FeaturesOrion Child – Reaching For Broader Horizons

Orion Child – Reaching For Broader Horizons

Let’s face it – originality in the metal realm is difficult. So many styles established, only so many chord progressions present, it’s evident that injection of two (or more) genres in your own personal way can establish a fresh path. Such is the case for Spain sextet Orion Child – their sound incorporating aspects melodic death metal, power metal, and modern inflections that take their latest album Aesthesis to awesome heights in terms of infectious songwriting plus killer performances on all the vocal/instrumental fronts. We recently grabbed the opportunity to learn more about this group from bassist Rafi and keyboardist Jonkol – so prepare to find out about their origins as a school band, the work behind their latest effort and how it differs from earlier discography, the challenges currently facing the band, favorite albums, as well as special guests and future plans.

Dead Rhetoric: Orion Child started in 2006 – what can you tell us about the formative years of the group, and did you know straight away the style you wanted to develop in combining elements of death metal and power metal?

Rafi: I am not an original member of Orion Child. Jonkol joined the band in 2011 and I joined the band in 2016. I know the other members and have known them for a long time. The band started as a school band in the beginning. They became more serious and professional over the years. They tried to mix the influences and the bands that they liked, make a mix of the styles to be original.

Jonkol: I joined in 2011 if I’m not mistaken. As Rafi told before, the band was formed in the mid 2000’s. In a more embryo version of the band. The influences materialized somehow. The first lineup was formed, and the first shows took place. After some years, Rafi joined the band and we’ve been together for a while. As for me, we already knew the band that they had already released an album. Rafi joined for the shows after the Into the Deepest Bane of Hope album was released. On the first album there was power metal and death metal combined, some black metal influences as well. Not as present as they are now. It takes some time to develop the style and the band, to be more personal and more developed. Maybe those elements were the ones they wanted to make to get more serious with over the years. We can listen to Aesthesis, our fourth album, and hear how our influences are based on the overall feeling the band wants to transmit. It’s a matter of evolution and what the others in the band like – the things they are eager to do or not. Combining those in the final album or project, that’s how you get to our style from the first album to this style, you hear the evolution taking place.

Dead Rhetoric: Aesthesis is the fourth studio record for the group. Tell us how the songwriting and recording sessions went for this album – and where do you think this record differs or builds upon your previous efforts?

Rafi: The writing sessions were like the other albums. Some of us came to the rehearsal room with ideas, and other times we get the idea and continue to build on the song. If the riff takes on a style of one band or one style, we try to continue on this path. We try to build the whole idea from there – but sometimes it comes from another idea too. It is the magic in the process of writing songs. We’ve been writing the album during the pandemic and after the pandemic. We record as usual – we make the record with our producer Pedro J. Monge, the guitarist from Vhäldemar another good band from Spain that Jonkol also plays with. We have a little studio where we can record bass and guitar with professional means – send the files from there. In the other studio we record drums, vocals, and other little parts. We think the compositions and sound is the best we can make. It represents the actual image of the band that we want to make.

Jonkol: As the keyboardist, I may not be as present in the songwriting sessions as Rafi is, because we have other projects and combine schedules carefully. After they have the whole idea of the song, they record a demo, and you can listen to the ideas. You can start thinking about ideas for keyboards, for arrangements, orchestration parts, solos, melodies, all of that stuff. After the skeleton or spine is established, we keep on brainstorming on those ideas in a more definitive way. It’s a progressive way of writing songs, not necessarily sticking with the first idea as the best one.

I think it’s a more modern approach with the synthesizers, the guitar sound and the tone with the distortion. Since the drummer has been very important in the songwriting process, he went for more of an American approach as far as influences and songwriting effort. So, I think these are the two biggest differences in this album compared to the previous ones. You can find clean vocals, growls, speed in the songs, fast compositions but also mid-tempo and deeper ones.

Dead Rhetoric: How did the guest appearances come about with Ronnie Romero and Pedro Monge on the album?

Rafi: With Ronnie Romero, our vocalist was together in some sort of television productions, they became friends and got to know one another. We thought of one of the songs that we made, we liked the different approach to the song, the texture with different voices makes things more attractive. We thought that Ronnie would be a perfect combination of that, and you can listen, and it was very easy to work with him. Just a few texts on What’s App, he sent me demos that he made at his home studio, he’s a professional and you can feel it in the way that he did this. His voice is mature, the tempo and his harmonies, it was perfect. He has a great voice. And Pedro, he’s our producer and we asked if he could make a solo in that song. He did it in like ten minutes, we said ‘wow’. He’s a great guitarist, producer, and friend.

