Writhe and Tartarus here, two extremely heavy bands from around here. We're lucky to be in an area with so many dope heavy bands. You should also check out Time Keeper, Inflict., By The Thousands, Terraform, Our Common Collapse. There's a ton of super talents bands out here.
WWU: Distress is such a powerful follow-up to your previous work. How much planning and overall time was taken to make this EP compared to Light's Out?
Kenny: Once Noah, myself, and Dusty (vocals) all got a chance to sit down together for the first time in what felt like a lifetime - We all knew that writing a new album was what we wanted to do. We played with the idea of just having some shows playing our old content, but ultimately decided that we needed to bring some new life to our band. We took our time in the writing process because we knew wanted everybody to hear that OSAS is more than just breakdowns and brutal vocals. We wanted to bring meaning to our band, and with Distress, i believe we accomplished that. The total time taken was roughly 11 months or so, which is probably double the time we spent on Lights Out.
Noah: Thank you! This EP took a solid 11 months between writing and recording, which was about 4x longer than it took to do Lights Out. I would like to think that the music reflects how much more time we put in.
WWU: Which bands would you pick for your dream show/tour for OS&S?
Kenny: That's a tough question! I'd have to go with The Acacia Strain, Traitors, and Bodysnatcher. Those bands all go so hard.
Noah: Shoot, so many to choose from, personally I would love to play a show with The Last Ten Seconds of Life, Car Bomb, And Bury Your Dead, I feel like that would be insane.
WWU: Do you have any advice to offer for someone who is just starting a band that you wish someone would have given to you?
Kenny: I'd say just to make sure you're passionate about the music you are making. Go out and show everybody how much you believe in your band's music and the rest will fall into place. Don't forget to promote yourself any chance you get! Nobody can listen to your music if they don't know it exists!
Noah: Hope you've got a stable income lol.
WWU: Who's idea was it to bring Of Salt & Swine back? Was it a unanimous "Let's get back into it!", or was it an idea you sat on for a while?
Kenny: I was getting tattoo'd by our vocalist Dusty at his shop in St.Paul at the time, and we were shooting the shit talking about old times and tour stories and what have you. I think that's really what sparked our revival because after that i decided to reach out to Noah and he was super receptive about the possibility of getting back together. One day we all decided to get hang out and talk about things. That's when we decided it's time to bring back this project that meant so much to ten years ago.
Noah: I'm pretty sure it was pretty unanimous between the three of us still in MN, enough time had passed without any of us playing live and that really started to suck. Playing shows is something we all miss very much.
WWU: Why return to things now? What's changed from OS&S in 2010 that wasn't present at the time?
Kenny: For me, it's just a love for music, man. When we disbanded back in 2013, I kind of strayed away from playing music in bands but the itch was always still there. I think our music has probably changed the most since 2010. While we still wanted to remain heavy and punishing, we also wanted to write something with more substance than just breakdown after breakdown. We tried to incorporate more influences and more sounds than you heard in Lights Out. I'm super happy with how it all turned out.
Noah: To be honest, I personally am in a much more stable spot in my life. Back then, I was functionally homeless and didn't have a job, so things in general were rough and I certainly wasn't able to push the band as hard as I wanted.
WWU: What were your biggest influences as a band when you started? Are those same influences still present in the new EP or has that list altered slightly?
Kenny: I think our influences back then was primarily The Acacia Strain. With Distress, we have flashes of super heavy stuff like that but we have incorporated more flavors of metal. Our tastes have evolved over the years and i think thats clear when you listen to the difference between Lights Out and Distress.
Noah: I would definitely say things have changed. We're still super into beatdown type stuff, but my tastes have shifted to more of the Djenty sound, and I think some pretty clear moments influenced by that exist on the new EP.
WWU: What was it like to reunite after so long? Was there a different vibe in the practice space/studio that wasn't present before taking a break?
Kenny: No, it was pretty much the same as it used to be - minus all the partying. It's been a pretty great experience working with these dudes again. At times it felt like we hadn't skipped a beat.
Noah: It was easy to be honest. That's one of the nice things about self producing, we weren't ever being rushed to finish stuff so it all came about pretty naturally. I'd write an idea at my house, send off a demo version of it to the guys to see what they think, and rinse then repeat until the album was done.
Thank you so much to Noah and Kenny for their time and a big congratulations on the comeback from us here at WWU! Distress is available now so make sure you check it out and purchase a copy to support OSAS.