Interview With Andrew Schwab of Project 86

During the weekend of March 1st and 2nd I had the opportunity to attend OMNIFest in Nashville, TN and experience the OMNIVerse come to life. Due to an eventful and unforeseen situation during night two things didn’t line up to conduct my interview with front man, Andrew Schwab, so we took a less conventional route via email. The following is our conversation.

Phil Hawkins: First of all I would like to express that I am a big fan of yours (Project 86’s) collective work over the past [almost] 30 years. Been a fan since the self-titled album and was instantly hooked. It has been a real joy to watch your career from then until now and seeing how the band’s sound has grown and continually evolved and I am really digging this new direction with OMNI.

Andrew Schwab: Thank you so much! This is the music I always wanted to make. It took awhile, but better late than never! As I have told many folks along the way, P86 started out as more of a post-hardcore project, but we evolved into more of a rock band and settled there for many records. No regrets, of course, but the more time went on, the more I developed a hunger to do something heavier and darker. This album was so satisfying to make, and I can’t wait to tackle more in the very near future.

PH: Friday night (Day 1 of OMNIFest) was really something special. Hearing classic tracks stripped down and somewhat reinvented provided a bit of a fresh take on songs that long time fans have come to know and love. Seeing how well received this was by the audience, have you given any thought to any other tracks that you would have liked to have done in the same vein or maybe even try to do something similar in the future, whether that be in a live setting or a studio recording?

AS: Thanks so much for the kind words on this. It was a strange feeling reinterpreting the songs in that way. Although it was uncomfortable, it was cool to see the audience enjoy this setting so much. Truly, it was fun to just have a packed room of people who had so much excitement for all things P86. I can’t say that we will be doing this type of thing again, soon, but you never know!

PH: Keeping in the realm of different sounds, have you ever considered doing anything additional with London Six Echo or has that ship sailed?

AS: I mean, I love electronic music, and I certainly am open to it. Things just keep staying busy with P86, and there is only so much time. I circle back to the desire to make some new songs, then something always seems to pop up to divert my attention back to my “main” project. That is really the only reason why I haven’t made more music for LsxE. I can’t promise anything, but I would love to circle back to this at some point!

PH: Saturday night (OMNIFest Day 2) was a very special evening as well. Even with the power on the whole block going out about 3/4 through the set. Personally, I found some slight humor in this as I saw Project 86 live back in like 2005 after the release of …And The Rest Will Follow. You guys were playing Rockettown and opened with “Sincerely, Ichabod.” However, you guys managed to trip a breaker twice before being able to get things going full steam. This weekend you were running off of a generator for the stage though so the power outage didn’t effect things on that front. Was the use of a generator something that you guys do commonly or was this something that was necessary with the venue?

AS: What a weird thing to have happen in the middle of this show, right? It almost seemed to add to the experience, didn’t it? People won’t soon forget it, and I love the fact that some think it was the band that caused it.

There is a story behind the generator. It is definitely not something we typically use. The Mockingbird is a super cool venue, but it is very old and in dire need of a some updates, including the power tie-in. We actually weren’t planning on renting a generator, but we had to because the power situation was inadequate. Our crew was actually a bit frustrated by this, but it sure did end up being a godsend. Without that generator, both the livestream and the show would have been lost.

PH: Getting to see the world of OMNI come to life in the live setting and helping to usher in the next chapter of the P86 legacy was truly unique. You’ve already elaborated that this is not the “end” but simply a rebirth or rebranding of sorts from Project 86 to P86:OMNI. With that being said, and there being a distinct line between the two, what are you most proud of that Project 86 has accomplished during its tenure?

AS: Project 86 came up during a time in music when there were so few bands. So, it was special to just tell people we were doing it for real. And the fact that we were able to build it into a full time career, sign to a major, and tour with so many other well-known bands was very exciting. What I am most proud of, though, is that we became known for having our own, unique sound. Record sales, touring, and any accolades aside, to have people repeat that fact over the years is very special to me.

PH: With the rebranding to P86: OMNI and the musical direction being much heavier are there things you are hoping to accomplish that might not have been as tangible in the past?

AS: It would be amazing to share the stage with bands that fall a bit more into the metal category, or to even play some of the more recognized heavy music festivals. As I said, Project became known as a hard rock band, but P86:OMNI is definitely more of aggressive. It definitely opens a whole new realm of possibilities!

PH: In the essence of “What’s Next” are there any solid tour plans for the coming year? Anything that can be shared or something we should be keeping an eye out for an announcement?

AS: We have had some offers and conversations about a few different opportunities, but for now we are working on confirming more headlining spot dates. Touring is a possibility, but it has to be the right situation. Once we have something solid in place, we will definitely announce it, but as of now there isn’t anything firm.

PH: Any bands that you would like to tour with (whether you’ve toured with before or bands that you’ve yet to share that opportunity with)?

AS: Health. Humanity’s Last Breath. Vildhjarta.

PH: To wrap things up, obviously, OMNI, Part 2 is still quite new but are there any elements, themes and/or ideas brewing already for what might come next in the OMNIVerse?

AS: There is a part 3 in the works where I want to examine the events referenced in part 1 (the rise of the OMNI Corporation to the status of one-world government) from the perspective of those who would resist it. While the lyrics of Parts 1 and 2 are told through the eyes of OMNI, it presents a strange conflict of interest to both myself and the audience to sing along to those songs. The next installment will give everyone what they have been wanting: anthemic chants of resistance. I think that will spark some excitement in the fan base once they hear about this!

PH: It’s been great chatting, and thanks again for taking the time out of your schedule to do this. Looking forward to seeing and hearing what else is coming in the future from P86 OMNI.

AS: Thank you, Phil!!!

You can check out Tuned Up’s full coverage of OMNIFest here and our reviews of OMNI, Part 1 here and OMNI, Part 2 here.

You can connect with P86: OMNI on social media via Facebook, Instagram and X (Twitter).

Cover Photo Credit: @kattydanger

Check out these related articles:


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *