Orchid Tribute – Part Two, Interviews

Hello again! It’s part 2 time! For this we decided to have a chat with Darren from Dog Knights and Coma Regalia, Todos Caerán, Republic Of Dreams, Foxes Carrion Spring and You’ll Live, who all appear on the tribute. These have worked out better than we ever could have expected and at the same time we’ve managed to speak to some of our favourite bands, we hope you enjoy!

Orchid

First up is Darren who is the owner and runner of Dog Knights Productions:

S&N: Have Orchid been a big influence to you personally or the label?

Darren: Definitely! Orchid was the band that properly got me into buying/collecting vinyl; also if it wasn’t for orchid, I wouldn’t have gotten into most of the bands I listen to today

S&N: Was there one song more than any other that lots of bands wanted to cover?

Darren: A lot of bands wanted to cover ‘Tigers’ and a few others wanted to do ‘…and the Cat Turned to Smoke’.

S&N: What was the process when deciding what artwork and inserts to use?

Darren: After I got permission from Jayson to go ahead with this, the first thing I started planning was the artwork. I wanted something that was instantly recognizable to an Orchid fan, but not a tasteless ‘rip’ with the original album cover and the tribute title crudely pasted over the original.

My first idea was to have the record completely Dance Tonight!-themed, but I preferred the insert and labels for Chaos is Me. I had to have Gatefold included somewhere too, though, so that is the cover for the CD version. All artwork for this release was done by my friend Rodrigo; he is an amazing artist!

The insert was the last thing to be sorted and took a long time to perfect, but they really do look great. They are similar to the Chaos is Me original insert, which have closed coffins on the front panels and fold out from the middle, but directly underneath are a couple of…’guys’ inside. If you have a few of the splits, you will know where they are from.

S&N: How did you decide what colours to press the LP on?

Darren: This actually took quite a while to decide. Some colours needed to match the artwork, so yellow and red are the two main colours. My copy of Dance Tonight! is blue, so I thought it would be nice to have that colour, as that was my first Orchid record. I know some people are disappointed with the lack of Black vinyl, but if it sells well enough, that will definitely be an option for a second pressing…

S&N: The bands on this release are amazing, how did you manage to get them all to take part?

Darren: I got in contact with a lot of them, but some emailed me after reading about it online. Juan from Comadre actually emailed me asking if they could take part (which was crazy) but unfortunately they pulled out a couple of months later. All the bands that said yes are big Orchid fans and thought it was a cool idea!

S&N: Having so many bands on one record must have been a logistical headache? How has it been?

Darren: Haha, it has been a big headache at times, but I am very happy with how everything has come out so far. There have been so many delays, like bands being unable to record when planned, bands not replying…bands pulling out…at one stage Raein were meant to be taking part; as were Hammers and Man Hands. Nagging 24 bands over about 8 months, getting the tracks levelled (thanks Shawn!), making sure every detail on the covers/insert is correct, making sure every band is happy, finalising art and dealing with the plant has definitely been a chore, but getting to work with so many amazing bands 100% makes it all worthwhile.

S&N: What’s your personal favourite Orchid track? And secondly, what’s your favourite track on the tribute?

Darren: My favourite Orchid tracks are ‘…and the Cat Turned to Smoke’ and ‘None More Black’. I would have been happy if Foxes and Sed Non Satiata just did basic clone covers, but they really outdid themselves and made two emotional, powerful versions to remember.

I would have liked Desordre Cest Moi and NJ vs Valhalla (John Cota were meant to cover this but stopped replying), but I think the final track listing is pretty solid.

Kind of an obvious response to the second part of the question, but I honestly can’t pick a favourite song from the Tribute tracks!

S&N: Any plans to do another tribute release?

Darren: Hell, no!

But seriously, there are no plans to do another tribute/compilation again. I won’t say ‘never’ but I think it’s important to focus on current bands and release original music than just to re-release old albums and put out cover records

But if there’s enough interest in a PG 99 tribute………

Now its time for the bands! For this we asked 5 bands the same questions, Coma Regalia, Todos Caerán, Republic Of Dreams, Foxes and Carrion Spring, here is what they all had to say:

S&N: Hello! Please can you explain who are and what you do?

Coma Regalia: Shawn Decker. I do vocals and drums.

Todos Caerán: My name is Joey, I am Todos Caerán.

