Wolfram

Interview with Wolfram

Experimentalists from Serbia, Wolfram released their debut album “Music Of The Heathen” in 2015–an excellent released that everybody must hear. 

I talked with the band about it and more, so head over the band’s Bandcamp page, press play and dive into the world of Wolfram.

Alright, first things first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

You know when you are in your twenties and you’re not entirely sure how your life is going to work out? Well, that feeling is constantly following us nowadays. I think it will continue to linger until we reach our thirties, I guess… That’s when things usually start to sort themselves out. Still, don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot going on, we made sure that this year is going to be packed with all manner of tasks and obligations which will bring us closer to fulfilling our private and professional ambitions. The only thing that is sustaining us right now is that gut feeling that everything is going in the right direction and that it is only a matter of time before everything explodes.

Speaking of new music, you have a new album. What can people expect from “Music of the Heathen”?

It’s quite open for interpretation because it deals with those abstract thoughts we all occasionally indulge ourselves with. However, we do not want to induce certain expectations from potential listeners. It will ruin its charm. We may know which emotions gave birth to these nine songs on MOTH, but what will become of them when the audience reacts to it is beyond our control.

Music Of The Heathen

Bear in mind that this album is definitely much more than just a collage of our regular mind-numbing perplexities of life. It is our sanctuary, our therapy, our “haven of sounds”. It is about the raw sensation we get when we play that music live, how it truly makes us feel powerful, defiant – godly, even – and out of place with reality. It is one beautiful form of escapism, a drug like no other with rather pleasing side effects; and we want to share it with everyone else.

What was it like working on the album?

It’s like going into labour and expecting a healthy child. All of the preparations, arrangements, contacts, and previous efforts have let to this point where we were finally going to record some of our songs. However, we didn’t record the tracks in just one studio, but we had to visit many, because our financial situation didn’t allow us to bide our time and wait for the magic to happen. I won’t bore you with the details, however, just know that learned so much from this experience, which will definitely help us become better producers and musicians in the future.

Are there any touring plans in support to “MOTH”?

Of course there are, it’s just that we are in the middle of negotiations with a few booking agencies which have offered to help us, so we have to choose wisely. We’ll start with the Balkan region (Novi Sad, Belgrade, Zagreb, Rijeka, Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Maribor, Ljubljana, etc.), but we what we really desire is to present ourselves to the crowd of Western Europe. We feel that this is where our opportunities lie and we are convinced that the people there won’t even presume that we actually hail from Serbia. We just need that chance and right now we’re tirelessly elbowing our way to get it.

While we’re on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

Definitely the four major markets – Germany, UK, USA and Japan. However, we are definitely suited for the Scandinavians, Brazil seems awesome, Australia, too, and Iceland is simply a must. Still, let’s not dwell on wishful thinking, there is much to be done until we get anywhere.

Who and what inspires you the most?

This is a tough one, because we are all influenced by a rather wide range of artists… There are tons of small homages in our entire work, some of them are beautifully hidden, while some are blatantly placed in front of your face. Every song naturally has parts which were influenced by some other artist’s or band’s approach to making music, but all of them have our distinctive mark, nevertheless. As film director Jim Jarmusch said, you cannot invent something out of nothing, so you might as well “steal” whatever resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination and make your own version of that experience.

Wolfram live

What other genres of music do you listen to?

EVERYTHING! No, seriously, everything that feels good to our ears is welcome. We don’t necessarily differentiate music by its genre, only by its appeal to the senses. If it is good – it’s good, end of story. For instance, Marilyn Manson’s ‘Pale Emperor’ is the shock rocker’s road back to the blues and it is raw and awesome; New Zealand’s post-rock band Kerretta was a beautiful discovery; Denmark’s deep electronica duo Lulu Rouge is a revelation; Velar, our native music brothers are a thing to behold and they are finishing their debut album soon enough; Stonebride from Croatia are the baddest, meanest stoner rock you can hear live; Smallman from Bulgaria will jolt your entire body with its tasteful blend of metal and ethno music; Meshuggah is an undisputed demonstration of power and you can grease up your barbecue wire just by holding it in front of the speaker when these Swedes play; FKA Twigs is how modern pop music should look and sound like; Zebra Katz is the master of combining queer hip hop music with fashion; UK’s Lamb is just breathtakingly beautiful to listen to; Dopethrone oozes doom like no other; Type 0 Negative is what life sounds like to a depressive yet sexy vampire of a giant; Gesaffelstein makes one of the nastiest, most addictive techno music you can jump to; David Bowie is simply king; and the list can go on forever!

Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

As previously mentioned, definitely yes. You’d even be surprised just how much. For instance, I believe that every song has to have something catchy in it, something “pop”. Since we have drop-tuned guitars, heavy distortions, unconventional drums, electronics, and a lot of bass, the only thing that could remain in the pop realm are the harmonized vocals. It makes the whole thing even more listenable. It’s like cream on the cake. Any musical genre can teach you something, the key is to be adaptable and open-minded about it.

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Trust us, there is more to “second and third world bands” than meets the eye or ear.

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Ste van Holm

Review: Ste Van Holm – Tesla

Being open-minded when it comes to art always brings new and cool things. Danish musician Ste Van Holm is a great example for that. The experienced artist released six albums so far, and this past November he came up with the release of a progressive rock record. Each of Van Holm’s albums has a different concept, different style (ranging from pop to rock), and different personalities. That is what makes Ste Van Holm and his art special. He doesn’t follow any paths except his feelings.

Tesla” is the latest release from Van Holm, and as mentioned above it is a progressive rock album crowned with jazzy melodies and partly some electronic/ambient touches. The album is all around Serbian-Croatian scientist Nikola Tesla, his life and work. Conceptually and lyrically you feel the dedication of his works. From the first track until the closing piece, the concept of “Tesla” is very well thought.

Ste van Holm - Tesla

The thunderstorm in the intro “St. Elmo’s Fire” announces the story in a right way. “Electrical Storm” and “Macak the Cat” attract attention with its jazzy vocals built on a progressive rock structure. “Transatlantic” turns a bit to electronic while keeping the same prog rock structure, especially in the rhythmic segment.

The album keeps on with a 20-minute epic “Oscillations,” which for the better part shows amazing craftsmanship and performance by the band. It is a piece that musically summarise what “Tesla” represents. The album triumphantly comes to an end with an 11-odd minutes “A Piece of Empty Sky,” which closes this brilliant biopic about the man who changed the world for better.

Ste Van Holm has crafted the most demanding record in his musical opus with “Tesla”, and having chosen progressive rock as a foundation contributed further in how well the story of the album is submitted to a listener.

Get “Tesla” by Ste Van Holm from Bandcamp.

Kardashev

Interview with Kardashev

Progressive death metallers from Tempe in Arizona, Kardashev released their new album titled “Peripety” in 2015. The release received strong feedback from fans. I asked couple of questions about the album, scene, influences, gear, and more.

Hey guys. How are you doing?

We’re doing great! We actually got some rain in Arizona today, so we’re feeling pretty lively.

You released “Peripety” back in October. How do you feel about the release?

We feel pretty positively about the release, and the album itself. While we were writing it we were fairly certain it would be well received, and so far It has exceeded our expectations. Our fans have sent us some of the nicest messages and pieces of feedback. It’s really motivating! We’ve been shipping it out to more countries, chatting with people in places we’ve never been, and even found a few new friends to play games with online. The album release has really opened up some doors for us, as far as connecting with our fans. It’s been awesome, to say the least.

Peripety

How much of a challenge was it to work on the album?

It was hard. The writing process is always so wonderful, and for us it flowed really well. We all really connected in that regard. The tough parts came with all the parts of creating an album that don’t involve writing. There was so much planning for marketing the album, getting it to the right people for previews and reviews, setting a release date that wouldn’t conflict with other bands on Subliminal Groove Records, it was insane. These are all great opportunities and we’re thankful for them of course, it just gets very taxing. It’s true though, nothing worth doing is easy. We’ve really grown as a band and in our understanding of what it means to write music for an album, and so in the end it has been a positive experience.

How is the metal scene these days in Tempe, AZ?

