Omar Waqar
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Omar Waqar

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | INDIE

Washington, D.C., Washington, D.C., United States | INDIE
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Jun
20
Omar Waqar @ Band Together Fest 2007

Damascus, Maryland, USA

Damascus, Maryland, USA

May
20
Omar Waqar @ The Mean Fiddler

New York, New York, USA

New York, New York, USA

Apr
12
Omar Waqar @ The Velvet Lounge

Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Washington, District of Columbia, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


Washington City Paper's superficially revealing inquiry into the musical mind.

The classic power trio is classic for a reason. But lest you think the format is moribund, turn those weary ears toward DIACRITICAL and be reborn. The menage-a-rock Omar Waqar (guitar/vocals), Jason Bomani (bass), and Dan Rosenthal (drums) have found a way to make the concept fresh, and one unexpected way is by adding a touch of MLK. Few others would dare include "I Have a Dream" to the mix, but we are confident that the track "Ignorance" does the dude proud. Listen to the sounds on purevolume and myspace, where the band asks you to "download/bootleg our stuff." And catch Diacritical at the Montgomery College Planetarium this Saturday, Dec. 17.



What equipment do you use and what's your favorite smoke?

OMAR: Rigs: Rivera Quiana 212 combo amp, Fender '72 thinline Tele, pedal board (Boss DD-6 delay, MXR Phase 100, Electro-Harmonix micro synth,) Ampeg bass head and cab, Fender five-string jazz bass. Roland Sp808 EX sampler, and a bunch of random instruments (Vibra-slap, melodica, sitar, harmonium, djembe, etc.)

I smoke Marlboro Lights but in no way endorse them. Smoking is bad, and I think Marlboro should pay me to quit.



What kind of drums do you play and what pets do you own?



OMAR: Dan uses a custom DW kit. Sometimes we use a Gretsch Catalina for smaller shows. It's got an 18-inch bass drum, to give you an idea of size. I think we have like four drumsets. A bit overkill, but everyone in the band had a kit when we joined. So if your band is drumsetless, HA! HA! I SAY!

None of us have pets currently, but I had a dog once. His name was Grand Master Flash. I loved him very much, but he ran away—thanks for reminding me. Jerk.



What's your favorite D.C. hangout and your favorite automobile?



OMAR: I like Commonshare, Galaxy Hut, Dr. Dremo's, or any good hookah bar.

I don't really care as long as it runs on sunshine and rainbows. Gas prices suck.


What's the worst place you've crashed and your worst haircut?

OMAR: One time, I slept under this bridge by the Metro tracks and this homeless guy kept rubbing my leg.

I just chopped all my hair off and everyone in the band says I look emo. But I don't wanna look emo! Waaaaaaa! Wait! Does crying make me emo?


Worst roommate and best audience?


OMAR: Worst roommate would have to be that homeless guy under the bridge—eww, creepy.

I like the crowd at the Velvet Lounge. They rock and roll sweet Suzie. Oh, Tina and the butt friends.


Explain your band name and define your sound.



OMAR: Diacritical literally means capable of distinguishing. But most people are familiar with the term "diacritical mark." A diacritical mark or diacritic, sometimes called an accent mark, is a mark added to a letter to alter a word's pronunciation or to distinguish between similar words. So if you think of us as a musical diacritic, we are altering the pronunciation of your mind. Wow, we really need to come up with an easier explanation.

If we combined all the aspects of our music to come up with a term to describe it, it would be: "Ethno-Punk-Funk-Fusion." So the idealism and raw-passion of punk, with some of the sound. Groove and slap from funk. Ethnic sounds from all of our backgrounds (Indo-Pak, African, Middle-Eastern), but within a rock context. Fusion of all these styles and influence of jazz-fusion artists, as well. Most people hear all these sounds and automatically think "world music." Imagine an abstract ambient recording style with different ethnic sounds blending songs together. Then imagine them flowing into aggressive rock, where the songwriting is based on political issues and the human condition.


What are your influences and worst equipment experience?


OMAR: We all have pretty different influences, but I think we really just vibe off lots of stuff and influence each other.

Dan is Mister Indie-Rock. He's into Fugazi, Q and Not U, Jawbox, and the like. Jason is into jazz, like Jaco Pastorius and alterna-rock like 311. I'm all over the place—Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Bob Marley, Nirvana, Ravi Shankar, and Björk.

I think we have learned from our past. We all have decent equipment now, so not too many problems. But one show I kept getting shocked in the mouth by the mike. That was kinda annoying.


What are your songs about and what's your favorite drink?


OMAR: I write about all aspects of being human. From love to war, to political issues and race relations. Outrage, protest, alienation, hope, fear, spirituality—I'm heavily influenced by Eastern philosophy. I just think there should be some content to lyrics. I just hate hearing the same lame song over and over again, so I try a little harder.

I think we are all beer drinkers. I like Guinness myself—who cares what the other guys like, it's all about Guinness!


What's your favorite tour memory and worst band squabble?


OMAR: One time we were eating at this diner, and I asked this guy if I could have some more coffee, and he said, "No." That was it, straight-faced, no reason, just, "No." I think he didn't speak English. Or was a complete doodie-head.

We don't really fight, we just make fun of each other constantly, and Dan humps everyone. I call it "my own brand of torment."


What's your transpo and what's the worst place you've ever dropped trou?


OMAR: Ford Econoline E150 with the hightop and a dented-up front end. (I tried to drive through a parking meter.)

I dropped a deuce in the dark, in a porta-jon on Halloween in the middle of an impound lot. That was scary.


What are your current projects and political thoughts?


OMAR: We are working on our first full-length (send us money!), and playing lots of shows.

George W. Bush is a jackass; Politicians are all full of shit. The system is designed to make the rich richer and keep the poor poor. Healthcare should be free, stop human trafficking, promote workers' rights, the drug war is bogus, save the rain forest, fight the power! No one is free while others are oppressed. STOP THE VIOLENCE!
- Washington City Paper


By Sunshine The Werewolf

BAND:Diacritical

SONG: Wed-Thurs (Demo 2005)

CREATIVITY:
There is a definite uniqueness to the sound. Sure there are influences... But this is a work of it's own.
Almost sound emo-ish at first but that passed quickly

SKILL:
Everyone is holding down their end with confidence. Bass is the standout instrument for sure. Nice Groove. Both Drums and Guitars had their moments but for the most part quite laid back. Vocals flow nicely and have a hint of rap metal... It's not not cheesy like limp bizkit but sincere like Downset or old-Candiria.

PRODUCTION:
Like it says a Demo... But quite for a demo

SONG WRITING:
Great song. Has it's Funk and It's Rock and touches of hip-hop. Nice changes throughout the song with an amazing ending twist.

CREATIVITY: 25 / 30
SKILL: 23 / 25
PRODUCTION: 11 / 15
SONG WRITING: 24 / 30

OVERALL: - 83%-



SONG: Poetry


CREATIVITY:
This is great... Reminds of what Incubus would sound like if they stayed with their original focus. I like the shifts and changes throughout the song.. from Funk to Punk/Metal to Free Style Jazz, to Prog-Rock. Good work.

SKILL:
The break down at 1:50 had my ears on edge... Fucking Amazing. I like the angle that your guitar and drum work is aimed to compliment the bass playing. So many bands over shadow the bass.

PRODUCTION:
Like I said above good for a demo. Good job keeping the bass up in the Mix

SONG WRITING:
Another fantastic track... Refreshing. As a band cohesively, you all clearly understand your musical direction. Keep the focus you guys can only grow stronger.


CREATIVITY: 27 / 30
SKILL: 23 / 25
PRODUCTION: 12 / 15
SONG WRITING: 26 / 30

OVERALL: - 88%-
_________________
- Purevolume (Unborn media)


http://www.ontaponline.com/view_article.php?article_id=10142 - On TAP MAGAZINE


Q. Who are you and what do you do in the band?

Jason- I'm Jason, he's Omar. Bass and Guitar/Vox, respectively.
Omar- Why'd you write it like that? Couldnt you have just said, Jason plays bass and I play guitar?
Jason- Well I already wrote it this way, so shut up.


Q. How did the name Diacritical come about?

J- Uhh, Omar..?
O- Um..I dont know, my mom is a linguist and she used the term a lot. So I guess, uhh, I thought it would be a good band name, and it wasnt taken....and the aliens.
J- ...the fuck?

Q. What are some of your goals for the band in 2006 and beyond?

J- I'd say to get better recognized, record the full length, and maybe a east coast tour. Yea, that would be sweet.
O- ..it's "an east coast tour"
J- ..yea, you're also a jerkface.
O- Betta reco'nize, ha!

Q. Who would you say is one of your biggest influences both musically and non-musical?

J- Musically, I'd say..Jaco and Marcus Miller musically. Non-Musically, I'd say..
O- You said musically twice..My musical influences are mostly people who have substance. And cats who fight the power, and so forth. Next question..


