We’ve got an interview plus an exclusive song premiere from St. Louis, Missouri-based metallers A Dark Orbit! Vocalist Chad Kapper and guitarist John Schiber were kind enough to discuss their band and new album, the forthcoming Inverted, set for release on November 27, 2015, via Basick Records (pre-order here). So sit back, read through, and be sure to check out the song “Alter”!
For those not familiar with your band can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
Kapper: We have been around since April 2008. We were all from different defunct projects at the time, like When Knives Go Skyward and Rules For Ransom, that wanted to come together and make something different, but very heavy, that encompassed a ton of ambiance and atmosphere. The line-up has changed over the years with just Keith (guitarist) and myself as the only original members, but this line-up we currently have is the tightest and move focused to date. We’ve for sure broadened our sound and abilities.
What is your writing process like?
Kapper: The writing process for Inverted was actually a creation of some downtime from shows, which unfortunately turned into a 2 year hiatus. We had a prior album finished, titled Parhelion that was shelved due to numerous reasons and John (guitarist) and I decided to not wait around and so we created Inverted. It was really simple on this album actually. John wrote the music and sent it to me to write/record vocals. We already had 3 new songs written as a collective unit, but then John wrote 12 more himself to finish out the 15 song record. These songs came out quick and full of dark angst. They’re a testament to the internal struggles that the band was going through for about 4 years and it was refreshing to have them fleshed out musically. Therapeutic if you will.
Schiber: I like to approach writing from whatever angle it will approach me. So for instance I might be inspired simply by the sound of a patch on one of my VST pads or it could be a more complex series of emotional responses I want to try and recreate via music. Most of the time it is the latter and I find myself constructing songs to precisely convey a particular emotion or lyrical idea.
Check out the song “Alter” here.
You guys are an extremely heavy band, how does it make you feel when that power and energy you channeled in the studio comes to life in front of a crowd?
Kapper: It’s by far the best feeling in the world. It’s very hard to convey the heaviness on an album in comparison to a live show, even though I think we did it very well. But it’s by far way heavier live, and the reaction we get majority of the time is priceless. There are a lot of gaping mouths.
Schiber: It’s fun! It’s super-fun to make such a powerful sound and to also know that it can be entertaining and possibly inspiring to other people.
When you write do you do so with the live setting in mind or do you write a song just for the song’s sake?
Kapper: There are times when I write lyrically, I try to come up with great phrases that can become statements that I know will resonate well with the crowd. But I never just add them to add them, or force them into a track. I go with my gut and write from the heart. Although, if a track has a section like this, more than likely I came up with that first and finished writing the song around it. Those spots will always jump out at me first when writing.
Schiber: Standing firm in either camp is limiting and everything has its time and place. I tend to try and keep a balance between both approaches. Sometimes you just need a simple song to get everyone moving that doesn’t require a high level of demand on the artist performing the piece so that they can be free to engage with a live audience. Other songs require that it remains complex and cerebral so that the listener is stimulated on another level. But when you can bring the two together you have created a true master piece.
Along those same lines do you take advantage of technology and email riffs and parts back and forth, or do you get together in a room in a more traditional sense and write together?
Kapper: We would prefer to write together in a room, but there is mainly writing done in stages from one destination to another. When we begin our writing process for the follow-up to Inverted, we are gonna try some different techniques along with locking ourselves in a room for hours to see what comes out of that creative environment.
Schiber: Inverted was written away from the traditional setting and there’s pros and cons to both approaches. In this day and age where so many sounds have already been explored it takes lots of time to create something truly unique and that requires a great deal of proper planning from the writer. I write rough drafts of entire songs and I will upload an MP3 version to our file share and have each member listen and add their flare. This works well for ADO for many reasons, including the aforementioned, and because we all work and have families. Live rehearsal jamming sessions will always be a part of the writing process but time and inspiration don’t always permit that to be the best option for us.
What’s the story behind the name of the band?
Kapper: I will never forget where I was at. I was driving down a back road in Valley Park, MO and found out some members of my old band WKGS were going to be out for some touring obligations to help out another band. I had been heavily influenced by bands like ISIS, HUM, Knut, Will Haven, Pelican at the time and wanted to start something extra in my down time that had a massively heavy feel with great atmosphere like these great bands. I wanted to create a metal, space rock version of abrasiveness. So I was thinking of keeping a dark vibe to it, and I just thought that if you were by yourself in the cold, and desolate vastness of space with no one around, it would sure be a very dark orbit. LOL. I coined the name right from my thoughts and it felt and sounded right. I wanted to make music in the same feeling and so I texted my bassist from WKGS at the time Brian, and ADO was born.
What is the story behind the name of the new record?
Kapper: I came up with Inverted after throwing ideas back in forth with John (guitarist). We wanted to create a record that reflected the thoughts of the human race at this very moment. Everything we say, do, feel is publicly trying to be proper, but what really happens is the opposite of that usually. Look at the world today. It’s completely inverted. We live in a messed up place at the moment.
