EMQ’s with ORTHANC
Hi Everyone. Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Belgian Melodic Power Metal band Orthanc! Huge thanks to vocalist Ortwin Lietaert for taking part!
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Ortwin; I’m the band’s singer. We’ve been around since the early 90’s, but the history of the band members goes further than that. We’re all from the same area and have known each other since childhood. We were in different bands when we were kids, but there’s a truth in the saying that only the strong survive, and somehow we ended up in one and the same band.
How did you come up with your band name?
I read Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ for the first time when I was thirteen and must have read it fifteen more times ever since. I opted for any name from that book that sounded cool, just because I loved it so much. The other guys in the band came up with ‘ORTHANC’ and that was that. I’ve been explaining ever since that it has nothing to do with my first name.
What country are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We’re from Belgium, and there’s a strong Metal Scene here. Bands like Oathbreaker, Channel Zero, La Muerte, Amen Ra and more have an international following. But there’s also a vivid underground scene. The only problem is that there is no real club scene. There’s only a handful of good clubs, so it’s a real problem to bring the music live. You can play, one or maybe two times a year in the same club, but then it ends. But there’s a pretty good festival scene, and one has to give it all in spring and summer.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single or Video)
As a band we just brought out our first full album, after nearly thirty years. It’s called “Carnival”. Imagine that? We’ve all been involved in other bands and projects, and all band members have had enough studio experience to do this recording. We all knew what we wanted, and David Ooms, the magician from Reddrum Studios who recorded us, was on the same level of thinking we were, from the minute we met him. So the whole recording went like a charm. It has been great fun for all of us.
Who have been your greatest influences?
Really? Too much to mention! I bought my first LP, with my pocket money in 1978. “Van Halen I” to be precise. Since then I have only been on one quest. “The Quest for The Perfect RIFF” It has been a hard and long endurance, and after all my years of experience, I came to the conclusion, that there is no hope. Or wait, there’s heaps of hope. Every time some kid plugs a guitar into an amplifier, there’s a chance that he or she, finds the next perfect riff. And two minutes later, on the other side of the globe, some other kid finds the next perfect riff. The thing is, I’m on a constant quest for new music. And I never let the age of the musicians get in the way of admitting that I like it and that I might take a bit of what I just heard into the next rehearsals. As a singer, Jaz Coleman from Killing Joke among others blows me to pieces. When I listen to, for example, ‘ASTEROID’ from “Killing Joke” (2003) I really wonder how the man is still able to even whisper after a performance like that.
What first got you into music?
A couple of kids from my neighbourhood had a band but no singer. The rest is history.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Someone with a different musical style and background! Very curious what a collaboration with Skrillex or 21 Pilots would sound like.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
That would have to be Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium. Been visiting the Festival for 20 years as a fan! It should be fun seeing it from the other side.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Someone gave me a toilet brush with a fake microphone on the other end. Lol! Didn’t know if he wanted me to do rehearsals on the loo or if he thought my lyrics were shit.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Protest against any kind of injustice. Let your voice be heard. Politicians nowadays seem to be doing whatever they feel like, without listening to their voters, and most of them get away with that because no one objects after the deed is done. Silence will silence us.
If you could bring one Metal/Rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Eddie Cochran. The man died before he could prove he was the real king of rock ‘n’ roll.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love the creative process when it comes to songwriting. Every member of the band focused on getting a song as perfect as possible. I don’t like all the hours a band has to wait between a soundcheck and the actual show. If I could get all those hours back I could take a five year holiday.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
Online ticket sales. Back in the day one had to stand in line to buy concert tickets. That was fun. You met people in front of the record store all excited that their favourite band was coming and in a way that was when the concert started even if you had to wait for another two months before you would see the band. Now big corporations buy 1000 tickets at once and give them away to their customers, and the real fans don’t get a chance to buy tickets.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell”! Still sounds fresh every time I listen to it.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Hard to say! I only buy CD’s to support local bands. I download or even stream most of the music I listen to nowadays. But I still have part of my old vinyl collection that I play from time to time.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Five to twelve concert for Belgian national Radio more than twenty years ago. A sold out concert in one of Belgium’s nicest venues Vooruit at Ghent! I had visited that place to see Pantera, Tool, Alice in Chains you name ‘em. And then realizing that our band was on that same stage as all the bands I adored was a life changing experience.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Fishing must be really nice. Staring at an orange bobber for hours on end! Marvellous.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
The first five that promise they will leave their cell phone at home.
What’s next for the band?
With the album coming out now, play as much as we can and record some new material by the end of the year.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Bandcamp, Facebook and looking to get the new album on iTunes!
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
The guys from McVitie’s named them cakes. Who am I to disagree?
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Keep it real.
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