LOMM: Can you give a little biographical and historical info about the band?
ORC: ORCumentary is an immersive fantasy-driven comedic metal solo project that lyrically follows the adventures of a heroic orc as he attempts to overthrow the Elves, Dwarves, and Goblins of The Five Lands and subject them to the rule of Orc Supremacy.
I started it back in 2006 and have since released 3 albums, an EP, and played over 150 shows all over New England and beyond. Some of my live performances went viral online due to their odd locations/timing, including a show I performed at a nearly empty Hot Topic and my (now) annual Super Bowl Alternative Halftime Show Livestreams.
LOMM: Pandemic has taken an emotional toll on everyone yet the arts have been hit especially hard. The musicians are vulnerable to financial upheaval. How have you been holding up?
ORC: In some ways I’m actually better off than before the pandemic, but my mental health has certainly had its ups and downs, for obvious reasons. On my bad days, though, I try to put it into perspective; I am fortunate and grateful that my life has not been completely upended like so many others. It’s certainly frustrating seeing so many people not take it seriously, and that’s why things now are as bad as they were when the pandemic first started.
LOMM: On the other hand you seem to have had a productive time. Is that right?
ORC: Yes. I already had set my mind to making an album back in January, so the wheels were already in motion before Covid hit, fortunately. This was one of the things that kept me sane, having something to work on. ORCumentary also had not released any recorded music since 2015 for a number of reasons, so that along with everything being canceled, I was really motivated to make this album.
LOMM: Modern sounds are my thing ☺ How about you? What does your genre means to you, why did you choose this genre?
ORC: It seems like every band likes to call their music some made-up genre, and i’m no different. I classify my music as “orc rock” or “orc metal”, which really can mean whatever I want it to mean. There are some modern sound influences, but I’m mostly inspired by European melodic death metal, power metal, and folk metal. There’s some wacky sounds here and there too, as ORCumentary’s lyrical content is usually comical to some degree. The aforementioned styles go hand-in-hand with fantasy lyrics, and they are the ones I enjoy the most, so naturally that’s what I enjoy writing most too.
That said, “Fully ORChestrated” is very different from my previous albums; it’s an “ORChestral” album, as the title implies. It’s meant to commemorate ORCumentary’s 15th anniversary. There’s one new song, a cover, and 6 “classic” songs re-arranged to be in an ORChestral style. It’s something i’ve been wanting to do for over a decade and ended up being a bigger challenge than I anticipated, but i’m really proud of the end result. I think new and existing fans alike will eat it up.
LOMM: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?
ORC: I actually had no idea how to write rock or metal music before I started ORCumentary. I was just a Lord of the Rings-obsessed kid that was bored of piano lessons and had an idea to write funny songs about orcs. After a lot of messing around and a bunch of demos, I realized it was something I wanted to focus on and dump my talent into, so I decided to take it more seriously and give it the name ORCumentary. While LOTR was my main inspiration for starting to write music, I wanted to write my own stories and create my own characters. At the time, I aspired to be an author and so storytelling was something I was very much “about”.
LOMM: Are you happy with your product? I mean, what aspects of it do you think you nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?
ORC: The lyrical, vocal, and storytelling aspects are what I consider “nailed”, per se. That is what defines ORCumentary. Like I said before, instrumentally I draw from all kinds of influences and am able to make a sound that’s undeniably my own. I’m always looking for new sounds, structures, etc to incorporate into my songwriting, but I have a very “free” way of writing where I don’t feel like I have to make music that sounds a certain way. As long as the lyrical, vocal, and storytelling aspects remain true to what ORCumentary is, the music will follow.
LOMM: How has the overall reception been?
ORC: ORCumentary’s reception has always been polarizing, and that’s not a bad thing. As an artist, you want to make music that gets a strong reaction. It’s hard to be passionate about a band that tries too hard to appeal to everyone. Some people aren’t into music that’s comical or that has a very specific theme, and I also play live shows with just me and a keyboard (rather than a full band), which is further polarizing. However, the vast majority of the shows I’ve played have been to audiences that just totally eat it up. The theatricality is a lot of fun, and instrumentally it can be challenging to play and write. It’s not just like 2-chord throwaway stuff like what people often associate with comedic music.
LOMM: What do you see for your future? How is it looking?
ORC: The next year will be devoted to promoting the forthcoming album, “Fully ORChestrated”. I’m already looking ahead to the next album; started doing some demos and am writing the story. Next year I will also do a few livestream shows, as who knows when we will be able to do in-person ones again.
LOMM: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process?
ORC: Most of my songs focus around an original story where my character, Orc Adams, leads a quest to defeat the Elves, Dwarves, Men, and Goblins and have orcs rule. This story is continuous and will continue on the next album (the one after “Fully ORChestrated”, as that is a special 15th anniversary release).
I’ve had a love of fantasy books and films since I was a kid, so they were big inspirations when I first started as a teenager. Like I said before, I had aspirations to be an author and while I don’t have those aspirations anymore, I still have a love of storytelling, and that comes through in my lyrics.
LOMM: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?
ORC: Of the two, definitely music for its own sake. You have to have a need to create music, to express yourself in that way, and you have to do it for yourself rather than for your audience. Music is best when it’s genuine, and if you’re trying to appeal to a certain group rather than doing what you are passionate about, the audience will know that it’s not genuine.
That said, there’s a balance between the two that has to be struck. Artists will change and develop from album to album, but the same “soul” has to still be there, per se. I’m sure you can think of a few bands that throughout their career went completely off the rails and abandoned their subgenre, or sometimes even their core genre, but kept the same name. It’s a risky move that doesn’t pay off as often as people think.
LOMM: Anything else you think your fans should know?
ORC: The new ORCumentary album, titled Fully ORChestrated, will be released on February 5th, 2021. Pre-order the deluxe CD version from my webstore ( www.orcumentary.bigcartel.com ) or get it from your favorite digital retailer. Thanks for 15 awesome years, and here’s to 15 more. Keep orc rock alive!