About this Playlist
The best in new jazz influenced music, from the amazing instrumentation and experimental sounds of the new British jazz scene, to the deeper sounds of electronic music like broken beat, the worldwide sounds afrobeat and Latin influences of South America, the music just needs to have strong rhythms and deep grooves but still able to destroy a dancefloor.
Montreal-based prog-jazz hip-hop trio The OM Sound releases their new single Suspicious Auspicious, recorded live and raw in Montreal, it pays respect to the purity of old recordings while remaining fresh and innovative.
The tempo is upbeat and the energy is relentless, originally written in a jam setting, the band deliberately avoided choosing a set arrangement. “We were very uninhibited with Suspicious,” Keyboardist Marina reminisced. “It was freeing to forget about arranging and just play and have fun, and I think that spirit really shines through in the recording.”
The Hoof caught up with Orion from the band for a chat..
Tell us about yourself and how you got into music
My name is Orion Miller and I’m a member of The OM Sound. I’ve played music most of my life, and my earliest and most vivid memories about it are when I jammed with my cousin. The jams took us to another dimension, so to speak, and having never experienced that kind of musical trance before, I was hooked. I started putting bands together, evolving my style, learning new instruments, and music became a huge part of my life. Jamming remained important to me, and even now with The OM Sound, we are all passionate about writing our songs in a jam setting. Usually we start with a spontaneous groove, and we let it get as crazy as fits the tune. Later, we’ll approach the jam through the eyes of an arranger and add vocals, shots, alternate sections, and turn it into a full song. We change instrumentation, use live looping to build the sound, and are happy to try out various styles, even within the same song. Creativity drives us, and we love trying new things, and most importantly, spreading positive vibes through our art.
So how have you kept busy during the last year or so, did the pandemic stifle your creativity or did the free time allow you to experiment more.
Pandemic times have been difficult, but also an opportunity for growth. We were force to cancel a big European tour in 2020, which at first was a bummer, but we soon found ways to make use of the extra time at home. We wrote and recorded a ton of new music, experimented with new styles, and upped our music video game. We found ways to connect with people more through technology, which seems like an obvious approach for a musician in this day and age, but it was super important to focus on that especially with everyone being so isolated during the pandemic.
What’s the inspiration behind ‘Suspicious Auspicious’
Suspicious Auspicious was written in a jam setting like most of our songs. The recording, however, was extra special for this tune, as we purposefully didn’t rehearse the song before going into the studio. We wanted to capture the live energy of a fresh new jam, so all we had were the chords and a few ideas from the original jam before hitting record. I was playing bass for this song and actually completely forgot the chords before we started, and had to listen to a video I had on my phone to refresh my memory on a few riffs that I wanted to incorporate. The live energy definitely comes across in the recording, and I think we picked the second take from that session.
Tell us about your writing and recording process, what instruments, hardware or software to you use.
We always write as a band, and as mentioned before, it usually starts with a jam. Then we get into some nerdy arranging that we love, and get it ready for performance. After gigging the tunes for a while then we go into the studio to record. We often record fully live off the floor to capture the live energy, and then after (if necessary) we will consider overdubs to thicken up the sound. Many songs are fully live with no overdubs, but sometimes the song works better with some additions. I (Orion) play guitar, bass, electronic percussion, live looping, didgeridoo, rap, and sing. Marina Durham plays synthesizer, synth bass, keyboards (piano/Rhodes/organ), and sings. Varoujan Mardirossian plays drum kit and sings. Though we often rent studio space, I do the mix engineering for all our songs. After that, we send it off to our mastering engineer and we are ready to release. I use Ableton Live for all our live looping and stage effects, and for mixing I use Pro Tools. Marina plays Nord Keyboards, and Varoujan and I play a mix of different brands for our gear. Both synth bass and bass guitar run through MarkBass amps. I have a custom Andrew Wright guitar and JK Lado bass. Varoujan plays Tama drums and a mix of Sabian, Zildjian, Meinl, and custom cymbals.
What is your 2022 looking like, what are your hopes and dreams, do you have any exciting plans, new releases, tours or gigs.
We have started playing shows again, and will be playing mostly Canadian dates in the near future. A European tour is in the plans (picking up where we left off), and we will certainly do our well trodden path on the Canadian summer festival circuit again soon. We also have new music coming out every month, and we have some exciting remixes and creative music videos coming down the pipe too. We love sharing the behind the scenes of our process, and will be sharing more about how we create music and videos in our behind-the-scenes content on YouTube.
Can you give us a classic track, something that has inspired you or simply one you love and never get sick of listening to.
‘Jungle Run’ by Nubiyan Twist is the first track that pops into my head. That said, there are so many incredible artists that inspire us that it is difficult to pick only one. The Montreal music scene is also filled with tons of amazing artists, and I love to go out to discover new music at the clubs and jam sessions here. We listen to everything from reggae to metal to jazz and hip hop, so it’s difficult to choose one thing to share.
Can you recommend any new music, something that you’ve just discovered or are just really digging at the moment.
One of Avishai Cohen’s recent albums, Sensitive Hours, is a beautiful work of art. The song Shalom Aleichem hits me right in the heart.
Do you think playlists are important, what types do you enjoy, in your opinion, what’s the future of the playlist.
Playlists are a wonderful way for people to create moods and share with others. As people rarely listen to albums in this era and many artists release singles in preference, playlists have filled the void and create a cohesive vibe (much like an album), but featuring many different artists. I think that collaboration between artists will become more common in the future, and playlists will facilitate the connection between different artists.
How do you prefer your music to be heard, streams, downloads or physical product sold. Why?
At the moment, we are really pushing our Spotify and streaming in general. It’s a tough game at the moment because streaming pays such a minimal amount, but the most important thing for us is that our music gets heard and positively impacts peoples’ lives. At the moment, streaming is the easiest way. But if people like physical products, we like to share that too. Bandcamp is a great way to split the difference and they offer the most % to artists of any other platform that I am aware of. I also really love the medium of video, and creating our own music videos has been a great way to explore and expand upon our art.
How do you connect with your audience, email, social media, PR firms.
The best way to contact us is through social media or our mailing list. We offer lots of behind the scenes content exclusive to our mailing list which you can sign up for here: https://www.subscribepage.com/theomsoundarmada
What’s the best way a fan could help you today if they had just ten minutes to spare.
The best way to help us would be to follow our social media, especially YouTube, Instagram, TikTok Facebook, and Spotify. You could also listen to our music! That’s probably the truly best way. Listening to us and adding us to playlists helps tremendously, and it’s fun!
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your career in music.
If I wasn’t doing music, I would likely be traveling the world in search of big waves to surf. Surfing is how I relax after hustling at music, and I’d probably living in a van or on a beach somewhere with no possessions except my surfboard and a guitar. To follow my surfing journey check out https://www.tiktok.com/@orionsurfs
Marina would probably be writing novels from a tropical location, and Varoujan would likely be diving deep into astrophysics.