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Orka: “‘Burrow’ explores the idea that some extreme philosophies may be more prevalent than it may seem on the surface”

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Orka Photo by EvieE

Northampton’s prog metallers Orka unleash their second single ‘Burrow’, so New Boots took an opportunity to talk to them.

Who is in the band, and what do they play?
Eric Bastos is the vocalist, Luke Doddington is on drums, Tom Lemon is on bass and Matt Hart plays the guitar [as well as keyboards in the recordings].

How did you get together?
We met at college in 2016 and we decided to meet up and jam for a bit of fun [with a different bassist at this point]. We would meet up every week and eventually we began writing and recording some original material. Tom joined us in 2017.

How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
We focus mostly on a progressive metal style, but like to take influences from more traditional metal, plus jazz, math rock and other genres. We enjoy combining elements like these in our songs. Between the four of us we have a variety of influences, but our main ones would be bands like Opeth, Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree and Meshuggah.

What was the reaction to the first, self-titled EP from last year?
Our first release was quite small. Mainly promoting it on Facebook and through our gigs in the summer of 2019. One of our songs ‘Obsolete’ was added into a playlist on Spotify with a few thousand followers which got us around 3,500 listens on that particular track. We also sold a short run of physical copies at shows as well.

Tell us everything about this new single ‘Burrow’.
‘Burrow’ is a track we’ve had in the works for a while that demonstrates a lot of the styles we like to blend together. It’s a heavy track that starts with a fairly simple riff-based metal sound and eventually incorporates some more King-Crimson-esque progressive elements towards the end. Tyler Campbell from the [Seattle-based] band Nott lent us a hand and did a great guest feature on the song, which we thought sounded just right for the vibe we were aiming for. Thematically it’s quite a dark track, which explores the idea that some extreme philosophies may be more prevalent than it may seem on the surface.

What are your live shows like?
In our live shows we love putting spins on our songs so we don’t just end up playing the same thing you can hear from us on our studio releases. We use separate backing tracks with extra or different sections in songs, and we all like to put our own little flairs on each song as we play. Our main aim for our live shows is to leave everyone hopefully having enjoyed what we have played for them, whether its their preferred style or not.

Are you part of a wider scene in Northamptonshire? Any favourite bands/venues?
We are good friends with several other Northamptonshire based bands, such as Wovenlung and Primal Holocaust. We really enjoy interacting with the Northampton metal scene, and though we have not played a whole lot of gigs we keep our eye on what’s happening in the town. We loved competing in the ‘Metal to the Masses’ competition last year, getting to the semi-finals. We really enjoy playing The Black Prince in the town centre. The back room there is perfect for gigs, the staff are lovely and all the people we have worked with over there have been amazing.

How has lockdown been for you? Helped or hindered creativity?
The lockdown has been a bit of a mixed bag for us. Of course it means that we haven’t been able to meet up as easily or to play gigs, but it hasn’t had as big an effect on our recording process. We are able to do a lot of recording remotely, and we had conveniently already recorded some material a while before the lockdown began.

What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Eric – Amnesty (I) by Crystal Castles
Luke – Virus by Haken
Tom – Dystopia by Megadeth
Matt – You Know What They Mean by Bent Knee

What is your burning desire for the band to do in the future? What plans do you have?
Our next goal is to release an EP we’ve been working on for a while. This time around it’s going to delve a bit deeper into prog-rock/prog metal styles, with some longer and more adventurous tracks, and it will also contain our heaviest music yet – with further exploration of 8-string guitars. We hope that ‘Burrow’ will serve as a bit of a taster for what to expect from the EP.

‘Burrow’ is out now via the usual digital platforms

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