By Kieran Webber
Orions Belte are a band that cannot be pushed into one category or genre, sure they float within the psychedelic realm with krautrock influences but their music is at it’s core unhinged. Floating through the universe of sounds with complete tranquility.
Their latest single ‘Atlantic Surfing’ truly boasts the bands musicianship and ability to craft music that is never-ending in creativity. The single taken from their forthcoming debut album ‘Mint’ is but a taster of what sounds they can blend.
Listen to ‘Atlantic Surfing’ here:
After hearing the single we were eager to chat to the band! So we spoke to guitarist Øyvind Blomstrøm about their influences, daily life and everything else in-between.
CLUNK: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions! How have you been?
Øyvind: Very good, thanks.
CLUNK: How is your day so far, what are you up to?
Øyvind: This day has been very good, I’m inside rehearsing some steel guitar for a show I’m doing later this summer, even though it’s burning hot outside. Next up, I will be shooting some hoops before I pick up my son in the kindergarden.
CLUNK: What is the influence behind the band name?
Øyvind: There is a Norwegian cult movie from 1985 called Orions Belte based on a 70’s book by author Jon Michelet. It has a great soundtrack and one of the songs I wrote for the album was kind of inspired by the mood in that film. Later on we decided to name the band Orions Belte instead, and had to change the name of the song to Alnitak, which is one of the stars in the constellation of Orion.
CLUNK: Why was it you decided to birth Orions Belte?
Øyvind: Me and bass player Chris Holm are in the same touring band (for Norwegian singer Ingebjørg Bratland). During our first tour we played different kinds of stuff in the car back and forth, and we started talking about how we should play some instrumental music together. We both had a lot of music lying around, and it was obvious that Chris’ mate (and drummer in their band Bloody Beach) was the perfect choice.
CLUNK: So your debut album ‘Mint’ is out August 17th, what can we expect from the album?
Øyvind: The album consists mostly of pop songs played by a trio with a real instant feel. In between there are some themes and some spaced out stuff that melts it together in our own world of instrumental sweetness. Plus some backing vocals, pedal steel guitar and synthesizers.
CLUNK: How did you write and record the debut album? What was your process?
Øyvind: A lot of the material was things that we had written over some years, but as we met we just started to record the rehearsal and treat it as a recording session. With minimal or no hesitation we tracked most of the album in a couple of days to prevent us from overthinking and analysing everything. I like the result being tons of genres put in to one big dish that is the album ‘Mint’.
“With minimal or no hesitation we tracked most of the album in a couple of days to prevent us from overthinking and analysing everything”
CLUNK: What was the influence behind ‘Mint’?
Øyvind: I’ve always looked at music as a visual thing, so a lot of the inspiration comes from movies and magazines, growing up in a really small place and spending afternoons watching VHS tapes of concerts and movies we recorded. Occasionally we would drive to the nearest city and I would buy a hip hop or basketball magazine and read it over and over again. So in a weird way, that has probably influenced this album a whole lot. Musically it’s just a result of all of us listening to music from around the world with open minds, and bringing in the parts that felt natural at the time.
CLUNK: How would you describe your sound?
Øyvind: It’s based on guitar melodies that picks inspirations from western swing chords, surf sounds, a bit of psychedelic stuff mixed with some real swinging bass and drums. It goes from light, arranged pop music to longer stretches of music with a more open feel to it.
CLUNK: In general what are your musical influences and how have they affected your music?
Øyvind: We listen to everything. I guess if we were to make a playlist of what we listen to today it would be massively different from the day before. This of course affects our music, but it’s hard to single out influences that made this band sound the way it does. The three of us haven’t really discussed sound and music in general that much. We just got together and played. I’m a sucker for the great singers of the great songs, like Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell and Whitney Houston. I love John Coltrane. Elvin Jones. Ali Farka Touré. Bob Wills. Rev. Gary Davis. Ry Cooder. Chaka Khan. I don’t know, the more I go on I realize it doesn’t make any sense, hahaha.
CLUNK: What did you grow up listening too and how do you feel that has affected your sound today?
Øyvind: My dad loves jazz, so I grew up listening to a lot of Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Buddy Rich, Billy Cobham etc. And there was one guy back home who taught me a lot about old prog rock stuff like Yes, Genesis, ELP and Pink Floyd. And I learned to play guitar to a VHS tape of the Stripped tour that Rolling Stones did. I guess that influenced my playing big time. One album that has affected my sound in a way is the album Mambo Sinuendo by Manuel Galbán and Ry Cooder.
“I learned to play guitar to a VHS tape of the Stripped tour that Rolling Stones did. I guess that influenced my playing big time”
CLUNK: What are your top 5 essential records?
Øyvind: As mentioned earlier this would vary enormously between the three of us and from day to day, but from the top of my head, these would rank pretty high for me:
A Love Supreme – John Coltrane
Stand By Your Man – Tammy Wynette
The Stone Roses – The Stone Roses
Red & Green – Ali Farka Touré
Learning To Crawl – Pretenders
CLUNK: What can we expect from you guys in the coming years?
Øyvind: We’ll play our first show at the Øya festival in Oslo, Norway in August, and from there we’ll continue to play some shows and record more stuff as soon as we’re can. It will be great to release this album and try to work our way from there!
CLUNK: Lastly, we like to end things with a story, is there any weird/funny or gnarly stories you have to share?
Øyvind: I did meet Samantha Fox and she talked for hours about Judas Priest and 80’s Kiss around a bonfire at a festival waaay up north in Norway, sitting on reindeer skins with the midnight sun outside. That was nice.