SD6 is the new project by the now defunct OMNIbOX front-man Brandon Jerwa. This project is currently produced by Tom Shear of Assemblage 23. Brandon is also expanding forming his own remix and production company Syn-Trade.
Chain D.L.K.: Wow, it’s nice to see that something of OMNIbOX still remains but let’s first cut to the chase. What can you tell us of the recent demise of that project, why didn’t it last and what happened to the other members, are any of them still in the industry?
SD6: Let me take a deep breath here, and I’ll begin the tale. I think the beginning of the end was in April of 2002, when the personal and financial matters between Mike Lewis and I came to a head, and he was fired from the band. That was really tough, because Mike started Omnibox with me, and we had even gone to high school together. In the end, though, something had to be done, because I was spending large amounts of money to keep the band going, and my fellow founding member was doing nothing. We also had a HUGE struggle with ADSR Musicwerks, our label. We started checking up on our progress, and we found some pretty glaring inconsistencies. We announced our departure in early summer, and they didn’t take it very well at all. Mike has been working sporadically with Aaron Hatfield, who was our keyboardist for a time. I still work with Aaron as well; he and I collaborated on three tracks for the new SD6 album. After Omnibox was disbanded, our drummer Fritter also quit Noxious Emotion and is now the tour manager for Assemblage 23, a job she is just AMAZING at. In fact, she may be doing some booking for us as well. Matt Sharifi is currently taking some time away from being in a busy band, and I think he’s enjoying it. I would imagine he won’t stay away from music too long, though. I chose to end the band because I was frustrated with the corner we had painted ourselves into, and the new material I’d been working on was sort of leaning in a different direction, anyway. It just made the most sense to start with a clean slate. I gave Matt and Fritter the option of staying with the new band, and they both declined. I think we were all ready to work on other things at that point.
Chain D.L.K.: OMNIbOX had a sort of story-line going. Since we cannot wait for the next episode can you finish the story for us? What was originally in the plans for these thematic releases?
SD6: The story isn’t over. I tried to approach the SD6 record without a theme, but as I got into the writing, it happened all over again. If you’ve heard “Alpha”, you’ll definitely see some ties to the SD6 album.
Chain D.L.K.: I notice you have Tom Shear of Assemblage 23 (love his work) working production for you on this project. How’d you pull that off and how did you guys hook up? How long have you known each other?
SD6: Omnibox opened for A23 in 2001 (I think). Soon after, we began corresponding with Tom, and when we heard he was moving to the Northwest, we immediately asked him to produce what was to be the next Omnibox album, and he accepted. In that time, Tom has become one of our very best friends. He and Megan come down for a visit about once a month, more often than not, and it’s just great. He’s been very patient with the ups and downs that have occurred, and he’s turning in some amazing work for SD6.
Chain D.L.K.: You state that SD6 is a return to melody, rhythm and strong songwriting. Define the difference we can expect from your previous project please and why the change?
SD6: Omnibox was, intentionally, a sort of garage-electro. We deliberately made “Alpha”sound rough and dirty, and it worked. SD6 is back to the core influences for me, and very electronic. There’s a guitar on one song, but it is subtle, and you’ll find my vocals (and Jessica’s) to be clean with lots of harmonies going on.
Chain D.L.K.: SD6 is also said to bring an emotionally-driven consciousness to the dance floor, tying itself to the soul as well as the body (as per your website). This sounds like something I may have written on my own website. How do you define this and what is the main drive behind doing it? It sounds like similar to the concept behind my own Latex Records project.
SD6: I prefer honesty in my lyrics. I write from experience, I write about things I know. I’ve never raised my sword and charged into battle, so I tend to write about relationships, beliefs, the human experience. I hope that my lyrics will bring comfort or clarity to someone who is experiencing the same kind of things that I’m writing about. That’s not to say that all music should reach out and stimulate you in any way other than just listening pleasure, but I’ll take music that makes me feel something over music that just sounds good any day.
Chain D.L.K.: What is the goal behind Syn-Trade and how did that come into being? I notice you have already produced some mixes for some rather large names in the scene such as Regenerator, Glis, and of course Assemblage 23.
SD6: Syn-Trade came about when MC Death and I were faced with the opportunity to remix the A23 song “Document”for the maxi-single. After we finished that mix, we decided to make a regular thing of it, and Syn-Trade was born. We have some other artists we’re mixing, but at the moment we’re sort of holding off on new business because of SD6’s recording and rehearsal schedule.
Chain D.L.K.: So who is Mr. Death and Black Borgia Studios?
SD6: MC Death is an old friend of ours here in Portland, and he started in this project solely as an engineer for the recordings. Soon enough, he began to contribute little bits musically, and that contribution grew with each new song. Now, we collaborate quite a bit when it comes to songwriting.
Chain D.L.K.: What is SD6’s relation to Jessica Blackshear? How did she end up in OMNIbOX and then as your main promoter/manager? She sounds like somebody would be good to know in this industry.
SD6: Jess is the best thing that ever happened to me, period. She started as a backup singer in Omnibox, but we soon realized that she had superb managerial skills, and we needed a manager far worse than we needed a back-up singer at that point. When I was putting together SD6, Jess was to be the manager, but she was really anxious for a chance to perform again, and I was anxious to have a female singer to work with. We’re now looking for someone that she can train as a manager, allowing us to focus solely on music.
Chain D.L.K.: What’s the deal with your Webmaster? Do you ever let him out of the basement?
SD6: It’s just like I tell Adam every time I visit him in the basement: “It puts the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the hose again. It does this whenever it’s told”. Next question.
Chain D.L.K.: SD6 looks to have all the marks of future promise and I for one definitely look forward to hearing more from and about the project. When will we be able to get a sampling of what’s to come and when is the first release slated to come out?
SD6: By the time you read this, a free MP3 of a song called “Fallen”will be available at www. sd6online. com and I encourage everyone to download it, burn it, copy it, and start handing out copies to friends, DJs, serial killers, Democrats, and space monkeys. I’m not going to give away all of my music, but I will make things available from time to time. I am currently in negotiation with a well-known European label, and I believe that SD6 will be putting out an album with that label. I hope so, at least.
Chain D.L.K.: You mention you plan on setting up a live crew to maintain the energy of live performance that OMNIbOX was known for. How do you plan on doing this and is there anyone on this team that we might already know of?
SD6: The live band consists of Jessica Blackshear and myself, but we’re actively seeking a third member. Our first show will be on March 14th at the Paris Theatre in Portland, Oregon. We’re playing with Dismantled, from Metropolis, and two great local acts, In Ruin and rising! man! incinerator.
Chain D.L.K.: With the team you’ve created and Tom Shear behind you I can’t wait to hear what’s in store and I’m sure many feel the same. What can you tell us about the long term future plans for SD6?
SD6: My plan, hopefully, will go like this: finish the album, “Strategies For Breathing, “by May, and have it out by July. Play as many shows as possible, perhaps even tour Europe. Start work on a new record by October and have it out by February.
Chain D.L.K.: Any last words, retorts, comments, or anything you want to say to fans and readers?
SD6: Yes! This year marks my debut as a comic book writer! I have written four issues of “GI JOE: FRONT LINE”for Devil’s Due/Image, and I am working hard to find more writing work. I have loved comic books since I was very young, and this is a dream come true. My GI Joe issues start in July with issue #11, so please pick them up at your local comic store.
Chain D.L.K.: Thanks much for this opportunity and we anxiously await what’s in store for you and your crew. Stay in the rhythm!
SD6: Thank you, TG!
Visit SD6 on the web at:
[interviewed by TG Mondalf] [proofreading by TG Mondalf]