Interview: Joao Goncalves of Orpheus Omega
Melbourne's prestigious heavy metal festival is back! Legions of Steel Festival celebrates its 5th year in 2018 and it promises to be the biggest and best incarnation yet! After two consecutive sold out events in 2016 and 2017, Legions of Steel Festival is moving to a larger venue due to high demand! Max Watts in Melbourne will be the home for Legions of Steel Festival on Saturday, June 2nd, 2018. To celebrate the 5th anniversary of the festival; a DVD will be filmed on the night, featuring 2 professionally recorded performances per band + bonus footage. One of the feature bands are Orpheus Omega, a 5 piece Melodic Death Metal band from Melbourne, Australia. Their formative sound was based on the early Gothenburg melodic death metal movement but has evolved over the years into a truly unique entity within and outside the Melodic Death Metal genre. Supporting some of the biggest bands in the genre from all over the world including Dark Tranquility, Children Of Bodom and many more, this super talented band is becoming one of Australia's best heavy getting around. Lead singer of Flynn Effect and IRH writer, Tomina Vincent, got to speak with guitarist, guitarist Joao Goncalves, as they chatted about Legions Of Steel Festival, plus much more.
Thank you for taking the time to speak to Insert Review Here! Your performance at Legions of Steel festival is a celebration of 10 years of Orpheus Omega. That’s quite the milestone, how does it feel to arrive at the 10-year mark? I imagine it must be a little surreal.
Hey, not a problem we love to talk about ourselves. It is an extremely interesting place to be, I think time has a way of escaping you when things always seem so busy and hectic, so it feels like it’s all happened over a much shorter time. In reflecting back on it all however its been a hell of a ride, and surreal is one of the feelings I know I have, but also just sheer joy at being able to say we are still here, still working hard and still doing stuff we love and seem to get a response for.
Tell us a little bit about Orpheus Omega’s beginnings. Where did it all start in 2008?
Well it started in much the same way most romantic films do, boy meets girl, girl loves boy, boy loves girl, 80’s dance montage, boy and girl start melodeath band in 2008 after its been established melodeath is taboo and metalcore is the way to go. Fight the odds and parents who won’t let them share their love for melodeath and boom 10 years later write a new album. But seriously Chris and I met at University and discussed out mutual love of music and just started it all, matt joined not long after, Milky and Sasha followed suit and a few rehearsals in we had an EP ready. It’s a long time since then but the ethos is the same, let’s write music we enjoy listening to.
What are some of your proudest moments from the last decade? Was there ever a time where you thought, we’re really doing something great here?
I think there have been so many proud moments for us, every release feels better and stronger and we are proud every time we finish putting a record together. But then you have things like touring with some of the best bands on the planet, going overseas and having an honest interaction with people who you never expected to know who you are and just the everyday pride we get from fans liking what we do, wearing our merch and listening to our music. It all makes us proud I think we realized we were doing something right at our first album launch, it blew us away how many people came to watch us and I think it only continues to get bigger and better.
You’ve had to overcome some incredibly difficult situations as a band, especially the passing of your bass player Milky. Was there ever a time when the future of Orpheus Omega was uncertain and how did you overcome that as a unit?
Honestly that was the hardest thing we have had to deal with to date, and it’s no surprise that our initial thought was ‘we can’t do this without him’. But after discussing it with each other, letting our grief sit and reflect on it and discussing it with Milky’s family, we knew we would be dishonoring him by not continuing with what we had all worked so hard for. It’s something we always carry and always have in our minds when working on new songs, tours etc and I think it adds an additional drive to it all. Most of us carry Milky with us on stage every time we play so he’s always a part of the show and the journey. And we wont ever forget or take for granted what we are lucky to have.
You have shared the stage with some huge names in the heavy music scene – Insomnium, Lacuna coil, Dark Tranquility, just to name a few. What has been your favourite touring experience as a band? Tell us some of your highlights.
Every tour has its highlights and every band we have had the privilege of supporting has been amazing to watch and, in some cases, get to know. We all get caught up when we meet people who we see as heroes to us and I think having had the chance to meet and chat with so many amazing musicians in very candid ways has helped us see that being humble is something that we all need to be at times. When you have a chat with Matt Heafy mid flight about how good the food is in Melbourne or talk DC comics with Niilo Sevänen you start to realize that these are just dudes who write awesome music that you love. And having had these interactions is something none of us will ever forget.
The music industry has experienced some seismic shifts over the last couple of decades, and Orpheus Omega has excelled during this very turbulent time - from the domination of the physical CD to the age of streaming and the vinyl revival. In 2018, its difficult to gauge what will come next, and you have no doubt experienced this uncertainty over the years. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists as they venture into this unstable landscape?
It has been a very interesting time for sure and I think the more things change the better we all get at realizing what we value in a product. And essentially music is a product, how you package it and market it will determine how well it is received initially. I think the best advice I could give is to make it what you want it to be don’t be afraid to use mediums that some people say are dying and always make it exciting, polished and fresh. If you cut corners you’ll deal with the consequences of that, if you want to do well you need to take risks and you need to lose some money. If you’re not prepared to do that you’re in the wrong scene and you should probably go back to your day to day, music is a tricky thing to be in as it is very give and take but without the take you’ll get nothing back so be prepared to lose sometimes and always work towards making your product better and learn from your mistakes. Also pay attention to what others do listen and watch and before you criticize ask yourself ‘What have I done that shows I’m better?’
Legions of Steel will see you perform your So It Begins EP in its entirety, and you’ve also mentioned some surprises. With the risk of being a spoiler agent, what else can fans expect from this momentous show, and as one fan asked us, how likely are you to 100% play Beacons?
I think we have already spoiled the surprises ourselves in a Facebook live stream we did haha Sasha Braganca will be joining us onstage once more to play the songs she helped write and Theo Goslett (Hollow World) will be filling in for me while I recover from some RSI issues. Apart from that I think that’s it… maybe. As for Beacons we will be playing it 100% it’s a favourite of ours and obviously the fans too and I think it’s such a key song in our set that it would be a crime to not play it haha.
As local music aficionado’s, who are you most looking forward to seeing perform at Legions of Steel Festival?
That’s a horrible question obviously we can’t wait to see every band on shows like this every band always has a way of bringing their A-game so it will be an awesome night from start to end. For me personally however I can’t go past Harlott, who for me are probably the best thrash band in the country, Requiem because fuck those guys, they are half my age and are already better musicians then I’ll ever be and Espionage who always put on a killer show and make me excited about power metal again.
Rumour has it you’re working on new music. What is next for Orpheus Omega? Can you tell us what you’ve been up to?
We are indeed working on new music, or rather we have worked on new music and it’s off in the hands of Mark Lewis (Trivium, DevilDriver, Bad Wolves, The Black Dahlia Murder Whitechapel etc..) being mixed and mastered. So, we are getting ready to do all the fun stuff with albums, working on art, videos and merch to get into people’s hands, eyes and ears. We are extremely excited about what we have done with Mark and album 4 will be huge, we really can’t wait to show people where we are and its tough to keep things under wraps. But all will be revealed very soon. Keep on the lookout on our website and social media, for updates.
Lastly, will we be seeing Orpheus Omega on the road anytime soon?
Well at this stage we are looking at some possible dates, but nothing is locked in just yet. We will be hitting the road in support of the new album and some other possible shows, but we are just finalising things as we speak and will again reveal more as it all comes to fruition. As always we ask that people keep up to date with us on our website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and as things happen you will know more.
Written by Tomina Vincent
Check out the Facebook Event Page for Legions Of Steel HERE.