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Laika's Jordan Dorge Dissects New Album "Somnia"

Photo of Laika

Band Photo: Laika (?)

Hailing from Winnipeg, the melodic death metal outfit Laika will drop second full-length album "Somnia" at the end of the month via the band's own Filth Regime Records.

We've been following the promising young group since 2011 and watching the development of this release with much anticipation, and now that the album is nearly upon us we got in touch with vocalist Jordan Dorge for an inside view of Laika.

See what Jordan had to say about delays in the album finally leading up to this official release and find a full track-by-track break down explaining the "Somnia" concept below.

xFiruath: How did this album come together and when were the tracks written?

Dorge: This album came together over the course of two years. Some of these tracks are as old as Laika, namely “Predictions,” while other more recent songs have evolved with the band to achieve a more aggressive and coherent pace. We had more delays than we would have liked but we kept the ship sailing; writing and fine tuning this album. It has been an incredibly long journey so it’s nice to hear the positive feedback coming in for the album, feels like the extra time has paid off.

xFiruath: You guys actually released a short EP back in 2011 that had two songs from the new album – are these the same tracks on the full album or have they been modified or re-recorded?

Dorge: Actually, we were supposed to record the whole “Somnia” album in 2011, but unfortunate technical issues resulted in only being able to record two songs. At the time, we had a tour planned right around the corner and we wanted to be able to bring some fresh recordings with us to give away at our shows. We hammered out the EP in record time, and while structurally the songs are still the same, the re-recorded, full album versions include some significant production changes, as well as a few changes in harmonies and layering. The changes are largely due to a studio overhaul by our producer, but also just from the natural evolution of the songs that came about from playing them live since their initial release.

xFiruath: For fans of your previous album, how would you say the sound has changed from “Crafting The Cataclysm” to “Somnia?”

Dorge: “Crafting the Cataclysm” was for every band member our first shot at recording as well as the producers first shot at a large scale, six piece group, featuring keyboards and synths. We have all grown as musicians and molded Laika’s sound since then. Those songs showcase a lot of bobbing and weaving trying to identify our sound. On this record I think we have found it and hope people enjoy it. It is vastly different in every way.

xFiruath: Can you explain what's happening with the lyrical concept of the album?

Dorge: The overall concept of the album revolves around the stream of consciousness and chaotic thought patterns that can consume a person during and directly prior to falling asleep. When a person is left alone with only their thoughts, the events of the day can be twisted and replayed in obscure ways. The album starts and finishes with an obvious portrayal of the passing of linear time, and in that sense the lyrical themes are linked. But, like the dreaming mind itself, songs stray from broad spectrum topics.

“Escalation of Terror” focuses on mass hysteria we are subjected to by mass media. It causes paranoid delusions and drastic actions. It touches on how we are vulnerable to all this and how it can affect us.

“Somnia” is almost a continuation of “Escalation” of sorts. It is about that subject matter but turns the camera towards a singular being. He’s sick of all the chaos, madness and tragedies around the world. So he decides to enter a permanent-like sleep where he can create his own imagery of beauty and tranquility (as detailed on the cover).

“Fidelity” is about the internal strife between looking out for oneself versus placing trust in another. The lyrics represent a battlefield of the mind arguing with itself, each day of battle ending in new revelations.

“Caligae A Galea” is a dark song, focusing on the darkness within ourselves. It dives into the mind of oneself and entertaining the idea of committing most heinous acts.

“Dream of Nothing” is an instrumental track, though we treat this as representing the being on the front cover really diving into his dreams. Essentially revisiting the previous four tracks and then entering into unreality, which the following tracks visit almost fantasy-like topics.

“The Immortal,” this is an interesting track, again about the strengths of man. This man is gung ho on the idea that he is immortal and can’t be hurt. He then pushes it too far and passes on to the otherside. There he starts missing everyone he loves, wishing he could be with them.

“Predictions” is our oldest track, we were brainstorming ideas for this one for quite some time. It is about a massive cetacean deep in our oceans that is responsible for maintaining all life cycles. It is the dream of an ancient creature, hidden from existence, making all life possible, it’s movements causing the tides, and providing essential living conditions around the world. Far removed from man, the beast keeps the natural world in check.

“Invaders” is the final track on the album and a suitable closer. It focuses on invasive species entering our mind, homes and earth. Destroying all we know and killing everything in its path. As the track closes we hear that familiar clock ticking from the intro and we find ourselves reliving this dreamscape again.

xFiruath: You mentioned the striking artwork, tell me a bit more about how that came about.

Dorge: Uzi Emperado created this masterpiece for us nearly 2 years ago. I had asked him to create someone who is in necrotic state, dreaming and showing no sign of waking up. Almost peaceful. He encapsulated all these ideas brilliantly in a beautiful, striking piece that has been very important to us over the past two years. We’re excited to see it finally in physical form.

xFiruath: I wasn't familiar with Filth Regime Records before seeing the news of your new album – can you tell me a bit about the label?

Dorge: Filth Regime Records was created by myself. Label intentions are to release some great acts on vinyl (and occasional CD), some of which have been struggling to gain attention of other, larger labels. I saw an opportunity to help the bands I love and contribute to the collection of great metal on vinyl.

xFiruath: Where can fans catch Laika live in the near future supporting this album?

Dorge: Laika is planning to tour across Canada in 2015. For the local crowd, we have a CD release show planned for October 11th with some of Winnipeg’s finest acts. There might be some festival appearances in the future as well.

xFiruath: On the subject of live shows, what's happening in your local area musically?

Dorge: Locally we have been getting some really great shows. Of course with summer everyone's out and about but there have been some great ones here and there. I attend many shows and all have been great but the one that sticks out is Origin, King Parrot, Beyond Creation, and Exuvium.

xFiruath: Is anybody from Laika active with other projects right now?

Dorge: I have 3 other projects, Wilt (atmospheric black metal), Endless Chaos (death/thrash), and Exuvium (death metal). Blair is also in Wilt and Exuvium with me, and Mason plays in Wilt and Great Steelhead.

xFiruath: Anything else you'd like to add?

Dorge: I hope fans really like what we have done with “Somnia.” We've worked hard on this album, we think it shows, and I hope the fans are as proud of it as we are. We’re extremely excited to get back out there and give everyone some long overdue new tunes and are looking forward to shows in the new year. But most importantly, we’re hoping for a packed house for the “Somnia” CD release show.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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