Interview with Orations by Kris Hex
Scheduling arrangements for the interview courtesy of DJ Jason
- Ok guys, to start off, would you mind introducing yourselves to the readers who may not be familiar with the band?
We’re Orations from Buffalo, NY. Jess Collins sings, Paul Morin plays guitar, Jason Draper is the bassist and Steve Sojka is on drums. We play chorus drenched pop songs hidden behind a post punk veneer.
- Alright, you guys have been around for a couple of years now and had trouble finding singers initially, as is my understanding. Was it the usual issue of finding someone who understood what it was that you were trying to do, time constraints, lack of a scene etc.?
Jason: We’ve been playing together for a little over two years at this point. We first got together to mess around with some songs I had been working on, without a proper outlet. Things instantly clicked with Paul, Steve and I, so, we decided to make it more than a project band and set out to find someone who would be a good match on vocals. We talked to/tried out more than our fair share of people for the spot, but for a variety of reasons, none of them panned out. A decent amount of them approached the band in a different fashion than what we had in mind, others knew exactly what we were going for, but schedules just didn’t match up. Here in Buffalo, we once had a thriving scene, but things have fallen off a lot since its prime. There are still great things going on in our city, but the pool we initially tried pulling from was fairly small. Eventually, Jess fell into our laps and everything progressed rather quickly from there.
- You released your first album through Jason’s label, then later on Swiss Dark Nights, of which your label mates, Readership Hostile are on as well, did they tell you about the label being friendly to dark independent acts or did you do some research on them to make sure things were legit? I know it’s a bit of an uphill battle to find someone who’s going to do right by you as a band especially when so many small labels fold under financial and personal pressures.
Jason: When we first released the EP, I started contacting bands that I thought played in a similar vein as us. While this is the band I’ve been trying to put together since I was fifteen, all of my contacts were from other scenes. I knew I needed to meet some new likeminded people if we were ever going to do anything outside of the practice space. We had just all grown so out of touch with the infrastructure of the scene outside of Buffalo with the exception of a few bands such as Pleasure Leftists and Nervosa’s from Ohio. We wanted to get our music into the hands of people who would be on board with what we were doing and this strategy made sense. One of those emails I sent was to Valerio from Swiss Dark Nights and he offered to release the EP as a CD in Europe. I started to check out the other bands on the label and found we had a lot of kindred spirits there. You hear a lot of horror stories involving labels, but Swiss Dark Nights has built a nice name for themselves. We’ve had nothing but a great experience dealing with them thus far. Obviously, we want to be responsible with our music, but it all boils down to having it available to the people who want to hear it and would enjoy it. We believe SDN can do exactly that. We’re very grateful that they would take a chance on a virtually unknown band from halfway around the globe.
- Tell me about your 7 inch coming up, “Incantation”, any particular topics you like covering as a band or fields of interest that seep into the music?
Jess: We seem to radiate toward the supernatural. In regards to writing lyrics, I am often drawn toward the link between the supernatural and the natural; that is, the weird little (Oh shit, or Aha!) moments that occur between people that are at times, hard to describe with words. I attempt that. I hope I am successful in conveying something that is of meaning.
- I’ve covered this a couple of hundred times with other bands, but due to the fact that there really isn’t a unified scene for all of the new post punk, goth, death-rock etc. acts coming out right now, do you just play locally for now until you can get on the road to start playing with other acts of your ilk?
Jason: It’s difficult, especially for anything goth related, the scene’s either seem to be one side of the country or another every few years, like a pole shift, i.e. the West Coast is pumping out good bands as usual and has been for a while now, whereas; the East Coast is finally showcasing it’s finest in the last couple of years, after a lull. We have yet to play out of town. Steve has obligations that prevent him from touring. We have someone lined up that can cover the duties once the time arrives, but we want to wait until we have our full length out before we do much real touring. Relying on money from just an EP and a 7” (once it comes out) would more than likely be a financial disaster if we went out for any decent length of time. That’s not saying that we won’t do it, but we’re going to pretend to be responsible for the time being. It doesn’t help that here are clusters of like-minded bands in certain cities, but those cities are so spread out, like you said.
- Of the bands that have influenced you, want to shed some light on obvious ones and not so obvious?
Jess: Kate Bush, has been an influence for me and she remains to be. The frank emotions that she sets before you in her songs are brilliant. While her style is not something I can emulate or try to, she certainly is an influence when I am climbing to a high note or attempting to intuit a certain type of inflection with a word or phrase. At first listen, I hear melodies from Echo and The Bunnymen when we are writing music as a band. My own style, however, is what prevails. In addition, I am a huge Tom Waits fan. Though, I only attempt to sing his songs in private.
Jason: Musically we’ve definitely been influenced by the usual big name acts like The Cure and Joy Division, but there is also a lot that we draw from bands such as The Chameleons, Comsat Angels, an O Positive; to name a few. Basically, what comes out of us, is a culmination of the bands we grew up on, seeping out of our subconscious.
- Given that NY has some legendary goth/death-rock acts to its name ala The Naked and The Dead, Scarecrow etc , were you able to make contact with any of the original members of those bands for support? I know from personal experience it can be daunting when you basically have to make a lot of the noise all on your own so to speak.
Jason: We haven’t been in contact with any of those bands, so far. Buffalo is actually 7 hours away from NYC, so, there is literally and figuratively a great distance with the scene there. Toronto is the closest big city to us and I’m not sure if there is much going on up there these days.
- Any plans to hit the road in support of Incantation upon its completion?
Jason: We are hoping to do a few weekend tours once the 7” comes out. Nothing is set in stone as of yet, but we have some plans floating around in our heads.
- Lastly, any parting words for the readers out there?
Jason: Chorus and reverb pedals are your friends. Embrace them with open arms.