Republic Of Dreams: We’re Jan (drums), Lars (bass), and Sven (guitar, vocals) and apart from R.O.D. we do a lot of other stuff. Lars is running the label React with Protest,  plays guitar in Resurrectionists, raises two lovely children and helps his wife run an ecological food store. Jan is torturing kids with math and history classes and isn’t shy writing on didactics in between. Sven’s a relatively fresh father (read: sleep deprivation), loves riding bike and works for an environmental non-profit organisation. Since Sven is living in another country than the other two, he’s also the reason why this band is sooo slow.

Foxes: Hello we are Foxes and we’re made by Alex Shom, Jesse Blanchard, Fraser Hughes, Alec Thomas and Jacob Humphreys. I don’t know what we do, but it’s been put under a emo or post hardcore category. So I guess we’re that!

Carrion Spring: My name is Adam Ciresi, and I am the vocals and bass player in Carrion Spring.  I also record, mix, and produce all of our music.

You’ll Live: Nick- Guitar and sing, Jesse- Drums, Dustin- Bass

 

S&N: How much influence has Orchid had on you as a band?

Coma Regalia: Chaos Is Me is definitely one of my favourite albums ever but I am not sure how to answer that as I think there is a strong influence in our sound but they definitely didn’t influence me personally as much as a lot of other bands of that time did.

Todos Caerán: I formerly listened to a lot of crust, among other things, and Orchid was a nice bridge between the screamo and crust genres (at least for me). I always characterized Orchid as really aggressive and passionate but their songs were clever. When you turn on a band like His Hero is Gone, you are sonically pummelled, but their lyrical themes and imagery are incredibly rudimentary. I like harping on Capitalists or objecting to questionable social norms as much as the next person, but I value nuance and tongue-in-cheek humour whilst doing so. Orchid gave me that. Regarding “bridging gaps,” Orchid also made other screamo bands more accessible to me. After burning through Chaos is Me for five hours on repeat, all of a sudden City of Caterpillar or Ampere make a whole lot more sense.

Republic Of Dreams: On R.O.D. as a band Orchid actually didn’t have much of an influence. We’ve all been in other bands before, though, and those were indeed influenced by Orchid. It’s more than 10 years ago that Orchid was around and during that time they were playing maybe not a totally unique style (there were also Uranus, Sharazad and others), but they definitely hit that style hard. Listening to their music gave us a boost of adrenalin and with our bands we tried to some extent to create a similar feeling. To be honest tough, there are and were tons of bands that tried to do something similar at some point, especially so in Europe. But none of them – seriously, none of them – succeeded even remotely.

Foxes: The greatest influence probably would have to be lyrically. The angst and honesty expressed shamefully and freely  has always been an aspect of a band that has struck me and grabbed my attention. Yeah, lyrics for certain.

Carrion Spring: Orchid has had a major influence on an entire sub-genre of music, typically falling somewhere in the lineage of hardcore, post-punk, and emo.  Their influence on Carrion Spring is as inextricable as the impact of the entire breadth of the culture onto us.  The stylistic and aesthetic tenets of Orchid pushed punk and hardcore in a way that was artistically sincere, creative, and unique, affirming the band within a historical context. We understand and appreciate this music and lifestyle because of Orchid, and bands like them.

Myself, along with a couple of other members of the band, grew up and lived in New York during the lifespan of Orchid.  The effects onto the scene throughout the New England area was significant, combined with many other definitive bands of their contemporary existence. Being able to partake in a scene that was subjected to this evolution directly because of Orchid and other such bands was something that still sticks with us today.

You’ll Live: Orchid might not exactly have a direct influence on us as a band but I think there is definitely a huge influence on the older bands we’d like to follow behind.

S&N: Why did you take part in this covers album, what was it about Orchid or indeed Dog Knights that attracted you to it?

Coma Regalia: Well, I have actually been wanting to be a part of one of Dog Knights releases since we first became a band. I think Darren has released some of the best albums out there of late and I knew that we would be in very good company if he decided he would let us contribute.

Todos Caerán: I wish that I had a more interesting story than, “I saw Darren post a comment about an Orchid cover compilation on Facebook, mentioned that Todos had been playing Tigers for the past few months and could very well record it for this compilation.” Unfortunately, that is the reality of our situation. Essentially, Darren saw my comment and accommodated our request.

