In Interview: Tristan Omand

In Interview: Tristan Omand

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by Danielle Holian

How and when did you get into music?
It began as a general fascination with sound, and a determination somewhere deep inside that told me that I was a guitar player. I began playing at age nine and have never stopped.

Who or what are your influences?

Hank Williams, John Prine, Tom Waits, Dylan, Neil Young, and authors such as Steinbeck, Bukowski, Robert Frost. Every day people I meet or talk to or observe inspire me to write as well.

Why did you choose Americana as your genre?

I started out playing in bands and always thought that was my outlet for music. Throughout that strange journey, I always wrote songs at home on my acoustic guitar. I grew up with Neil Young and Springsteen playing in the house, and somewhere along the line discovered the beauty of Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie and became fascinated. I realized that if I was a solo performer, there were endless possibilities. Haven’t looked back since. I love what I do.

Who or what inspires you when creating a song?

Everyday people I meet on the road or back home. Situations that I observe, or stories that I dream up. Usually, it starts with a scrap or a shred of an idea. I just roll with it, and if the feeling is right, then I end up with a new tune.

Can you describe your music-making process?

It’s quite simple, really. I always have kept pocket notebooks and pens on me at all times, and when I think of an idea, I write it down so it doesn’t escape. I play guitar everyday, and am always thinking about songwriting, even if I am not completely busy with writing. It usually begins with the lyrics, and then I set the music to it with my trusty old Yamaha SJ-180 acoustic. It’s got my initials carved in the head stock.

How has your music evolved since you began?

It’s evolved quite a bit. I began when I was around 10 years old in bands, and we were mainly influenced by punk rock like The Ramones, and 90’s stuff like Nirvana. My formative years were in the 90’s. I’m 29 now, and I began at age 9 on acoustic guitar, and it has come full circle since then because the acoustic is my primary instrument now. My early songs didn’t have much direction, because I was learning by doing. Now I have evolved into writing descriptive story songs. I’m a self-educator of sorts and tend to really study records or books that I am into, and I think that shows.

Where can someone view your music?

You can order LP’s and CD’s direct from www.tristanomand.com, and I also am on iTunes, Amazon, Pandora, and all that. I also have a YouTube channel with a new music video – www.youtube.com/tristanomand.

You’re currently on tour, do you have any good tour stories?

The tour has been going great. I have been out here about 20 days now, and have met a lot of interesting people and have seen a lot of things, even though I have stayed pretty tight to the eastern US. Nothing too out of the ordinary on this tour. I’ve slept in a handful of Walmart parking lots in my truck that I tour in, and have been pretty fortunate to stay with a lot of great people as well. No real crazy stories to report!

What has been a highlight for you so far?

A highlight of the tour is when I stopped by an open mike in Frederick, Maryland and got to see an 86 year old piedmont blues musician perform. He was amazing. I also got to see Possessed By Paul James perform at the venue I played at in West Virginia, which was a very inspiring experience. Truly awesome performer, and a very sweet human being. I also had several moments on stage for this tour, where I went places with my songs I had never been before. Like a natural high. Just being out and playing every night, exploring the songs from every angle. It reminded me why I am so in love with music, and will be performing and writing until I am an old man. You’ll have to pry the guitar out of my cold, dead hands!

Any last words?

Yes, I want to tour through Ireland someday in the near future! Thank you for asking me about my music. Cheers!