Jul 06, 2017 6:48PM

Sydney Band Orion On Their Shift From Rock Dogs To Pop Gods For Oyster #110

Sydney four piece Orion (Yuta Matsumura, Kerem Daldal, Sarah Davis and Chris Colla) bring brooding, melancholic and mindfully structured pop to a portion of Sydney's music scene that's usually more interested in minor aggression. Through their various other musical avatars, which run the genre gamut from hardcore to punk, the band mates have been flogging their music — together and independently — for quite some time. When you take into account their collective history in groups like the banned-from-everywhere hardcore/lad outfit Taipan, the dark and disparate noise rock of M.O.B. and Whores, and the hard, fast, uncooperative punk of Oily Boys, their latest incarnation, as Orion, sits a little left of what you'd expect. The music is still aggrieved, there's still a dark quality, but there's also a developed approach to song structure and melody. And the vocals and lyrics feel lived-in rather than the quick result of ejected angst. We sat down with bass player Dizzy and lead singer Yuta to join the dots on their transition from rock dogs to pop gods.
Hayley Morgan: What do each of you do as part of Orion?
Dizzy: I play bass and mess around on the sampler. Chris plays guitar, and Sarah plays synth with us when she's in town.
Yuta: I'm the singer. [I also] write beats on the drum machine.
And what do you do outside of the band?
Dizzy: I'm a programmer at an educational tech company — pretty daggy. 
Yuta: I'm currently finishing a bachelor of Fine Arts at the National Art School. I also work boxing fruit and veggies at a small warehouse for a small organic food company once a week.
You've been part of Sydney's music scene for a long time, but this feels like a new sound for you. Can you talk a little bit about your previous styles and the move into this sad boy/girl melodic pop?
Dizzy: I played in a rock-dog band in high school, then somehow fell into the hardcore punk scene. I played in a more metal-influenced hardcore band called Taipan for a few years, until Oily Boys, started to kick off. The whole time I was well into the poppier side of music, and if you like punk you naturally start to dabble in post-punk. I didn't really wanna fuck with making [pop] though — no one wants to eat a sausage after a visit to the sausage factory — but next minute Yuta hit me up about getting involved in Orion. Turned out making pop wasn't so bad after all. It's definitely opened me up to making music I wouldn't have considered before — for better or worse.
Yuta: I guess the natural progression from playing adolescent/aggressive music to making music in Orion, comes down to experience, and perhaps having something to reflect back on. [Our previous bands were about] pure release in rapid moments... All of us needed to let out some frustration and anger, and the bands that we were, and are, in executed that. In Orion that same immediate emotional release is there, only it's not just covering anger and frustration but love, suffering, hope and death. All of us have gone through some tough times and I guess we bonded over that.
The songs seem more lyrically attentive and perhaps more considered in terms of structure, is that a result of losing the urgency that comes with youthful angst?
Yuta: The natural progression thing definitely comes with maturity and certain experiences. The bleakness, the mundanity, and the anxieties of everyday life can lead you into horrible situations and can affect you deeply. To come out of it and to reflect on those times isn't easy and I think sometimes that's where music can definitely help — to be able to accept these memories and to learn from them and to be able to confess these things with conviction.
Yuta, Orion is the first time you have stepped out from behind your hair and drums, right? Since when have you had this voice? 
Dizzy: I think it was his idea to sing in Orion. He was a great singer to begin with, but he's definitely developed heaps too. I call him the post-punk Pavarotti.
I want to know why you've got the word "glam" in your SoundCloud URL…
Yuta: No meaning; just thought it was funny as we aren't glam at all!
There's a song that you perform live, 'Vacant Stare', that isn't on the LP. Was this written after you released it? 
Yuta: I wrote this song as we were doing overdubs for the album so it was too late to go back into the studio and record all the basic stuff — guitar bass and drums. It's personally my favourite song to play live at the moment. It will definitely be on our next record.
It has a new sound to it. Does it hint at a shift for the next record?
Yuta: I think it'll work well for the new album we are planning. It'll be an interesting record having songs that are club, in contrast to songs like 'Vacant Stare' that is closer to eighties-style LA punk.
Who has the best hair in the band?
Yuta: Easy. Chris Colla. Smart enough to keep it short.
Orion play at Volumes, August 19.
Text: Hayley Morgan
Photography: Dakota Gordon

Hayley Morgan