The metal scene here is odd, to say the least. Its full of great bands and great people, but we’re a little short on venues. The venues that we have a great, don’t misunderstand us – but a lot have shut down over the years and as a result metal is a little less accessible. Our Bassist was out of the country from the time we played at UK Tech Metal Fest in July, all the way through The end of November – and so admittedly we’re a bit removed since we haven’t played a show in quite some time. We’re excited to get back into the scene because we’ve made some solid friends here. But AZ could definitely use some additional venues.

What is your opinion about the new wave of metal bands?

That’s quite a large group! The best answer is that there are some bands that we really enjoy, and others that don’t strike our fancy as much. We aren’t very good at keeping up with the newest bands just because there are so many. Music is a Beautiful thing and we’re glad that so many people want to make it. As long as most of these bands are writing honestly, and from their hearts, they have our support.

Can you tell me something about your influences?

We take a lot of influence from very simple things, such as landscapes and art that is done in a more minimalist style. Peripety is all about the ideas of letting go, accepting the beauty around you, and the idea that all of this is temporary. Those concepts took us back to nature, in that it is such a simple pleasure which is completely free. We tried to convey landscapes in the album art, the music videos, and even in the composition. Songs like Sopor and Lucido were written with the idea of clouds and large, empty spaces in mind.

Kardashev

What are you listening to these days?

There has been a lot of Atmospheric Black Metal playing. Bands like Mesarthim, Enisum, Selvans, and Lantlos all get a lot of playtime with us. There are the classics, which for us are The Contortionist, Aegaeon, and some Fallujah. We also listen to a lot of movie soundtracks, such as Interstellar and The Fountain. The score for Phantom of the Opera is breathtaking, and there are some very heart-wrenching songs in Les Miserables that we love. We really enjoy the more meditative side of electronic music, such as Shpongle, Emancipator, and Bvdub. We throw some Alt-J on from time to time, along with S. Carey and Jose Gonzalez.

Your five favourite records of all time?

Only five? There are three of us! we’ll have to do a few extra. In no particular order,

1. Melting Sun – Lantlos
2. Brother, Sister – mewithoutYou
3. Exoplanet – The Contortionist
4. Retold – Nest
5. Opus at the end of everything – The Flashbulb
6. Lateralus – Tool
7. L.D. 50 – Mudvayne

Can you tell me a little bit more about the gear you used to record “Peripety”?

We’ve been recording our own music since we started. Lots of musicians do these days, and it has always worked out well for us. All of the guitars are recorded using the Axe FX Ultra for guitar tones. We made the most use of it this time around after updating the tones for more bark or “djenty” sounds when needed. All of the songs were recorded using custom RC pickups, which helped us get the overall feel we were going for. Bass guitar was tracked on a Warwick Thumb BO 5 as line signal and then re-amped at Sound Lair with an Ampeg SVT-3 Pro and Ampeg 4×10 HLF cabinet. We try to record the best quality we can, incur as little cost as possible, and aim for simplicity. Here’s an overall gear list for the nerds among us.

Recording/Composition:
Reaper DAW
Reason DAW
EZ Drummer
Interface:
M-Audio Fast Track Pro
Guitars:
Fractal Axe Fx Ultra
Ibanez RG7321 with RC Intruder Pickups
Dunlop Jazz III Picks
Elixir Nanoweb strings
Monster Cables
Bass:
Warwick Thumb BO 5
Monster cables
Ampeg SVT-3 Pro and Ampeg 4×10 HLF cabinet
Vocals:
Shure SM7b for vocal tracking

Besides the release of the album, are there any other plans for the future?

We are already writing new material that build on the single we released before “Peripety”, called “IOTA”. We want to put out a couple of music videos, and maybe re-release our demo, “Progession”. We haven’t decided on that last idea, yet.

Any words for the potential new fans?

If you like our music, show it to your friends! We’re very honored to have your support!

“Peripety” by Kardashev is out now and you can get it from Bandcamp.  For more news from Kardashev follow the band on Facebook and Twitter.

Fake Heroes

Review: Fake Heroes – Clouds

Fake Heroes is a progressive metal band from Pescara, Italy that released its new record entitled Clouds in September 2015. Fake Heroes have plenty of musical elements to offer.

