Q&A with The Orphan The Poet

The Orphan The Poet have an exciting summer ahead of them! On top of the release of their recently announced EP, Terrible Things on June 3rd, the band will also be hitting the road with Conditions on June 9th and playing a release show at Park Street Saloon in Columbus, OH on Friday, June 17th. The band talks about their new music, upcoming tour and more below! 

Interview by Shannon Shumaker

You’re getting ready to release your new album, Terrible Things in June. Can you tell us a little bit about the album?

Absolutely.  Terrible Things is our upcoming EP, which we couldn’t be more proud of. The EP is definitely a fresh direction for us.  I think some people will be surprised (hopefully pleasantly) when they first hear it, but based on reactions from our close friends who have heard it, it’s the kind of reinvigoration a band needs from time to time.
 

Was there anything in particular that inspired the album? Any messages that you wanted to get across?

I wouldn’t say there is any one thing in particular that inspired the album.  In hindsight though, I think this EP is the most “present tense” material we’ve put out.  Previously, it seemed like every song was written about something that happened in the past or that the writing process for a release was so drawn out that it wasn’t really representational of a specific time. With Terrible Things, however, it really feels like a snapshot of this specific time in my life.
 

Was there a specific sound that you wanted to go for or anything you wanted to experiment with on Terrible Things?

It might seem like this release was purposefully divergent when compared with our other work, but I think that was less a concerted effort and more just a product of where I’m at as a songwriter.  I will say there are definitely influences that show up on this EP that just weren’t in the equation previously.  Additionally, I wanted to really draw a line in the sand with songcraft this time.  I think I finally realized a technical guitar line or complicated rhythm isn’t what makes a song good-- it’s how well you can connect with the listener, and usually that first connection comes with lyrics and melody.
 

How do you feel you’ve grown with Terrible Things, as artists or as people?

I’ve always had a cycle I go through with new material.  At first, I’m on cloud nine, thinking we just created the next Thriller.  Feeling the weight of recording being taken of your shoulders combined with the freshness of the material, there’s no place to look but up! Then once the initial euphoria passes, I then jump directly into self doubt.  I start worrying if what we made is good enough, if anyone is going to like it.  I don’t care who you are--if you’re an artist and you don’t experience at least a tingle of self doubt, you’re doing it wrong. The final stage of the cycle, which I think is where I’m at now, is where I can confidently say I’m proud of what we’ve made, but at the same time I’m ready to write more.
 

You recently released the first single and title track from the album - what about this song stands out to you? Why did you want it to be the first piece of new music listeners heard?

We wanted it to be the lead off single for a few reasons.  First of all, it’s just a feel good, rock song.  Even if there were no other material to follow it, it could exist on its own as a cool single. But in thinking that it was to introduce the rest of the EP, I think it does a great job of setting up a different side of our band. It really makes people ask the question, “what’s this EP going to sound like?”.

Can you tell us a little bit about the story behind the song?

I wish there was more of a story behind this one. It’s a song that just kind of sprang into existence from the moment I started to write the chorus.  After the first line, it just became a concept I was writing around. I’m sure there were slight influences of regrettable things on my conscience, but mostly, I think the song just pulls imagery from certain films and books I like.  To me, at least, the fact that the song isn’t rooted in some deeply personal anecdote helps keep the song fun.
 

With Terrible Things dropping in a little under a month, can listeners expect some more new music before the release date?

I don’t think we’ll be showing any more new music before the release, but we will be dropping a music video for “Terrible Things” in the next couple weeks.  The video is definitely my favorite one we’ve done, but at the same time, it was probably the most grueling process I’ve been through.  We handled everything in house-- from writing the treatment, to casting, to prop building-- it was insane.  I don’t want to give too much away, but expect guts. Guts and lasers.
 

You’re also hopping on the road this June with Conditions - what has you most excited about your upcoming tour dates?

It was so bittersweet the last time we got to tour with them. Conditions have been a favorite band of mine going back to the beginning days of TOTP, but knowing the tour we were on with them would end up being their last really hit me in the gut.

So really, just the chance to see one of my favorite bands back together, much less get to share the stage with them again, is amazing. Also a high point of playing with Conditions-- the Jameson flows like water.  Those guys know how to kill a bottle.
 

What would you like listeners to be able to take away from your new album or live shows?

We’ve been around for a while. I think people have either seen our name on a show bill or heard a song of ours in passing, so I think there is a vague knowledge of who we are.  But the identity kind of stops there. With Terrible Things, I think this is finally where someone has something to put their finger on and say “Oh yeah! I know that band”. I think we finally have a good idea of who we are to leave an impression.
 

After this string of upcoming shows, do you have any other plans for the rest of 2016?

We’ll be hitting the road pretty consistently this summer once the EP drops. We’ll be seeing both coasts, getting down to Florida and Texas, basically seeing some spots that we’ve been neglecting (sorry everybody!).  And we’ve already started throwing some talk of when we’ll be recording again. Sleep is for the weak.
 

Thank you for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

It’s been my pleasure. Anyone looking to show their support should go pre-order the Terrible Things EP (www.theorphanthepoet.com).  Otherwise, we hope to be seeing everyone at a show soon and guilting them into buying it there instead.

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