Q. If you could be anyone in world history, besides yourself, who would you be? Why?

J- I wouldnt, that would change the course of history. Imagine Ghandi running around India spouting jibberish instead of non-violent resistance.
O- If I could be anyone in history? I'd be...Amir Khusrau. He invented Indian Classical music as we know it today.

Q. What bands are you listening these days?

J- Mahavishnu Orchestra, Tony Williams, Stanley Clarke, and always Jaco.
O- Circa Survive, At the Drive-In, and random bands from Dischord Records
J- OO, Faraquet and The Medications. Two great Dischord bands.

Q. Is there anything else you'd like to tell us about Diacritical?

O- We just want to bring back music that allows people to think. Making it ok for artists to be artists, not having to worry about selling records, over being creative. Yes, me lion.
J- Wordem Up, G.
- The Audio Nut (J Sohn)


Band name: Diacritical
Location (city/state): Alexandria, VA
myspace: www.myspace.com/diacritical

How long has band been active: 4 Years
Where do you buy your band gear/equipment:
_5__% online
_75__% store
_18__% used
__2_% other

Please Specify the top 3 places
You purchase band gear:
1. Alexandria Music Company
2. Guitar Center
3. Atomic Music

What influences your buying decisions
For band gear:
_1__% print advertising
_1__% Online advertising
_3__% reviews in magazines
_20__% word of mouth/peers
_75__% other: __Playing it Ourselves__


What is your favorite Guitar brand? Fender

What is your favorite venue to play at? Gallapagos Art Space (Brooklyn NYC)

What is your favorite section of Skratchmagazine.com? Probably the Live Reviews.
What size tee do you wear: __M____
- Skratch Magazine


Mentioned in the halal punkers article:

"...speaks to young South Asian Muslims who identify with both their faith and American culture, and yet feel welcomed by neither..."

"...There’s also the DC-based Fugazi sounding Diacritical..."

"...in addition to creating a space for angst-y rebellion they are giving a space for political and religious unity as well."
- Sepia Mutiny


(review of fort reno show)

Diacritical weren't bad. They had the misfortune to try out call and response lyrics on a crowd that wasn't large enough to overcome the PA even if they'd tried. It was a small early season Fort Reno crowd, and I'm not sure how well call and response ever goes over there -- people are busy eating picnic dinners and in general lounging on the grass

Posted by Cuff - Countersignature blog


I have to say coming across these guys was rude awakening. AMAZING musicians, material that I have to say is fresh and original. I cannot wait to see these guys live on our Local Live Thursday at TT Reynolds. Yes the DC scene may not be as vibrant as others, but I think its slowly starting to make a comback. With bands like Diacritical coming from our area, we're sure to get people paying attention to our scene.

Written by George at Elysium Productions on Locals Only Radio's Local Buzz. - Locals Only Radio


Discography

"Diacritical self titled" 2007

Produced by Don Zientara and Omar Waqar

The first fullength release by diacritical. Recorded at Inner Ear Studios in Arlington VA by Indie/Punk guru Don Zientara, who produced such artists as Q and not U, Black eyes, Fugazi, The Bad Brains, and the early demos for Dave Grohl (that would later hatch The Foo Fighters)

Anatomy of the early recordings:

"Armed with an Acoustic" 2002 (originally released under the name Pitras)

Produced by Omar Waqar

This was the birth of what would later become Diacritical. It featured acoustic versions of many of the songs now associated with Diacritical (Ignorance, Wednesday/Thursday, My Dark Sunglasses, Disenchanted etc.). It was recorded live in Omar's mother's garage, and also featured live tracks recorded at the Grog and Tankard in Georgetown DC.

"Ghost man on third Demo" 2003 (released under the name Ghost man on third)

Produced by Miskut Wiggins

This was a three song demo produced by long time friends Miskut Wiggins and Omar Waqar. This demo featured an early lineup that included JD on drums and Brandon on bass (Brandon would later go on to play guitar in DC punk band The Screws). The demo included Early versions of "Poetry", "Envy" and a song called "Static". Though this incarnation of the band didn't last and the demo was never released, Producer/Engineer Miskut would later join the band.

"Where the flood was/ Rock for Jon doe" 2004

Produced by Omar Waqar and Chris Clover

This was the first thing ever recorded under the name Diacritical. It featured Chris Clover on drums/percussion and Omar Waqar on guitar/vocals and a variety of other sounds such as piano, mandola, samples from live TV broadcast, as well as some random ambient sounds. The first half "Where the flood was" featured a few songs that had been recorded on other demos but was mostly made up of a series of improvised songs, and noise. The recording took place in the basement of a music store that had recently been ravaged by a flood thus spawning the title. The second half "Rock for Jon doe" was recorded a few weeks later in the same basement but featured all improvised songs and was named after a drifter who slept in the alley outside of the basement. Though only released briefly as mp3 the album has some stand out tracks like "Fortune cookie", "I've been longing for" and an early version of "My Dark Sunglasses".

