Have any of you played in other bands?
Ben - I played drums and guitar for Mithras (UK death metal) and I currently play drums for Beautician (UK death/grind.)
Ewan – I play guitar and do vocals for Beautician. Both currently and in the past I’ve been involved in guitar for other Black, Death, and Thrash Metal projects which sadly have not made it out of the rehearsal studio. I hope that will change one day though.
Clif - From 2001-2009 I played drums in Incendiant (death) and The Obliterate Plague (black/death).
Initially I was inspired to play the drums when my father’s friend left his drumkit in the basement for a few weeks when I was in 4th How is it that you started playing music?
Ben - I originally started playing piano at around the age of 8 and had about 20 lessons. After this I taught myself over the years and have always been lucky enough to have the time to practice. I started playing guitar and drums when I was about 16.
Ewan – I began playing guitar fairly late – not until I was 19. I began playing just because a house mate of mine at the time had an electric guitar and amplifier which was readily available to me. So I picked it up and began making Black Sabbath/Celtic Frost style noises. And still am.
Clif - Initially I was inspired to play the drums when my father’s friend left his drumkit in the basement for a few weeks when I was in 4th grade around 10yrs old. My mother played jazz albums and sang in choirs etc. In the early 90’s I started playing sax in the middle school concert and jazz band. I became friends with the drummer in the jazz band which fueled the desire to convert to the drums which happened in 96’.What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?
Ben (33) - For Orbeth I write all of the music and record at my small studio in the UK. So on record I play guitar, keyboards, drums, bass, vocals. For the live lineup I play guitar alongside Ewan.
Ewan – For Orbeth I primarily play live guitar. Or maybe should that be rehearsal room guitar? This line up is yet to play its first gig at the time of writing. Haha. We’re working hard on getting there though. I’ve also contributed lyrics and Death Metal vocals on record. I couldn’t possibly say how old I am.
Clif - I play drums on the newest album and contributed lyrics and song ideas on a couple previous albums.
Derek Roddy - Drums on Space Themes Have you had other previous members?
There have been previous members including Mick Brush (Magic Kingdom + Merciless Terror) and Kev Watts. Where are you from?
Ben - I'm Leicestershire UK.
Ewan - From Stratford-upon-Avon UK.
Clif - Salt Lake City, Utah, US.
Derek Roddy - FL, US. What year did the band form?
Ben - Orbeth as a musical concept started around the year 2000 with early demo's over from then it has grown from a "one man band" outfit to what you hear today. What's your style of genre?
Ben - I always class Orbeth as "Fantasy Metal" due to the content. The latest two albums are very progressive and melodic. That said there have been other genres under the Orbeth label including death metal, ambient, trance, industrial and instrumental.
Ewan – Orbeth has always been very eclectic, but while Ben has created music in a myriad styles, it has always had rich melody. So whether it’s the full on Technical Death Metal of ‘Seventh Galaxy’, or the Trance inspired Dubstep of ‘Winds’ it all has Ben’s unmistakable tunefulness in common. By and large though, Ben’s Fantasy Metal description describes the Orbeth catalogue very well. Something like ‘A Journey Far Beyond the Great Valley of the Storm’ has a very strong Bal Sagoth influence. The 2 most recent albums, ‘13th Orb’ and ‘Space Themes’ can both comfortably be labeled Technical/Progressive Metal. I’ve heard ‘Space Themes’ described as Instrumental Technical Death Metal. That works too.
Clif - – I view the latest album “Space Themes” as cosmic fusion. It’s all instrumental other than a couple bonus tracks that have vocals. What inspires you?
Ben - Orbeth was originally inspired by dreams (not too cliché I hope). I did have very vivid and lucent dreams as a kid and much of the early Orbeth material reflected this. Over the years though it has gained a more spiritual momentum I suppose. I try and connect with the music on a spiritual level. So life, time, the Multiverse, energy, people etc are all influences. Musically though I would say that many artist inspire me personally. Mike Oldfield, Bjork, Bal-Sagoth, Praga Khan, Sepultura, Debussy, Bach and other classical composers. A vast array of metal bands. All sorts really.
Ewan – Everything and nothing. Everything because I often get a million ideas, and nothing because I never make the time to do anything with them these days. For my minimal creative contribution for Orbeth I was inspired by the style of the track Ben and Clif wrote, plus the ‘Ophidian’ name Ben gave it. Vocally, the track was inspired by Origin, Hour of Penance, and Nile, oh, and Orbeth.
Clif - Art and music in in all its various forms, meditation and energy work. Contact from spirits in dreams and synchronicities in daily life. Nature and the cosmos…How often and where do you reherse?
We rehearse about two weekly in Coventry UKDo you have other interests of work outside the band?
Ben - We all have jobs. I run a small record label and teach music as well as foster children. For hobbies I enjoy Kiteboarding, strength training and fixing stuff.
Ewan – I work in the software industry, and am a keen cyclist and runner.
Clif - I have a small business outside of my day job. Also have other endeavors with writing and editing for my friends business and help with seminars.Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that
Ben - We would like to get a few shows under our belt first and then talk about a booking agent. At this stage we pretty much manage things by ourselves.
Ewan – What Ben wrote.Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that
Ben - Orbeth has always been released as unsigned. However, if a label were interested I don't see any major issues preventing us from becoming signed. I personally would like the Orbeth concept to spread naturally through the shows we play and through word of mouth.
