Melbourne creative and producer, ORCHA last week released his new album, 'Reflections', a record anchored in experimentation.
Fuelled by lush vocals and textured melodies, the album explores different states of mind such as isolation, joy and grief.
"I started writing this album thinking about how we all have this unique lens that we view life through, it's almost distorted or reflected back by our past experiences, by our state of mind and by our place in time and space," ORCHA says.
"Depending on my state of mind, many aspects of life can be viewed in so many different ways and it's often hard to see the truth. I wanted to try to portray those different 'lenses' in each track and in some way understand the truth of my life."
I wanted the first song to be an introduction to all the types of sounds you might hear on the album. I love how an orchestra sounds when everyone is tuning and practising random phrases from the piece they are about to play, so I wanted to try to emulate that sound/ mood to build the anticipation.
Eventually all the layers come together to a single chord and the drums explode into a groove with synth bass and a descending string/ synth melody. The idea behind the song was an awakening of consciousness. I was trying to convey the idea of my mind expanding and exploring new ideas and concepts.
This song was an improvisation that I used to play at gigs and over time I started to play the descending/ ascending melody lines on violin with delays building up the parts until it became the main riff of the song.
The theme and lyrics of this song and the album were inspired by the idea that perception acts as a lens through which we view reality. Our perceptions influence how we process, interpret, understand and act on reality.
In doing so, our tendency is to assume that how we perceive reality is an accurate representation of what reality truly is. I wanted to challenge the idea that what I see doesn't necessarily reflect what you might see with the simple phrase "do you see what I, see in you".
I wrote 'Atlas' as a little reminder to myself to stay grounded and not to let the weight of the world get me down. I was struggling with anxiety/ depression while writing a lot of the songs on this album, and I imagined the feeling of heaviness like the greek god Atlas trying to hold up the world for eternity.
I created all of the synth sounds with samples from my violin, run through envelope filters and delays in the sampler on Ableton.
This song started with the drum beat because it was super weird and off-kilter; I was drawn to it immediately.
The lyrics are exploring the idea of expanding our consciousness beyond the confines of our own bodies and the gravity of earth, and imagining a world where our minds could float across the universe and experience new and exciting places.
Much like 'Falling' is exploring new concepts, ideas and universes, I wanted to start exploring my own mind more, sinking into my emotions and thoughts that made me, me.
This song is another mantra to myself to not be afraid of emotions whether they are good or bad. I think it's great to be sad sometimes; our western society really doesn't encourage sadness, there's so much emphasis on pursuing 'happiness'.
As social researcher Hugh Mackay says: "I actually attack the idea of happiness; wholeness is what we ought to be striving for."
This song was all about exploring different sounds on the violin. I took my violin and fx pedals to my friend Bobby P. Downie's (Hemm) studio and we sent my violin melodies through his modular synths.
The fading sounds and effects are meant to emulate the constant racing thoughts and chatter in my head, building up towards a final rising vocal melody that is signalling the movement towards some calm again.
I wanted to create a moment of calm after 'Headrush' and love sweeping cinematic strings from '50s films, so I wrote a little rising motif using that sound to signal the middle of the album.
This track is the moment of clarity that sometimes happens after long periods of anxiety and overwhelming stress – like a small breath of fresh air that allows space to think and clear the mind.
'Tomorrow' started out as a very slow beat, which I asked my friend Finn Rees (Close Counters) to record a bassline over. He came up with the funky/ melodic synth-bass that you hear in the track, almost like a slow animal traipsing through the desert.
The synth melody was another Ableton sampler synth that Luis Kennett and I created out of a violin part that I recorded.
'Euphoria' is a track I wrote about searching for experiences which give that joyful, euphoric feeling of being alive. I wanted to try to capture the idea of those moments of 'euphoria' within this track, using rising and falling melodies, dreamy strings and violin run through a modular synthesiser.
'Reverie' was one the first tracks I finished writing for the album; I recorded most of it at my studio Natural Habitat and then took it to James Cecil (Architecture In Helsinki) to produce and mix the rest of the track.
We layered the violin melody with an old Moog synth at his studio Super Melody World, which is an old-school house out in the bush – super nice and secluded. The song is about enjoying dreams and sleeping, escaping reality to a world where the stresses of everyday life are non-existent.
TAKE YOUR TIME
I wrote the chords and melodies for 'Take Your Time' early on, but couldn't find any words to fit the feel of the song so I asked Melbourne songwriter, Juice Webster, to come to my studio and work on lyrics for the song with me.
I wanted to write about the idea that 'time' is something we should not be taking for granted, that we should be seizing every moment we can, because everything that lives must eventually die, and the only things we can really hold onto are experiences and memories.
I wanted to create a song that was a bit of a full circle to the very opening sounds of the album, layers of strings and acoustic violin sounds.
'Fade' is about acceptance of myself and my place in the universe right now. It's meant to be an ode to understanding who you are and figuring out what makes your life worth living. It felt right as the closer to this album.