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Stream Into Orbit's New Album 'Unearthing'

Stream Into Orbit's New Album 'Unearthing'

Friday 3rd February, 2017 9:09AM

Otherworldly, instrumental cosmos-rock duo Into Orbit have launched their new album Unearthing onto an unsuspecting earthling population. Despite only being a two-piece the band achieves it's interstellar, texture-dense sound through heavy use of loops and effect units. We caught up with drummer Ian Moir and guitarist Paul Stewart to help decode their communications from distant galaxies. Begin album transmission below...


Check out the video for album opener 'Dark Matter' and continue downward navigation to read the interview with band members...

UTR: So clearly there’s a space theme going on in Into Orbit. Are you guys into astrology or astronomy?

Ian: I’m interested in space and science for sure, but I don’t own a telescope and wouldn’t claim to be an astronomy hobbyist or anything, I just watch lots of documentaries and read New Scientist articles. I think our music just lends itself to the bigger concepts of space and time. Being instrumental our music is that bit more abstract, so I think those themes really work for us. As for astrology, I don’t believe in it but I’m definitely interested in the psychology of it.

Paul: I’m not overly interested in astronomy but the more music we create, the more I enjoy the way the concept of space and the unknown relate to the aesthetic of our music. Even our band’s inception and early days were initially something that felt very ‘unknown’ to me. There wasn’t much of a blueprint for what we were starting off doing. The idea of using a loop pedal in a live setting and trying to make music that is simultaneously precise and chaotic within that format, has always been a crucial part of this band for me, and something I was unsure would be communicated when I first started using loops as a compositional tool. Also, one of the defining aspects of our sound is the way that small parts combine to make something big and sprawling, and I often think of how that corresponds with the theme of space and the wider universe beyond earth.

What is your favourite celestial body?

Ian: Definitely the sun. We wouldn’t exist without it and most likely wouldn’t have started the band.

So, your new album Unearthing is out today. Tell us about the vibe, the process, the personnel and the final manifestations of it...

Ian: Making Unearthing was quite a similar process to our first album Caverns, just Paul and I, guitars, amps and drums in our rented storage unit, myself acting as recording engineer. Writing, demoing and recording all kind of morph into one for us, we jam ideas, record them, and over the course of a few months the demos turn into final versions.

The artwork of Nick Keller has also been a significant factor in the making of the album. This time around we wanted to put as much effort into the cover as we did into the music. We commissioned the piece from him early on in the process, and I think Nick’s artwork influenced the album to some extent.

Paul: The album is out on CD, Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes and all the main places online. Bringing Caverns out on vinyl last year had a great impact and we really want to have Unearthing pressed to vinyl also, but can’t afford to do it immediately. So we’re launching a PledgeMusic campaign on the same day as the digital/CD release to try and make that happen. It is basically a vinyl pre-order and includes a few exclusive items like canvas and poster prints of the album artwork and discounted Caverns merch.

You’re having a release show at Wellington’ most well loved venue San Fran on the 10th February. Who are you playing with and do you have any special surprises planned?

Paul: We had a couple of great shows at San Fran last year, a free Eyegum show and then closed the year opening for Jakob. This time around, we’re sharing the stage with His Masters Voice, who are a phenomenal band from Auckland. They call their genre ‘The Devil’s Blues’. They’re brilliant all-round musicians and have a really infectious stage presence. We’ve played a few shows with them up north and are excited they’re making the trip down for the release show.

How about your musical influences? I’m sure there are many but who snuck into your brains specifically for this release?

Paul: Definitely some heavier, darker influences this time – I finally got into Neurosis last year, and I love their use of dissonance and eerie textures. I loved Baroness's Purple album, the tones and songwriting approach on that record are a big influence. Since Caverns I’ve listened to a lot of Robert Plant and Paul Simon’s solo work – particularly their most recent albums – the use of textural grooves and repetition to create atmosphere is important to the vibe of a number of the songs on Unearthing. I also love pop music, guys like Ray LaMontagne, Liam Finn, and more experimental artists like Andrew Bird – I’ve learnt a lot from them about minimalism and letting each part have its own space in a piece of music, which is important in a band like ours where we use multiple layers to tell the story. I also really like Royal Blood, they have a lot of power to their riffs and the bassist’s tone has influenced me in terms of how I try to fill things out in our two piece setup.

Ian: This album is a pretty diverse set of songs and it’s hard to think of influences that come through in an obvious way, but if anything I would say a bit of a doom-sludge metal vibe has crept into our sound. We’ve both been getting into bands like Earth, Neurosis, Electric Wizard & Conan, slow & gritty stuff. Aside from doom, I’ve been getting into stuff like Leprous, The Mars Volta, Jakob, Pelican, Ulcerate, Tame Impala, Talking Heads & Keith Jarrett to name a few.

Tracks on Unearthing seem to have lots of musical melodrama and movement. Do you think this is an essential component of being an instrumental band?

Paul: I think it is important, we don’t have lyrics or the subtleties of the human voice to work with, so dynamic shifts are reliant on things like how hard or soft we play our instruments, the way certain intervals (either dissonant or melodic) evoke certain feelings, and sometimes just subtle things, like holding off on even using the lowest three strings on the guitar until the song really needs to explode. It’s crucial for me though that some parts have a vocal quality. I like to have a lot of differentiation in tones within a layered section – some may be more harsh or nasal-sounding while some will be much smoother, almost mimicking a string section. I sometimes think of them all as different voices or characters entering and then exiting the stage.

Do you find it hard to recreate these texture heavy tracks live or is out of the studio a decidedly different experience than your recorded opus?

Paul: We write our songs just the two of us with the loop pedal, with no click tracks or anything to constrain us, so at the very outset it is live music. They come together more naturally that way, and it’s when those magic moments occur that wouldn’t have if we were approaching things more clinically. All the sounds we make, despite being layered and at times effect-heavy, are worked on in our jams first and foremost, so we know they will translate to the live setting and importantly, that they work well together as multiple layers. There’s never a case of looping or layering just for the sake of it, we approach the looping as if it were another member jamming with us.

Any plans to tour around on the new album?

Ian: The album creation process has been pretty intense and we didn’t want to take any resources away from that to organise a tour to immediately. We’ll start putting together a tour when we’ve had a bit of a breather after the album release, so maybe something around June/July. We’re pretty keen to head over to Aussie this year, we’ve started talking to people here across the ditch who can help us put something together.

Catch Into Orbit at San Fran on 10th February for the Unearthing release show with support from His Master's Voice - tickets available over here.


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