Dead Rhetoric: What do you consider some of the biggest challenges currently facing the band at the level that you are at in your career?

Jonkol: Maybe the scheduling is one of the most difficult. Some of the tough stuff we have to overcome. Our vocalist Victor he lives 400 kilometers away from us, four hours driving. He can’t attend all of the rehearsals. A lot of us are also involved in different projects, I play with Pedro in another band. We also have tours, a lot of stuff to put into sync, families, it’s not always easy. The economy has been tough, the rising prices because of the war. It’s tougher for underground bands like us – being musicians, having families, there are a lot of people to take into account as well. Difficulties are always going to be there; you just fight them as long as you have the energy and the will to keep on doing it.

Rafi: The more challenging thing for bands like us is to differentiate ourselves from other bands – being recognized from other bands. We want to become one of the more original bands from our area – making things recognizable can be very difficult to be distinct. In the whole world of bands, we are from a little city in Spain trying to spread our art.

Jonkol: It’s hard to be in the spotlight trying to make something different from other people. Being original is always tough. Most of the time it comes without noticing, so there is no recipe for that. You have to keep working on it.

Dead Rhetoric: Discuss the importance of your united uniformity in stage gear and how you believe this helps convey the strength and impact of Orion Child as a group?

Jonkol: Maybe that’s one of the elements as well that you can highlight next to other bands. It’s important to have a good image on stage, and a good image through social media as well. Everything seems to be running on social media. It’s nice to be in uniform on stage, but we haven’t used this gear live yet because we haven’t made the first shows of this tour for this album.

Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe Orion Child when it comes to your live performances compared to what people hear on the record? And what have been some of the most memorable shows or festivals the band has done to date?

Rafi: We try to make the sound as close as possible to the album. Because we think that with the album, the sound reflects the best that we can play. This is the real challenge, to make the sound very close to the album. We try to make it more powerful with our movements and the combinations of our scenery. We try to play the material as great as the album.

Dead Rhetoric: What are three albums in your metal collection that you always turn to as textbooks for either inspiration and influence when it comes to your outlook and output on the genre?

Jonkol: This is a difficult one. It’s always a challenge to make a list with your top 3 albums. In my case, I listen to most genres of metal – black metal, electronic, pagan metal. I listen to more atmospheric to doom/death and black metal. In our genre, we always mention like Scar Symmetry, Symphony X, Wintersun, Children of Bodom. It should be one album of those bands. Hatebreeder– Children of Bodom, Silence – Sonata Arctica. The first album from Wintersun.

Rafi: My choices. It would be very difficult. Over the years I listen to a lot of metal genres and a lot of bands that are not metal. Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power. Helloween – Keeper of the Seven Keys Part One and Two. Alter Bridge – Blackbird. I spend a lot of time listening to Spotify, so sometimes I don’t know what specific albums I am listening to.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you believe your life has changed and evolved coming out of this global pandemic? Where do you think things have changed the most concerning humanity?

Jonkol: A deep question. It’s been a difficult situation personally for me. I had a really rough time of not being able to go places I was used to. Having to stay locked in the house was tough. Now that we are in quite a normal situation again, I am valuing most of the stuff I didn’t value. I took things for granted. Now you get older, you start thinking of other stuff as well. It’s important for individuals to stay aware and be aware of what you have and what you could lose. The freedom that we had, I value that a lot now because when I lost it, it was so difficult. People should be valuing that. People thought we would become better people, and I am not sure of that. I don’t know if this had a positive impact in my life in this way.

Dead Rhetoric: How do you see the next year or so shaping up for Orion Child has far as shows, touring, promotion, activities?

Rafi: We will be playing live as much as we can. Try to make a tour for Spain, and later promoting the album outside of our frontiers. It’s difficult to get to play outside of our country. Playing live here is our goal. It’s what bands have to do.

Jonkol: It’s going to be after summer. All the festivals have booked their bands. We have to be able to make presentations for this album. I’m also involved in another tour, and there may be shows I won’t be able to attend. Play as much as possible in the national scene, and if the international scene comes into the picture, we will try to do that as well. Everything is getting more expensive, so tours are tougher to book, but we will do our best as well. We have worked a lot on this album, it’s been quite a pain in the ass sometimes (laughs). We’ve managed to put out a nice album, the best album so far, I think. We have to try to play as many shows as possible to support this.

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