A wide spectre of influences ranging from the likes such Steven Wilson, TesseracT, Karnivool, Dream Theater puts this guys right in the top of the new forces of the genre. Fake Heroes’ music is catchy and supported by a lot of choruses that appear in almost every song.

The band is able to groove and brings in a good diversity in their songs, while being focused on one big concept that is clearly visible. Due to the fact that Fake Heroes works with stylistic elements that appear on several songs, the whole record seems to be composed with a huge pot of ideas in the background. The band probably made a big effort to emphasis the album’s concept, and slowly painted the structure of their newest record.

Clouds

Clouds is exactly what fans of progressive metal would like to listen to. Some parts remind of TesseracT, with their progressive drumming and groovy djent guitars, while the vocals are catchy, striking a variety of well composed vocal lines. The whole record feels enormously round and self-contained. Some parts of the record are heavier and even sometimes it sounds more like rock than a metal album. All in all, it is to mention that the diversity on this record is pretty good. The balance between a heavy metal record and a melodic rock record is very decent on Clouds, while it will intrigue both sides and so provides a big mass-appeal to the audience.

Fake Heroes

Interview with Fake Heroes

Italian prog metallers Fake Heroes released their second album “Clouds” in September 2015. The band has huge plans for 2016, and about them but also “pizza or pasta” dilemma they are telling below.

Before we start: pizza or pasta?

Mmmmm, can we choose both? tongue emoticon Pizza topped with pasta!

Now we can start. Fake Heroes is a very young band. And for such a young band, your current position is pretty good. What do you guys think about it?

We think that the right ideas have made this possible. Our project started in 2012 and since then we have produced 2 EP and 2 full album. In short, it is not easy unless you have a clear direction and a composer as Draft that is always looking for new ideas.

Are you satisfied with where you landed?

Definitely. We know we still have to grow a lot but ” Clouds ” for us is a real starting point , an authentic work.

Clouds

How would you describe the sound of Clouds to the people who have not heard it yet?

I have previously described ” Clouds ” as traveling to places that you never get tired of seeing. It’s an album hard to place in a specific music genre and this make it very personal .

Question for Manuel: who influences your vocal style at the most?

Manuel says: My style is mostly influenced by some very important singers of metal scene, but I can’t deny that I took my inspiration from Myles Kennedy and James LaBrie for the melodies and from vocal lines of Spencer Sotelo in Periphery’s album “Clear”.

Where do you draw your inspiration, what influences your song writing?

Draft says: I often listen to new music. The rest comes out automatically. It’s all the result of moods that I feel at times when I write a new song.

Who in the band handles most of songwriting?

Draft is the composer of all the songs signed Fake Heroes. The greatest contribution to the drafting of texts and vocal lines comes from Manuel.

What are your five all times favourite albums?

Draft says: I think each of us has his own ranking. For me it is very difficult to choose only 5 albums but I try:

Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
Tears For Fears – Elemental
Steve Vai – Alien Love Secrets
Symphony X – The Odyssey
Periphery – Periphery II

But if you do me the same question in two hours I could give a different answer.

Speaking of music you listen to, how much of it influences your songwriting?

It is virtually impossible not to be influenced by the music that you listen. The musical progress is tied to this process in which music has been handed down by entering new ideas and new sounds. Our ” little secret ” is that we have not closed in a specific genre but we have tried to convey everything we love in the name Fake Heroes.

Are there any new materials you guys already working on?

Yes, sure. There are the new ideas for a concept album. It will be a long process but we are already on the way.

Links:

fakeheroes.eu

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Below A Silent Sky

Interview with Below A Silent Sky

Below A Silent Sky from Ilmenau in Germany released their debut album “Corrosion” in September 2015, and here is what they told us about it, and more.

Alright, first things first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how’s life?

Great. It was christmas and we spent some good time with our families. Now we are ready to write new stuff and go back to everyday life.

Speaking of new music, you have an album “Corrosion” which was released in September. What can people expect from it?

An atmospheric Post-Metal album where you can loose yourself and discover more and more details every time you listen to it.

What was it like working on the album?