Republic Of Dreams: Besides  Lars due to his labelwork, we have to shamefully admit that Dog Knights wasn’t known to us before, but we’re happy it is now. So it was indeed the idea of doing an Orchid cover that got us excited, because even though R.O.D. isn’t trying to do things in that vein, we’re all still pretty much stoked when we put on one of their records. And we’re very glad we did it, because playing that song is just so intense!

Foxes: Well a few of us admire the likes of Orchid and the other vast bands from that wonderful era, so when Darren from Dog Knights approached us, we were pretty quick to say yes. To actually be given a rare opportunity to record a cover and put it collectively in one release filled with bands from all over that so happen to share the same interest is just an incredible thing.

Carrion Spring: We saw the opportunity of contributing to this covers album as a possible way to help the genre, our band, and those involved with the sub-cultural temporality, reflect on how this music has continued to evolve while still being traditionally referential.  We consider ourselves very much a part of the DIY culture… we see Orchid as a band that well embodied this, and Dog Knights as a label that allows this tradition to remain and continue to grow in newer ways.

You’ll Live: We honestly hadn’t done any recording and we were planning on going in to record a song or two so when we talked to Darren confirming that the comp was happening it worked out perfectly in our favour. Orchid is an amazing band and Darren had already done a perfect job along with Major Bear Records putting out our album so we trust anything with him now. We’re also planning on doing another release or two together along with our Europe/UK tour.

 

S&N: Why did you choose to cover “Aesthetic Dialectic”?

Coma Regalia: It’s my favourite song of theirs. The lyric “Don’t even try to fake it” has always had a special pull for me, even out of context, I guess.

S&N: Why did you choose to cover “Tigers”?

Todos Caerán: When we were practicing for our Euro tour, our fill-in drummer, Tom, suggested covering it. I think I wanted to do a Portraits of Past song but it turned out that our new drummer, Gary, was really into Orchid and also into the idea of a Tigers cover, so we opted to learn it for our Euro tour with Tom and we learned it with Gary for Canada shows. The song is three riffs, has no bass parts to speak of, and requires three or four pieces of a drum kit, so it wasn’t a huge commitment.

S&N: Why did you choose to cover “Eye Gouger”?

Republic Of Dreams: Orchid are often seen as the ultimate screamo band, but compared to a lot of other screamo music, Orchid has always had an edge and rawness that prevented them from drifting into too sweet melodies.  As a relatively old song, Eye Gouger is even more gnarly than later stuff, it’s less controlled and less predictable too. It also still has kind of a grind feel and/or Bremen style (Morser, Systral) to it that the very early Orchid stuff had. That’s what makes Eye Gouger stand out for us. This, and the fact that it’s short, which made it easier for us to get it done in time.

S&N: Why did you choose to cover “…And the Cat Turned to Smoke”?

Foxes: We like how long the song is, haha. The build up half way through the song and the climax also seemed cool to work with. We originally had a big jam during the middle section, but ended up cutting it out. It was a bit much.

S&N: Why did you choose to cover “Lights Out”?

Carrion Spring: I personally chose the song “Lights Out”, and then offered it to the rest of the band.  They gladly accepted the cover, and we then worked on it as a band.  I was in my late teens when Dance Tonight Revolution Tomorrow was released, and even though it wasn’t my absolute favourite song of theirs, I still recall the first moment I heard the song.  I felt like I was hit by the collapse of a building.  I must have repeated the song several times in a row… I couldn’t get enough of how brutally powerful the song was to me.

S&N: Why did you choose to cover “Destination: Blood!”?

You’ll Live: We actually didn’t even really talk about any songs as a band what we wanted to do, Darren sort of hinted that we should do Destination: Blood! so we just went along with that.

S&N: What’s your favourite Orchid song and release?

Coma Regalia: Chaos Is Me. I actually remember when Dance Tonight came out, I was not a fan of that record at all. It just doesn’t seem as dark. In retrospect I wish I had picked up a copy when I had the chance. I understand it’s pretty expensive now. My copy of Chaos Is Me has been played so much the glue pockets on the sleeve have come apart.

Todos Caerán: My favourite song is Epilogue of a Carcrash; the way it gently builds before launching into a complete frenzy sends shivers down my spine. As for my favourite record, I would most likely go with Chaos is Me. It was the first Orchid record I heard, has most of my favourite jams, and I’ve listened to it once every few weeks for the last four or five years.

