Introducing: Progressive rock band Orissa

Hey everyone! I got the chance to sit down with David, from the progressive rock band Orissa. Learn more about their first single ‘Tara‘ below!


Hey guys! Tell us more about Orissa! Who is in your band and how did you put this band together? Orissa is two things. It is a personal art project when it comes to writing and recording. I do the all of the writing and play all of the instruments except for the drums on the recordings. Last year, in preparation for the release of the record I formed a lineup for live performances. I sing and play guitar, Jeremy Daigle plays guitar and Phil Lherisson plays drums. We are the core. For our current run of release support shows we are joined by Doug Berns on bass.

I’ve never wanted to be the sole creator, but I became that out of necessity dictated by my vision and the realities of the musical landscape where I am located. I will continue to work this way as a writer until or if I find the write complimentary creative partners. I should say that I am always open and I am open to any partnership that is not dictated by locale. I don’t care where you live. If you have an interest in collaborating with me, on Orissa, or another project, contact me. I am open to possibilities.

Jeremy, Phil and I will carry forward the development of the band with the live show. We love playing this music together and developing it as we play it live, and discover its hidden potential revealed by their tremendous musicianship and unique perspectives and interpretations. I am dying to have Phil play on the next record and have Jeremy be more involved with the production.

How did you come up with the name of your band? The name comes from an ancient historical figure, place and series of events. As I reflected upon them, I felt they made a great metaphor for some of the essences of what this project’s creative exploration and journey is about. I also liked the sound of the name and that it has a quality that is open to the interpretations and projections of the audience.

How would you describe your band to someone who has never heard your songs before? I wouldn’t describe my band to them. I would suggest that if they are interested in understanding my music that they listen to it. I trust in their ability to form their own understanding of it. I want them to experience and form their own understanding of it. That is after all why I make music. You wouldn’t fall in love with someone based on their description of their self. You would fall in love based on your experience with them.  Don’t ask me to describe how I would kiss you, let me kiss you!

According to you, what sets your band apart from all the other bands in your genre? The first is that I don’t model or derive the music I write from other bands in my genre. I would also say that I don’t really think of myself as being a musician in a particular genre of music. My musical influences come from other musical traditions and I am fusing them with and beneath a surface that happens to use the instrumentation and texture of modern progressive metal.

What inspires you to write your songs? Many things inspire me to have great emotions that then turn into a search for the musical gestures that express them. I am inspired by: literature; paintings; sculptures; nature; film; the triumphs, struggles, follies, fortunes and foibles of life, human relationships and the human project of civilization; images of the cosmos; rare and truly great human achievement in art, science and athletics and martial arts… to name a few sources of inspiration.

You recently released a lyric video for your first single ‘Tara’. Can you tell us more about this song? What’s the story behind it? Tara is the opening chapter or series of chapters in the sonic novel that is this album titled, ‘Resurrection.’  It really starts in the preceding atmospheric track called Circle X. Circle X sets the scene of where our protagonist starts his journey. He finds himself in a purgatory, some arbitrary, lost circle of a self-inflicted personal hell. Tara is several things. It is the protagonists humble cry for mercy. It is an acknowledgement that his suffering is self-induced and a cognitive realization that it is really a series of repeated invitations to learn to heal and to grow.

How have people responded to it so far? The response has been extremely positive. So far no rotten tomatoes or bricks thrown its way. Some of the reactions are: “Orissa will blow you away with Tara. The track is intense, reaching that level of complexity and speed that truly separates the real, trained musicians from the afficionados and wannabees.” – Too Much Love Magazine

WOW. I haven’t heard progressive metal played this well since Tool and Tyr. I can’t say enough good things about this band. You have to hear them.” – AudioFuzz Magazine

Orissa makes progressive metal that displays remarkable mastery.” – Codiferes

This album is a poignant game changer” – Riff Relevant

This track is taken from your upcoming album ‘Resurrection’, set to be released in November. Can you tell us more about it? I am not sure what more I can add than I already said about it. Let’s see. I use metaphors and imagery in the poetry that come from various mythologies, spiritual and religious traditions coupled with my personal interpretations, views and experiences. In terms of the music it is a series of gestures that reflect a journey through realizations and moods that I have had or that I want to have. In more concrete terms, I make heavy use of Balkan, Indian and African rhythmic traditions spliced together with the large scale form, harmonic and melodic development techniques coming from western classical music all fused into instrumentation and a surface that some would say is modern progressive metal.

It is a complete journey on its own, but it also sets the listener on a path that winds through every song on the album. Each song has a distinct emotional purpose or set of purposes that started with Tara’s introduction of a thoughtful, impassioned, emotionally complex character and set of inspired ideas and feelings to be explored. At least I hope that is the nature of the character, emotions and ideas that Tara introduces.

How long have you worked on it and how did you approach the writing process? I worked on Resurrection for 2 years writing and recording it. My approach to writing is that I get hit with inspiration by a thought, a human interaction, a painting or film or something that wells up an emotion that inspires insights and questions. Then I go in search of the music and poetry that best capture, explores and reflects those moments of inspiration that feedback on themselves. At the same time, an album is something that I know has a distinct literary purpose. In that sense my approach is more like a novelist or a modern, epic television series writer. I’ve thought that maybe what I am is not so much a musician as what I call a sonic novelist. I am writing a musical and poetic book of sorts.

Can you tell me if there’s a particular song you’re especially proud of on this record? I am proud of the every song for each was necessary to make this an album. Each song stands on its own merits as a complete work yet they all fit in with each other. They are all important pillars in the temple so to speak. That said, I think, “Blue Communion”, is extra special.

To finish, what is one lesson you’ve learned that you think is important to pass onto other bands? Oh man. I don’t know. I probably have a lot more lessons to learn from other bands than I could teach them – from the standpoint of this music business. I guess I would repeat knowledge that I’ve often heard other people say – make music because you love it and be true to what it is that inspires you and feels like the right path for you.

In the end all a musician is is someone who listens. In that sense, we are all musicians, and ironically musicians are often so caught up in things other than listening that one can become lost and no longer a musician. My song, “Shades Of Grey”, has some artist’s easter eggs in it. One line is an entendre making this point among others by saying, “Anyone can hear… For those who listen, she unveils the vision.”

Thank you and your readers and fans for taking an interest in me and my music, and for giving independent musicians an avenue of exposure and an opportunity to find and grow our audience.

What Happened to your Band?