Metal band Orchid questions today's socio-political climate in their new album, Miasma
Bengaluru-based metal band Orchid, just released their new album, Miasma. Comprising Kaushal LS on vocals, Vinay Prasad on guitars, Rahil Ahmed on bass and Mayur Nanda on drums, the band came together in 2011. This new album has their take on topics ranging from godmen to toxic corporate culture. The band opens for the German metal outfit, The Ocean Collective, at the launch gig this week. We speak to Kaushal and Vinay about what it’s all about:
What’s the story behind the name, Miasma?
Kaushal: ‘Miasma’ is an oppressive or unpleasant atmosphere which surrounds or emanates from something. We thought the title would be apt since the album is quite socio-political in nature compared to our previous EP, which dealt with techno-surrealist themes. The title also draws parallels to the now-obsolete ‘miasma theory of diseases’ which held that diseases were caused by ‘bad air,’ which is obviously untrue. Another parallel is the Hahnemann's belief about miasms (hypothetical disease entities) which is one of the many unfounded claims made in homeopathy, which is a pseudoscientific system of alternative medicine and reflected in the lyrics for the song Sugar Pill.
How would you define the sound of the album?
Vinay: Miasma would be best described as a blend of mathcore and progressive rock/metal with a bit of neo-jazz, noise and psychedelia thrown in for good measure. It’s quite an aggressive record but also spaced out in parts. One particular reviewer called it “quite the wild joyride through crackheadtown.” I think that’s a pretty accurate description.
Tell us about some of the songs.
Kaushal: Obsolesence talks about the planned obsolescence of goods by corporations; Solpsist deals with egocentrism; Master Supreme is about the pervasive influence of gurus, godmen and spiritual nonsense; Dead End talks about toxic corporate culture, Identoid deals with identity politics; Sugar Pill deals with pseudoscience scams and quackery; Zero-Sum Game is about Wall Street shenanigans and corporate fraud; and Disassembly Line deals with the state of the modern human and existentialism. They’re all pretty much diss tracks.
What are the inspirations?
Vinay: I guess, as a band, we just like listening to and making music that relatively fresh and also weird-sounding. But it’s not something that we’ve deliberately set out to do. We write songs as organically as we can. Usually, I have some rough ideas on which we build on in the jam space. The band then jams and arranges it until we feel we have something solid. Sometimes, bits of songs are just written in impromptu guitar and drum jam sessions. The vocal lines are written almost simultaneously with the lyrical themes coming in a bit later. We then basically arrange the song structures till we’re satisfied.
How do you think your sound has evolved over the years?
Vinay: The core sound of the band has remained more or less intact with regard to a good mix of varying technical passages and heavy as well as clean chord movements. But over a period of time, the music has started getting bolder in terms of exploring newer sounds and pushing certain boundaries that we probably wouldn't have done a few years ago. You surely won't miss it when you spin the new record. Also, genuine, honest songwriting is driving the wheel as opposed to having a riff or a piece of music and forcefully making it work for the sake of a song. We're not afraid to remove a part if it doesn't fit.
Tell us about the album art and the merch.
Kaushal: The album art is pretty much a cumulative representation of the lyrical themes present in the album. It’s a post-dystopian wasteland with a lingering ‘miasma,’ if I may. You’ll notice a bunch of objects strewn around in the landscape if you look closely and you will be able to correlate them to some of the songs. The artwork was done by Mayur, the band’s drummer.
We have screen-printed t-shirts with the cover art and CDs for sale, which can be bought at our Instamojo and Bandcamp stores as well as our album launch show this Sunday with German prog band The Ocean at Fandom, Koramangala.
What's next with the album?
Vinay: We plan to play a few shows to promote the record. We’re looking to play Mumbai, Delhi, and Hyderabad first.
Rs 1,200. January 13, 8 pm. At Fandom, Koramangala