Melbourne prog staples Orsome Welles are preparing to release a new single. This Friday night, the band performs at the Workers Club where the boys officially launch the track. Killyourstereo.com recently caught up with guitarist Nick Toohey to discuss the year so far, the pros and cons of the current prog scene, and the band’s future plans.
Now that we’re approaching the tail end of 2015, how has the year been for Orsome Welles so far?
We have a had great year so far. We toured the east coast with Caligula’s Horse, supported Seether at the Forum, which was insane, supported The Ocean at a sold out show here in Melbourne, played Adelaide for the first time and now we are really excited to launch our new single on September 11.
Speaking of the single launch, you perform at The Worker’s Club this Friday night. Stylistic (and perhaps thematically), which direction does ‘Swim’ take the band in?
This song is different because our vocalist Stowers brought this song in, whereas all of our other songs have been brought in by myself, the other guitarist BV or occasionally, our bassist Jimmy. Musically, it’s got a bit more of a pop vibe than what our fans are used to, but they can rest assured that it still brings the heavy. Overall it’s a culmination of everything we have done, but with a new sound from a different origin. The production is a big step up from our EP too, so it’s really exciting stuff for us and we think our fans are going to love it.
When it comes to promoting your music and shows, what’s it like managing the business side of things? People see you perform and they listen to your music, but how involved is all the groundwork and behind the scenes stuff that goes into being a band today?
Firstly, I want to say that making good music is our primary goal before I start rambling about business because we are not about trying to ‘make it big’ at any cost. Our creative integrity will always come first, but in saying that, if we can ever get to the stage where we can live off making good music, then seeing the band as a business also is necessary.
Handling the business side can be very hectic and stressful, but without that side we wouldn’t get the satisfaction we do when we pull off a successful show. I can’t speak for every band, but for us we are involved down to the finest details. Budgeting, promoting, planning, selling, networking and marketing are all just tips of the iceberg – these have to be done at the same time as all of the creative aspects of being in a band. Outsourcing is a great way to spread the workload. but if you’re like us and your budget doesn’t often permit that, you have to do most of the work yourself. On the plus side, it’s a great challenge and it gives you more control over your business. Sometimes handing out fliers, working the merch table, and scraping by on a budget etc. can seem less than glamourous, but when someone tells you that they enjoyed the show or they love the recording or when you have people banging their heads in the crowd it makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Keeping on the topic of band promotion, what’s your relationship like with social media? Is it important, a necessary evil or you’re completely indifferent to its functions?
It’s definitely necessary. Its a great way to connect with fans, to share your experiences with them and more importantly their experiences with you. I think it’s important for fans to feel they can talk to bands and social media gives them direct access. It is no way the only avenue to promote your band and no band should solely rely on it, but right now it’s there 24/7 and gives you access to new and old fans all around the world. It’s only one avenue, but when you’re trying to get your music out there you need to use them all.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve encountered so far being a local band, particularly in a genre like prog, which, while containing passionate fans, is still very much a niche field?
The hardest thing for us is the feeling that we don’t sound much like any other bands we know of, so trying to work out who to play with, where we are going to get the best reception and where we fit in has been a bit difficult, but we have always received a few great reactions from pretty much everywhere we have played and that’s really encouraging.
Looking a little further, what are some of the key band goals for the next 12 – 18 months?
Record a full length album, more national tours and our first international tour.
Favourite albums of 2015 so far?
Northlane – Node, Dead Letter Circus – Aesthesis, Glass Ocean – II EP, Toehider – Mainly Songs About Robots EP, and really looking forward to Caligula’s Horse – Bloom.
What are some local bands/peers that you feel are driving the genre forward?
Alithia, Kettlespider, Tux, Mushroom Giant, Glass Empire, [and] Sons of Abraham.
Thanks for the interview Toohey. Appreciate your time.
Catch Orsome Welles perform in Melbourne this Friday night. Details via the Facebook event.