It was a lot of work but retrospective very funny. First of all we had to write all the material. Therefore the two guitarists gather some riffs at home. Afterwards these ideas are brought to the rehearsals where they are discussed and processed with the whole band. The results of these rehearsals are recorded and get improved at home again. This process continues until we are satisfied with the song.
In the end we went to the studio where we worked up to 14hours a day to record and produce the final songs. But after this hard work we were very proud and happy about the results.

Corrosion

Are there any touring plans in support to “Corrosion”?


We started to promote „Corrosion“ during the „Beyond The Sphere Tour“ in fall 2015 where we played several venues in Germany. The next gigs are planned for early 2016 also in Germany.

While we’re on the subject of touring, what countries would you love to tour?

First of all in Europe but it would be great to visit and play in the USA, Japan or other Asian countries too.

Who and what inspires you the most?

Every single bandmember has it’s own influences in different music genres. The range of bands we are into embraces The Ocean, AHAB, O’Brother, YOB, Sojus3000. Aside from these musical aspects daily experiences also have an impact on our creative process.

What other genres of music do you listen to?

Jazz, Blues, Progressive Rock, Alternative, Hip Hop, Sludge, Doom, Stoner Rock

Have any of the other genres you listen to had any impact on your playing?

Of course. I think every kind of music you are listening to has an influence to the music you`re playing.

Below A Silent Sky live

I really appreciate you giving us your time today. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us and the fans before we wrap things up?

Don`t be shy to get in contact with the bands you are fascinated in. If you have the chance to talk with them after a gig give your feedback to the musicians. I can`t believe that any artist would not be happy about it. Positive feedback is finally the biggest profit.

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Atmospheres

Review: Atmospheres – The Departure

Atmosphere was formed in 2012 by guitarist and composer Stef Exelmans, and for such a short time the band has come far. There is a band here with perfect clean vocals, djenty guitars and atmospheric (see what I did here?) melodies—all of that wrapped up with instant time changes. Anything that your ears are ready to accept can be found here. If you find most of today’s prog metal boring, Atmospheres do something that is new and interesting by fusing what we already know with something unconventional.

The Departure

Comparing with the previous album, “The Departure” builds up on the self-titled album by focusing more on explorations of the ambient side of the music spectre. It’s clearly visible that the band gained a lot of experience over the course of time, and that improvement is also shown through the accessibility of the material on “The Departure.”

Lyrically, the new recording brings a lot more; it has an attitude. The album art is simple, minimalistic, and it tells you “just listen to me, I am not here to make a show, I am who I am.”

Atmospheres are as good as your favourite Belgian chocolate.

Buy this great album from Bandcamp.

Shepherds of Cassini

Interview with Shepherds of Cassini

New Zealand’s experimental metallers Shepherds of Cassini are one of my favourite bands on the current scene, and it would not be right not to have them covered through these pages. That’s why I talked with Vitesh and Omar.

What made you go for the name Shepherds of Cassini?

V: Brendan’s idea.

O: The name certainly reflects our interest in astronomy.

How do you usually describe your music?

V: Progressive-post-metal-rock-experimental.

O: Experimental post-progressive.

What is your writing process like?

V: We bring material in the practice room, which could be riffs, rhythms, potential arrangement. As a band, we then jam through all the different ideas, re-arranging, re-writing etc until songs are formed. Songs are then continuously tweaked, revised and go through multiple versions until they stable-ise into something we’re happy with.

O: The great thing about the writing process is that we jam out all the ideas presented by us. We don’t judge new ideas before jamming them out despite how different they are stylistically. Otherwise this could eliminate the possibility of writing something great.

Who or what is your inspiration, if you have any?

V: Me personally:
Experimental art .

O: Musicians that I’ve met here in the Auckland music scene.

What is your favourite song on the new album “Helios Forsaken”?

V: Too hard for me to answer sorry.

O: Mine always shifts between the 6 tracks depending on my mood. To be honest I love them all equally but for the time being I’ve been listening to Helios Forsaken on repeat in the car on the way to work.

What makes “Helios Forsaken” different?

V: Different to the first album you mean? It pushes the boundaries even further.

O: More cohesive and our chemistry is certainly stronger on our second effort. We’ve grown together musically and it really showed when we wrote the songs for our second album.

