Introducing… Montreal rock band ORCHAD

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ORCHAD (pronounced OR-CHID) – the Montreal-based band that formed in 2018 – brings a good dose of adrenaline to alternative rock while deviating from the genre’s codes. What makes their sound so impressive that it is a full-band ruckus delivered by just a pair of musicians – singer Julian Della and guitarist Justyn Vynn.

Strongly influenced by the music of the 2000s such as My Chemical Romance and Billy Talent, ORCHAD offers timeless rock with a touch of freshness and modernity.

Filmed in HideSeek Pop-Up Shop, “Critically Ashamed” is a satire on the use of social media as a measure for success. Lifestyles are dictated by social networks and the majority of the their content intended to feign accomplishment and to highlight a life that seems to be perfect. As a band, the duo wants to stay true to themselves and not distill their value as humans down to social influence.

Watch our exclusive premiere of the video below:

We caught up with the band to talk about their beginnings, making the video, social networking and what music they agree and disagree on…

What were you guys doing before Orchad came together?

Julian Della: Before ORCHAD was even a thought I wasn’t really doing much musically anymore. After my last band had fallen apart musically there wasn’t really a drive, or any inspiration left. I did try to put together a couple of things during this period but nothing ever came out of them.

I had connected with Justyn through Craigslist where he too was in the market for something new. We had met a few times and tried to get something going something like 2 years prior to when I had put together ORCHAD. But again nothing ended up coming out of it and both he and I went our separate ways but still kept in contact which turned into a really good friendship later on. During this period I was working in a warehouse I believe as well as concentrating on school. The problem was that whether I’d be at work, school, in the car, with friends or even when I’m about to fall asleep, I’d always be writing songs in my head. Whether it be writing down lyrics or melodies on my phone for two years these thoughts had driven me crazy. So crazy that I had finally come to the decision to do something about it. I put some money aside I had made from taking on a second job working in restaurants to start recording what later became ORCHAD’s first EP Vices & Desires. Eventually, when the album was near ready for release I began hassling Justyn to jump on board and play guitar for ORCHAD, which eventually as you can see paid off as he finally ended up becoming an official member.  

Justyn Vynn: I had actually decided to stop playing music live about a year before I joined ORCHAD. I had played with various bands around the city, and done a few tours in the states and Canada with a few notable acts, but had begun to get disenfranchised by the constant hustle of this wonderful world of music. I had some amazing experiences but didn’t have much to show for it other than some excellent war stories. 

In between other acts and deciding I wasn’t going to play music professionally anymore, I met Julian. We tried making something work prior to ORCHAD but it never panned out. When Julian started ORCHAD, his fire, and ambition blew me away, as well as the music he had written for VIces & Desires. I had been around enough to have actually named the group prior to joining, and after a little bit of hassling, Julian pulled me back in and I haven’t looked back. 

Was there a plan for how you wanted the band to sound?

Julian: As long as it rocked and gets you feeling anything, the sky’s the limit sound-wise for ORCHAD. I don’t believe there are any limitations on what the band can or will sound like. Just know the root will always be rock. As for the rest don’t be surprised if we come out with something that has ties to hip hop one day. There’s no judging how far the creative process can go. As long as it sounds cool at the end of the day that’s all that matters.  

Justyn: Julian and I share a mindset of there are no rules. We loved many different types of music with our main love being for rock n roll. We wanted to play our favourite style of music but progress it, bring it forward, and so we like to experiment. We want to incorporate more into the music, like Hip-Hop, Pop, Synthwave, etc. We don’t care for the old rules of rock, and that’s kind of been the master plan we’ve been following. 

What artists do you both love and what bands would you disagree on?

We both tend to agree A LOT on artists and the music we love regardless of genre. We show each other a lot of new music and see what the other has to say. Having said that though, our top artists that we both adore:

The Weeknd, Maroon 5, Avenged Sevenfold, Falling in Revese, Hopsin, Lebrock, Dance With The Dead, Bruno Mars, Slipknot, Taylor Swift, Crashdiet, Palaye Royale, The Relentless, Asking Alexandria, Eminem, Backstreet Boys, Metallica, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Queen, Linkin Park, Foo Fighters, Twenty One Pilots, My Chemical Romance, Blessed By a Broken Heart, Black Veil Brides, Fall Out Boy, Post Malone, Guns N Roses, Motley Crue.

