Diacritical was a band that existed from 2004-2007. It was formed by frontman Omar Waqar. There music touched base on social issues such as racism, war, poverty, and immigration reform.
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, Danïs 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 couldnït 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. They guys played together as that line up for the next year or so and then eventually disbanded over artistic differences and issues with substance abuse.
Anatomy of the early recordings:
ïArmed with an Acousticï 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 Omarïs motherïs garage, and also featured live tracks recorded at the Grog and Tankard in Georgetown DC.
ïGhost man on third Demoï 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 ïPoetryï, ïEnvyï and a song called ïStaticï. Though this incarnation of the band didnït last and the demo was never released, Producer/Engineer Miskut would later join the band.
ïWhere the flood was/ Rock for Jon doeï 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 ïWhere the flood wasï 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 ïRock for Jon doeï 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 ïFortune cookieï, ïIïve been longing forï and an early version of ïMy Dark Sunglassesï.
ïDiacritical Demoï 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 ïIgnoranceï, ïWednesday/Thursdayï, and ïPoetryï. 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. Itïs a great glimpse into what the bands live shows sounded like at the time. It was produced by resident soundman Rob Curtis.
Yes, we play all the time, shows are what we live for.
Shakti,John McLaughlin,Rush,Jaco Pastorious,Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan,Fugazi,Q and not U,Ravi Shankar,311,James Brown,Thelonious Monk,Radiohead,At The Drive In,Jawbox,Rage Against The Machine,Nirvana,Mod Flanders Conspiracy,System of a Down,Marcus Miller,
Victor Wooten,Chic Corea,Soul Coughing,
The Fuzz Band,Bob Marley,The Beatles,Rancid,The Clash,Keith Haring,Chuck Close,Salvador Dali,
Dr. Martin Luther King jr.,The Descendants
,Queen,Bjork,Jackson Pollock,Amir Khusrau,Tenzin Gyatso,Jimi Henrdix,Loomit,Pietasters,Alex grey
Jerry Uelsmann,Gangstarr,John Coltrane,Tool,
Seth Tobocman,Tabla Beat Science,Pixies,Enjoy incubus,George Clinton,Red hot chilli peppers
Pearl Jam,Primus,Siddhartha Gautama,Sun Ra,
Thrice,Black Star,Pink floyd,Mahatma Gandhi,The doors,