Our friends in The Orphan The Poet released their latest EP this month. It’s been a while since we spoke with them back in 2014. The new record, titled Terrible Things, consists of 5 tracks. The band released the record’s title track back in May. The Dayton-based quartet will be busy this summer promoting their new music. Learn more about the band and Terrible Things from their responses. You can also check out their 2014 fill in the blank interview here. Be sure to take a listen to Terrible Things below!
How would you describe your music to others?
I like to keep it very general and typically just say “alternative rock”. Genres are so dumb and can be such a turnoff based on subjective connotation. A lot of times I like to ask fans this question too and the answers are all over the place. I’d like to think fans have a better idea of what we sound like than I do, and if they can’t even agree, I know I better just play it safe.
What is the story/meaning behind the name, The Orphan The Poet?
When we were writing some of our first material, we ended up having songs written before we even had a band name. That’s obviously a less than optimal situation, so we decided to take one of the song names that we identified with and just use it as our band name.
Who and what influences your music? Why?
Oh geesh, is ‘everything’ too much of a spacey answer? In talking about what inspires someone to make music, there’s always the obvious answers– the music you listen to, the movies you watch, books you read; basically art inspiring art. But what I think is interesting to think about is all the unknown contributors, all the things that have affected you in a subconscious way that could never be quantified, or even known! Crazy stuff.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
What is this “spare time” you speak of?
How is David’s paleo diet coming along?
Eh it’s been up and down. I’ve pretty much settled into eating habits existing somewhere between paleo, ketogenic, and just general “clean eating”.
What are you currently listening to?
I’ve been digging the new Basement EP a lot (actually listening to it as I do this interview). Jake just turned me on to The Japanese House. They’re definitely outside the stuff I’d usually find on my own, but they are so sick!
How often and how long do you practice together?
In the past, we would just set up rehearsals leading up to tours and what not, but lately we’ve been keeping to a pretty regular weekly schedule and it’s been really nice. Life is stupid busy right now and not having to figure out rehearsals at the last minute has become necessary for staying sane.
How would you describe your writing process?
More and more, I write in a pretty solitary way. I’ve always hated the “everyone show up and just jam” model for writing, but for some reason I felt bad for hating it. Like, it felt like that’s how you were SUPPOSED to do it. I think it’s taken me this long to find the confidence to say that’s not for me and to know it’s valuable for me to go it alone, at least in the initial stages of the song anyway.
From start to finish, how long did it take to create the Terrible Things EP?
It’s hard to put an exact start date on the project. I know I was sending some demo ideas around in late 2014 that would end up becoming songs on the EP, but I don’t really want to say it took 2 years to make the EP. I think the project truly began to take form when we started talking with different producers to decide who to work with, which I want to say was in the spring of 2015. So all in all, a year from start to finish is a good estimate.
Can you talk about the inspiration behind the track, “Terrible Things”?
There honestly isn’t much of a story behind that one. It’s a song that just sprang out of a chorus concept. I started playing around with the line “I got these terrible dreams where I do terrible things”, and just ran with it. It’s funny that I can relate to it on a personal level when I take a step back and just listen to the song, but it oddly wasn’t inspired by anything personal.
Which is the best track to play live from the new EP?
“Forward” is a really fun one. We wrote that one specifically as an opening track for the EP (that’s one reason it’s only a two minute song), and it has felt really good opening the live set with it too. I love when songs can translate well like that.
How would you compare this new music to your previous releases?
The first word that comes to mind is “better”. Sarcasm aside, I would describe the new material as more focused. I think it’s clearer to see what each of the songs is trying to do musically. Well, that’s my hope anyway.
Do you play covers at practices or shows? If so, which ones are your favorites?
I’ve always thought it would be fun to do a cover live. Right now, I think our strongest contender is “Enter Sandman” by Metallica, so stayed tuned for that one.
What do you typically do post-gig?
I typically go find myself a drink; typically, I’m a whiskey man. We all definitely try to bring it on stage, so when we’re done, I really like to take a moment to relax. I always end up making my way to the merch table too. A band lives and dies by merch.
What has been one of your biggest challenges?
Being an unsigned-band in a signed-band’s world. It’s both a badge of honor as well a handicap, but the fact is we are constantly compared to and compete with band’s that have a team of people working for them. It works out since we’ve never feared the grind, but I think it’s an aspect of our band that a lot of fans might overlook.
What has been your funniest or craziest fan/show experience?
While on tour in Philadelphia, this crazy bar owner once mistook us for another (larger) band, and then proceeded to parade us through her packed bar introducing us as the other band, buying us drink after drink, and generally just making a scene around us. And it’s worth noting that no point did we correct her– we didn’t have money to buy all those drinks ourselves!
What is something odd you want fans to know about you?
I think a lot of fans think that bands don’t recognize them or notice them, but that is so far from the truth. It might sound creepy, but if you are a mega fan of our band, we have probably had a conversation about you in our van or at practice. There are a couple fans, who will remain anonymous, who I’d wager that we’ve talked about more amongst ourselves than they have talked about us to their friends.
What else can we expect from The Orphan The Poet in the coming months?
We’ll be hitting the road pretty hard starting in July. We’ll be seeing both coasts as well as getting down to Texas and Florida too. Summer and fall are going to be rad.