A Q&A with Ryan Davd Orr
Arizona indie-folk, going places…
What’s the title of your latest release, and what does it mean to you?
The new single is called ‘Dystopia’, and it is sort of a commentary on the current state of the world. I love dystopian media and literature, and I feel like it is popular with the masses because we get a voyeuristic experience of society’s ultimate demise without having to live it. The irony now is that it seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy – people keep creating this horror story they warned each other about for decades.
What was the hardest part about putting this release together, and why?
I think the hardest part was that my musicians all live in different cities, so we had to do some of the tracking remotely. That always poses its own set of challenges, as opposed to just having everyone in the same room at the same time.
What do enjoy most about producing your own material?
I produced the track and it was mixed by The Animal Farm. My favourite part about producing is that until the final thing is done, you have a blank canvas. In any given song, there are a thousand possible things you could do. For example, in this track, I went through 5 or 6 different guitar parts before arriving at what you hear in the final production.
What do you want the listener to take away from listening to your music?
I want them to connect with the lyrics. I hope that they have the same experience I have had listening and singing along with my favorite bands. If the words and the melody stick with them and they can form their own meaning and attachment to the song, then I did my job.
How does a track normally come together? Can you tell us something about the process?
Most often, I start with the music, or at least a small piece of it. I might have a chord progression or a riff, and then I start to mumble along with it. After a while more structure starts to form and I know what the song is “about”. From there it is a process of editing and refining, like drafts of a book.
What band/artists have influenced you the most since you started this project, and why?
Since I started this project, it’s probably been The National, Phoebe Bridgers, Empathy Test, and Alt-J. These bands all have great lyrics and very interesting sonic textures to their songs. They tend to put me in a melodic, nostalgic mood.
What countries would you like to tour? Are there any standout venues you’d like to play in?
I have toured a bunch in the USA and some in Germany, but beyond that, I would love to tour the UK, Australia, and northern Europe. Also Iceland.
If you could pick one track for our readers to listen to in order to get a taste of your music, what would you pick, and why?
Probably the song ‘Paper Horses (Hey Adeline)’ from my Kaden Hollow album. I am proud of the lyrics, which are very narrative. I also really like the final production. I used an upright bass player and had my drummer play with bamboo rods rather than straight sticks. The vocal production sits over the mix in a very airy, sweet way. It has a light, upbeat tempo, but it’s still organic and mellow, so it’s a good all-around presentation of what my music is.
What ambitions do you have for the band/your career?
I plan to keep writing and releasing music and hopefully tour far and wide. I see myself playing a lot of great festivals and opening for larger name acts. I’m not super hungry for fame, but I will always welcome recognition for my art and keep putting creations out there. I have just finished a new album that will release at the end of August. Pre-orders are happening now. I will also be releasing a number of singles with The Animal Farm over the next year or so, so there will be a lot of new music coming out!
Finally, as you leave the stage, what are your parting words?
I generally thank everyone for their support and for supporting independent artists. I usually plug whatever new thing I have going on, like the release of this recent single, and let people know they can buy vinyl and CDs after the show. I also usually end with “take care; much love”, which sounds a bit cliche, but I think leaving the stage with a positive message is important.
For more info visit: ryandavidorr.com