Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Recording Lineup (on Resurrection):
David Dodini - Writer; Lyricist; Arranger; Vocalist; Guitarist; Bassist; Virtual Instruments/Programming
Raquy Danziger: Dumbek
Jason Gianni: Drums
Gary Pickard: Flute; Saxophone
David Dodini: Vocals; Guitar
Jeremy Daigle: Guitar
Phil Lherisson: Drums
Doug Berns: Bass
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Orissa? How long has the band been around?
Some of the bands that my recording and live lineups have been or are currently active in include: Trans Siberian Orchestra; Rex Meets The Claw; Nevereven; Raquy and The Cavemen; More Than Fate; Neal Morse Band; Astronaut Down; Haakon’s Fault; The Yeah Tones; Emergence; Letallis; Octopus 2000.
Orissa has been around since 2010 as a writing project. In 2012 we released our first EP, ‘Omens.’ In 2013 we released two packaged singles called, ‘The Musical Offering’, as part of a Kickstarter campaign that raised $20K to fund the making of our first full-length album titled, ‘Resurrection.’ The first single off of the new album is now available. It is a scorching track titled, ‘Tara.’ Give it a listen on Soundcloud and Spotify and you can purchase it on iTunes, Amazon and Play.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
The name has its origins in ancient history. I chose it as a metaphor that suits one of the primary personal goals that I have for this project. It is a metaphor for a place of conscious and spiritual transformation.
I should say that the figure and events that lie behind the metaphor do stand in contradiction to one of the other purposes of Orissa as a musical and artistic project. It is a common tactic to conquer through violence and then consolidate and get subjects to self-subjugate by adopting religious tenets that advocate peace and forgiveness. Part of the purpose of the conscious and spiritual transformation is to find the courage to stop giving our power away. Individuals have the tools for change and empowerment through self-realization and peaceful, voluntary exchange. Governments and priests do not.
This claiming of our true power does not involve standing on a sidewalk shaking a fist or a piece of cardboard on the end of a stick. It means understanding our common nature, one’s personal nature, finding our humility. It means becoming learned and intellectually disciplined in a way that is grounded in classical scholarship. It means growing up so that we are able to deal with the dichotomy of truth and human nature in a much healthier and functional way than we appear capable of in this place and time.
In any case, hopefully that gives you some idea of the origins, inspiration and spirit behind the band name.
Who writes your songs? What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
I, (David Dodini), write all of the music and lyrics. I don’t work from song to song. I work on an album. The way I approach writing an album is probably more like how a novelist or a filmmaker would approach writing a novel or a screenplay or cinematic television series. The songs are like chapters or acts in a book or film and the album is analogous to a novel or a film or cinematic television series’ season.
I have the catalyzing themes and topics for at least 3 more Orissa albums after this one. They are all different from each other. Yes, they have changed over time, and will continue to. I call my albums Sonic Novels.
The forthcoming Orissa album is titled, ‘Resurrection.’ Resurrection is an Empyreal-Erotic, Psychedeli-Sensual, Sonic Novel. On it, I set out to explore ideas and feelings about relationships, eros, divinity, salvation, responsibility, eternity, masculine-feminine interplay and more. I set out to document that exploration with the best music and poetry I could write. Given a bit of distance from its completion it is interesting to see what my subconscious was working on during that period. I am curious to see what insights the listeners and fans perceive after they listen to the album and get to know it on a deeper level.
Yes. The topics and themes I deal with change from album to album, and any common undercurrents will be examined and explored with new perspectives and insights.
I want to say that I never intended to do all of the creation myself. I have, so far, not found collaborators with the right combination of: time; compatible tastes and vision; creativity; skill; strength of character and sense of self to deal with a strong personality; humility; confidence. I would love to be a more reactive artist in terms of the creative and collaborative process. So, if you are reading this and are a musician or an artist who has those traits, feel free to reach out to me and see if we have the makings of a creative partnership.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
My sources of inspiration tend not to be other bands. My sources of inspiration tend to be things like: paintings and visual artwork; my direct personal experiences and human interactions; nature; human achievement in science, math, athletics, martial arts; history; biology; cosmology; literary masterworks; sensual pleasures … ...
