Welcome to “Six Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so we’re making this a permanent feature on the site. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay intact. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is New York-based indie progressive metal band Orissa. We have not yet covered Orissa here on the pages of Indie Minded, so it is great to get to them. If you’re not familiar with Orissa, sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
Orissa a progressive metal band. The music and the lyrical poetry is epic and cinematic. It defies categorization in sub-genres and does not conform to, “sounds-like,” characterizations. Concretely, the musical elements in Orissa are drawn from: Balkan and other ancient musical traditions; classical harmony and form and eastern European 20th century classical composers; modern American music like classic soul and R&B; early jazz fusion; classic to contemporary progressive rock and metal; American pop. Those individual elements or sources of inspiration are woven together into large scale, epic, dramatic and cathartic musical structures that have a distinctive, unique style and identity.
I am from Northern California. I have been residing in New York City for 9 years. I got started with music in elementary school when I was consistently drafted into the lead in the school musicals and did that until I was 11 and the undisciplined rebel in me couldn’t be sated or tolerated by the musical directors. I picked up a guitar and began the right journey. A couple years later I discovered some Julian Bream records and became infatuated with classical guitar and classical music in addition to the rest of my existing broad tastes. That led me into pursuing a formal education at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and then living in Italy for post-graduate studies and concerts thereafter.
After that period I felt compelled to explore music through writing and playing music that fused the musics of my education and childhood interests, with contemporary sounds/styles. Progressive rock and metal were a natural fit both materially and emotionally. Materially progressive rock/metal is by definition inviting of inventing new styles, experimentation, fusion of disparate musical languages and eschewing technical limitation. Emotionally, which is the most important thing to me, it is a perfect fit because it allows for expressing a wide range of intense emotional states in a highly dramatic and personalized musical form.
As an artist, how do you define success?
I think art is one vehicle for us to explore what it is to be human. We are both an animal and a divine potential trying to realize itself. Art gives us a means to explore those aspects within ourselves in isolation or communally. Thus, art is a tool we can use to experience, explore and discover more of our true nature.
I define artistic success as having visions that are both emotional and cerebral, and then exploring those feelings and ideas so that those visions are realized with integrity while unexpected inspirations and discoveries are made and captured spontaneously along the way. It is this contact with inspiration, contemplation, realization and manifestation of visions granted to us by some divine force that gives art life for the creator and the audience. For me, as long as any art form is experienced and explored in that way with that spirit behind it, it is a success. In this way, it acknowledges and can unveil more of what we human beings have to discover and explore about ourselves and our place in the universe.
The result could be a cheesy song that reminds us to be silly and have levity. It could be an outlet for exploring the darkest parts of the animal nature that lives in all of us without bringing harm to others. It could be a love letter that reveals the beauty of the vulnerability and strength of one human heart connected or yearning to connect to that of another.
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
Struggles in the music business? Clearly, I’m going to need to donate a few of my easily made millions to your lung transplant for all the capillary damage your crack habit has done to constrict oxygen to your brain. Struggles as an investment banker? Sure. Struggles in the music business? Please.
Joking aside, I think the many and significant challenges in this business will change as my career evolves. Right now, finding that right team of collaborators across artistic mediums and business domains is extremely challenging given how fragmented the creative landscape has become. However, the same factors that limit the current landscape present unprecedented opportunities for collaboration as well.
I am looking to build a network and team of collaborators for helping me realize my creative visions and to help them realize theirs and find their audience. Today, locale is not such a limiting factor. If you are a musician or in one of the visual arts or in production of film or music and are looking for talent to connect with in order to make and market music and art, we should talk, no matter where you are in the world.
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
We don’t have that one, but check out their newest track, “Resurrection.”
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
My greatest inspirations and influences include: Dusan Bogdanovic; Haydn; Bach; Stravinsky; Bartok; Alex Grey; Hieronymus Bosch; Dante; Petronius; Kurt Vonnegut; the British Enlightenment and its peak/culminating thinkers and writers Jefferson and Madison; Hendrix; Chris Cornell; Morrissey; Stevie Wonder; Herbie Hancock; Wayne Shorter; Karnivool; Sikth; Tool; Meshuggah; Bruce Lee; great athletes like Roger Federer, LeBron James …
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
A few things I enrich myself with in one form or another are: images of the universe; cosmology; being in nature; studying human nature and behavior – the absurd to the sublime; biology and anthropology; human history; film and 21st century, cinematic telefilms; stand up comedy; praxeology and economics; human relationships; visual art; psychedelia; literature; participatory athletics.