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INTERVIEW: Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra

Hi Marty, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Hi VENTS, I’ve been grand thanks.

Can you talk to us more about your upcoming single “Off and On Again”?

An argument or conflict with a loved one is of course always more painful, but i find it interesting and meaningful that the emotional arche tends to be different too. When the person you share everything with becomes, for just a moment, a person you can’t speak to, you don’t get to just be angry. You are still in love too, and that changes everything.

It is a feeling everybody knows, but i personally don’t feel like it’s written about often. Most songs about love are about falling in love, feeling the joy of love, or love ending. Very rarely are they about two people who are still in love, who both know they’ll get through it, but who have to deal with a very painful chapter in their story together. It’s a step that all lasting relationships inevitably have to overcome.

Did any event inspire you to write this song?

The only argument my girlfriend and I have had in three years of an otherwise very joyous and lighthearted relationship.

Is there a video in the works?

There is not. I never expected this song to be one we would lead with- its too dark. But I think it’s a bit more concise and accessible because it was about a pretty universal situation and feeling. The rest of the songs on this album are a bit more cryptic, and abstract.

Why did you name the album after the song “Stereoscope”?

The band had a very hard time agreeing on a title for this album. We were toying a long winded, complicated title that no one felt great about. A friend of the band suggested “why not just keep it simple… call it stereoscope”. It immediately felt right- and if these things don’t feel right in your gut, they never will, but this title did. It is not right for one perfect reason- It felt like it lined up with a million little thoughts and feelings I have about this collection of music. Stereoscope, compared to our previous releases, is very magical- driven by depth, symbols and imagery. The title felt like it represented all of that.

How was the recording and writing process?

The arrangement side of the writing process was drastically more involved than it has been for us in the past. I’d say it was the most challenging and time consuming process involved in creating Stereoscope. The songwriting process is difficult to measure with a specific amount of time- it involves a lot of thinking, observation, conversations, and then of course actually sitting down and creating lyrics, chords, and melodies. Over the years I’ve come to learn that you also have to include time spent failing to write good music. You also have to include time spent successfully writing music that is not very good. Even after all of that was done though, we spent an incredible amount of time arranging- coming up with musical ideas and transitions, writing parts for the accompanying instruments. The result is that it feels like a much more collaborative album, with a lot of movement, and a lot happening from one moment to the next. At least… compared to our previous recordings.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I used to write about stories that I found interesting, or sometimes I’d make the story up and write music to it. For these songs, I tried to make more direct use of my own thoughts and feelings, and also the feelings of people I was encountering who would share them with me. Some of the songs are about things other band members were going through, or that my loved ones were experiencing. We had long conversations about what was felt and i tried to make a song from it. 

What role does Santa Cruz play in your writing?

Santa Cruz is a lot like what i wanted this album to be- beautiful and mysterious, but also a little dark and strange. That’s also how i perceive the world to be in general. So Santa Cruz, to me, is a potent example of that. It makes me feel at home there, and it makes me feel comfortable in my own relative discomfort, and that in turn lets me be creative.

Any plans to hit the road?

Always… this band loves to tour. We’ll be all over the US in March and April, and Europe in May.

What else is happening next in Marty O’Reilly & the Old Sound Orchestra´s world?

We’ve been on the album creation side of things for a while, and I think this one will take us to a lot of new places. Not just literally. I think the music is fundamentally different than what we’ve done in the past and it’ll call for different kinds of shows, different audiences, and a different relationship with our existing audience. We’ve had to learn to perform differently, to communicate musically in new ways. I think I can speak for the whole band and say that it kind of feels like we’re learning and practicing for whatever the next chapter is, and none of us really know what that is yet.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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