Wednesday 19 September 2018

Interview: Orator

Technical Death Metal band from Seattle, Orator released their album "Kallipolis" in July. The group has just launched a lyric video for the song "Elder (Waltz to Decay)," and Isaac McCormick and Matt Stecz tell us about their work in a new interview.

Alright, first thing is first. Before we dive into all the music stuff, how's life?

Isaac: Can't complain!

Matt: Thanks for asking! Life is good!

Speaking of new music, you have an album. What can people expect from “Kallipolis”?

Isaac: Musically, Kallipolis has been described as epic blackened death metal. There’s plenty of riffs to sink ones teeth into, but our primary goal was to write compelling compositions, therefore riffs needed to serve the flow of the music first. We wanted to offer a compositional journey, not a collection of ideas that never really gel.
Conceptually inspiration was drawn from Plato’s Republic, so one can expect themes of personal responsibility, the condemnation if the will to power and greed, as well as advocacy of reason and resonablity.

Matt: Expect honesty. Kallipolis wasn’t crafted with a monster budget and world-renown producer on ridiculously expensive instruments. It combines raw and earthy tone with sharp guitars and drums. We wanted to record something we would replicate accurately live. We want people who listen to Kallipolis to feel like they’re standing in the room with us.

What was it like working on the album?

Matt: Totally a labor of love. 99% of the music was written well before we went into the studio, uniting the concept of the album with the music was a lot of work, but every moment was enjoyable. Even the mental brick walls that come up were eyed hungrily as challenges to conquer, not obstacles holding us down.

Isaac: An incredible learning experience; we wanted to establish who we are and what we’re capable of, but also hopefully demonstrate that we have the mindset and potential to grow. There were moments where I thought to myself “how the fuck are we going to accomplish this? Am I being too ambitious?” I often felt pressure to cave when writing, as self doubt was frequent. They say the truer an endeavor is to ones core-of-being, the more resistance they’ll encounter. Having now secured Kallipolis in our belts, I know what to do and how to approach matters next time around, and I will always regard Kallipolis as a personal achievement of perseverance.

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

Matt: Our mindset with Kallipolis gravitated towards EP more than full LP, and as such we don’t have plans to tour supporting Kallipolis at this time. Will we tour in the future, perhaps for the next release? Probably, yes. Might some songs from Kallipolis show up at that time? Also probably.

Isaac: We currently have no management representation, nor can we afford to be frivolous with our time and resources and knee jerk the first opportunity that comes our way. If the right opportunity comes along we’ll absolutely leap at it, because the goal of this project is to start touring and, short of taking care of our health, never stop!

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

Matt: Oh man, continents would be an easier list. Our own country of the USA would be a great place to start, Italy, the Scandinavian countries, Poland, Japan. South America as a whole, the metalheads down there are fuckin’ crazy.

Isaac: Anywhere and everywhere, but that's too general an answer! Scandinavia is a must, granted so is all of Europe, USA and Canada are a given, Mexico and South America, truely anywhere people are willing to bang their heads and throw themselves into the pit. It would be an honor to play Japan or even Asia as well.

Who and what inspires you the most?

Matt: Inspiration is a fleeting thing, and can come from the most insignificant source sometimes. I look up to those who have a hunger for life. It seems to me someone with a full life will have more to say, musically.

Isaac: Musically my biggest influences  are usually albums, so Behemoth - Evangelion, Cattle Decapitation - The Anthropocene Extinction, Fleshgod Apocalypse - Agony; I'm also heavily influenced by Classical greats like Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Chopin. In regards to “what”, whenever I reach a road block I  default to isolating myself in nature for an afternoon. I would also start every morning reading a portion of a book called “The War of Art” which focuses on cultivating discipline and forcing onself to sit down and chip away rather than waiting for inspiration to compel oneself, as inspiration is usually fleeting, on top of recognizing resistance in the form of self sabotaging tendencies and self doubt.

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

Matt: I was brought up playing piano, so to this day I enjoy classical music and jazz as well.  It would be incorrect to say that other genres had any real impact on my playing though. I fuse some elements of certain subgenres of metal together, but that’s already all under the same umbrella. Classical music perhaps had the strongest influence, but I would say that metal and classical music share a significant amount of common ground anyway.

Isaac: As mentioned, I'm very influenced by Classical music, especially the manner in which composers approach and excecute compositions. I love when music takes me on a journey rather than when songs sound like a collection of ideas that never really gel. I'm also very fond of a Japanese Jazz pianist, Ryo Fukui and anything that sounds similar. Haven't had the chance to explore jazz as much yet, but that isn't far off. I also enjoy Yes’ older releases, pre-1980s. There's even a few pop-punk bands in my repitoire!

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

Matt: Thanks for having us! Check out Kallipolis, and if you enjoy it at all, know that there is more on the horizon for us, and for you. We’ve just barely gotten started.

Isaac: We’re here to write metal that we ourselves would want to hear from an upcoming band. We serve the music first and our egos last. We know what it's like to hear an album and to connect with it in almost a psudeo-spritual manner. Music is the hand that lifts you up when life tears you down. It is the friend that is always there for you, understands you in ways that no other seems to; True satisfaction is knowing that we’ve written something worth listening to for years to come that will engrain itself in another's soul, not something that we can flaunt like a merit badge for a few weeks as the flavor of the month then have it fade from memory. We’re here to grow as musicians and artists, not find what works, habituate, and rehash it until we fade away from irrelevance. We wish everyone to know we understand and value the time and attention spans necessary for people to give in order to listen to and digest music, and we assure you we’ve only just begun.

"Kallipolis" is available from Bandcamp.

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