Republic Of Dreams: That’s really hard to tell. Each record (maybe apart from the last one) is a real burner. Eye gouger and the split with Combat Wounded Veteran come pretty close to the top spot though.

Foxes: Has to be a toss-up between “…And the Cat Turned to Smoke” and “I am Nietzche’. So I guess that makes ‘Dance Tonight! Revolution Tomorrow!’ the favourite album.

Carrion Spring: I don’t have a favourite song by Orchid now… I could listen to almost every album from beginning to end as if it was all their best work.  When I was younger, I loved Chaos Is Me the most, but Dance Tonight Revolution Tomorrow was maybe the record that struck me hardest as time went on.

You’ll Live: Umm, no comment. I think honestly Orchid wasn’t a band we listened to on a regular basis, if there was a debate between friends on this topic I’d probably sit back and just agree with everything because it’s hard to pick favorites when a band no longer exists. It’s all amazing to me.

 

S&N: What process do you go through when covering a song, did you want to do a faithful cover or a re-working?

Coma Regalia: I actually had a project for a little while that was strictly covers. I was re-working most of them. There’s also a “secret” cover set that we want to do given the chance where the songs are sort of half worked over. With this song though, I did very little except change one of the drum parts a little because I just couldn’t get it to make sense to me the original way.

Todos Caerán: First, I listen to the song, then I pick up my guitar and dance upon its fretboard until desirable noises akin to the song I’m covering begin to emanate from my speaker cabinet. Once I have it learned, I either expect everyone else to have learned it in their free time, or we go through it together. I believe, for this cover, we were interested in doing a faithful reproduction because Tigers is one of Orchid’s more high-profile songs. Failure to do it justice would have resulted in crucifixion or worse, blacklisting from a reputable interwebs forum like CMHWAK.

Republic Of Dreams: There’s no usual process. We’re usually not covering songs. With Eye Gouger we sure would have liked to give it a specific R.O.D. touch, but there simply wasn’t time for us to do that kind of tweaking. But we also didn’t try to perfectly copy it. We just played it how it came out of us. No big pondering and reflection, just raw and fast, just what we like about the song.

Foxes: We definitely wanted to re-work the cover. We really like using dynamics to switch the feel of the song. After we jammed it a few times we dug the basic four to floor, quarter note feel that we found. It felt like we were slowly climbing a mountain to punch the boss from a video game in the face. The simplicity of quarter notes is great.

With that being said, we didnt want to lose the agression the whole song has, which is why chose to keep the middle of the song pretty true to its roots, then sludging our way to final climax. I think recording drums without a click and keeping the guitar tones and layers basic helped us not stray too far from the original. Like everyone else, we have no idea what the end lyrics are, so we kinda just did our own thing haha. I dont remember where the idea of getting our friend Mitch from Lila Chanesar to help with vocals came from but I think worked well.

Carrion Spring: For covering this song, we wanted nothing more than it to be some sort of homage to the legacy of Orchid.  I don’t think there is any one Orchid recording that has an absolute tonal clarity.  This kind of sound was exemplified in their style of playing and in the style of their recordings. This has always been a great influence on the way our band enjoys hearing music, and how we treat our own music.  Because every note, lyric, and beat isn’t distinctly heard evenly all thorough out, specifically when compared to the more cookie-cutter industrial standardizations of modern music production, it helps to create something slightly mysterious about they were doing.  It’s as if the overall vibe and aesthetic of the music was more of the goal, rather than being concerned too much with technical convolutedness or vacuity. We wanted to also try and capture the excitement that typically happens during the nascence of creating and/or performing… we learned and recorded the song within just a few hours time, using a more minimal set up of mic’ing and mixing techniques than that of our usual approach.  I even mastered the song myself, which is something that I hardly know anything about, in a more professional sense.  We also have two guitarists in our band, and wanted to play the song closer to our style, without abandoning the actual structure and idea of Orchid’s original version.  We ended up even playing in our key, rather than theirs, hopefully combing a little bit of re-working with some faithfulness.

You’ll Live: We all just kind of listened to the song and taught it to ourselves and then jammed it out as band a couple times before recording it. We tried to go in the middle of a faithful cover with our own sound.

We’d like to thank Darren and all the bands involved here, thanks for reading.

Check back tomorrow for a full review of every track from the tribute!

Follow us on Twitter and be sure to check out the Dog Knights site as pre-orders are going up Wednesday.

Cheers

PN

 

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