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Interview With Andrew De Lange Of Orcus

Glendale, California's ORCUS has been feeding the Los Angeles Rock scene a steady diet of its unique brand of progressive black metal music since originally forming back in 2003. They have quickly become a favorite to many diehard metalers, due to the fact that they pretty much 'out talent' most groups of musicians around them. They remain unsigned, but I see them becoming attached very soon, having opened for such well known acts as OBITUARY and MY RUIN, all the while easily managing to hold their own and in some instances, in moments of sheer sonic beauty, obliterating anyone else that unfortunately has to share the stage with them. They have a new self-released album out entitled 'Birth' and I am happy to have had a chance to interview their keyboard player, Andrew De Lange.

Rocket: Are you originally from Glendale?

Andrew: Yeah, I've moved around a lot but never outside of Glendale.

Rocket: When did you first start playing the keys?

Andrew: I started when I was seven years old.

Rocket: Have you ever taken any lessons?

Andrew: Yeah, I've studied under three separate and completely different teachers. I took my first lesson when I was seven, and I stopped about four years ago to get more into writing.

Rocket: Who are a few of your biggest influences from a musical standpoint, past or present?

Andrew: Obviously the greats, like Bach and Rachmaninoff, but as of right now I have to say I've been getting a lot of inspiration from a few good film composers like Hans Zimmer and John Williams. There music is a lot like ours in the sense that it's supposed to embody that feeling of conflict on an epic, almost apocalyptic level.

Rocket: What metal bands are you typically looking to for inspiration when you write your music?

Andrew: As a keyboardist, I can't not look towards Dimmu Borgir for inspiration. All that "selling out" bullshit aside, Dimmu has an amazing sense for mixing heavy riffs with beautiful orchestra. Their "keys" are oftentimes actual recordings of orchestra backing them up. I think that's pretty amazing. I also have a lot of respect for the orchestral elements in Nightwish. They do it a lot like Dimmu, but in a different, mpre folk-like style.

Rocket: How much fun did you have making the new album 'Birth'?

Andrew: One of the coolest fucking things I've ever been a part of. Especially the recording aspect. You never know what you really sound like until you can listen to yourself in your car, and not to sound like an asshole, but our album is one of my favorite metal albums released in a while.

Rocket: There's nothing wrong with feeling proud about the work you do. And I tend to agree with you. Where is the CD available for purchase currently?

Andrew: You can purchase it off of CD Baby for like 13 bucks. http://cdbaby.com/orcus will link you right to it.

Rocket: Tell me, weren't you going to actually leave the band Orcus? I thought I heard you guys mention that at the My Ruin Whisky A Go Go show from back in April.

Andrew: Ah yeah, there was a lot of confusion revolving around that whole ordeal. I was looking at all my options in life, and I knew that if I stayed any longer with the band, I'd have to be fully committed to them, and I'd be locked here in Los Angeles with them. I decided the safest thing to do would be to leave and give them time to find a new keyboardist, but after a few weeks of thinking, as well as my involvement with Poison Carousel which works very closely to Orcus, I changed my mind. Orcus wouldn't be Orcus without keys, and finding a keyboardist that fits well with a metal band could take them months. So I figured, fuck school, fuck everything else in my life. I'm going to full on devote myself to something that deserves my infinite effort, and Orcus with Poison Carousel is definitely that.

Rocket: Well, that's some killer news to hear. I know having hung out with you guys in person that you really are all very close and you perform so well together. There is this killer energy going on with all of you on stage for sure. Okay, more about the brilliant album 'Birth'. It was recorded where and exactly who produced it?

Andrew: It was recorded in Northridge at skull seven studios under Anna Cumming, who works with me for Poison Carousel Productions. She tracked and mixed the entire album and is the reason why it sounds so amazing. We sent it to DRT Mastering on the East coast to get it mastered.

Rocket: Yeah, Anna is very talented person and an absolute sweetheart. I highly suggest to any band reading these words that wants the best work done to take it to her and Poison Carousel. Well, let me say that you guys achieve such a fully rounded out sound for a progressive black metal band, in my opinion. That's what I love about this act. There's a bit of everything going on, you know? It's not just all heavy guitars or melodramatic keyboards or brutal vocals. You really know how to arrange all of it so it's not too over the top. It's really the main reason why I am so into Orcus. Tell me more about the process of the band 'artistically' working together as a team.

Andrew: We all bring our full creativity to the table. Anyone is able to promote any kind of idea, whether it's Karo on bass coming up with an idea for keys or Hayg on guitar coming up with an idea for drums. The collaboration is very anti-systematic, and free flowing. The coolest part is that every new thing we write, it's obvious that we've grown stronger as far as writing is concerned. We also have a lot of respect for each other as musicians. There are no ego problems or whining and bitching about not having solo time or any bullshit like that. We don't feel that Orcus needs a "leader." Orcus leads itself. Music leads Orcus.

Rocket: Hey, I like to have fun with this next question. What's the funniest thing that's ever happened to you while performing?

Andrew: I can't remember what show this was, but it was definitely at the Whisky. We had a pretty big crowd that night, and things were running really smooth. We started into either Birth or Embers.. I can't remember which, but it included a pretty heavy keyboard part. I slam my fingers down, and it was like slow motion. The arm of my stand supporting the left side of my 40 ton fucking Kurzweil slipped and dropped downward, and the whole keyboard began to fall towards the whisky floor. I sort of just stood and watched in panic, when suddenly like... 10 people standing in front of me raised their arms and caught the damn thing, they were lifting it back up as I was playing until I had time to fix my stand. It was pretty fucking hilarious. My keyboard looked like Jesus.

Rocket: Haha. Amen to that! This band remains unsigned, but I see that coming to and end sooner rather than later. Who are a few of the indie labels out there that you respect?

Andrew: I don't want to single out any indie labels. I think anyone who has the mind to start an indie label separate from the corporate bigger labels deserves respect.

Rocket: What's your favorite metal album so far for 2006?

Andrew: I liked quite a few albums from 05, like from Naglfar, Opeth, Arch Enemy, etc. but not so many from 06. If I had to choose one, I guess it would be Come Clarity from In Flames.

Rocket: Come Clarity is a popular one for sure. What are a few of the upcoming Orcus shows we need to be aware of?

Andrew: We're opening for Cattle Decapitation on the 22nd of August at the Whisky. Our timeslot and ticket price hasn't been confirmed, but we definitely know this will be a badass show. I wouldn't be surprised if we had some new material by then as well. Check our myspace for any updates.

Rocket: That does sound like a kickass show, bro. Do you ever actually answer your fan mail on MySpace or is it just a hassle?

Andrew: Fuck, I even answer people who just comment us. Not aLL of them, but as many as I can.

Rocket: Thanks for taking the time out with me on this, Andrew. Give a shoutout to your biggest supporters.

Andrew: Thanks for the interview, man. I only want to give it up to our crazy die hard fans, especially Scarecrow, for their overwhelming level of enthusiasm and support. One of the greatest feelings I get is when I check the myspace and read a comment from a random someone who's listened to our music for the first time saying we're one of their new favorite bands. It's insanely motivational.

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