Noriega – Brandon Gillichbauer (bass), Jackson Thompson (drums)

Recently, Alex Gilbert at SMNnews got the chance to chat with Brandon Gillichbauer and Jackson Thompson of Southern Cali upstart metal band, NORIEGA.  Featuring members of Black Sheep Wall, who’ve made quite the buzz throughout the underground metal scene, NORIEGA comes with that same power and unique twist.  Their Viable Records debut, Desolo, comes out December 8th, and is bound to create some hype.  Join us after the jump as we get an in depth look into things.  NORIEGA is the next beast to emerge – get into it!

NORIEGA promo pic

Right now you’ve got one song, “Life By Myself”, up on MySpace, and the song is a beast! What are your excitement levels towards getting the rest of your debut CD, Desolo, exposed?

Brandon (Bass): We are all ecstatic to have the finished product in hand and can’t wait to get the music exposed. We have had this material written for some time now and can finally proceed with the project now that this CD has been pressed and is ready to be released.

Jackson (Drums): We’re super excited! While I really like the track “Life by Myself”, a listener definitely needs to hear all of Desolo to hear what we’re all about and everything we’ve got to offer. I really like to hear what people have to say about the music, good or bad, because it lets us know the points we successfully got across, and things to work on. Judging your own music is hard because you know everything about it. I’m interested to know how people feel with a more fresh and unbiased perspective, as their context to the music is drastically different.

I’ve heard the rest of the album, and it sounds great for the duration? What are some of your favorite songs off of Desolo, or is it more of the whole package deal? Also, what are some of your favorites to play live?

Brandon: Desolo is definitely a package deal, although I feel that the last track “Ballocaust” really stands out and is my personal favorite. To me the last seven minutes of the album achieves a level of desperation that, accompanied by the songs that prelude it, provides for a very rewarding payoff. I can’t say however that I have a favorite to play live considering our first show won’t be until December 5th, but I will say that we have some surprises planned for our live shows and we will not just be playing the EP front to back.

Jackson: Desolo is definitely a whole package deal, but my favorite song is definitely Ballacaust. The first time I listened through the whole ep, the end of Ballacaust scared me on a personal level, and it was my own music! We’ve yet to play a show, so I can’t say which is my favorite to play live, but I will say we plan on being an unpredictable live band. We don’t want it to be the same every time, but create an experience that isn’t just a representation of music on a particular collection, but a reminder that music is entertainment, and we plan to stress this through variety.

Featuring members of Black Sheep Wall, the band really made their mark, bringing a ton of power into the Southern California scene. Looks like NORIEGA definitely has that potential, too. With experience in the business, what are some of the key things you’re look to accomplish as a band?

Brandon: To write some music with 3 of my best friends, and to have a damn good time doing it.

Jackson: I’d love to sound like some type of veteran to heavy music, but the truth is, we’re still figuring out what works and what doesn’t, as well as figuring out what exactly we’re capable of. This band is a form of therapy for me, and a chance to be creative with an odd bunch of 4 dudes that I really enjoy.

Taking a deeper look into Desolo, I love how you guys relate real life situations with the music. When spreading the message, how does it feel to let your voice be heard, and see the kids moving around? A job well done?

Brandon: I’ll let you know if I see them.

Jackson: I suppose I have really mixed feelings on this issue. While I feel some sort of accomplishment of releasing an EP, and finishing something I started, there’s some sort of vulnerability that comes with doing so. I constantly ask myself how people will relate to the lyrics I’ve written, or the music we’ve written, and putting yourself out there for everyone to see can create a personal uneasiness.

Also, your debut, Desolo, is the first release on upstart label, Viable Records.  How does it feel to start something from the ground up (Noriega & Viable) in hopes to make the distance?

Brandon: It is great, you are not dealing with a major label that is out there to control you and market you so that they can make YOUR money. We are given the artistic freedom to make the kind of music we want, the way we want.

Jackson: It feels the way it should, Jordan’s awesome and we’re stoked to be working with him. He lets us do our thing and has a level of confidence in us that we’re all very appreciative of. We get a say in everything going on, unlike some things I’ve heard about working with bigger labels, even if we are on a much tighter budget.

Any chance for a limited edition Desolo vinyl to surface? That’d be awesome!

Brandon: We hope.

Jackson: You hipsters with your tapes and vinyl! Not that I know of… we’ll see.

Does NORIEGA have any touring plans in the works?

Brandon: We are currently in the works of setting up a 2-3 week tour set for sometime early to mid summer 2010.

Jackson: I talk to people about it all the time, it’ll happen soon enough.

Coming from Southern California (my favorite place I’ve been so far!), where are some of your favorite places to catch a show, grab a bite to eat, party it up, etc.?

Brandon: The New Beverly Cinema is definitely the place to be, with prono, grindhouses, and Rainbow Bright what more could you ask for?

Man, it’s too bad The Knitting Factory is shutting down.  It was such a fun place.  Any words for the venue that has helped feed the underground scene?

Brandon: It is definitely sad to see the Knitting Factory close its doors for the last time, it has been home to some many great bands and I can say I am honored to have had the chance to play on their stages.

Jackson: The Knitting Factory in Los Angeles is hands down my absolute favorite venue. I’ve had countless great experiences there, and seen so many of my favorite bands. The last show I attended there was Thursday with Far and Touche Amore, and Thursday played all the way through my favorite album, War All the Time. I’ve gotten to share the stage with some of my favorite bands there including Converge and The Red Chord. Needless to say, it’s a place I’ll never forget.

Here’s a fun and tricky question. If you were to organize a dream tour, who would be on it? Feel free to name a full scale festival if you wish.

Brandon: White Zombie would open (none of this Rob Zombie BS), SUNNO))) would play second, and Wu-Tang would headline.

Jackson: Ok, let’s do a festival. The artists would include Jonas Brothers, Lady Gaga, and Miley Cyrus. Joaquin Phoenix could do his hop thing somewhere in there. Manowar would headline. Brokencyde could be a special guest. Disney would sponsor it so we would all dress up in Looney Tunes costumes. Oh yeah, I met this band in Salt Lake City called Ritual Fuck. They could play too just for having an awesome name.

Time for back to back fun and tricky questions. What are some of your guiltiest pleasures that one wouldn’t expect to see on your iPod?

Brandon: That would probably have to be Fiona Apple or Phantom Planet.

Jackson: Sum 41 baby, they’ve never let me down.

Desolo comes out December 8th, and the hype for the release should be great!  How does the future look for NORIEGA?  Any shout-outs?

Brandon: The future is looking quite well, we have an upcoming show with Eyehategod, one of my personal favorite bands, December 12th, and we are in the process of writing a full length to follow up Desolo which we are all very proud of and are excited to get out there.

Jackson: The future looks bright, I’m stoked! I don’t have any friends to give shout outs to.

NORIEGA Desolo admat

Label: Viable Records

By Alex Gilbert

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