Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (https://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
O: ORCumentary is fearless, melodic, heavy, tongue-in-cheek, dynamic, and boundless.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
O: I go by Orc Adams when I am performing as the solo entity called ORCumentary. I am from Connecticut and I have a classical background, but after graduating high school I focused entirely on writing my own music. ORCumentary has been with me for more than half my life.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
O: All of ORCumentary’s songs are sung from the perspective of orcs (“evil” humanoids from various fantasy worlds including LOTR and Warcraft). Most of the lyrics follow a story I wrote about an orc hero who is fighting to conquer the elves, dwarves, etc. It’s an epic, multi-album saga.
As to where the orc theme came from, essentially Lord of the Rings fandom and boredom. I took piano lessons for 11 years (age 7-18) and towards the end of that time (summer 2006) I had the itch to try writing music purely for fun. I had no experience writing music whatsoever, no aspirations for anyone else to hear it or play live, and no bands or musicians inspired me (in the beginning). I wrote a few songs for a few different “themed” projects and the orc-themed one stuck. I found that I really enjoyed it and I ran with it. None of my songs are “about” Lord of the Rings though.
As far as current inspirations, I am a huge HUGE fan of European metal, especially melodic death metal. Bands like Amorphis, Dark Tranquillity, Crematory, Wolfheart, At the Gates, too many to list in this interview. Songwriting is my hobby. I am always looking for new ways to write music and most of the music I love is genuine, melodic, dynamic, emotive…which might sound strange since ORCumentary is about orcs and not too serious in tone. I take the songwriting very seriously no matter what it is I am writing for.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
O: I ultimately want people to hear ORCumentary, however that happens. Whether it’s a live show, music video, etc. My first few albums had rough production quality and that probably kept some people from getting into it. I’ve worked really hard over the past 4 years or so to completely revamp my recording setup. Any song from my Self-Titled EP and Fully ORChestrated (my previous album) would fit right in, production-wise, on anyone’s playlist or shuffle. Night and day improvement. Many songs from those two releases are re-recordings/re-arrangements of some of my older songs.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
O:While I think the best is yet to come, the strongest memory that comes to mind is from 2012. I played a black metal festival that Agalloch was headlining. Playing live as a solo artist in the metal scene is always a tough sell, moreso when you’re the first act of the day, and even moreso when your act involves playing keyboards over drums/bass/guitar backing tracks and screaming about orcs. Some black metal fans generally tend to take themselves (and metal) very seriously and aren’t necessarily open to new things, yet I was able to win the crowd over!
I go into every show expecting to be met with skepticism, but also with the mindset that if I can win over a room full of the surliest black metal fans, “this” crowd will be a piece of cake. And most times I succeed. 11 years later I still have people who are friends and fans who discovered me at that show.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home of the home studio. How is that going?
O:The way the industry now is very much a double edged sword. The “playing field”, as it were, is much more level and unsigned artists can be heard easier than ever. Anyone can put music on Spotify, get CDs made, make a high quality music video, etc.
However, there’s so much more competition now that it’s a big struggle to cut through the noise. People’s attention spans are very short and the social media algorithms bury a lot of music-related posts. Learning how each social media platform “works” and the kinds of content/hashtags/etc perform better is huge. The days where a musician just plays music is long gone. If you’re unsigned and you want to get anywhere, you have to do a decent amount of content creation and have a bit of business knowledge too.
The trick is doing all that in a way that’s true to you as an artist. It’s a big topic that i’ve spent the past few years studying and I think it’s helped a lot in keeping ORCumentary visible online and also reaching new people I probably wouldn’t have reached with a live performance.
PD: How do you book and promote live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
O: The nature of what ORCumentary is allows me to be more spontaneous and take some gigs that are a bit more unconventional that wouldn’t fit for most bands. I also try to not play too frequently in any certain area. I do have a few gigs coming up:
Sept. 2 @ Keene Music Festival, Keene NH
Sept. 8 @ 33 Golden Street, New London CT
Dec. 15 @ The Cellar on Treadwell, Hamden CT
PD: What do you think of downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
O: I think music piracy is down significantly compared to the pre-Spotify days and the industry seems to have moved on from it. People ultimately go for what’s more convenient, and streaming in many ways is more convenient than piracy. I don’t like downloading music in lieu of purchasing, but if an album is out of print or extremely rare/expensive then I think it’s fair game. I’ve gotten into vinyl records over the past 5 or 6 years and it’s rare for a record to include a download code for the files. So in that case I also feel it’s justified to download the files, as I already paid for the album.
As a consumer, I think streaming is a great music discovery tool, but I only subscribe to a streaming service when I get a free trial. I still buy cds and vinyl all the time (vinyl perhaps a bit too much so). I could never replace owning music with streaming though; you’d be surprised how many albums and songs are NOT available digitally, seemingly randomly. Plus a lot of streaming services have subpar audio quality.
As an artist, you need to have your music available everywhere so your fans can consume it the way they want to. Streaming is here to stay and fighting it is a losing battle. People interested in your music won’t go buy a CD if they listen to everything on Spotify and your music isn’t there. They’ll just move on to the next thing.
Streaming is an improvement from piracy because you don’t get any money from piracy. The payout for streaming isn’t always great, of course; you always hear about artists getting $2 checks from Spotify for hundreds of thousands of plays. That’s not entirely Spotify’s fault; remember that the label, management, and your fellow band members also take a cut. Any streaming service that only has paid users (like Apple Music, Tidal, etc) has a much better artist payout than Spotify, but Spotify statistics (such as monthly listeners etc) are
PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?
O: Promoting my new EP, simply titled “ORCumentary. I plan to play live a lot in support of it between now and the end of next year. I’m also slowly writing songs for a new album, but it’s way too early to say when that will be completed.
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
O: Facebook, instagram, and Bandcamp are the big ones for where to learn more about ORCumentary and get merch etc.
I also have an email list, which is the best way to keep in touch since the social media algorithms are unpredictable: https://mailchi.mp/ec24c50b374f/orcumentary-mailing-list
Band/Artist location – Connecticut (USA)
Facebook – You Tube – Soundcloud – Bandcamp – Merch – Reverbnation –
Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – LinkTree – TikTok – Check our page for ORCumentary