INTERVIEW: Austin, TX-based indie folk/rockers Origami Ghosts

Photo by MJ Haha.

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

Pretty good just camping in Missouri at the moment. Mark Twain style: can hear frogs and see lightning bugs and lightning in the same viewing. It’s pretty peaceful…finally have a few days off after doing 11 consecutive shows in 11 days (22 shows in 23 days!…the current tour is 54 shows in 64 days total!!! And covering 39 states and one District of Columbia!!!)

Check out the tour here—> https://www.facebook.com/origamighosts/

Can you talk to us more about your song “Candida”? 

“Candida” came as a response to Cassie’s health condition a few years back. It was frustrating to see her suffering and the only thing that I could think of to commiserate with her was to write a funny and obnoxious song about this horrible health condition “candidiasis” that she was dealing with. She couldn’t eat anything (seemingly) that wouldn’t make her condition worse and when she did eat things that made it worse she’d get “THE RASH!!!”…It was dreadful, but now she’s better thanks to lots of holistic healing, including (hopefully) this song!

The single comes off your new album Healthy Travel Potions – what’s the story behind the title? 

Healthy Travel Potions is the collection of songs that evolved from touring and traveling the world a few years ago and/or many years ago. The songs were written in and inspired by a variety of places: a yoga studio in Seattle; a music recording studio in Oakland, CA;  the Provence Alps; a restroom in Portland, OR; a candlelit after party in Paris; the kitchen sink; an aftercare preschool classroom; a Parisian suburb; a pensionato in Brazil; sand dunes overlooking the Columbia River Gorge in Vantage, WA; and a rustic bungalow cabin overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. The songs span a time frame of 1999 to 2017. The songs also reflect on the process of growing older and encountering various health encounters or spiritual awakenings or epiphanies.

How was the recording and writing process? 

Recording started pretty seamlessly as we tracked 15 songs in 3 days at Scott Colburn’s amazing house studio (a converted early 1920’s Methodist church in Ballard, WA). The sound and quality was so amazing and it was really magical. The overdubs and mixing process took much longer and was much more challenging and painstaking, mainly because we moved to Austin and had to rely on long distance communication or sporadic dates that we would be in town to finish w/ Adam. It became very frustrating in the end for all parties involved I’m pretty sure.

What was it like to work with Adam McCollom and how did that relationship develop?

Tracking was great, Adam was real easy-going, mixing got more complicated as we all had different ideas on how we wanted it to sound, so we had to make a lot of compromises.

How much did he get to influence the album? 

He influenced it a lot I would say. The overall feel of the album has a very uniform “Adam” sound. In the end we’re pretty happy with how it turned out…but kind of like every album we’ve done, there are still plenty of things that bother me about it…I’d give it a B+/A- though. Not bad.

What role does your new home of Austin play in your music?

Austin is a great place to be a musician. First of all the cost of living is 40% cheaper than in Seattle, so breathing is nice. Also there are so many great musicians and venues and it’s such a nurturing place for creating (shout-out to HAAM: Health Alliance for Austin Musicians!…free or very cheap health care for musicians). The weather (warm) also helps me to write and make inspiring energetic music.

When you arrive at the airport in Austin, you’re greeted by the sign: “Welcome to Austin, TX: the live music capitol of the world!”… and you really feel that in Austin. And people really respect you as a musician in Austin. Aside from the aforementioned Health Care for musicians, employers are accustomed to giving musicians time off for touring. Also the competency of sound engineers stands out to me in Austin: no matter where we seem to play, it’s like the best sound we’ve ever had…

What aspect of joy did you guys get to explore on this record?

Being silly and weird, and exploring play in our music (=joy)…also making harmonies, playing new instruments and new songs, and exploring new themes.

Any plans to hit the road?

On the road currently! Wrapping up this stretch of the tour in Seattle in July. Then we’re doing a west coast tour back to Austin in August and early September followed by. Europe tour in September/October.

What else is happening next in Origami Ghosts’ world? 

We’re going to start tracking a new album: A fine time to talk about nothing. In Seattle in July at Chris Walla’s studio (Death Cab for Cutie) “The Hall of Justice”…super excited for that!!!

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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