Interview with Dato Tsomaia, Georgian Rock Star

Posted on September 24, 2013 by

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Through a Georgian friend I met Dato Tsomaia, the drummer from the popular band LOUDspeakers. The band has a new wave indie sound with deep, dark undertones. Think Interpol-meets-Joy Division. I wanted to find out his thoughts on the Tbilisi music scene.

Dato speaks English fluently and provided all the answers himself.

Interviewer: Please introduce yourself and your band.

My name is David Tsomaia, and I play drums in the band LOUDspeakers.

Why did you become a musician?

It is not easy to say why I became a musician. Maybe it is because of the influence of other musicians that I enjoyed from my childhood. They were definitely a big inspiration. But I also enjoying making music more than doing anything else.

What are your favorite groups and singers?

I have a lot of favorite bands and musicians of various kinds. My most influential band is Nirvana, particularly the singer Kurt Cobain. I also like Megadeth, The Offspring, Muse, Sepultura, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Black Sabbath, Depeche Mode, Pulp, The National, Tiamat, the Sex Pistols, the Ramones, and many more. I also like some Russian bands like Agata Kristi, DDT, Kino, Krematorii and many others. Then there are many Georgian bands, such as Outsider, Monoplane, Kairmorkhen, Nebo SSSR, Scratch The Floor, 69, Prizi, Tserili and more. My favorite musicians are John Bonham, Dave Grohl, and Flea. Actually, there are too many of them so I think its better not to list them all.

What are your favorite songs?

Nirvana – “Drain You”
Pulp – “Disco 2000”
Megadeth – “A tout la monde”
Iggy Pop – “Lust For Life”
Kino – “Pesnia Bez Slov”
Agata Kristi – “Hali Gali”
The National – “Conversation 16”
R.E.M. – “Leaving New York”
Paradise Lost – “Failure Forever”
Muse – “Time is Running Out”

Are you influenced by American and English bands?

Yes, of course. I am very influenced by American and English music, mainly grunge music, Californian and British hardcore punk, trash metal music, doom metal, indie, and synth pop.

What do you think of Georgia’s music scene? Is it difficult to be a musician in Tbilisi?

Making music today in Georgia is much better than 10-15 years ago. Because of a “hard 90’s” there were too few people who were making and playing music. The scene was small and difficult. But now in Georgia there are a lot of good musicians and music groups in any genre. There are a lot of talented youth who are creating really good and sometimes great music. The biggest problem for Georgian musicians is that it is too difficult to go outside Georgia and show our music to Europe or America. 99% of musicians have to work only for the Georgian public. Georgia is a small country. There are not enough listeners of alternative music in Tbilisi and elsewhere, so most musicians have to find other jobs to make some side money to buy an instrument or to organize a gig. I’d say that despite the fact that the Georgian music alternative scene has produced good music, being a musician in our country is way too difficult.

Do you think rock music is an art form, or is it only entertainment?

I think it is both. Rock music is for entertainment, but of course it is also an art form. There is a lot of entertainment music, but not all of it can be called rock music. However, there are certainly rock bands that can be called art.

What is the most important thing for a band to focus on when they make their music?

I think that most important thing for a band is to practice as much as possible because in the rehearsal room the band is most consolidated and thinking together on the same plane. You don’t have any other thoughts, and you are focused on making music. Also, one of the most important aspects of any band is the quality of their live performances. You may be able to write very good songs, but without great performances a new band can fail to attract business and fans. The most important thing is to play your songs with true emotions.

How do you write your songs?

Our vocalist/guitarist, Levan Tskhvaradze, writes some initial melodies and lyrics. Then he shows it to us at band rehearsal, at which point the entire band tries to develop the melody through experimenting with sound and rhythm. After all that, we get a new song.

What plans do you have in the future with your group LOUDspeakers?

We want to record an album or an EP next. We already have quite enough songs for two albums, but not enough finances to record it. Thinking more long-term, we want to go outside the country and play our music for foreign listeners.

Would you like to perform shows in America and England?

Yes, of course. I can say that it is our dream to play in England or America, and to participate in the festivals in those countries.

Do you take care of your own business matters, or do you have a band manager?

We have a manager, but the band members also take part the management of the band.

Why do you write your song lyrics in English instead of Georgian?

This is one of our most frequently asked questions. Firstly, we think that English lyrics are the most suitable for the music we are playing. Secondly, with English texts we might have more chances to go outside our country and find more listeners. Bands that sing in English find it easier to find fans all over the world. We also think that in this way we will help promote our country and then maybe even our language all around the world.