Where to listen: orcmi.bandcamp.com
Back in January, Orc quietly released its debut album online, but then it quickly caught the attention of stoner rock enthusiasts from across the globe. Now, the fuzzy nine-track record is also available on vinyl via the band’s website, and locally at Flat, Black & Circular and The Record Lounge.
The Lansing-based progressive-metal outfit may sound colossal, but all of that hard-rock mayhem comes from the stripped-down duo of bassist/vocalist Andy Jeglic and drummer Connor Peil. Both are Bay City natives who previously played in The Distorted Waltz together, though Jeglic now lives in Lansing while Peil resides in Ann Arbor. Fans of early-era Soundgarden will surely want to give their new LP a listen.
Orc is just a duo with vocals, bass and drums—why no guitarist?
Andy Jeglic: Honestly, we didn’t know any local musicians and our old band had just dissolved due to the busy schedules of the members. So, we thought a two-piece band would be much less of a hassle.
The new Orc album is available on vinyl now, why did you decide to press it up?
We just got our vinyl in early March. Once we had an enthusiastic response to the album, we knew we wanted it on vinyl. I’m a big collector and having our own music on wax is a special thing. It’s long-lasting and tangible.
Your voice is strong, similar to the late Chris Cornell. Was he an influence?
I think it’s impossible to be a rock singer and not be influenced by Chris. I’m a big fan. I think Ronnie James Dio is my primary inspiration as a singer. I just love his control and power. But Chris is right up there and I’m super flattered when I get compared to him. I’d say my Mount Rushmore of singers would be Dio, Layne Staley, Chris Cornell and Ozzy Osbourne.
After The Distorted Waltz ended, how did Orc come about?
It started after both of us relocated from Bay City. In 2018, We began jamming regularly as a two piece since we didn’t know any other musicians in the area. We ended up forming Orc after our two-piece jamming became more cohesive, with the final catalyst being a Primus and Mastodon concert that motivated us to formally start the band.
Orc is an interesting name. Where did that come from?
We wanted a short, one syllable name and Orc fit the genre really well. We just went for it.
Where was Orc’s first gig?
We played our first show at Bemos Bar in Bay City in March 2019, and then quickly played shows like Stoop Fest in Lansing, Fuzz Fest in Ann Arbor, and some cool venues in Detroit.
For not having a guitar, your bass has an amazingly huge tone. Where does that fuzziness come from?
I have a three-part rig that I play through. First, I split my bass signal two ways. One goes directly to my bass amp and the other goes to an Octaviser (octave pedal) that changes the signal to be in the range of a guitar. Then I split that signal again, and I send one into a fuzz pedal and one into my guitar amp. That way we get a really huge sound for a two-piece band.
Before you recorded this self-titled debut album, what bands were you listening to for stimuli?
We were listening to a pretty specific mix of bands when we were writing this album. For metal, we were inspired by Mastodon, Megadeth and Motorhead. Really, anything that hit hard and aggressively. We were also listening to a lot of experimental stuff that we wanted to mix in to the music. Specifically, Primus and “Discipline”-era King Crimson. I would argue that Primus is our biggest influence, but the distortion masks it. We also studied Royal Blood a lot to help us understand how to fill space as a two piece.
Lyrically, what does the new album touch on?
Frustration. I think I was just in a frustrated place in my life. There are songs about staving off nihilism, the cycle of poverty, the daily grind, difficult personal relationships… I also tossed in a couple storytelling songs as an ode to Les Claypool, who is a fantastic storyteller.
Aside from pushing the new record, what are you up to these days?
We both work a lot. I work for Michigan State University and Connor is an electrical engineer. Work and music. Connor also has a jazz side-project and I write Americana music on the side. Plus, we’re already working on material for a second Orc album.
Follow Orc at facebook.com/OrcTheBand for updates.
Since 2009, Turn It Down! has spotlighted concerts (big and small) all across the Greater Lansing area. Of course, with the recent Coronavirus outbreak, and the mandatory bar, restaurant and venue closings, these gigs have all been understandably canceled in Lansing and beyond.
When will things pick back up? Who knows. And that’s scary for area bands and solo artists who depend on performing to pay the bills. Obviously, there are many industries that will be hurting, but this page has always been about the music, so I’m simply speaking about this one aspect of this pandemic.
The Mid-Michigan music scene will be hurting for a few weeks, perhaps months. So, for now, please consider purchasing music online from your favorite local band or performer. There are hundreds of amazing albums out there by Lansing-area folks, and many are available via their websites. A few extra bucks will help a full-time artist whose income was suddenly shut down.
Thinking back to when I first started this music coverage in City Pulse, the name of this column was a reference to super-loud shows. A sort of, “Hey, that’s TOO loud! Turn it down, kid!” kind of thing. Well, things have sadly turned down all the way. So, in the meantime, I will continue to write this column, only with a focus on upcoming local album releases, since there are no shows to report. With that said:
ATTENTION LOCAL MUSICIANS: Are you recording a new single, EP or album? Do you have a tentative release date? Please send music news tips to Rich Tupica at email@example.com
Rich Tupica, Turn It Down! / City Pulse writer