Have you ever been utterly blown away by a band’s debut? Perhaps a band you’ve never even come across? Order of Voice’s debut was like a bolt of lightning, offering up a beautifully textured and played mix of alternative styles, well mixed influences and enough originality and (more importantly) personality to keep you hooked from the first chord through to the emotive end some forty minutes later. Having arrived at the party rather late, SonicAbuse decided to make up for lost time by contacting the band who were kind enough to agree to an interview which we are more than a little proud to present to you here. If, ‘till now, you have never heard of Order of Voices, then you must find their wonderful album, it is an absolute belter and guaranteed not to disappoint anyone who takes their music seriously. A welcome and exciting new voice in the UK rock scene, Order of voices deserve to become huge and we hope that you will lend the band your support as they head out to play live dates soon. In the meantime you can also check out the band’s latest video at the foot of the post.
Order of Voices:
Ash Homar (guitar)
Stefan Blackwood (guitar)
Ian Gaunt (bass)
Aynsley Dickinson (drums)
Leigh Oates (vocals)
1. We were rather slow to catch up with reviewing your excellent debut, but you’ve clearly had a lot of very positive reviews, to state the obvious you must be very pleased by such a reaction…
Leigh: Yeah very pleased, we couldn’t have hoped for better really, when you release an album and ask for reviews it’s a nervous time as you’ve no real idea what people will make of it, it seems we did something right though as the reviews have been great across the board! We were very confident in the album and I think that really helps when you’re trying to push it as you really believe in it, I’ve been in positions before where you’re pushing a product you don’t quite believe in and it’s a little bit uncomfy waiting for the reviews to come in!
2. Before we get on to the music, the first thing that hits you about your record is the stunning art work which is really well done. Who did it, how involved were the band and is there anywhere we can find out more about the artist’s work?
Leigh: The artist is an American guy called Fernando Medina (http://www.fernandocreative.com/); we just really liked his work so we asked him if he wanted to work with us and he really liked the music so we went from there. We worked on the concept with him but really the look was his vision we just helped tweak it! Right now we want to use him for every album we do so we can build up a real definitive ‘look’ for Order of Voices.
3. The album itself seems to contain hints of a variety of bands from Deftones to Tool to Placebo and Jane’s addiction – does that eclectic mix represent the tastes of the different musicians in the band?
Stefan: Personally I’ve been a massive fan of Deftones and Tool for a long time, and I’m happy you’d associate us with such great names! We’re all fans of music and have very wide and varying tastes, hopefully some of that comes across!
Ash: Yeah between us we have a huge range on musical tastes. Rock, ambient, electronic, classical, jazz etc. It’s great for writing; we can draw on loads of different styles and approaches without necessarily being influenced by one particular band. I’m sure there’s plenty going in there subconsciously that we don’t even think about.
Leigh: From a vocal point of view I love melody and wanted to weave lots in, I wanted the vocals to be powerful and emotional but also use a large dynamic range, not to show off but to give the songs as much light and shade as possible. Voice wise I have too many influences to even try to list but hopefully I’ve come up with something people will find original and like!
4. Can you tell us how you came to form and the meaning behind the name of the band?
Ash: Well I guess it started when Stef and I started a studio together, we’ve all been in bands for years and so had enough experience and interest to try and set up a studio for ourselves. Whilst testing different recording methods, we decided to knock together some riffs and play with them.
Stef: We have a lot of musician friends in Sheffield and the surrounding areas, and many were eager to lend a hand and try throw some bits into the mix. It was then that Ian got involved. He’s played bass in a couple of bands before with Ash and they really work well together.
Ash: Yeah, Ian came in and put some bass down to a couple of bits we had floating around. It was then that things started to sound a little more song-like and we three decided to work on it as a bit of a project and write some new stuff.
Ian: At that time other bands were in and out recording things, so Ash and Stef really learned how to work the studio, and started producing some really good sounding music. At this time we were still using programmed drums and had no idea about singers.
Ash: I emailed Aynsley, who we know from his work in Rise To Addiction, more to see if he knew any available drummers than anything else. We respected him and knew he wouldn’t recommend anyone who wasn’t up to the task.
Aynsley: I received the email containing a couple of mp3 demos they’d done, and within the first few phrases I could see the massive potential in their music. I also thought that Leigh would be well into this music and so suggested to the lads that we both came to the studio to jam through some of the tracks.
Leigh: That first session worked out better than we all could have imagined, and so ideas and demos were passed backwards and forwards mostly via email until we had four or five song structures down. Then it was straight into the studio.
Leigh: The name came about just by talking really, every band needs a name and we thought that there are many different voices to the band and the order part gave the impression of some grouping or union that people could feel part of.
5. How long did the album take to write and record?
Stefan: The album took around 4 months to write and then we jumped into our studio for the next 8 months to polish it up and finish it off. It took a lot of work, and some really long days/weeks but we’re all really happy and learned a lot from the experience.
Ash: Most of the songs were put down musically and then the vocals added as guides, at this point we only really had ideas about how the final songs would sound.
Leigh: Once the lyrics were written, the songs then took their final form around that, and we started to record the drums.
Ian: The songs were changed and tweaked so many times over the next few months, and we spent many late nights adding and stripping away pieces from the tracks until they took their own shape.
Stef: Looking back, the hardest part was getting the first song to find its own sound, once that was done, they all seemed to write themselves, the band had taken shape and direction, and we all flowed with it.
6. Is there a main songwriter in the band or do you jam on things together?
Leigh: All members of the band contribute to the writing process but things usually start with some guitar parts. We use both methods really from this point, some songs just come from jamming and others are more studio based. From a vocal point of view I spend time on the melodies, refining them, I then write the lyrics, which I really enjoy doing. We further refine the melodies when demoing and I work with the guys to find the common ground, we’ll constantly revisit stuff in this part of the process to make sure we’re all happy.
7. Where did you get the sessions done? Were they difficult to do?
Ash: All sessions were done in our then studio, Comix, lots of late nights! Nothing was difficult as everyone can perform so we didn’t spend hours coaxing a performance or patching something up. The technology sometimes let us down though!
8. Having been playing a fair few gigs in 2010 have you started work on new material yet?
Leigh: Yes we’ve been really busy working on new material between shows, we’ve got around 10 songs written so far and we’re ready to demo them properly and really build on the live versions we have at the moment. We’re really pushing ourselves and the songs are coming out great.
Stefan: New material is on its way, and as Leigh mentioned we’re going to be recording demos of it soon too so become a fan of us on Facebook, (http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/group.php?gid=168417428512 ) and you might get to hear it before everyone else…
9. With so many of the older bands suffering as a result of the internet have you found that it has been a help or a hindrance in developing a following for your band?
Leigh: It’s definitely been a help in spreading the word and letting people hear our music, Facebook, Myspace etc and of course sites like Sonic Abuse have all really helped us as a band heighten our profile, I think it’s definitely helped sales of the album too! The advent of the net has certainly changed the industry we operate in though, there’s certainly not as much money flying about these days! Even major deals are nowhere near what they used to be. Obviously the online services have changed everything in terms of getting music out there and that’s a great opportunity for bands to have a voice, illegal downloading also means though that record companies don’t make the money they used to and you could argue that bands don’t make the same as they used to either from record sales or advances. It’s a debate that will run and run!
10. What can we expect from OOV in the future?
Leigh: A full label release of the album and lots of shows to back it up in the UK and abroad! Also we wanna keep pushing ourselves as songwriters so this album is just the start of our journey really, the next batch of songs are shaping up great!
You can keep up to date with the wonderful Order Of Voices here: