Ominar is the project name of Tawnie Lucas, a Nova Scotia-based artist who recently released her second album, Transition Roads. You can read about the lead track on that album, titled “Candles”, right here. Smooth and effervescent, Ominar’s sound has shifted and grown over her two albums. I was given the opportunity to discuss the changes, as well as her influences, with Tawnie Lucas for a New Sick Music exclusive interview.
Kaitlin: Your first album, Isolation, was a darker, more — well — ominous sounding collection than we hear on Transition Roads, which plays with R&B vibes along with the dream pop roots. What influenced you to make that shift?
Ominar: When I was writing Isolation, I was aiming more towards writing dark electronic pop, along the lines of Crystal Castles. I thought it would be good to create songs that would fit into the EDM genre, but I found dance music didn’t come very naturally for me and the songs ended up slower and darker than most EDM. I liked how my album ‘Isolation’ turned out but I knew for my next album I had to write songs that were more true to me. I decided to write in tempos that seemed natural, and write lyrics that were much more personal. Overall it feels better writing music that is completely true to yourself. Dream pop seems to be the kind of music that naturally flows from me, I love creating layers of harmonizing vocals, synth and piano melodies, with an overall underlying darkness. While I was writing ‘Transition Roads’, I was listening to artists who all had some R&B influence, such as Lana Del Rey, The Weekend and Chet Faker. I love how R&B makes me feel, it has a certain confidence and sex appeal; I wanted my music to create similar feelings. A touch of R&B really seems to compliment the smoothness of the synth and beats I make.
Kaitlin: Do you know what direction you would like to move towards on your next album?
Ominar: I know that my next album will also be primarily dream pop, with a hint of R&B. I currently have 6 new songs on the go right now and I am very excited about them.
Kaitlin: There seems to be a deep connection between your art and Halifax. I noticed this especially in the video for “To the City”. How has Halifax and the community there influenced you as a musician?
Ominar: I live on the Dartmouth side and am constantly driving across the bridge to Halifax. I find driving over the bridge puts me in a very contemplative state. There’s something about driving across a large body of water that I find very beautiful. Halifax is where I go to see live music, to play shows and to see some of my friends. I have met musicians in Halifax who I find very inspiring. I love being around and knowing other musicians who share the same passion as me. As for style of music, I’ve always branched out a bit from what seems to be popular in Halifax. There is an electronic scene, but it’s limited and more so focused on DJs. It’s hard to find exactly where I fit in here.
Kaitlin: Your website states that you are planning to move to Toronto for album three. What do you think the move would bring to your art?
Ominar: I think moving to Toronto will bring me more opportunities. There will possibly be more venues suitable to my music, and more possible fans. Generally there’s a larger music and art scene there. I am very excited to meet more musicians and artists, and see some bands that I’ve always wanted to see live.
Kaitlin: You released an album, Fluorescent, before you adopted the name Ominar. What sparked the change to a new name?
Ominar: I started writing songs on acoustic guitar. I was very influenced by City and Colour, Tegan and Sara, and Elliott Smith. ‘Fluorescent’ was my first album. I loved how it turned out, but I wasn’t sure on my direction at that point. I liked playing acoustic songs by myself in my room, but for performing I found it too sad, lonely and possibly a bit too intimate.
I knew for my next music I wanted a band name just in case I had band members. I also liked the idea of having an alias and a band name that in a way describes the type of music I play. I’m glad that I found dream pop which I very much enjoy performing by myself; it’s very satisfying. I can have a full band sound while still being a solo artist.
Kaitlin: Your influences have such a large range! What bands and artists are you listening to right now?
Ominar: Lately I have been listening to ‘Bring Me The Horizon’, Olafur Arnalds, ‘La Dispute’, and ‘Daughter’. All very different genres, but I find them all inspiring; they draw deep emotion. I am influenced by almost all the music I listen to, whether it’s just for the pure feeling, the tempo, or lyrical style.
Kaitlin: Other than creating music, what do you fill your time with?
Ominar: Other than music I like to spend time with my family and friends, and I like to work on all sorts of art. I like to paint when I have the time, I find it very relaxing, and I like to make jewelry and other accessories. Lately I’ve been working on designs for t-shirts, I plan to release an Ominar clothing line in the new year to go along with my music. It’s fun to incorporate my art in with my music.
Kaitlin: I am very excited for your clothing line. As an independent self-producing artist, do you have any advice for other artists who hope to self-produce their work?
Ominar: My advice would be to not get discouraged when learning programs such as Ableton, Logic or any music platform. It takes time, but you can learn as you go. Take the time to watch some youtube tutorials and with every song you produce you’ll become more familiar and confident with the program.
Also for any self-producing artist just keep going, it is very rewarding being able to write and produce everything yourself, it is nice to have complete control over your creations.