Ordinance – Metal Fit for an EmpireSunday, 13th March 2016
Dead Rhetoric: How much collaboration is there in terms of songwriting, since I know everyone is kind of scattered about?
Ostendorp: The songwriting, how it would happen – the songs that either Greg or I would write, we would write/record the guitar parts, or at least tab them out and send them to Alex. He would write drum parts and send it back, and we would build on it. He would get inspired by a guitar part, or we would get inspired by a drum part – it helped to give us direction. Once we decided it was a complete song, we would send it to Mike. Then he would work his magic with the vocals and the lyrics, so as far as collaboration, it was a totally collaborative effort. Everyone contributed to every song.
Dead Rhetoric: Songwriting started very early for The Ides of March. Is it something that gets done when everyone has a spare minute?
Ostendorp: For myself, I would say yes. As far as drum parts go, I don’t really like to dabble or contaminate any thoughts or ideas that Alex might have by writing my own drum part over it. I’ll write guitar parts and send them to Alex so he can work his magic with the drum parts.
Semesky: They basically bake the cake and I have to put the icing on it.
Ostendorp: But the icing is the best part!
Semesky: I’m the end of the assembly line, so hopefully I don’t screw everything up.
Dead Rhetoric: Does being studio-only give you any more freedom to do what you want with the material?
Ostendorp: For myself, because I don’t have to worry about playing it live, there are times when I went overboard with the guitar parts. I went and wrote maybe a little harder than I would usually write. I think the fact that we are a studio band influences the writing and guitar playing. I figured I only have to worry about getting the perfect take once [laughs], twice for the rhythms.
Semesky: Gunter is way too humble for his own good – he has the most solid chops! Seriously! Just to chime in, honestly I agree completely. I like the idea of writing parts that challenge you – no matter what. If you are in a studio or live band, you want to do stuff that challenges you as a musician. You want to do parts that make you want to practice, and practice before you track. So we may have gone a bit overboard here and there, but eventually we did have to do that stuff in the studio and get our chops to the point where we could do it. There is something to be said that it is a studio band and work on our own schedules, and have the time to dedicate to mastering a particular part that might have been a bit more difficult. If you are in a live band, you have an album release campaign and tours, and are pressed for time. You may not have the time to dedicate the time to master something that is slightly beyond how fast you sing a certain run or play a certain lick.
Ostendorp: I heard John Petrucci say that he will write solos that are slightly beyond his ability to practice harder.
Semesky: I am a full believer – once you start doing stuff that is easy or you repeat yourself…you don’t want to get stagnant and plateau. You don’t want to run across a situation where everything is just easy or uninspired.
Dead Rhetoric: Given that you started writing so early for this album, is this something that you would start somewhat soon if there will be a third Ordinance album?
Ostendorp: Even before The Ides of March had completed recording, I had started to compile riffs for a potential third album, whenever that may be. We’ll see as the ideas develop. Everyone is really busy with their personal schedules.
Semesky: It’s definitely on the radar, we all want to do another album.
Dead Rhetoric: Mike – this is the second, rather long, concept album that you have been involved with [see Rest Among Ruins’ Fugue]. Is that a way to challenge yourself moving forward?
Semesky: I am just obsessed with concept albums in general. I like things that bind the album together and make it into a journey. I’ve never been a guy that puts on a playlist of individual songs. I always try to experience the journey of an album. I would imagine the next release would be something conceptual. But you never know – I don’t want to place any creative constrictions before I’ve heard the skeletons of these songs. Maybe it would inspire a bunch of completely unrelated themes. I’m absolutely open to that, but I definitely gravitate towards concepts.
Dead Rhetoric: Being that Ordinance is a studio-only project, what else is going on with everyone’s schedules at the moment?
Semesky: Alex is in a new band called Good Tiger and they are killing it right now. They just left for their tour with August Burns Red, Between the Buried and Me, and The Faceless. I’ve got a headlining tour with Raunchy in Europe in April. Greg is doing a lot of production work.
Ostendorp: I am practicing guitar all the time, and I’m in school all the time. And I play a lot of Destiny.
Dead Rhetoric: Is there anything besides the tour going on with Raunchy at the moment?
Semesky: I’ve done a bunch of guest vocals – like 4 over the past few months. I did a guest on the new Fallujah album, that’s going to be tight. I also did one with Behaviour, a brand new up and coming band from Canada. The single I did with that band was produced by Nolly from Periphery. That guy is just a total mixing wizard and he did an amazing job with it. I also shot a video for a guest vocal that I did for a British band that features a bunch of vocalists – Spencer from Periphery, Dan from Tesseract, Ashe ex-Tesseract, and Chris from Monuments. It’s a band called Dzyen – I shot it over the summer but it’s been a long process with the video editing but that was a fun tune. It should be out hopefully soon. Other than that I am trying to work on solo music. It’s a slow process but it is coming along.
Dead Rhetoric: That was going to be more pop-oriented right?
Semesky: A lot more pop oriented and indie if you will. Both very broad genres – you can think Brittney Spears pop or One Republic…that will be fun once I can get around to it. Other than that I’ve been doing voice lessons and getting prepared for the Raunchy tour.
Dead Rhetoric: So once you are done promoting Ordinance, is it going to just sit on the shelf for a bit?
Semesky: I think that all of us will be brainstorming ideas – I can’t speak for everyone, but Gunter is a ridiculous guitar player and trying to improve his chops. I’m sure that kind of stuff will be translated into new Ordinance material. I’m towards the end of the assembly line, but once I start getting material from people, that’s when ideas will be a-brewing. So at least for me, at the end of the line, I’ll have a bit of a break from it, waiting for instrumentals.
Ostendorp: I’ve been messing around with a lot of things. I am always trying to write stuff, because it’s fun. I guess it just depends on if Alex can get some free time….whenever we can all get around to it.
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