INTERVIEW: Orc Adams of ORCumentary


ORCumentary (see the review here) is a unique Orc based project, opposed to the Troll and Goblin bands of late, headed by Orc Adams. Though it is fundamentally metal, Adams incorporates a lot of other influences and a heavy dose of comedy within his music. Currently playing a host of live shows in anticipation for the upcoming release of 'Destroy the Dwarves' - Adams took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for Direnotes.

-In a world full of Troll bands (and goblins too), why Orcs?

Why not orcs? Seriously though, I kind of stumbled into writing songs about orcs. I was huge into the LOTR films when I was a teenager (still am) and I was getting bored of piano lessons, so I thought it would be funny to write songs with vocals in an orc voice. I didn't expect it to go anywhere, at first it was just something to do during an otherwise boring summer. I didn't take it seriously for a while and didn't play my first live show until almost 2 years later.

-What sort of difficulties do you face when dealing with a more experimental form of music?

The bad part of making music that's "love it or hate it" is, unfortunately, the people who hate it. Fortunately, almost all of the negativity is online, which isn't a surprise. The people who come out to shows usually have a good time. 

Luckily I've been doing this for a while, so I don't have as many difficulties as in the past, such as being stuck on bills with bands I didn't fit in with at all and generally not being treated with the same respect any other local-level musician would get. There have been a few instances where I've been cut short because the other bands were indie rock bullshit and I didn't fit. It's like "the scene" didn't know what to do with me at first and I didn't know what to do with ORCumentary. As I got my name out there more, improved as a songwriter and a performer, things got better. I remember how surprised I was the first time someone came out to one of the shows specifically to see me.

I still have some trouble getting booked at new places because my act is pretty hard to adequately describe via email, unfortunately.

-There are so many genre’s melded into ORCumentary’s sound, influences reaching as far as dance, electronica, and industrial. So, that being said, what exactly did or does influence your particular brand of ‘Orc Metal’? (Even if it’s not music?)

I wasn't really into metal when I started ORCumentary, as weird as that sounds. Like I said before, my biggest influence to start writing original music was the LOTR films. I've always loved reading fantasy books (Shannara, Harry Potter, and Forgotten Realms are among my favorites), ever since I was very young. I took writing classes in college and was even working on a fantasy book for a while, but it got to a point where I didn't have the time and creative energy to devote to both, so I chose music since I was much more inspired. The storytelling aspect of ORCumentary is very strong though; my two most recent albums are part of a multi-album original story (which was loosely set up in the Praise Gor-Nacular EP) that I plan on continuing for at least 2 more albums.

For more musical influences, I love European metal. My favorite subgenres are melodic death, industrial, folk, and power metal, but I also like lighter music like film score stuff. Those are my main musical influences, but I also incorporate elements of genres i'm not as big into or even ones I don't like too much on the whole (like thrash and black metal). Basically, I make music that I want to hear and i'm not limited by genre cliches or stereotypes. Anything is fair game.

-What are live shows with ORCumentary like?

They are a lot of fun. It's just me on stage with a keyboard; I do the vocals and synth/solo parts live. My performances are really energetic and I can stand toe-to-toe with any full band. What most people remember about seeing ORCumentary live is my larger-than-life stage personality. I'm not "me" on stage. I am Orc Adams, hero of the Orcs and wielder of the Keyboard of Mayhem, slayer of Goblins, Dwarves, Elves, and Humans. It allows me to be the complete opposite of who I am in real life; Orc Adams is loud, rude, demanding, and arrogant, but it's done in such a dry and over the top way that it's pretty funny and almost impossible to take seriously. I love getting the crowd involved in the songs.

-With so many live shows under your belt, do you think ORCumentary will ever have a live release?

It's possible. I haven't seriously considered it, but it could happen down the line if the music catches on sufficiently after I have a few more releases under my belt.

-Some of your pet peeves when it comes to today’s metal scene?

So many bands in the local scenes mush together because they are just trying to sound like their favorite band rather than try to make their own sound. I want local bands to take more risks and to try to stand out.

-What do you think the future has in store of ORCumentary?

I don't like looking too far into the future. This year and next year I want to focus on promoting Destroy the Dwarves. Hoping to play a lot of shows and get to some new areas. I'd also like to make a music video. ORCumentary's 10th anniversary is coming up too, the tail end of next year. I have some ideas for what to do to commemorate that, but nothing I want to share just yet.

-Thoughts on ‘Babymetal’? (Had to)

LOL! Nobody knows better than me that niche artists definitely have an audience. I can get behind the instrumentals but I don't like the vocals and choreographed dancing doesn't impress me. They seem like a decent gateway band for non-metal fans to get into the genre though, and maybe pop fans can get behind the dancing aspect. Another "love it or hate it" band, Babymetal just doesn't do it for me at all.