"Diacritical Demo" 2005

Produced by Manoj Aldasani and Omar Waqar

This Three song demo was recorded in a two bedroom apartment in Fairfax Virginia. It would go on to become the official diacritical demo. It featured the songs "Ignorance", "Wednesday/Thursday", and "Poetry". This would be the first recording featuring bassist Jason Bomani and drummer Dan Rosenthal, who would later appear on the self titled Diacritical full length.

"Live at The Velvet Lounge 1&2" 2006

Produced by Rob Curtis

This was a collection of live recordings from The Velvet Lounge in Washington DC. It features many of the songs on the full length as well as some random onstage banter between the band members. It's a great glimpse into what the bands live shows sounded like at the time. It was produced by resident soundman Rob Curtis.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Diacritical is the idealism and raw-passion of punk, with groove and slap from funk, along with ethnic sounds from all of our backgrounds (Indo-Pak, Eastern Africa, Mezo-American) but within a rock context.

An album update: We plan to tour in late FEB 2007 to promote the upcoming independant release. Sample tracks are up for your listening pleasure.

The History of Diacritical

Diacritical was officially formed in 2004 by Guitarist/ Vocalist, Omar Waqar. Though early incarnations of the band had existed before, playing and recording under a few other names with different members, In 2005 the band settled on the lineup: Jason Bomani on Bass, Dan Rosenthal on drums and Omar on vocals/guitar.
In 2004 Jason and Omar where both studying music with renowned jazz bassist Bill Kratz and it was Bill who suggested to Omar that Jason would be a great addition to the project that he was trying to form. Omar let Jason hear some of the recordings that he had been working on and talked to him about his dream of starting a politically charged band that was punk at heart but had elements of funk, hip hop, metal, jazz and different types of ethnic music. The two got together with drummer Chris Clover, who Omar had played with in a few projects and Diacritical was born. Shortly after their first show Chris would leave the band and drummer Dan Rosenthal would join. Dan was regular in the DC indie/punk scene and responded to an ad the guys had posted on local internet forum Pheer.com.

In early 2005 the guys hooked up with Manoj Aldasani to record the official diacritical demo. The demo, which was recorded in a two bedroom apartment in Fairfax, VA, finally gave the band a product they could be proud of. Omar had recorded many previous demos and had never felt satisfied with the sound, but this demo was something, he thought represented the band well. Following the demo release, the band played many shows around DC, venturing into the world of club shows, but also playing many fundraising events for various causes. Also recorded, were a few live performances at local DC spot, The Velvet Lounge and were released as mp3 only.

While in the process of finalizing songs that would later become their first album release, the band recorded with students at Omega studios in Rockville, Md. However, the band decided they wanted to work with a producer and met with Don Zientara of Inner Ear Studios. Don, who produced such artists as Q and not U, Black eyes, Fugazi, The Bad Brains, and the early demos for Dave Grohl (that would later hatch The Foo Fighters), was very interested in where the band wanted to go and they began recording the full length album in August of 2006.

Omar had been studying Indian classical music with Ustad Hamid Hossain and expressed to him how he would love to have Tablas (an Indian percussion instrument) featured on the record. He suggested having his son, Enayet Hossain, who played with some of the greats of Indian classical music such as, Vilayat Khan and Shujaat Khan. Enayet was greatly intrigued by the idea of mixing tabla with non-traditional music and accepted the offer to work with Diacritical.

In the months that followed, drummer Dan Rosenthal received an offer to move to Canada where he could pursue his doctorate degree. He agreed to finish the recording, already in progress before his departure. Miskut Wiggins, long time friend of Omar and producer of an early Diacritical demo, had been helping out with sound and production on the full length, when the idea of him joining the band came about. He had already worked with some of the material as well as being key to the growth of the band, however, Dan’s departure, leaving the band with no drummer, was the real problem the band was facing and in the late summer of 2006, Omar came back into contact with Chris Clover. Chris had played drums with Omar on earlier demos, but was forced to leave the band due to personal matters. Chris was more than happy to work with Diacritical again, and still remembered most of the material. The timing couldn’t have been better, Chris was already good friends with Jason Bomani, Omar Waqar, and Miskut Wiggins, and was looking to jump back into the music scene right at that time.