Roadrunner Records has announced their latest signing — KHOMA (formerly KOMA).
Hailing from Umeå, a hotbed of Swedish talent (CULT OF LUNA, REFUSED, MESHUGGAH, (INTERNATIONAL) NOISE CONSPIRACY, etc.), KHOMA was born in 2002. Conceived from a fusion of the long established local hardcore scene and a more diverse, emotive pop scene, KHOMA has two faces. One that writes, rehearses, and records songs, and another that gathers to play live.
The core of KHOMA is always static — vocalist Jan Jämte, guitarist Johannes Persson, and Fredrik Kihlberg on guitar/piano — but the surrounding band members are a rolling collective of musicians. The band hail from varied musical backgrounds and all members still play in a number of different groups: CULT OF LUNA, THE PERISHERS, and the DEPORTEES, to name three. Accordingly, KHOMA began as a side project.
"We weren't even a real band, merely a project filling a musical void, something we created because we felt a need to play together," explains Jan. "Since we had no real goals and no one expected anything, we also had nothing to lose. It was all about the music."
With no pressure and total creative freedom, the members wrote the music they personally wanted to hear. The result was a harsh, emotional, and intense mixture of sweeping melodies and roaring guitars.
"KHOMA is a breathing space where the different styles fuse," Jan elaborates. "We have a vision of creating heavy music that reflects more feelings than just sheer aggression. Sometimes whispering can be more powerful than screaming."
A few months in, things were beginning to take off for the band. A limited 1,000-disc run of debut album, "Tsunami", was released and quickly sold out. It was reprinted and quickly sold out again. The band was taken by surprise by the phenomenal response and signed with a management company to enable them to keep focusing on the music, rather than the business.
Without having signed a record deal, KHOMA started to work on the follow-up to "Tsunami". It soon became obvious that they had to do something about the line-up.
Since members often were scattered around the globe it was almost impossible to play live. KHOMA decided to create two faces: "Of course it's sad," says Fredrik. "It would be better if we could all stick together but it's impossible. In a way KHOMA was not meant to be, and we've had to adjust ourselves to that situation. Our main concern has always been about writing music. KHOMA is the creative process, our collective effort."
Besides playing music, the members of KHOMA are political animals. This reflects back on KHOMA in the member's words and actions. They all hold strong views on issues and ideologies spanning from anarchism, feminism and socialism to animal and environmental rights. This doesn't mean they are aiming to be "the new political rock band" or wear their political beliefs on their sleeves. It is purely something about who they are, what they believe in and what they stand for.
In creating their most recent music, the band have broadened their perspective and introduced new elements most notably cello and piano.
"I don't think that we have any limitations when it comes to 'do´s and don'ts' in our songs," comments Jan. "We just don't think about music in that way. Too many bands are stuck, sounding like something straight out of a production line. That's not why we play music. KHOMA is still a way of expressing diversity, not limiting us to just anger, depression or happiness. We're diverse as people. We want to be free. Our music should incorporate all of that.
"For us it's all about freedom and quality of life," says Jan. "KHOMA is not something that we've started to 'make it,' to sell thousands of records or to become icons. We just want to write and play this music and in order for us to do that we have to feel free, both personally and creatively. The plan is still the same. It hasn't changed."
KHOMA have an epic sound of their own. Look for an album release in April 2006.