Interview with Connor Brogan | By Eric May
Move Orchestra is an up and coming experimental project comprised of four brothers, who convey a wide array of moods and ideas. Their artful songs revolve around abstract concepts with broadly interpretable lyrics. Their first single “M o o n” debuted a few months ago on Bandcamp, with their next release “P a t t e r n” following shortly after. The band is currently planning a nationwide tour.
First, a bit about yourselves… How long have you been a band, and how long have you been playing music? What inspired you to start playing music?
We are currently a four-piece group based out of Fayetteville, AR, made-up entirely of kin – siblings to be exact. We’ve actually only been in Move Orchestra about six months, since October of 2013, but prior to that, we played in a progressive rock band called PMtoday for eight years. We started playing music at the beginning of PMtoday, so I’d say [it’s been] somewhere around 11 years. We all got into music for different reasons, but for me, it was a band called Blink-182 that really influenced me to pick up the guitar. I remember riding in my dad’s SUV and hearing the first track on Enema of the State play through the truck’s speakers, and thinking that the guitar sounded so edgy and cool. I think the song was called “Dumpweed” and I remember my dad being really into that band as well. That may or may not have played a role in my liking the group.
Who helped inspire the current sound of the band?
All of our influences are different and are constantly changing, so the sound of the group is always evolving as well. I’m not sure if we’ll ever find a specific sound that we can all be content with hanging onto, you know? For the time being though, I’d have to say some of our biggest influences are Jon Hopkins, Phillip Glass, Esbjorn Svensson, Radiohead, Avishai Cohen, Flying Lotus, Now Vs Now and Bjork. Those names pretty much encompass our style at the moment.
As far as I know, you’ve only released one song online; yet I am told that you have numerous others that you will be playing live. What can people expect with this new material? Is it as electronic-laden as the piece currently on Bandcamp?
So we actually just released another song online entitled “p a t t e r n” which we’ll be posting on our Bandcamp in the next couple of days. The sound of it is still “electronic” influenced, but it has a much more organic feel than our previous track “m o o n” in my opinion. I think this is mostly because we tried to incorporate more audio/analogue sounds and less digital elements. Although, we’re not very well educated in the electronic music genre so we don’t really know what we’re doing most of the time. I think if people have to expect anything from us, they should expect us to avoid repeating something we’ve already done.
What inspired the electronic portion of the act? Were there some early computer or video games that might have had an influence, or any other electronic artists?
A lot of the electronic influences in our music actually derived from the discovery of the electronic music genre itself. I’ve always been aware of electronic music growing up. That is to say, I knew it existed, but I just never bothered listening to it because I was so distracted by guitar riffs and blink-182 and Myspace bulletins. When my brother Ryan and I started listening to and studying jazz, we pretty much burnt ourselves out on it and were in need of something fresh, progressive and new. Electronic music was just that and I believe that genre in particular is going to be at the forefront of modern music for a long time. The first electronic musician I ever listened to was Flying Lotus on my walks to and from school.
Where can fans see you live and who will you be playing with? I heard something about a national tour coming soon. Who might we be able to catch you playing with on that tour?
Our fans can see us live w/ Cloud Gavin at several upcoming shows this summer spanning from the Midwest to both the east and west coast. We have all of our tour dates listed on our website and fans can easily track updates through Bandsintown.com.
Are there plans to record a full-length studio album, or has that already been released? Furthermore, have you been picked up and signed by anyone or are you funding this tour out of pocket?
We do have plans to record a full length, but right now we are focusing more on writing, recording and releasing demos independently until we have a sufficient amount of material to create an album with. As far as touring funds are concerned, everything we do is DIY style, but we are fortunate enough to have the help of our manager in the booking process.
What sorts of subject matter do your lyrics deal with? They seem very open to interpretation, somewhat mystical and poetic. What inspires these lyrics?
I like how you described my lyrics as being open to interpretation. When I’m writing poetry, I’m not always conscious of what I’m doing or where my mind goes. I can describe the physical process of what I do to teleport my mind someplace else, but when I disappear into that world, it’s difficult for me to fully be aware of why certain words resonate more than others and why I arrange them in a specific order. I’m usually listening to some other artist’s music comprised solely of instrumentals that have nothing to do with my own music while watch moving pictures (movies/YouTube videos) on mute. I then write stories to the images, but they’re never the story of the image. For example, the image might be of a boy kicking a red ball into the doorway of an abandoned treehouse. I would maybe write about why the treehouse was empty or something. Recently, I’ve migrated from moving pictures to inert images. I feel like photographs provoke more complex stories easier than motion pictures. You have to use your imagination in order to make the image move. I think it would be an interesting experiment for you to put what you took from my lyrics rather than me just giving away the answer.