Ewan – The quality of the music deserves support and to reach a wider audience. It certainly has the capacity to do so. I don’t find it too hard to imagine that once we begin actively promoting the band and playing live that the band will generate such interest. Ben’s talent will definitely turn a few heads and drop even more jaws. Whether going with a label in today’s climate is necessarily something we'd want to do, is another matter.What made you decide to make this music?
Ben - In the early days it was to try and musically replicate the dreams I had as a kid. As Orbeth has grown over the years it has been more of a musical outlet for me to express my musical desires. It is quite limitless music in a way. I don't like to tie it down to a specific genre or bunch of musical rules. I just let it flow like a story.What are your songs about?
Ben - Depends on which album but the general ideology is of a "connection to the Mutliverse and the energies within". The lyrics are all up on the Orbeth forum for anyone to analyse.
Ewan – ‘Ophidian’ is about humanity transcending itself and acknowledging its place in the universe. It’s also about becoming free of run of the mill societal constraints.Who does the composing and writes the lyrics?
Ben - I write most of the music and lyrics. Clif and Ewan have both contributed amazing lyrics over the years also. Do you start with the music or the lyrics?
Always music first! \m/\m/Do you compose in a certain environment?
Ben - I suppose most of the composition goes on in my head whilst contemplating the riddles of the Multiverse whilst sipping copious amounts of fortified wine in my underpants!. Not really, most of the composition happens in my studio. Sometimes I write the drums first and other times in the guitars/keyboards first.
Ewan – In the spare room. In a hurry.Have you done any covers live?
Ben - "Showaddywaddy - Under The Moon of Love" at 350 bpm with blast beats! JOKE. Not currently but it's something we always jam on at rehearsal (mostly Sepultura covers.)
Ewan – We have far too much original material to consider doing covers live.What language do you sing in?
Ben - Sing? lol! no . However the Orbeth narrations and vocals are all in EnglishDo you always play the same songs live, or do you vary?
Ben - We currently play to a set list that doesn't change Where have you played live this year?
Ben - We have just about got a live show ready for later on this year. It features myself and Ewan on guitar and we are currently in the process of auditioning a bass player. The live Orbeth show is to backing tracks with the drums and keyboards. Where do you plan to gig the coming year?
Ben - We plan to start in and around the Midlands UK first then begin to branch off. When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale?
Ben - We currently have some Space Themes double CD digipaks still for sale on bandcamp! Where can people buy your merchandise?
ORBETH.BANDCAMP.COMDo you have any role models or idols?
Ben - Only the people that I know and love in everyday life! Those who have helped me along my path and that I've connected with. I'm not really one for having famous idols. George Carlin though ........ Genius......And Bill hicks.
Ewan – No idols. I don’t do idolatry. I am blessed with the most amazing family – they’re my role models.
Clif - My daughter is #1. There is a never ending list of drum influences and artists in every genre imaginable I could go on forever about. I don’t really view them as idols, however, definitely influential and inspirationalIs it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today?
Ben - Old and new I suppose. Sepultura where my favourite band growing up and were directly responsible for me getting into metal. I'm really liking Bjorks latest material also.
Ewan – Inspiration can come from anything you listen to. I listen to bands from all kinds of eras and from different genres. Whether it's old or current is immaterial.
Clif - I tend to listen to and get inspired by a lot of various fusion-esque and extreme drummers of course. Whatever is epic and original and stands out whether that be classic rock, jazz/fusion, progressive, neo-classical, female vocals, or extreme metal. What have been your biggest obstacles?
Ben - Finding musicians to play Orbeth live. Over the years this has been the biggest struggle. No one wants to watch a one man widdly diddly solo show. It was amazing when I met Ewan and Clif and they actually understood what Orbeth was about.
Ewan – Definitely finding other musicians, to begin with. Getting new promoters to notice you, pay attention, and bear you in mind when organising gigs is another obstacle. Otherwise known as getting gigs. Once we get going with Orbeth, I don't think this should be much of a problem.
Clif - Similarly to Ben, finding musicians that are on the same page and stay dedicated is always the case. Once I found Ben and understood how talented and hyper-focused he was things have been awesome!What advice would you give other bands or artists?
Ben - Play like it's the last show on earth and you're being judged in a naked Van Halen lookalike contest!
Ewan – Don't be generic. Do not conform to stereotypes, and do your own thing.
Clif - Think outside the box and strive to write unique epic music first and foremost. Stay positive, focused and keep your ego in control and out of the way…How do you get psyched for a gig?
Ben - I tune my guitars and make sure I'm warm and have been for a weewee. A shot of Port can also help calm any nerves but once the first note drops I usually get more and more psyched from there.
Ewan – Prepare thoroughly. Nervous energy means that being psyched for a gig isn't a problem. Ben likes Port, well, I deal with nerves with a cube or 2 of chocolate. Hehe.Do you have any new material?
Orbeth - Space Themes !What are your web sites?WWW.ORBETH.CO.UKWWW.FACEBOOK.COM.ORBETHMETALWWW.TWITTER.COM.ORBETHMETAL
ORBETH.BANDCAMP.COMWWW.ORBETHEMPIRE.FORUMOTION.NETHow can people reach you?
Ben - Through the forum or the facebook page. What are your plans for the future?
Ben - I definitely want to get out there and play some shows to push Space Themes. After that who knows. We have 14 albums ....... Into the Abyss We Fly !!!!!!!!!