I recently interviewed Baltinore based metal band Crimson Orchid to find out more about their music and what they are currently up to.
MM-On your site it says that the band "formed around the idea of death". Can you tell us more about that?
Well one thing that you have to understand is that life was a great deal different back then. Perhaps not as much as you'd think but we were all different people. It was only five years ago but it seems so very much longer. That was when Jacob still lived in his first apartment. Let's just say that life was filled with drugs, alcohol, sex, scandal, violence, and illegal activities. Not to mention the rest of the band still lived at home and a couple of them still doing college and such. A million life stories were taking place there in that first year. I think that the best way to answer this question is to give you a few of those gems. Oh, shit where to start. Well, ... one night Ryan and Jacob were out about three in the morning delivering newspapers. That was one of Jacobs odd jobs at the time and he was usually able to drag Ryan along to make it quicker. They were on their usual route and were reaching the end of the night, when they came to the apt complex that always ended it. They would park the car and run inside to shoot the papers to all the floors. Before they did that that would always park in the same spot and smoke a few cigarettes or other smoke able substances. Then they’d continue.While they were running the course they saw that there was another car driving around the parking lot. He almost seemed to be following them. The two watched him close until eventually he went away. They thought maybe he was trying to get a chance to snatch Jacobs car while they weren't looking. But he just left and the two boys thought nothing more of it. A few days later Jacob and Ryan find that two men; one of whom is matching his description and driving the same color make and model car he had been, was being hunted. A body had been found in the car right next to their nightly smoking spot. Of course they thought of the strange man the other night, but even though it was coincidence it couldn't have been him cause he was alone. However they were wrong. It was he. Apparently Jacob and Ryan both had been there the night the man dropped off the body. Where was the second man, who knows? But they were there. Not long after that Jacob had moved to Baltimore. He was living in pig town. The second week he was there this fool gets gunned down right in front of Jacob and Ryan as they were going to Jacobs car. Well not to be too dramatic it was at least 40 feet way. Then one night after some serious cocaine abuse, (only Jacob) they were heading back to Baltimore and Jacob, being in the lead car, happened to be the first person on the scene of a vicious accident. He got one of the broken up men out of the first car, but all he found in the second car was a still beautiful yet all too young, dead girl. He took her pulse and prayed to god as he reached for her cold flesh but to no avail. She was gone, and there was another boy that had been thrown out of the car. The perimedicts did not want to listen to Jacob so he and Ryan left the scene. Later the authorities found the missing boy barely alive about a hundred yards away off the side of the road. There are many stories like this from the years before and during the band. Too many suicides both in and out of families. Even more car crashes, and a slew of bad fuckin circumstances. This is what it means. "Around the idea of death". Those were the ideas that seemed to beckon to us at the time. Death and problems were all around us. Not forever though.
MM-Who are your influences?
That is a difficult answer. Everything would be a good way of cheating this. Each of us is very different and have molded with our interests. We all take turn showing eachother new music. Jason loves opeth and introduced them to us years ago. Thank god... and Metallica used to be his gods. He also loves some country, flogging molly, and beatallica. Donald also used to bow to metallica. He loves Evanescence, Cellador, Dragon force, Leaves Eyes, and Seether. He gets down with the classics too, plus things like through the eyes of the dead. David is most unlike the rest of us I suppose. He is a huge fan of Dredge. I might be wrong but I think his favorite next to dredge would be Tool. He also gets into some great bands like Spiral Architect. Ryan still has a huge heart for rap and hiphop music. From Twiztid, and Technine to atmosphere, and Sage Francis. He adores Lamb of god and the likes of As I lay dying. He probably listens to the most hip hop and metal next to Jacob. Jacob listens a lot of shit too. His gods are Black Sabbath. Then he goes in all directions. His greats are King Diamond, Sentenced, Age of silence, Opeth, old Sepultura, old Fear Factory, Despised Icon, Vital Remains, the list goes on. When it comes to hip hop he'd have to say, black star, talib kwali, nas, sage francis, and so many more. We all listen to almost everything each other listens to. But, we all have our own personal flavors that we prefer.
MM-Tell us some about the concept behind your "Nightmares and fairytales" CD?
