Omar Rodriguez-Lopez on Bosnian Rainbows, Lessons from At The Drive-In, Mars Volta

Omar Rodriguez-Lopez

"I'm open to anything as long as there's positivity involved," Omar Rodriguez-Lopez tells Billboard.

Even as he gets his latest band, Bosnian Rainbows, up and running, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez says he's not closing the door on any of his other endeavors -- including the now on-ice Mars Volta and even At the Drive-In, which reunited briefly last year for a handful of high-profile festival shows.

"I'm open to anything as long as there's positivity involved," Rodriguez-Lopez tells Billboard. "I love music, and it's not like this is politics or something where lives are at stake. It's so much fun, and we're lucky we get to do this for a living. I'm open to collaborate with anyone that'll have me. It's so much fun."

He is, however, keenly aware of onetime bandmate Cedric Bixler-Zavala's angry online comments about the end of the Mars Volta.

"I heard about it at the time," Rodriguez-Lopez says. "I was making a film and heard about it hours later; people were like, 'Are you OK?' I understand where he's coming from; I've known the guy for 22 years. I'll always respect and support any decision he makes. If that's how he wants it, I totally get it and I support it."

But, Rodriguez-Lopez adds, no bridges have been burned between the two. "I learned a very valuable lesson from (the At The Drive-In reunion)," he explains. "After all those years of being negative and saying, 'I'll never play with those guys again,' I learned that you don't know anything -- just shut up and enjoy life and be happy people still care, 11 years later, about something you did with your best friends when you were teenagers. That's how I feel about everything."

He's certainly feeling love for Bosnian Rainbows right now. Formed last year as the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Band and woodsheded during a month living in the same house in Germany -- "We're more like sleepover roommates than band members," he says -- the quartet has so far released a pair of tracks online ("Torn Maps" and "Turtle Neck") with its debut album due in May. And given the all-star nature of the lineup -- which includes Teri Gender Bender of Le Butcherettes, Mars Volta drummer Deantoni Parks and Nicci Kasper, who works with Parks in Dark Angel -- Lopez-Rodriguez says Bosnian Rainbows offers very much as a band.

"It's been very organic," Rodriguez-Lopez says. "Mars Volta was just Cedric and myself. But in this (band) I wanted to have a group where everyone's writing. Everyone here is an engineer. Everyone's a producer and (records) tracks. We really do quite a bit of throwing stuff around as well as throwing stuff away. It gets kind of messy -- but in a good way. It's a very, very creative situation."

As for the group's sound, Bosnian Rainbows will markedly different from the mathematical, proggy expanse fans heard in the Mars Volta.

"I wanted things to be elemental, which really means stripping them down a lot and where everything fits in its perfect place -- that was a big part of the concept," Rodriguez-Lopez explains. "Having everything be elemental and not just 'more' was really important. If the right amount of notes is only, like, three notes, then that's what we'll play. There will be room (to expand), but not just for the sake of doing it."

Bosnian Rainbows wrap up a U.S. tour on Feb. 27 in Madison, Wisc., but is planning more touring to support the album, including summer festivals.