How do you balance different elements in your songwriting process, and what do you think each element brings to your overall sound?
Tuomas Talka (Bass Guitar): During the songwriting process, elements such as heavier parts, more psychedelic sounds, and calmer sections find balance through an iterative process during band practices. It’s like using spices and specific tastes in cooking; when you try it, you immediately notice if things are off-balance. Then, you experiment by changing something—adding a bit more, removing, making parts shorter or longer, perhaps modulating the riff? Once everything is in balance, you hear it, and the arrangement is complete.
Can you elaborate on some specific influences, both musical and non-musical, that have shaped your artistic direction?
In addition to Black Sabbath and other classic acts, which everyone has undoubtedly been influenced by, if they are honest with their answers, we are also very much influenced by 90s alternative rock in its various forms, which can be heard in our sound. Other clear musical influences lie in folk music, progressive rock, and psychedelic music. I would say that our biggest non-musical influences are nature, nature mysticism, esoterica, and visual arts, just to name a few.
How do you think your music has evolved since the debut EP?
Our EP, ‘The Deluge,’ included songs from a wide time span, some reflecting closer to the style of early days Orbiter, such as the instrumental stoner rock song ‘Astral Racer’ and the very Sabbathian tune ‘Orchids.’ Songs like ‘Bone to Earth’ and ‘In Echoes’ were closer to our distinctive sound, which we aimed to establish with dynamics, heavy riffs, and suitable doses of psychedelia. The sound took a more coherent direction with ‘Hollow World,’ yet the song material remains versatile; it just sounds even more like us.
How did Hiili Hiilesmaa and Ted Jensen’s expertise influence the recording and production process of your debut album? Were there any memorable moments or lessons you learned from working with them?
Ted Jensen was in charge of mastering the album only, so he was not involved in the production before that final phase. We chose him because Hiili had prior experience working with him on classic HIM albums, with the same division of responsibilities. To me, master engineering is complete sorcery, so I won’t say much about that. Ted did good work; the final masters sound rich yet very big. With Hiili, we worked in the pre-production phase, and he had a great influence on the song arrangements, polishing them to their final forms. This, along with other parts of production, was very valuable for us.
Are there specific aspects of Finnish culture or nature that find their way into your artistic expression?
Maybe there are, but my immediate answer to this would be, not really? Even though we are a Finnish band, it doesn’t define us that much musically. There are not any clearly Finnish cultural influences in our music strongly present either, like Finnish folklore or the Finnish schlager tradition, which you can hear in many Finnish metal bands’ sound. I should ask some non-Finnish friends about this, as there could be a blind spot for it also. But to me, there isn’t anything distinctly Finnish in our sound.
How do you translate the complex and layered sound of your recordings into a captivating live experience? Are there any specific techniques or equipment that you find essential to recreate your studio sound on stage?
As our sound consists of a relatively small number of well-defined elements—one eclectic guitar, one bass guitar, one lead singer, and drums—especially the sound of the Hollow World album gets naturally transported to live shows as well. The strong basic sound comes from the guitars and amps, and then these song-to-song fine-tunings and effect variations are controlled with effect pedals, as is typical. To get varying reverb and delay on vocals, Carolin also uses a vocal processor on stage, which is not needed in the studio as these are done in the mixing.
How do you conceptualize the visual aspect of your music, and what kind of emotions or themes do you aim to convey through your album artwork and stage visuals?
In our album artwork and live presence, we want to bring up esoteric, occult, and mystic themes. How these topics transfer to feelings is subjective, but we would like our audience to feel enchanted and united as part of something bigger. We don’t typically use any props on stage but pay attention to our looks to be aligned, and the stage lights when possible.
Doom metal and stoner rock often explore themes of introspection, darkness, and the surreal. How do you approach lyrical themes in your music? Are there specific topics or emotions that you find particularly compelling to explore in your songwriting?
Carolin writes the lyrics for our songs, and she often explores topics related to inner struggles in life—facing difficulties, yet eventually overcoming them, growing stronger, and being left with a feeling of empowerment. For a band that identifies as ‘doom metal,’ our lyrics often carry a lot of hope and constructive energy.
How do you connect with your audience on a deeper level through your music, and what kind of impact do you hope your music leaves on your listeners?
From a lyrical point of view, we want to spread this feeling of empowerment. We also want to provide an escapistic experience from the everyday world around you. It has been more than once that someone in the audience has later described our live show as a ‘ritual.’ This is definitely the kind of feeling that we want to evoke in our audience.
How do you maintain the balance between staying true to your musical identity and experimenting with new sounds and styles? Are there any risks you’ve taken in your music that you feel have paid off creatively?
As we have been searching for the Orbiter sound for many years, I don’t see it as a big risk that experimenting with new sounds and styles would somehow lead us to not staying true to our musical identity. Musical stagnation is more worrisome: doing the same album again. The next album will undoubtedly sound different from ‘Hollow World.’ In what way? Can’t say yet, but it will be different yet recognizable as an Orbiter album.
As a band that has garnered recognition in both EP and album formats, how do you view the importance of these formats in the modern music industry? Do you believe the concept of a full album still holds significance in the age of digital singles and streaming platforms?
Especially in pop music, it is quite typical these days to drop a new single every two or three months, as it is a good way to keep oneself constantly in the spotlight. Most definitely, this would work in the doom metal scene if the main goal is to maintain a high number of monthly listeners over long periods. However, at least for us at Orbiter, we enjoy the idea of these well-thought-out entities—albums and EPs—where the song order is tailored for a purpose, and the songs tie each other together. Albums may have lost significance for mainstream listeners, but they still hold strong in certain music genres.
What advice do you have for emerging artists looking to establish themselves in the heavy music scene? Are there any lessons you’ve learned throughout your journey that you wish someone had shared with you when you were starting out?
During this streaming era, the sheer volume of music available is beyond comprehension. The most crucial aspect to reach your audience with your music is to have it available on all possible platforms and to PROMOTE it through professional agencies. Unless you happen to have exceptionally outstanding music and incredible luck, this is the primary way to connect with your audience as an emerging artist.
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