There's a new album release from an artist called Kid Orchid that has a way of breaking down barriers between genres with an incredible smoothness of change and does so in the form of bringing together different textures of rock music and rolling it all up into one massive record.
The Cicada album features all kinds of fuzz tone garage Rock, classic feeling grunge, hard rock, even indie pop elements are in play throughout the course of this album and it all comes together in a confluent and seamless approach.Cicada album features all kinds of fuzz tone garage Rock, classic feeling grunge, hard rock, even indie pop elements are in play throughout the course of this album and it all comes together in a confluent and seamless approach.
There are more than a handful of gems on this one and each one of those gems varies in style enough to turn your head.
Throughout everything though you get a great sense of a sort of underground '90s rock feel which is both nostalgic and familiar in the best ways possible.
The other cool thing about this record is that it seems pretty personal in a way lyrically. It's not exactly a concept album but the songs have a way of connecting to each other and most of them seem to come from someplace genuine or real.
The guitar tones, although varying from song to song, always have this great sort of dirty feel to them that helps create the album's atmosphere.
The record even boasts string sections like cello and violin which gives certain tracks a fuller and lusher feel.
This release is surprisingly warm and almost welcoming in a way. It has a sort of personal element that almost lets memories of your own flow through your head at random times.
This was obviously a long journey from conception to fruition for the artist and it's really wonderfully woven. And when I say that what I mean is, it has a heart, and you can hear a clear love for his craft from beginning to end.
This is a prime example of what DIY recording and songwriting is really all about. Everything about this has that slight lo-fi touch but still sounds amazing.
That aesthetic in particular is what makes everything sound so authentic and genuine.
With such a unique and vibrant album release, we wanted to have a sit-down with Kid Orchid to find out where exactly this album came from and what might be next for the artist.
Here's what happened.
Buzz Slayers: Let's kick things off with the Cicada album. This record had a lush feel to it and came through with grunge-rock undertone! Where did this album come from? Well my first love of music was actually classical -- Holst, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven. I loved how much raw power is in some of those jams, and just the immense depth of those works. This is likely a major reason I have been playing with at least one string player (usually cello) since the beginning. I grew up in the 90s, so I completely got absorbed into the music at that time. Nirvana, Smashing pumpkins, Soundgarden, Radiohead, Alice in chains...To my ear all I heard was pretty melodies, though often intensely sung and with a lot of extra noise. I got attached to this 'pretty noise' and really liked that combination because it always felt like an accurate depiction of reality -- it's all a mix of noisy beautiful things. This is reminiscient of one of my favourite nature sounds, the cicada's song, which the album's namesake. As a songwriter I have a love of dynamics and try to balance these out either in the song or between them. So, if I feel like doing a couple energetic grungey songs in a row, i'll want to follow it with an atmospheric piano ballad to balance it out, to try to recalibrate the sound. As a lover of music, I find it's the contrasts in sounds that often helps to pull you in and keep you there. Buzz Slayers: When did this all start for you musically? A bunch of my close highschool friends and I (who I'm still friends with) played in a 'barn band'. We met up weekly in my barn, wrote songs, did covers and just had the best time. I continued writing music with one of my close friends and just got hooked. I went off to university, got married, had kids, but never stopped songwriting. I just can't turn it off. Buzz Slayers: What inspires you to write a song? I often have diverse half-formed song ideas circling around my head, but they don't really take shape until they latch onto something from the environment. So maybe some political or world event happens thats really stirring, or my kid will do something cute/have like a major struggle and then the song that best fits that mood starts to take shape. Buzz Slayers: This album has some great styles! Can you give us some of your top musical influences? Thank-you! I learned to love songwriting through bands like Radiohead and Gorillaz. I've always respected the fact that these artists are musical first and then genred later. What I mean is you can almost hear the songs figure themselves out, like a passive form of songwriting -- I think thats why you end up with jazz, latin, blues, rock, punk, ballads and experimental styles all coming together. So naturally, these inspirations remind me to try to take the song basically anywhere it wants. That's what keeps songwriting so interesting to me. The most important concert to me was 'Nirvana Unplugged in New York'. Sure I knew the hits, but it wasn't until I watched the whole thing that I really connected with it. It was so raw and real to me, and I heard some similarities in sound and style to songs I was already working on, so it helped me find some direction. While I wish I could have heard more of that (like we all do I'd bet) it does serve as an continuing inspiration. I should also mention Johnny Cash as well, as he is another massive inspiration for me -- especially his later material. He's got that real integrity that I love in a musician. Buzz Slayers: What are you doing when you're NOT working on music? I recently finished my PhD in Ecology (I specialized in tracking social dynamics of animal groups in the field), so I'm hoping to find something in conservation at some point. Besides that, hanging with my wife and two kids! Buzz Slayers: Who's in your headphones right now? I was actually just listening to Pheobe Bridgers, Sufjan Stevens, and my friend's band 'Seek Warmth'. Buzz Slayers: Are you doing any live performances right now? I wish! I'm just coming out of album recording/mixing mode (which took me a long time to do as I'm self taught) and I'm currently looking for musicians to work with. I definitely prefer performing with at least one other person, so I'm hoping in a month or so Ill find a match and we'll get out there! Buzz Slayers: This album feels like a big undertaking, is there any advice you'd give to other up and coming artists out there? Yep, it definitely took a lot out of me!, but it gave back too. I'd say always let all your ideas fully develop, because they can often take on a mind of their own. I'm a firm believer that you can make an entire song out of two notes that sound just right together, or just a loop of neat sounding lyrics together. Often when you hit that right combination it can take off, so let it, and see where it goes. Never stop experimenting especially when you're in the flow -- Is the riff you have not interesting enough? Try it on piano. Play it and then add a mirrored version of it. Play it on synth and loop it. Do the exact same pattern in a different tuning. Run permutations you know? Your idea could be awesome as a ballad, but maybe its better if you up the octave and try to turn it into a rock anthem. Oh and record every idea you have right away, even if its just a quick tune you end up humming. You'd be amazed what you can do with an older snippet of an idea, because when/if you come back to it, you are inevitably different. Buzz Slayers: What can your fans expect from you in the near future? Well there are no shortages of ideas, but not sure what direction they will go. I definitely prefer writing albums to singles though -- it just helps the songs work off eachother and increases their developmental time. I'm focussing on live performances next, so hopefully those, and then a new album
Buzz Slayers: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Every single listen I appreciate. I have no intention I will ever stop so having support no matter how small, is just the best. Thank you!