Shepherds of Cassini - Helios Forsaken

What should music lovers expect from “Helios Forsaken”?

V: A psychedelic-space-prog journey from the dark and menacing, through the hypnotic and exotic to the surreal and beautiful.

O: An album that offers a variety of moods and emotions.

What kind of emotions would you like your audience to feel when they listen to your music?

V: Whatever emotions come naturally to them that they enjoy feeling.

O: That’s a very tough question to answer. It’ll be great if the album is played to reflect the listener’s mood at certain time and place.

Which do you like most, life in the studio or on tour?

V: Probably life in the studio; both experiences have been a lot of fun. I’ve yet to tour with Shepherds.

O: In the studio for me so far. I have yet to tour with Shepherds as Vitesh have said but I’m sure it would be fantastic. Only then I would have a definite answer.

Pick your 3 favorite albums that you would take on a desert island with you.

V:
Greenfog – Bruce Farm
Heart Attack Alley – Living in Hell
Hide & Tallow – WAtcher and the Goatherd

O:
Earth – The Bees Made Honey In the Lion’s Skull
An Emerald City – Circa Scaria
Acrassicauda – Gilgamesh

You can buy “Helios Forsaken” by Shepherds of Cassini here, and follow them on Facebook for future announcements here.

Family Animals

Interview with Family Animals

Progressive / Psychedelic Rock trio from Scranton in Pennsylvania, Family Animals released an album “I Must Have Missed It” in November 2016. The band is currently scheduling gigs for 2016, and  drummer Anthony Viola told me about that.

What’s Family Animals up to these days?

We are taking a break from shows at the moment to concentrate on booking shows for 2016, making a new video and promotion of ‘I Must Have Missed It’. Just generally trying our best to get it out there, thankfully with our friends from Prog Sphere.

When did Family Animals take its today’s shape?

Musically we seemed to settle into our groove around 2007ish. But we were always three brothers playing music, trying to be adaptive and always trying to get better. Since we learned together we click musically, we can read each other and we’ll always be family and always love music.

How would you charactarize Family Animals’ sound?

We always have a little problem answering this: we like a lot of music and therefore play a lot of different kinds of music. If we had to try and say it’d probably be progressive/ alternative/ psychedelic..just rock really. Rock, we are rock.

What is the concept of ”I Must Have Missed It”?

There are some reoccurring themes from song to song (being simultaneously big and small in relation to the universe, reaching inner peace or enlightenment) but there isn’t necessarily a unified concept to the entire album.

I Must Have Missed It

Are you satisfied with how “I Must Have Missed It” turned out?

Yes! It took long enough (2 years), but in the end it was worth it. Yes, if we had some amazing equipment it would sound way better but for what we know and what we are using we are all proud of it.

It seems Family Animals is using lots of different elements from lots of different genres. What causes this variety in your sound?

We never wanted boundaries in our music. We practice together as often as possible, which gives us time to explore different genres that we have always enjoyed.

What are your favourite bands? Do they have impact on your music?

Our favorite bands absolutely have an impact on our sound. We learned by playing different songs and that has shaped our own sound and tone; taking little things from all the musicians who really inspire us. To name a few: pink Floyd, the bitter tears, the band, the teeth, primus, Zappa and we can go on and on. Music is what we are passionate about.

What are the topics you explore in your lyrics?

Most of my lyrics refer to personal philosophy or observations. Sometimes I try to express an entirely unbiased point of view. I also like to write in first person from a fictional character’s perspective. For example, ‘The Real McCoy’ is written from the perspective of a ghost, viewing the world objectively.

How do you see the progressive/psychedelic rock scene these days?

We always enjoy bands that are willing to experiment and push their own boundaries, which is kind of always at the heart of progressive music in general.

Where do you see yourself in the future? Can you read your own story?

We have no idea what’s in store for us in the future, but we do know that we will always be making music together.

Family Animals are on Facebook.

Orion Tango - Orion Tango - Orion Tango

Interview with Orion Tango

Experimental power trio from Philadelphia, Orion Tango released their self-titled album earlier this year via 1k Recordings, and I had a privilege to talk with the band comprised of guitarist Tim Motzer, bassist Barry Meehan, and drummer Jeremy Carlsted.

