Fresh off a US tour in support of their August 17th debut album, Asleep Next To Science, phantasmagoric rock outfit ORBS is delighting fans all over the country. The band is a supergroup of talented and veteran hardrockers- Dan Briggs (Between the Buried and Me), Ashley Ellyllon (Cradle of Filth/Abigail Williams), Goose Holyoak and Adam Fisher (both from Fear Before), and Chuck Johnson (Torch Runner). I usurped some time from Briggs, who graciously answered my questions about the beauty of the new band, the progression of the new music, and the origin of song inspiration.
How did you celebrate the release of your debut full-length?
We had our record release show in Greensboro, NC, the city that Chuck and I live in. It was one of the best shows of the whole tour- great bands, a great D.I.Y. venue that our friends run, Dan from Equal Vision Records flew down, friends came from out of town…it really was a massive party. It was great!
What kind of positives and negatives come along with all the members being in previously successful bands?
You’d think a negative to being in the other bands would be certain expectations because of those bands, but I really don’t feel like we’ve been judged by our other bands. Maybe it’s because of how drastically different we are from our other bands. My hope really is that by the next time we put out another record we will have outgrown having our other bands tagged along with the ORBS name. It really is a completely different world of music.
Describe your sound in a few words to a new listener.
It’s kind of a mix of energetic 90s rock with 60s psychadelic and 70s progressive rock with big Rachmaninoff pounding classical piano undertones.
Classical piano is so beautiful, so refined, and yet it works incredibly well in your passionate, alluring music. Explain why instrument fits so well into rock and roll.
Well, we’re hardly the first band to mix classical piano in with rock music. Queen and Yes did it decades ago, and more recently Muse mix the two quite brilliantly. Classical music can be quite dark so it makes sense to mix it in with heavy energetic rock music.
Explain the song-writing process.
The song-writing process begins with ideas that either Ashley or I have, and then we go back and forth and elaborate on them, write variations based off of them, and see what kind of adventures take off from there. There’s never a time when we sit down and have a solid idea for how a song will go from the beginning.
What’s the strangest thing that has inspired a song?
The song “Sayer of the Law” actually had sections that reminded us visually of the parts of the movie The Fountain. It takes place in a dying star out in space, which actually is where the idea for the name ORBS came from as well. We’re inspired by everything around us though- good weather, majestic lakes, dogs, and good meals.
How did you stay sane while you were recording in the studio?
Well, there really was no time to think about going crazy in the studio. We were there for only two weeks, so it was super nonstop. Goose did the drums in two days, and then I spent two days doing bass and then the next week and a half would start with me doing guitars, Ash doing keys, and Adam singing later at night. After many Moe’s burritos, episodes of Lost and The X-Files- our two weeks were up and we had recorded 66 minutes of music. Kinda crazy!
If Asleep Next To Science were the soundtrack to a movie, which one would it be?
It would have been nice if James Cameron had consulted us before having someone score Avatar because I feel like we’re sonically very in tune with that movie and the message it has. There’s a whole two-part song on our record that’s written about how destructive man can be in the face of nature giving you the benefit of the doubt. What would the aliens think?
If there were anyone in the world that you would want to be a giant fan of ORBS, who would it be?
I wish that Freddie Mercury and Stephen Hawking could be fans of us. Freddie because he’s obviously one of my musical heroes, and Stephen so that he could help explain the space-time continuum better to me and help us become the first band on the moon.