What kind of music are you listening to lately? Are there any artists that you might recommend to us?
Recently, I’ve really been into three artists that all sort of have a similar vibe as far as the moods they evoke during playback. Deaf Center, Brambles and Machinefabriek. All three of these artists will probably ruin your evening if you decide to listen to them while on a date.
What hobbies do you have outside of music? Are there any books, television shows, films or games that you might recommend or have found enjoyable?
We don’t have too many hobbies outside of our musical lives that don’t revolve around music at the moment. That sounds a little sad, but I think the reason is because we look at our group as a full time business and there are many different aspects involved that extend much further than the music-making process. For example, when the multiple stages involved with the composition of a song are finished, then comes all the various stages involved in the recording process (which we do ourselves) afterwards, the online marketing and promotion stages with the pre/post-release of a track, the performance stage in which we have to prepare everything to be played live, the touring stage, etc. You can see how these things add up. On top of all that, we have to teach ourselves how most of these stages work and how to efficiently navigate through them. Every day is a new learning experience for us. We spend a lot of time reading manuals on how to use all of our equipment because we’re unfamiliar with a lot of the new devices we’ve been investing in for our group. We design our own artwork and we have a lot of fun experimenting with video ideas and concepts for our YouTube channel. I guess you could call those things hobbies, but they’re still being utilized in a way that benefits our group. We read blogs and listen to podcasts on social media marketing and DIY style musicians every morning. Pretty fun stuff… I’ve actually been trying to get into other forms of art and activities that involve being creative in some way. My girlfriend and I like to create music and write moods together. I call them moods instead of songs because they’re almost always improvised sounds and textures that don’t really conform to any structure. We also never “finish” them because we’re always moving onto other projects like editorial style photo shoots, sketching/drawing and what not. It’s all just for fun and we try not to take anything too seriously even though we’re both perfectionists and we want everything we do to be better than our abilities allow them to be at that particular moment.
Who came up with the band’s moniker, Move Orchestra?
I actually came up with the name “Move” a while ago when my brother, Ryan, and I were studying jazz, working multiple jobs and trying to save money to attend school in Boston, MA. The concept of the name basically stemmed from my perspective on how I wanted to live my life. Constantly learning, changing, growing and moving in any direction other than backwards. I can’t think of anything worse than a stagnant human being living in a world that is constantly evolving except a human being who is stepping backwards, away from it and living in the past. That thought is just tormenting to me. “Orchestra” came afterwards when we discovered that there was already a Japanese electronic group performing under the name “Move” and also when Facebook wouldn’t allow us to create a page with a four letter web address. Move “band”, “group” or “music” just didn’t sound nor look right to us when set next to our initial idea. We chose “orchestra” because to us, we looked at orchestra as resembling an ensemble of various, different sounds and textures. At that point, we weren’t really sure of the direction of the group or what our sound would be so we wanted it to feel open to experimentation. Even now, we’re still unsure as where our sound will be in the next month. It’s unpredictable and exciting in a way.
To those who aren’t aware of your style, what would you consider it? Electronic rock?
We don’t like to categorize our sound or style because it puts a box around our music. I think people like to categorize things because it makes them feel more comfortable when they can call something “this” or “that”. It makes whatever the concept or idea is a little easier to grasp and understand when it has a niche so to speak. I know this because I do it too and while our music may fall under certain categories, I don’t want to acknowledge them. It limits our art to a specific demographic and I want everyone to have an opportunity to listen to our sounds and take something from them. I’d rather have our fans and friends call us whatever they want: rock, electronic rock, experimental crap, macaroni. I don’t care.
If there is any specific message that you want people to ascertain from your music, what would it be?
There isn’t one specific message that we are trying to convey with our music. I create music because it’s therapeutic and saves my mind from deterioration and insanity. We release our work to the public in hopes of connecting with people who can relate to our style and perspective and who can possibly teach us something along the way.
When it comes to life, what do you believe in? Would you consider yourself to be a religious person?
I believe in the mystery of universe. I believe in unpredictable circumstances and everlasting moments. I believe in unbelievable memories. I believe that the only thing we as humans know for sure is that we know absolutely nothing. And no, I am not religious.
What do you think about society these days? Do you think that there’s still hope for humanity?
I’m not really sure if I’m much of an authority when it comes to predicting the fate of mankind, but I am a hopeful and forward thinking individual. So yes, I do believe there is hope for the future of humanity.
Thanks for answering my questions and best of luck in all future prospects. I’m not very familiar with this genre of music, but I certainly find what I’ve heard to be enjoyable, so thanks for taking the time to craft it.
Thanks for giving me an opportunity to tell a portion of my story to you, Eric. Hope you can find something amongst all this information that works for you.