What does the band name, Orion Tango, stand for?

Barry Meehan: The song name came first—the band name came as a consensus of all who were involved in the project, both in and without the band itself.

That being said, the phrase was uttered by myself as a reaction to listening to the track and it’s form. is it a tango? That’s debatable—however, when in a creative moment, one shouldn’t ask too many questions in my estimation. I can still see that aspect as an interpretation, a fusion of genre.

The Orion element came from my musings on interpretations, by many contemporary sources, of the speculated common fixation of many cultures through time as to the significance of Orion in relation to totemic structures that they erected, and are still standing as evidence today, with no apparent communication among these said cultures. The Giza pyramid arrangement is but one of these examples. Hence, Orion Tango!—and so ends my dissertation!?! There will be a test at the end of this interview! ha!

Jeremy Carlstedt: The name Orion Tango brings a lot of ideas to mind, one could be, the dance of the stars.

You made a metaphor in regards with the band name and you said that the band’s music is moving as one between mind and instruments. Can you elaborate on that?

Barry Meehan:  I believe that was Tim’s observation, with which I totally agree.  In direct reference to the previous question, the seeming co-ordination of cultures is a metaphor in itself. The cultural partnering alludes to commonality and a sense of integration—a larger perspective. Every musician is a culture unto themselves, seeking to communicate.

Jeremy Carlstedt: The songs on the album are completely improvised.  After all these years playing together we are really keen at reading each others musical movements.  I think when you spend time together as a group ‘off the bandstand’, it makes your music ‘on the bandstand’ that much more intuitive.  I was always taught that your personality on the instrument can be similar to your personality when you aren’t on your instrument.

Orion Tango’s music is completely instrumental. Don’t you find it hard to express the feelings without words? Do you believe instruments can tell anything you want to say?

Barry Meehan: Sometimes words are absolutely necessary, and in a myriad of examples this would be borne out. We talk of using our voices at some point. That may or may not happen. It surely can be observed that words can have a very powerful unifying effect. Most listeners of music seem drawn to the human voice, as well.That being said, this music arrives from the feelings that we have in ourselves…the unconscious or the “muse ” as it is often described. Music without words has proven itself over history to transcend time, language, cultural differences and contemporary thought to live in the emotions of the listener. This is also true of ourselves, as creators of music. We, as musicians, are listeners. Names of particular pieces of music are born of a reaction in the music we have just performed. Sometimes titles are already in our consciousness with a feeling attached to it, waiting for a home…”Gravity Knife” would be an example of that.

Tim Motzer: For me, music is the deepest communicator in all of the arts, stronger than words. It’s quite profound what one can express with music, sound, instruments, or voice. Many times I don’t think these feelings can be put into words, or lyric. It’s too abstract. There are many examples where this does occur, however, the words of David Sylvian, and Ursula Rucker come to mind. When words of this level come together with music it can be transcendental. The expression of sound can be very deep, and it’s all around us. The masses are probably not aware of the affect it has on them. So, no, I don’t find it hard at all to express without words, in fact, I work with dancers as well, and the stories that can be told with dance and music is of the highest level of expression in my opinion.

Jeremy Carlstedt: I’d say if I heard the melody to ‘Happy Birthday’ without words and it was my special day—the words wouldn’t even be necessary.

Melody and harmony can most definitely exist and make a point without lyrics.  I think it’s a harder road to go, but when I hear Duke Ellington’s music I think—it’s a beautiful path.

How did you guys come together in Orion Tango?

Barry Meehan: We initially got together over 15 years ago, but that was not to be—but many threads  of approach were developed at that time. This informed many things that we did separately and together over that time. The formation of this group at this time was a conscious decision, and I believe re-instigated by Jeremy. As a matter of reference to the previous question, there are songs over this time in the 1k catalog where we are all involved…and there are vocals!

Jeremy Carlstedt:  This time we decided to make it an official band—not just a recording project.

Orion Tango - Orion Tango - cover

Tell me about the newly released self-titled debut album.

Barry Meehan: The album represents the culmination of all our personal, and to some degree collective, efforts to develop as fully-formed musical life-forces!