Now for bands/artists we dislike…
Bullet For My Valentine – Justyn adores them, Julian isn’t that big a fan of them
Lamb of God – Julian adores them, Justyn doesn’t care much for them
Drake – Justyn loves Drake, Julian can’t stand him
Kiss – Justyn loves Kiss, Julian can’t stand them
Rise Against – Julian loves them, Justyn doesn’t get them 
Highly Suspect – Julian loves them, Justyn can’t get into them
Jonas Brothers – Justyn loves their recent output, Julian doesn’t get why
Queens of The Stone Age – Julian adores them, Justyn can never remember anything from them to like them
Royal Blood – Julian loves them, Justyn can’t stand them
Wolfmother – Julian loves them, Justyn can’t stand them and we both agree on our dislike for Greta Van Fleet

The new song is about the negative effects of social networks. Can you tell us more about that and how it’s impacting how Orchad uses those platforms to promote the band?

We’ve never been huge users of social media, but when we started promoting ORCHAD, the first thought was always Instagram/Facebook. We believe that’s the first step most bands take in promoting themselves is to open social media accounts and start posting. After a while though, we fell into the trap of worrying about “Feeding the Gram”, keeping the algorithm happy, making sure we didn’t get lost in the shuffle. We began to pull ourselves out of that when we re-oriented ourselves by remembering that social media at least for a band is only meant to be a gateway for people to find the music. So we stopped caring whether we posted daily or not. We only wanted to post relevant content related to what we were doing as a group musically.   

When that happened, we noticed that influencers, locked into the algorithm were posting 2-3 times a day, but always with these curated lifestyles. Everything was perfect, everything is always going as planned. Even when it isn’t going as planned it’s always a win. There wasn’t much substance other than to farm likes and comments. Locking both the influencers into a game of “feeding the gram”, and the followers in the constant scroll for content. What we aren’t trying to do is decry anyone and everyone for the use of social media, but more for the manicured profiles and the scroll stare that we’ve been seeing all around us. We believe the use of social media has its purpose and its place for doing good, but often it’s a meaningless photo of a supposed lavish lifestyle, posted for likes and comments, only to be deleted months later to clean the profile. 

The video looks like it was fun to make. Where did the concept come from?

Thank you! We did have so much fun filming the video! 

We were trying to come up with a concept that would fit with the lyrical content, but without being too literal (or over budget), and we settled on trying to find highly instagrammable places to film and act as if we’re being photographed for content. While scouting places, I happened to see this new pop-up shop called HideSeek, on you guessed it, Instagram. HideSeek is a shop dedicated to childhood nostalgia, and it’s built around taking you back to when you were a kid of any decade, and of course to take photos. We just fell in love with the look of it, and our concept then became let’s film in this beautiful place, in every room we can, and have fun with it. We were incredibly excited when HideSeek allowed us to film there without any restriction.

It was fun to make because we had fun at HideSeek! From the ballroom to the velcro Catch room. There’s one scene where Justyn is pulling up his phone to take a selfie with the wall of velcro, where the velcro balls get thrown at him. When we got there our intentions weren’t to take photos but to experience this place, that’s what the concept ended up being. Forget the phones, forget the cameras and just enjoy the moment. By all means, take photos, but don’t forget to have fun. 

What challenges have you faced during the COVID-19 lockdown and what plans do you have when things improve?

Like many other bands, the biggest impact was no more live events, no more writing together in person, and we inevitably decided to delay the release of “Critically Ashamed” because we couldn’t effectively plan anything with what was going on. We started writing new music over Facetime and challenged ourselves to just write as much as we could so that when things do improve, we’ll be able to get right back into the studio, and get more new music out, do more shows, and keep it going from there.

First thing we’d love to have back is live shows, whether they’re physically distanced or not, we’ll just be happy to see some faces!

If you could only tour with one band for the rest of your career, who would you choose?

Julian: If I could only tour with one band throughout my whole career I would choose MUSE. I mean they have it all, from their shows to their music they are a perfect band to learn from. Being three times now that I’ve seen them live they are a band that despite even promoting anything will always draw a crowd. Their live show is insane, definitely should be on your bucket list if you haven’t seen them already. (Even if you have to go again) But musically the way they’re always reinventing themselves from one album to another pushing themselves into new and uncomfortable areas is definitely an environment I could see myself in.   

Justyn: I have a couple of different answers for this one. Ultimately, if I could tour with any band for the rest of my life it would be Avenged Sevenfold, but if I had the opportunity to tour with 80’s era Motley Crue, or 90’s era Pantera for the rest of my life, I’d be very cool with that!  

Lastly, what are your favourite places to hang out in Montreal?

Julian: My garden

Justyn: There’s this lounge bar at the Queen Elizabeth hotel called Nacarat which I absolutely adore, you can find me there during non-lockdown times, Piranha Bar on Ste Catherine, K1 Racing or Action 500 for Karting!

Thanks to Julian and Justyn for taking the time to share their thoughts. We look forward to catching them live when life begins to return to normality.

Interview – Steve Gerrard
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