Interview with Orchid vocalist Theo Mindell

By Hutch

Can you talk about the reaction to Capricorn?

The reaction was overall good. There are always going to be people who are critical of whatever you do creatively. The minute you put something out into the world creatively, you open yourself up to criticism. That’s just part of the deal. None of us ever expected any of this to happen. We really made those first few releases for the joy of doing it. We’re the luckiest bar band in the world.

How did that impact your recording/writing for this album?

I’m not sure. I don’t think I really think too much about what we’ve done before when I write; maybe in the way that I don’t want to be repetitive, but I had a lot of the songs that went on The Mouth Of Madness for almost as long as the first batch. The other guys kind of throw their trip in, riffs and arrangement ideas, and albums kind of write themselves.

How do you feel about the sound of this album?

I’m never happy. It has things I love and things I hate. You don’t ever feel like a record is finished. At some point you run out of time and just give up. But I think the overall sound gets the songs across.

You dwell in the edge of low and heavy but never quite dive into that. How do you keep the balance (and hence your individuality)?

I think by staying the course pretty closely to the spirit of the music I’ve always loved – bands like Zeppelin, Sabbath, The Beatles. They all did so many different things musically with their songs. I’ve never wanted our band to be a one trick pony. I think all of us share that sentiment.

What is the difference between a band that you enjoy listening to and one that inspires you musically?

I don’t think there is a difference. Everything we listen to goes in the bank and affects the final result of what we are musically (obviously Sabbath, Pentagram, Trouble). That was a jumping off point, but there are a lot of other things in there if you listen closely.

Is your dad like, “that sounds like what I grew up with”?

[Laughs] No. My dad is British and much older. he listened to old sailing hymns and classical music.

How important is equipment/brand names?

I think that’s a big part of what makes us sound the way we do. But in the end it’s about the players more than the amps.

How is Nuclear Blast treating you?

They’ve been absolutely great to us! Super supportive.

Are you a horror fan (title of album)? What were some early films that shocked and delighted you?

Yeah, for sure. I don’t much like modern horror though. I really love the 60s and 70s era of horror. Those are the glory years for me. New horror movies tend to be all really heavy on violence and light on scary to me. I’m not into watching people getting tortured just for shock value alone; it just bores me.

For all the metal heads, do you have any jazz or blues to recommend?

[Laughs] I’m pretty straight forward. I like Miles Davis and Chet Baker. I’m probably more versed in blues than jazz honestly.

Two of your song titles have the word “war” in them. Is this a favorite subject?

It’s something I write about because I feel strongly about it. I tend to feel like historically wars are about the rich getting the poor to do their bidding for monetary gain disguised as patriotism. Some of our songs reflect that sentiment. Orchid, as a band, still has some of that late 60s ethic in that when I write lyrics I’m trying to communicate my feelings about life without preaching. The fact that two songs have the word war in them was really by default because I couldn’t think of anything to call “Wizard of War’ besides that. It was a working title that just never got sorted out. It stuck.

Should someone be surprised that you’re from SF? How has that city impacted your music?

No. I think we’re a complete product of our environment. All the way from Jefferson Airplane and Santana to early Metallica. It’s all in there.

You are not afraid to use other instruments (piano in “Mountains of Steel”)? How do you know when a song needs something else?

I don’t think it’s really about “needing something else.” It’s more about wanting to get across a melody and experimenting with what will be a cool way to do it. I love the sound of different instruments playing off each other. An album of nothing but heavy distorted guitar wears pretty thin for me pretty quickly.


Love ’em. But don’t use up all your chances. Then, you have to quit.

Plans for the rest of 2013?

More touring in Europe in November. Then rehearse, write and record a new record.

Purchase The Mouth Of Madness and Capricorn here:

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