Jeremy Carlstedt: It’s a product of us hanging out at Tim’s studio where we record, talk about music and make jokes.  In between we usually have some of Philadelphia’s amazing food and a beer!  Oh, and, of course, checking out the record stores for new inspirations.

What can people expect from the album? How would you describe your sound?

Jeremy Carlstedt: Something that always appealed to me more in progressive rock is that you could take it in any direction.  I think you can expect anything to happen when we play.  We all listen to as much music as we can – without any restrictions on genre.  Our sound, hopefully, is a surprise.

Barry Meehan: I think they will experience a visceral, as well as cerebral adventure through many realms of seemingly not related spaces…and yet taken as a whole, a cinematic effect. There are no real boundaries in intent, but if I had to use genres, our sound travels from ambient to avant-garde to jazz to electronic with a liberal dose of prog rock as a binding agent! I’m still a huge fan of Prog and hard rock. I grew up as a musician with that in my ears…along with a lot of classical played on 10 by my violinist father!!!

Tim Motzer: Jeremy is one of the best drummers out there, having worked with Chico Hamilton for 10 years. It served him well, as an apprentice to the master, as it were—not to mention playing in the NYC/Philly musical landscape. I’d describe his drumming as a modern day Elvin Jones,  in a way, but also, he has this killer rock thing, a world music thing, an amazing feel, he listens, he takes risks, is very creative, and he propels the music at all times. I haven’t encountered another drummer or person like him, or anyone that lives his aesthetic.

Barry too, total original, though deeply formed years ago by early rock bassists like Chris Squire of Yes, John Wetton, Geezer Butler, or even Charlie Haden. The thing about Barry is he brings that visceral element to the music, he is concentrating on the rawness of sound, the rhythmic aspect, and it’s always a truly an amazing sound to behold. What a rhythm section!

As far as my guitar sound, Barry Cleveland, former editor of Guitar Player Magazine, described it as “freaky fuzz fusillades, eruptions of bent circuit aural aphasia, heavenly harmonizer crystallizations, adroit soloing, and psychotropic atmospherics.”  I find great humor in that quote, but it’s the closest to describing what sometimes occurs when i play. I use baritone electrics, stratocasters, and acoustic guitars through all manner of electronic devices, and utilize e-bows, cymbows, alligator clips, etc. to change the guitar sound. As a result of this, it makes me play or approach the guitar differently.  I love exploring unknown landscapes or trying to discover new languages on the guitar. It’s more of a searching I would say.

As a whole, our music is deep and forces you to live in the spaces as well as the notes. When we improvise everyone is aware of an intent greater than our own, it’s about the whole. That’s what we look forward to. Consequently, Orion Tango is the  place for us where all of these approaches come together to make this monolithic ethereal sound.

Are you satisfied with how Orion Tango turned out? Is this release on the level you guys expected it to be?

Barry Meehan: Absolutely happy with it! You are blessed when a work represents your honest intent and displays your abilities in  an artful way while serving the music. It doesn’t get any better than that!!!

Tim Motzer: Agreed! Yes, I knew when we finished the session we had an album. It was all there.

Jeremy Carlstedt: I think records are documents of where you are at that point in time.  Maybe I heard it from Tim, but it is like a snapshot.  It’s who I am musically at this moment, and I am happy with it in that regards.  That being said, I think the next one will be even better!

Will you embark on a tour in support to the album?

Barry Meehan: We are in the formative stages of organizing an itinerary. Hopefully by Spring. We have some limited a engagements and radio appearances in the works.

Tim Motzer: In early January 2016, we will play the Key Sessions on WXPN-fm in Philadelphia. This program will broadcast our session, but they will also film the performance which will be archived at their website. We are really looking forward to this. Near the end of January, we will share the stage with Julie Slick’s new band, EchoTest in Baltimore at the 8×10. More dates are in the works, and some surprising potential double bills in the Northeast in the States.

Jeremy Carlstedt: We are eagerly awaiting the chance to share our sound with the world (and other worlds when that becomes possible).

Orion Tango” by Orion Tango is out now via 1k Recordings. Follow this great band on Facebook.

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