DISCOVER | KOMA – Belfast, Northern Ireland.13th December 2023 0 By Quinccy
Today on DISCOVER, I was joined by KOMA. KOMA are a five piece metal band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Current members of KOMA include Niall Graham (vocals), James Millikan (guitar/vocals), J.D Walls (guitar), Darren “Fling” Flemming (bass/vocals) and Ellis Robinson (drums). We talk about pickled eels, cutting edge metalcore and plans for 2024.
Thank you for your time this evening, let’s talk about the band name – KOMA. How did you guys decide on the name and where did it come from?
Ellis: Honestly the name has always been there. No idea where the origins of it come from. When the band was formed James had the idea of the name and it kind of just stuck.
When was the band formed and how did you guys meet?
Niall: The band was formed originally by Ellis and James pre covid. A couple of gigs were played and then covid happened and everyone took a break. A couple of members left and we solidified the current line up in early 2023. We all just met via musician classifieds but we’re really proud of this lineup now!
Covid seems to have the make or break for a lot of bands and has seemed to effect the music scene drastically. So it’s nice to see you’ve made it through – and even more so better if you’re proud of the line up! Could you tell me a funny fact about each of the members and the role they play within the band?
Niall: Sure. I sing and I hate heights but also being really low to the ground. Jay plays guitars and he loves Eels on Soda bread. Fling plays bass and he has the longest beard in portadown. Ellis plays drums and has the most fluent northern Irish of anyone in England and James plays guitar and was actually considered to play James Bond. Many call him the Ulster Idris Elba.
Eels on Soda bread? As in pickled eels?
Niall: Absolutely. Have you had them?
I can’t say I have, but that sounds horrible. Are Picked eels actually common in Ireland then?
Niall: Tell that to a Newry man and he’ll eat you for breakfast. From Wikipedia:The Irish Eel originated when St Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland and the clever ones hid underwater. Very common.
Well the more you know… I got us a bit side tracked there – back to KOMA, If you were to describe your band to someone who had never heard you before, what would you have too say?
Fling: Melodic metal with influences of metalcore.
Niall: We’re a melodic metal band for fans of Trivium, Sylosis and Alter Bridge. We try out ambition songwriting and explore metalcore, thrash and groove. Our main sonic features are groovy rhythms, intricate guitars and melodic vocal arrangements.
You mentioned above that you guys have been actively doing shows in the past. What can people expect when they see you live – are there any special surprises or anything that sets your show apart from others in your genre or similar music styles?
Niall: Basically we all come from different musical backgrounds but share a performance philosophy; that music is to be delivered with passion and technical authenticity. We have a tonne of fun on stage because we really believe in what we’re doing and we think that really gets people on board
100% agree with you there, if you can have fun – the crowds can have fun! So with your music, I have noticed you have a few singles recorded could you tell me how you guys approach creative process – is it collaborative effort or does one person usually take the lead?
Niall: In the singles we have, Fling and James have come up with initial ideas… Then as a band, the guys all write their own parts. Once we have a decent arrangement I then stick a vocal arrangement on top. All the while though we’re getting feedback off each other and refining. Then it finally gets demoed before going into the studio.
Fling: All collaborative though so everyone has their input.
Could you tell me which has been your favourite song to create and play live so far and why?
Niall: I’ve enjoyed ‘Even To Live Is An Act of Courage’ because it displays a little bit of everything we do plus it was nice to sing some really introspective lyrics.
Ellis: I enjoyed ‘dichotomy’ as it allowed me to lean on my pop punk influences more and put a slightly more out there intro together.
Fling: Mine is ‘dionysus and the vine’ seeing it developed from start to finish with just a couple of riffs to the song it is now.
Nice selection there! Whilst on the topic about playing live – What has been your most memorable shows played to date and for what reason?
Niall: Playing with Rosen Bridge in Belfast was really fun. It was great to see the cutting edge of UK metalcore in action.
Fling: For me, Toales in Dundalk great sound and it’s the first show for me doing backing vocals
Ellis: I second Niall’s answer there. Thought Rosen Bridge and where oceans burn were a class set of bands to be supporting
So we’re coming up to the end of the interview now, Just two more questions for you – one being more for a bit of fun!
With 2023 coming to and end now, what do you guys have planned for 2024?
Niall: We’ve just signed with Reaction Management which is really exciting. 2023 hasn’t really had any lows. We executed our plan of having a pitch ready in terms of a product to send to the likes of Reaction and just in the past month that has shown a result. Now Reaction will help us plan for 2024. The idea is to get a profile in the UK; release our singles to the UK market and a gigging campaign or two… We’d also like to thank magazines such as All about rock in helping us do that and we can’t wait to see you on the road.
Brilliant, sounds like you guys have some solid plans for 2024. If you’re ever across the water in the UK, We’ll have to check you guys out.
Thank you for your time tonight and I’ll leave you guys with a high note – a fun question. My closing question’s to you is in all honesty, what are some of your guilty pleasures that you are willing to admit?
Ellis: Does watching the house go horribly over budget on grand designs count?
Fling: Watching Star Trek on repeat
Niall: I love watching fitness YouTubers talk about how much protein they eat. “My first meal of the day”…I wonder what he’s having? That’s right; eggs again.
Artist: KOMA / Label: Unsigned / Genre: Metal
For Fans Of: Trivium, Alter Bridge, Sylosis, Killswitch Engage.