When it comes to writing the songs, they usually come out in whatever form they seem destined to be. Rarely do we say I want this and make it happen. Typically when we set out to just sit down and write we come up with nothing. But, when we're bored and we dont' know what to play and we've played most of our songs and it's like what's next motherfucker... we just come up with something. For example we "wrote" darker shade of bruise something like three times. Jacob even has a completely different set of lyrics for it. There are times when we had goals. We had a number of type designs that we wanted and they came slow but sure. For example we wanted to do something with a tribally feel to it and that became mothers tears. We wanted to do something just fast and aggressive and that became broken cross. Now, how these songs wound up being written were usually interesting. For starters you must understand that there are little to no coincidences in our songs. From the first album to the ep that's coming, to the album we'll have in 08/09, things connect. Perhaps in a way that will never be noticed or make sense but it's there if you look hard enough.Nearly every song was written about or inspired by a real life experience. They were named fairytales if they were based on one of our personal dedications or nightmares if they were part of the "regrettable", or "predictionary" basis. As is probably true for a lot of people we or those we know tend to get in a lot of larger then life, moviesque situations. Some songs such as believe could be called "dedications" to folks we were in contact with that were among these crazy lives. Jacob knew of a woman, who had come down with horrible sickness and was in the hospital recuperating. While in there she received an even worse staff infection that rendered her body into a vegetative state. As she was in that coma, cancer that she had dealt with years ago had reawakened. They wound up taking her legs before she awoke. So, after six months of darkness she comes to, and the world as she knew it is no more. This all started with an aggressive viral infection. Not to mention that on top of all these heavy tragedies she was raising six children.Thus this is a story that people would be saying.."No Shit!!"... if you brought it up by the water cooler. So among others it became a "fairytale". On the other end of the spectrum the nightmares were written about tragic happenings or Jacobs thoughts of tragedies to come. Again, most of them were based on true-life events. For example, Broken cross of daneyeal was written about a nazi that the group had come into contact with. More then once now reviewers have referred to the lyrics as being "tough guy"... It didn't make sense at first but we guess the direct threat of violence would lend to it's being called that. This "girl" had brought her new boyfriend and some of her other friends over. A few members of the band and myself and some friends were at my old house. They all walked in with beers in hand and just stood there. We said our hellos and the conversation started with "man you should have been at the rally today it was great". Let's say that the meaning behind that rally quickly unfolded and a great and heated debate began. Jacob continued to step out of the room and regain composure with his devil bong. Then returning to continue to make this small-minded sheep look the fool to his entire posse. Soon thereafter they were given the boot, and without one fist swung. No less then two days later he received justice at the end of a boot. A series of boots actually and we all felt better for maintaing composure and simply kicking them the fuck off the property. Never the less about five minutes after they left, we wrote broken cross of daneyeal. So those tough guy lyrics that people complain about are simply the fruit of a tough fuckin moment. Song after song this is what the album is. Every song has a story and every story is true. The point of each album is simply us connecting with the world. True emotions bleeding into truly passionate music.
MM-About how many shows are you playing monthly?
We play anywhere from 1 to I think 8 was the most in a month. We average 2 to 4.
MM-What’s the biggest crowd you have played in front of?
That would be at the Recher theatre in June of last year. We blew up the stage in front of about 1000 people. Not much for a lot of big bands but a hell of a show for us.
MM -Where do you hope to be in three years?
Doing what we're doing now, but better and with more success. We hope to be touring with bands that we love, not just opening up for them time to time. We'd like to be able to play where and when we want without a problem. Then maybe, maybe, just maybe, one day we'll be able to survive simply off of our music. That would be nice.
MM-What band would you love to open for?
One answer is hard, so we’ll give you several in no particular order. Opeth, Metallica, Black Sabbath, Ozzy, King Diamond, Dredge, Lamb of god, and many more.We've already opened for Emmure, From a second story window, Endwell, Anal Cunt, Mnemic, Goatwhore, My bitter end, Arsis, Overkill, the Rhandies (funny story), Abysmal Dawn, Decapitated, Krisiun, God Forbid and so on...many more to follow....
MM-Rate the Baltimore metal scene on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being terrible and 10 being incredible.
Again that is kinda hard to say so we’ll give it a 5. We have the metal, and we have the people, but we don’t' have the clubs or the backing.
MM-What do you feel makes your band unique?
....hard to say. We just try and be true to our selves and treat others, as we would want to be treated. Respect everyone and gain respect. Show love and maintain standards. We’re not sure what to say... Come out, see a show, and say hello. Judge for yourselves...Thanks to the band for the interview providing me their logo and pictures. You can check out their My space page here.http://www.myspace.com/crimsonorchidband