Ryan David Orr – Interview

Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

PD: What type of artist are you?

RDO: I usually use words like “Indie” and “Alternative” when describing my music, mostly because those terms seem to apply to a broad range of musical styles. Most of what I create is in the indie-rock or indie-folk areas, but I sometimes branch out into hard rock or industrial, electronica, and experimental ambient stuff. I am drawn to writing lyrically driven songs that rely heavily on appealing and dynamic melodies. Beyond that, I also work with film and photography as artistic media, and I write some fiction and poetry.


PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.

RDO: I began on violin at age 7 and have jumped around on instruments ever since. My mother was a singer-songwriter and my father was a painter and photographer, so the act of creating artistic works was everywhere in my youth. for the last twenty years, I have written and performed original music as a solo artist and also with a few bands and side projects. I also moved around a lot my whole life, so I have been inspired by experiences of the different cities and regions I’ve lived in.


PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?

RDO: My musical influences are all over the map. Tom Waits, Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Thelonious Monk, PJ Harvey, Beethoven, Tool, The Temptations, Pink Floyd, Mos Def (Yasiin Bey), Tori Amos, Bob Marley, Richard Buckner, The Deftones. My non-musical influences are probably visual artists, authors, and spiritual teachers. I have been influenced by Eckhart Tolle, Thich Nhat Hanh, George Orwell, Arundhati Roy, Kurt Vonnegut, John Steinbeck, Francisco Goya, Joel-Peter Witkin. I’m sure there are many more, but those are the ones that come to mind right away.


PD: What are your dreams and goals?

RDO: I’m always chasing a dream of balance between my artistic life, my work life (college professor), and my home life. I perform quite a bit in your typical bar/restaurant venues, but my goal is to shift my style of show from a large number of trivial shows to a smaller number of more meaningful shows. I plan to continue releasing music and performing worldwide and see how far I can push it. I love the idea of being able to teach during the school year, tour in the summer, write and record in the winter, and spend the rest of the year gardening, cooking, and traveling.


PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?

RDO: I write all of my material. I find that I tend to write very personally, so it is hard to collaborate on lyrics. I often use writing as a form of catharsis, so many of my songs are about facing demons  shedding layers of ourselves, and evolving and transforming through self-examination and emotional/psychological upheaval  And also girls. Some songs are about girls.


PD: How do you promote your band and shows?

RDO: I use many of the social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and my monthly newsletter. I also do live streams through Facebook and Instagram sometimes, and longer ticketed livestreams through Bandcamp.


PD: What do you think about downloading music online?

RDO: Oohh, tough one. So, this is the way of the world – music, like most media, has become digitized, and it is simply convenient for people to download it. I get that, and it is necessary in this age to make products as accessible as possible. However, something very real and intimate gets lost in this online world. When I was a teenager, I would spend countless hours in record stores, sifting through bins to find treasures. Then, I would take them home, touch and inspect the artwork, put records on turntables, place needles, flip records, etc. It’s a tactile and wonderful experience to spend that time with a creation from artists you love. Sadly, that entire experience seems to have disappeared. So, online downloads and streaming are a necessary evil. My hope is that the life force of artistic creations isn’t lost along with the record store experience.


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

RDO: Probably “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead. It’s just brilliant. It moves like a short symphony with huge dynamic range, time signature changes, and lyrics that are snarky as hell.


PD: What are some of your pet peeves?

RDO: Couples in restaurants that spend their entire time together on their respective phones. Trash in the woods. Vehicles that spew clouds of black exhaust. Shower heads that are mounted too low. Airplane leg room. People who post on social media about how spiritual they are. Cinnamon flavored whiskey. Honey flavored whiskey. God damn anything-flavored whiskey (just leave whiskey alone already). Requests to play Dave Matthews songs. Single-use plastic. Alex Jones. How every American holiday always turns into something about “the troops”. There are a lot more, but I’ll stop there. I’m working on being less bitter. Maybe I should write a song about it.


PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

RDO: It was either opening for Vanessa Carlton (the biggest star I’ve opened for so far), or going on tour in Germany for a month. Both experiences made me feel validated as an artist.


PD: So what are you working on at the moment?

RDO: I am currently working with The Animal Farm to release a series of singles, including the song “Dystopia”. We will release several more over the next year or so. I am also finishing my 10th studio album (separate from the previously mentioned singles), and it will be released on CD and Vinyl later this summer, then on streaming platforms, song-by-song, after that. Album pre-sales will begin later this month. I am also filming a music video to accompany one of the songs from the new album which we will enter into film festivals beginning around September.


PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?

RDO: For CDs, Vinyls, T-shirts, or MP3 downloads, you can go to my website,, and click the “store” link. Or go directly to my store through Bandcamp at this link: Most of my music is also available on streaming platforms.

Ryan David Orr links:
Band/Artist location – Arizona
Website – Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp – Merch – Reverbnation –
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