galaxy of tar: a bite out of space

May 22, 2010
During their performance on Thursday night at Santos Party House, Naima Mora matter-of-factly announces that her new band, Galaxy of Tar, does not have CD’s for sale, no t-shirts for prospective new groupies, and if you wanted a Galaxy of Tar sticker, you were basically shit out of luck. After meeting with drummer/ song producer, Elias Diaz, and Naima, earlier in the week for an interview about their newly released album, “Pneuma,” I must admit I was pumped to hear this band live- there is something so captivating about female vocalist blended with an ill drummer, an aggressive bass line, and a guitarist who makes you even think about Kirk Hammett- so I half way expected and welcomed the crass nature of Naima’s statement.

Galaxy of Tar: a bite out of space
Interview and photos Whitney Summer Boyd
Published for
Original post and comments can be found here

What I didn’t expect to see was the energy and rage pumped out on stage that the seemingly tiny former model exuded on stage. After retiring from a short stint in the fashion industry (aside from music, Naima’s also noted for winning season 4 of America’s Next Top Model), song writer and drummer, Elias, and Naima formed a band called Chewing Pics which came to an end after several band disputes on creative direction of the sound (you know how that goes). But now, the duo said they are ready to break forward with Galaxy of Tar, a sound that, I felt, was evidently deliberate about clashing rhythms and sounds with Elias being from the Dominican Republic and Naima being African-American and Mexican. Deliberate or not, Galaxy of Tar’s provoking and aggressive sound and performance got me pumped enough to spend the rest of the night roaming the city streets of Manhattan, looking for trouble. Just the way good rock music should make you feel.

Band: Galaxy of Tar
Location: New York
Next performance: 5.27.10 @ The Trash Bar
Band Members: Elias Diaz V., Drums and Percussion; Naima Mora, Vocals;
Nemanja Rebic, Guitar; Samuel Fernandez, Bass
Afro-Punk profile:
Speaking with: Elias Diaz and Naima Mora
Check out & download album “Pneuma” (2010):

If you could reach through the galaxy and ask God a question, what would you ask?
E: I think it would be more of a compliment, a thank you, like thank you for this experience. I don’t have any questions for the man. I am just rolling with it.
N: Yea, I don’t have any questions. Most people think about asking God, what is our purpose? You find out why you live while you are living. Here’s a good question, how large is the universe? As far as we can see right now, it’s pretty big.

You know what I would ask God? Why is there a lack of female performers in punk rock music?
N: People decide to be musicians and people decide to be rock musicians. If more women decide to do it, they just naturally will. From a woman’s perspective, growing up as a little girl we are taught to be prim and proper. And to want certain things out of life, like a good man who can provide for us, and a nice wedding to show your family that you are happy and beautiful children in the house. Women aren’t taught to explore their identity and who they are and what they want. Being a rock musician explores sexuality and power and what that means on extreme levels. Like, who am I as an animal because you transform on stage.

(Naima on stage at Santos Party House, NY, 2010)

Do you think it’s a fear thing for women?
N: I don’t know what it is, but I have noticed that sometimes I will be the only woman in a room full of men.

What is the difference between being on a fashion runway and being on stage?
N: I think in fashion, people are constantly chasing an idea of what beauty is and what’s going on at the time. With music, especially with alternative music, beauty is just being exactly who you are and exploring what that means. The whole rainbow of who you are. Rather than making you up to be something that’s popular at the moment.

(Naima with Tyra Banks after winning America’s Next Top Model season 4, web photo)

So, would you consider your new album, “Pneuma,” not popular at the moment? When I listened to your new album I closed my eyes and felt like I was floating in space, not sure if it’s the name of your band that got my imagery there.
N: That’s so nice.
E: Well that’s how you interpret it and that’s how it makes you feel. To me, our music is chaotic and crazy.

(Elias and Naima in former band, Chewing Pics, CMJ 2008)

Signed to any labels?
E: No, we’re DIY. It’s kind of like, if you don’t have to, why bother? You have control of your music, what your CD covers look like. Why should you be held to this machine?

Speaking of machines, what did you guys think of Iron Man 2?
N: I liked it. I saw the previews and I didn’t think there was going to be much of a story behind it, but I liked it.

Avatar or Iron Man 2?
E: Avatar. The story behind Avatar goes along with what’s happening with the earth and how I feel about that.

Do you guys feel like one day computers are going to take over humans?
E: I don’t believe that.
N: I don’t think so either. I think that laziness might rule us. And thus give a lot of leeway to having machines control our lives.
E: Even if machines do take over a majority of the people, I think there will be a few rebels like us that would be like fuck you, were going to go underground.

Does the chaotic and crazy sound of your music come from your band members having a mash-up of ethnicities or just pent up aggression?
E: It enhances it in a different way. I come from a more Latin oriented background so there is a lot more groovy stuff and then Namanian brings the metal and shredding. It becomes grooves mixed with metal, its like a clash that ends up happening.
N: I look at my artwork in that way, I don’t like to follow trends, go with the flow with what everyone is playing. Like Elias said, he is from the Dominic Republic, I’m mixed with black and Mexican. We’ve come to create something new.

(Galaxy of Tar after performing their new album, from left to right, Nemanja, Naima, Elias, and Samuel)
What kind of people do you dislike to work with?
N: That is such a hard question. I guess, people who choose to act stupid. That sounds arrogant, but a lot of people choose their behavior.

How many close friends would you say you have?
N: Maybe about ten and fifteen. But I have really close friends that I don’t talk to for months and then ill get back in touch with them its like we never separated.
E: I definitely only have like four. Not counting family, maybe three.

Are you a Tom or Jerry kind of person?
N: Wait, Tom’s the cat? I like Tom better. Fuck that little mouse.
E: I’m more of a Jerry kind of guy. Being little and getting away with things.

What are you addicted to right now?
E: Listening to music. That’s like, wherever I go, if I don’t hear music.. it’s like I feel fancy, like put the radio on, please. And I can listen to any dude, from Santana to Metallica.
N: Sugar.

The lovin or the sweetener?
N: What? Oh, no, the stuff you eat.

If you were alone in the desert, what would be your first thought?
N: Water. Then second, sun screen.
E: Day time or night time? What are we talking here?
N: Yea, is it a windy desert?

Why should the people in the Afro-punk community listen to your new album?
N: Because it’s awesome. Beyond that we try to make intellectual music as well. I think people, human beings deserve that. Its music, it’s candy to your ears.

Album Title: Pneuma
Album Artist: Galaxy Of Tar

Track Listings:
That Our Own Volatile Nature 4:46
When The Hour Glass Has Run Out 4:33
Rat Saliva 4:21
Mephistopheles Claw 3:55
Actual Apparition 4:00
Will Never Cease Us From Motioning Air 3:25