What do you think of the current state of the rock/metal world?
Kapper: I don’t want to judge anyone. Music as a creative whole is amazing and I’m just glad people can express that. We express ourselves with what comes out naturally. But just like the movies, it’s all rehashed and regurgitated sameness today. Originality today seems to be like an unearthed diamond in an abandoned and dead mine. It’s really rare. I look for that originality in genres. I don’t expect mold breakers, but it’s nice to be surprised with a refreshing different idea or approach. Influences will always show through, and I think that’s completely necessary, but cookie-cutter plagiarism is uncalled for. Be you and let your influences mold and shape you. Don’t be your influences.
Schiber: I don’t keep up on current music too much, but I can say a few things about what I have noticed. Metal especially is becoming limiting and simple minded. Bands stick to one sound and rarely seem to escape that sound. If you’re thrash metal for instance and you throw a deathcore breakdown in one song the fans might try and kill you. Hahaha! Or if you don’t play breakdowns for every song at every possible moment your fans will call you a sellout. WAIT! My band isn’t deathcore, thrash metal, sludge or doom it’s simply (yet not so simply) my band! It just is what it is! I personally do not subscribe to genres and the expectations of the fans that come with that genre. People often use “well how can we describe you then?” as a rebuttal but that’s weak. ADO is metal, that’s it and that’s how you should describe it. I’m not an elitist and I like at least one band from each sub-genre of metal, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t put off by the culture at times.
What are some of the newer metal bands that you are listening to or enjoy?
Kapper: I enjoy a lot of heavy, dark bands like Trap Them, Redwood Hill, Godflesh, Witch Of The Waste, Cult Leader, Armed For Apocalypse, and Behemoth. These aren’t obviously newer bands, some are actually pioneers, but I have been drawing a massive influence from them as of late. Some of these influences will hopefully show themselves on the follow-up to Inverted. Plus, I have been listening to a ton of Witch House lately, but not for sure what form you will see of this. LOL. Just the darkness I guess. Also, check out Arctic Sleep… unreal atmospheric nature-doom band in the vein of Neurosis/HUM mix. So amazing. I have been into them for years and they just keep putting out amazing mood draining masterpieces.
Schiber: Redwood Hill immediately pops into my head along with Humanity’s Last Breath. I also enjoy Armed for Apocalypse and Quaere Verum.
Check out the song “Floating Intact” here.
Do you receive a lot of support from your local scene and fans in general?
Kapper: A ton of support. The local metal scene in St. Louis is trying to rebuild itself, but there are a staple of older bands, whom we call our great friends, that still drive the scene. We hope we can continue helping with its swell to what it once was years ago. Our fans still show their support for us and we can’t thank them more for being so patient with us.
Schiber: Absolutely! The fans of ADO are very loyal and it’s encouraging. The local scene in St. Louis needs some restoration and I think there’s starting to be enough great metal acts that this can happen. ADO has plans not just for our band but every St. Louis band that could help breathe life into the scene.
Do you have any rituals before you hit the stage? If so, what are they?
Kapper: Mental prep and vocal warm-up. Always. And I never drink alcohol or eat before a show.
Schiber: I like to pee and make sure I have water. Haha! Prior to that I’ll warm up on guitar for about 5-10 minutes, just slowly playing the tricky bits of our set and going over song transitions in my head. Nothing too structured, but I do all that I mentioned before every show.
Do you have any touring plans in support of the new recording?
Kapper: Yes, we plan to make it back to the UK this year sometime for a small tour and we are gonna start doing weekend stints and get shows out of St. Louis. We want to build our name more organically and earn it the hard way. I think we can make an impact on people better that way.
If you were stranded on a deserted island and could only take 3 CDs with you for eternity, assuming there was a solar powered CD player, what would they be?
Kapper: Will Haven’s Carpe Diem, HUM’s Downward Is Heavenward, and Glassjaw’s ETIEWTKAS.
Schiber: Easy! M83’s Before the Dawn Heals Us, Fredrik Thordendal’s Special defects and Sol Niger Within, and Jon Foreman’s Limbs and Branches.
What has been the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Kapper: Releasing this record and touring the UK.
Schiber: The soon-to-be-release of our first full-length, Inverted. It’s truly an honor to have written, recorded and mixed an album set for world wide release. It’s humbling.
What is the strangest thing that has happened to you on tour, or at one of your shows?
Schiber: Long ago I arrived at a venue with my band (at the time) and found out we actually weren’t on the bill. Soon after we found out the promoter had stolen everyone’s ticket money and left. We were a last minute addition and had to sell no tickets and had no time to promote the show. We didn’t lose out on much, but that was an ugly situation to be dropped in the middle of. Haha.