Tar Pond: Interview With Vocalist Thomas Ott & Guitarist Daniele Merico

Hot off the back of reviewing the latest release, Petrol, I was given the opportunity to throw some questions at the immense powerhouse that is Tar Pond.

I was able to quiz vocalist Thomas Ott and guitarist Daniele Merico on a series of different subjects and gain a greater understanding of the band, learn some history, and see what makes them tick so without any more delay, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tar Pond

Tar Pond
Tar Pond

Where did the idea for your band name come from and does it have an inner meaning?

As soon as Martin, Alain, Marky, Stefano and I felt what we had created in the rehearsal room could become a serious thing, we discussed many, many band names. Everybody proposed different ideas, there were a lot, but we could never agree on something. Or if we did, the names were usually already taken. Marky finally came up with the name Tar Pond. It wasn’t overwhelming for everybody, but at least there was nothing similar existing already. Anyway, we think, that in the first place it’s the music we do, that has to be personal, powerful and convincing. After this, any band name will become a brand.

As regards to the sound you create, does this happen organically, or do you have a plan for each piece?

We don’t really follow any guidelines or plans in the writing process. Usually, somebody comes up with a riff and we start building things as they come according to everyone’s different input. The music we make is usually not very technical, so a big part of the writing process is dissecting each riff or sometimes each note and questioning it. We usually end up changing lots of tiny details until it sounds like Tar Pond.

I collect all my ideas like pieces of lyrics, loose sentences or simply words in my notebook…

And the subject matter for tracks, where does this come from, what inspires you?

I collect all my ideas like pieces of lyrics, loose sentences or simply words in my notebook. Some pieces suddenly fit together, make sense and take form for possible lyrics. And most of the time, when I listen to a new track the band is working on, I try out what fits.

With the wealth of heritage in the band, what, and who are you influenced by?

The music we all listen to is so diverse, it’s quite difficult to say what inspires us the most. We also exchange a lot of music whenever we stumble upon something new, so we keep adding new influences every day.

Tar Pond 'Petrol' Artwork
Tar Pond ‘Petrol’ Artwork

You have a real doomy grunge sound, not unlike a heavier and slowed down Alice In Chains, is this intentional, or just something that’s evolved? How does this comparison make you feel?

Alice In Chains has definitely been a major influence for both guitarists Daniele and Stefano but as far as song writing goes it is not an intentional thing. We don’t try to sound like a doomy version of Alice In Chains and don’t really hear the comparison ourselves as much as people seem to. We feel flattered by the comparison obviously, as we are big fans of the band.

I’m sure you get asked a lot, but how did the passing of Martin Ain affect the project? And, what drove you to return to the work after such a tragedy?

With Martin gone we had lost a close friend above all. At the same time, we were being thrown out of our rehearsal room. So, it was catastrophic and total chaos for a while. But as we already recorded most of our first album Protocol Of Consant Sadness with Martin on bass it was clear that we wanted to go and practice for one or two shows for the record release.

Our friend Monika Schori jumped in to replace Martin for that reason. But playing along with her we kept on creating new tracks, so things went on quite naturally. Anyway, it would have been a bummer not to publish the recordings and to let go a music project that meant so much to Martin.

it would have been a bummer not to publish the recordings and to let go a music project that meant so much to Martin…

When you did return to Tar Pond, where, and who did you feel like you wanted to work with, and how has it been since?

Tar Pond went through a lot of changes in the last few years. After the release show for Protocol Of Consant Sadness got cancelled due to covid in 2020, Alain decided to leave the band and Daniele joined on the guitar. Then after a few shows with this new line up and recording the first four songs for Petrol with Monika Schori, she decided to leave the and Chris Perez joined on the bass. This all took some adjustment time for the band to get to know each other musically so we didn’t really have plans to work with anyone but ourselves.

What kept you moving forward during covid, and lockdowns, and not being able to push Tar Pond how you maybe would have wanted and how have things been for Tar Pond?

We surely were very frustrated that the release of Protocol Of Constant Sadness fell right into the first wave of covid. But we always were very slow in our working process. We started to play session together in 2014, so it took us 3 years to create the 4 tracks for the first record. We’re not so young anymore, have jobs and families to take care of and we’re not in a hurry… Like you can hear it in the sound we make. It’s all authentic! 😉

Thomas Ott - Tar Pond
Thomas Ott – Tar Pond

You have been playing some shows for the release of the new album Petrol, is this going to continue into a full tour?

We have been enjoying to finally be able to play some live shows but there are no plans for a tour as of yet.

And, if so, is Europe and maybe the UK on the agenda?

Hopefully at some point, we’d definitely like to play a few shows in the UK.

Commercial success, or underground heroes, which means more to yourselves?

The most important is to be proud and happy of what we do. As long as we are free to go on with our stuff, we’re not absolutely against having some success. But becoming commercial is not really what we have on our minds.

we are looking forward to continuing working on new songs…

What are the bands future plans?

We will play two more shows in Switzerland before the end of the year, after that, we will retreat to our bunker. We have been putting a lot of the writing process on hold for a while, so for now, we are looking forward to continuing working on new songs.

Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and please use this space for any final words…

Thank you for lending us your ears 😉

I would just like to say a massive thank you to both Thomas and Daniele for taking the time to answer my questions, and for helping bring this little interview to life. Having released one of the strongest albums of 2023 in my opinion, it’s been truly humbling to get some time to delve a bit deeper with you both, see just what makes Tar Pond tick and their latest album Petrol is out now through Prophecy Productions.

Label: Prophecy Productions
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Interviewed by: Lee Beamish