Interview with Orations by DJ Delchi
Arrangements for the interview by DJ Jason
- DJ Delchi: First off it’s refreshing to hear new Gothic music that is rooted in the classic sounds of the genre. The instrumentation and mixing bring back a lot of good memories, with new material. Was this a goal of the band, or was it a fortunate gathering of talented people with something in common?
Jason Draper: It was and it wasn’t. When I approached Paul and Steve (our original drummer) I told them I wanted to start a dark punk band. The first couple of songs we wrote were in that vein (as well as others throughout the years), but the bands that shaped us a lot in our teenage years started to seep in and the punk in our music started to take a backseat to that. After that it was kind of a free for all, but lucky for us it all fell under some sort of umbrella that made sense together. There are definite goth bands who we have realized have influenced our sound and aesthetic, but for every Chameleons or Cure there is a Psychedelic Furs or REM, at least musically. Jess’ influences cast a far wider net for her vocal styling and lyrics.
- So my ears hear a little Siouxsie mixed with Cocteau Twins influence in there. MY ears are old though, so please share : Who/what are your influences?
After Jess joined the band I was shocked to find out that she wasn’t very familiar with Elizabeth Fraser. She had heard them before, but never really delved into their catalog. Before I knew that I thought she was one of her big influences. The same goes for Siouxsie. I know she is really into Kate Bush, Kristin Hersh, and Jeff Buckley. She also gets a lot of her influence from poets as well as Carl Jung. She’s mentioned that his writings on archetypes; the Shadow, Anima, Animus and the Self especially influenced the way she expressed herself on the album.
As for the music it’s really just a collective of various post-punk, goth, and “college rock” bands from our formative years. We actually made a Spotify playlist where we each picked a handful of songs that we were listening to a lot while we were writing the album. Songs that we realized slipped into our unconscious and influenced the album.
- Why ” Orations ” ? What is the story behind the name ?
I’ve always been fascinated by the Germs logo. Just the simple blue circle always drew me in. As a result I wanted to have band that had some sort of “O” as a logo. When we started I said that I wanted to have the band’s name start with an O so that it would make sense. I was sitting around trying to think of O- words and Oration stuck out. A formal speech made sense with what we were going for with the band. I also have a thing for pluralized band names so I tacked the S at the end. I did end up making that logo, but it by no means has the same impact as the one Darby Crash made.
- Looking over the cover art in your discography the black and white images and use of shadows bring a specific feeling to the overall work. Who is the creative force behind these, and can you speak about the symbolism ?
Our cover art has come from all over the place. The first EP was a picture our friend Dan Cogliano took that had a haunting, foreboding look to it. For the 7”, we knew we wanted to name it “Incantation,” so having some kind of coven on it seemed appropriate. Paul and I had joked about doing a rip off of the Skinny Puppy “Dig It” cover, as the Gustave Doré art they used is absolutely perfect. We approached our friend Derek Hendrickson, who is a big fan of the artist to do his best impression and what you see is the result. We were dummies though and had the cover printed on reverse-board, so the ink bled a little and the finish product isn’t as stark as we had hoped. Finally, for “Wych Elm” we had a bunch of ideas of different things to have on the cover, but none of them worked out for one reason or another. We were starting to panic, because we had a deadline with no art and then I saw a photo that Mario Framingheddu took and I instantly knew it was perfect for the cover. It still has that previously mentioned foreboding that the other covers have, but there is also a sense of something emerging from the shadows. This record ended up being a bit more poppy than our other releases so the imagery fit.
- Looking over your bandcamp page I noticed that you are releasing in cassette and vinyl. Was this a decision driven by the retro desires of your fans and the genre, or something else? I know I’m not the only person with a working turntable left on the planet, however we are becoming a rarity.
The LP was something that we knew we wanted to do from the get go. When I hold a record in my hand it has a sense of permanence and importance about it. I still have thousands of CDs, but for whatever reason they feel more disposable. I have no problem with the medium, but vinyl was my first gateway into music and it still feels special to me. Custom Made Music wanted to put out the cassette. People seem to like that we have it available, so who are we to argue?
- Towards the future , what are the plans for this project? Touring? Appearances ? More music? What direction do you see the band going in over the next year?
We are going to be doing a few short regional tours over the next few months and then in the Fall we will be heading over to Europe for a few weeks of shows. We’ve also starting working on a handful of songs for our next record, which will probably be a ways off before we head to the studio again.