1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the musical project since the recording of the new album?
Finishing the album was a big relief, but no rest for the wicked, as they say. I have two CD pre-release shows lined up in a couple weeks, so I’m busy rehearsing 7 new songs.
2.You have a new album coming out in October, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Destroy the Dwarves is a continuation of the style on Orcs 1 Goblins 0, which is the album I think of as ORCumentary’s true beginning. I coined a new “genre” called “orc rock”, because it’s legitimately difficult to sum up my style quickly. I incorporate influences from music I like (mainly melodic death, industrial metal, power metal, and folk metal). I have fast songs, mid songs, slow songs, straightforward songs, long songs, melodic songs, aggressive songs, you get the idea. I work very hard to make sure every song is one I can be proud of, one I will enjoy playing live, and one that offers something that hasn’t been presented in an ORCumentary song before.
Bringing all that back to your original question, I went even further on both ends of the musical spectrum with Destroy the Dwarves. To give two quick(ish) examples, there’s one song towards the end of the album that’s about 3 minutes long. Very catchy and straightforward. It starts out as kind of a garage rock song but it kind of builds into something heavier and there’s a great guitar solo in it. Now compare that to a song around the middle that’s 7 minutes long, has an ambient intro, switches tempos midway through, and has extended instrumental sections. That and everything in between is what listeners can expect to hear on Destroy the Dwarves.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with the newer music?
Lyrically, ORCumentary’s music follows a storyline. To sum it up quickly, Orc Adams, hero of the orcs and wielder of the Keyboard of Mayhem, is on a mission to establish orc supremacy and lay low all the other races in The Five Lands. Destroy the Dwarves is a continuation of that story and the Dwarves are on the chopping block next. The Dwarves raise a white flag and want to meet with Adams to make a peace treaty, but the hero of the Orcs has other ideas. Needless to say, things don’t go according to plan for either party. There’s lots of violence, flatulence (as Dwarves are rather gassy), scheming, razor-sharp wit, and the ending is rather shocking.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name ORCumentary?
It literally means “a documentary about orcs.” The lyrical content has always been from the perspective of orcs, but everything after my debut album follows a continuous storyline.
5.On the albums you record everything my yourself, are you planning on expanding the line up in the future or do you chose to remain solo?
I get asked this question a lot. I thought about making it a full band once, went as far as to seriously consider it. However, ORCumentary means too much to me to allow anyone else to be a part of the process, if that makes sense. It’s been my creative outlet for almost 10 years. It has also already been established as a solo band, and people love it that way. It’s part of what makes ORCumentary stand out. Something huge would be lost if other people were added to the mix It’s nice to be in complete control of everything, although the downside of that is if I’m not motivated, nothing gets done. If I could do absolutely everything myself for ORCumentary I would, but I don’t have the skills/means to do the mastering and artwork. Luckily, Not A Damn Cheese Design and I are always on the same page when it comes to bringing my ideas to life, and my friend Ben Lane does a great job mastering.
6.What are some of the best shows that you have played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
My live show is literally just me on stage with a keyboard and a mic. I have a larger-than-life stage presence, which makes up for the lack of members. Orc Adams on stage is the complete opposite of what I’m like in real life. He’s boisterous, loud, demanding, arrogant, but he’s got a great sense of humor (although I have a good sense of humor too) and the stage shenanigans are really hard to take seriously. Anyways, I do vocals and play keyboard parts live. It’s very energetic, or so I like to think.
My favorite show so far has been my CD release back in 2013 for Orcs 1 Goblins 0. For the songs “Orc and the Butterfly” and “Sword of Iron”, a group of about 15 people came up and helped me do the gang vocal parts. It was pretty surreal. I also opened for Agalloch back in 2012, which was really cool too.
7.Do you have any touring or show plans once the new album is released?
Nothing concrete, but I’m probably going to take it easy for the rest of this year. Might pick up a couple shows, but next year is when the heavier gigging will take place. I can’t do extensive touring, but I want to do a few weekend tours next spring/summer; hopefully the Philly area, maybe return to Buffalo, who knows?
8.Can you tell us a little bit more about Orc Rock Records?
Most people/publications take artists who are signed more seriously, so that was honestly the only reason why I put it on there.
9.In one interview you talked about your interest in fantasy novels, what are some of the fantasy authors that you have taken an interest in lately?
Terry Brooks is my favorite author. 5 of his books are at the top of my “to read” list. R.A. Salvatore is one of my favorites too, although I haven’t read any of his books in years (he’ll be next). I really liked the first four books in The Sword of Truth series, but I couldn’t stick with the fifth one. Jacqueline Carey wrote this really interesting duology called The Sundering, which portrayed the “villains” as the heroes often are, and the “heroes” as the villains often are.
To be honest, I haven’t been good about keeping up with new authors and those recommended to me because up until a few years ago I had kind of “fallen out” of reading. Now that things have settled down a bit in my life, I’ve been re-reading a lot of the ones I own. I want to be “caught up”, per se, before pursuing new authors and books. Over the past few years, I’ve reread LOTR, Harry Potter, Dragonlance Chronicles (which was a bit of a disappointment), and some Terry Brooks too.
10.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal?
The response is mostly positive. Usually the only really negativity is from the online community. It’s definitely a love it or hate it thing. The people who come out to shows have a great time and can appreciate not only the comedic aspects, but the musicianship too. I’m really lucky that the response has been as supportive and positive as it has been.
11.Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
I’d like to continue to keep songwriting as my main focus. I’ve kind of started a side band (actual band with other people) and I have 4 songs in various stages of completion for that. I don’t want to talk too much about it, but I really want to do just vocals live if it kicks off and we start doing shows.
I like the idea of getting back into playing sheet music as well. I took piano lessons for 11 years (age 7 to 18), but after I graduated high school, my main focus has been on songwriting. Getting back into technical and theoretical study on the piano would be great, but it depends on if I have the musical time for it.
Eventually I’d like to start a project for ambient/soundtrack style music, but again it’s about having the time and sufficient inspiration. The vast majority of what I listen to is metal, so that’s what I want to play and write most of the time. I have a really hard time finding non-metal that’s interesting, so I think I’d like to make whatever ambient/non-metal side project similar to ORCumentary, in the sense that I’d take influence from lots of other genres and just write what I like to hear.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
My favorite subgenres are melodic death metal, power metal, and industrial metal. I’m influenced by a lot of different bands these days, but my favorites are Elvenking, Mnemic, Soilwork, Poets of the Fall, and Thrice. I also really like certain soundtracks like LOTR. I can find something good in most styles of music, whether it’s something I personally enjoy or not
13.What are some of your non-musical interests?
My non-musical interests include reading, walking, archery (although I don’t get to do it very often), video games, and movies. I love spring and fall weather and I try to be outside as much as possible in those times of year.
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thanks for your thoughtful questions and for taking the time to listen to my music. Keep orc rock alive!