That isn’t to say that I don’t admire, learn from and enjoy the amazing music made by other musical creators who are far more accomplished than I am. I absolutely do. Some of them include: Dusan Bogdanovic; the classical masters - (particularly Bach, Haydn, Schubert, Bartok, Stravinsky); Sikth; Karnivool; Meshuggah; Tosin Abasi; Stevie Wonder; Anthony Hamilton; Herbie Hancock; Wayne Shorter and on and on. It’s just that those other things are a more personal and visceral starting point and source of inspiration for expressing myself through Orissa.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
The starting point was really an emotional need or compulsion to express and explore my thoughts and feelings and gain insight into myself and human nature. My love of film and my background in classical music and its more grandiose forms like symphony and opera and their cathartic expressive capabilities were one source of inspiration.
I saw a kinship between the aforementioned aspects of my musical background and bands like King Crimson, Tool, Karnivool and Meshuggah. These are bands that have a distinct visual and ambient component. What is most interesting and compelling about them is that those components are there not as a typical, “dudes this would look rad if we do this too!”, sort of thing, but as an essential part of expressing themselves with a distinctive voice and artistry. That immediate sense of kinship I felt with my initial spark of inspiration was very powerful.
I was hit with an aural and emotional vision and I knew that I had my own space to explore and perspective on things that could be interesting to make and to enjoy by an audience, if well done. In short, it started with a vision and strong emotional compulsions and I just kind of lucked into having a clear abstract roadmap for creating my own art form by virtue of my background and some amazing pioneers and artistic spirits whose lights sparked a vision of where I could take my own.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc …
I have a big routine the day of a show. I do a comprehensive warm up of my hands on the guitar and a comprehensive warm up of my voice. I like to dig in a bit and explore the groove of certain parts. It is very calming to find and be in tune with that source. The timing of these activities relative to the show is pretty important. For the rest, I try and relax and enjoy reading all of the, “Dude. Sorry. Can’t make it tonight. Next show for sure!”, texts that every band gets the day of a show.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
The biggest highlight was when I raised that $20K via Kickstarter. That was a stressful process. When the mustached muscle man swung his hammer and that obstinate, lead puck rang the bell of, “Funded!”, it was an amazing release and feeling of satisfaction and, “glad that fucking universe of uncertainty and stress is obliterated.” Thank you Circle Of Angels, for being there for me and making it happen.
The next highlight is going to be all of the shows we are going to be playing this fall. We are looking forward to the culminating show in New York City when we do the official album release show. If you are in New York, come out. The energy will be electric!
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
King Crimson; Sikth; Tool: to be so near those productions would be awesome; they seem like enigmatic people who are full of interesting insights and personality quirks that leave an impression for a lifetime. Periphery: their shows are great in terms of sound and positive energy; they also have an amazing sense of humor and seem like really fun and playful dudes to be around on the road. Opeth; The Contortionist: I think those bands have vibes and ambient elements that would mix well with an Orissa show in a way that could be one of those memorable special moments in the lives of everyone who is present. Every night would be like a mini-festival’s magical big stage conclusion, but in an intimate setting.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I want to thank you for taking an interest in Orissa and my music and my creative process, and giving me an opportunity to share some aspects of it with your readers. I want to thank your readers for doing the same.
We just released the first single off of the new album. It is a scorching track called, ‘Tara.’ You can stream it on Spotify and Soundcloud and purchase it on iTunes, Play and Amazon. I think a thorough and focused listen will be very rewarding. Stay tuned for a lot more creative output coming throughout the fall in the form of more singles, videos and the full album release. We’ll be announcing the final dates for our Northeastern US run of shows soon. You can learn about all of that by following us on Facebook!.
Have a great summer everyone.