Interview with

Orphx (Rich Oddie / Christina Sealey)

Formed in late 1993, Orphx is a Canadian music duo made up of Rich Oddie and Christina Sealey active in the international techno, industrial and experimental music scenes. The project was founded by Rich Oddie, Christina Sealey and Aron West. West left in 1994 to create the noise project Tropism.
While earlier releases were identified with the European “rhythmic noise” scene, their more recent work on the Sonic Groove label has gained the attention of techno fans and DJs, leading to performances at high profile venues such as Berghain, Movement, Mutek, and Tresor and remix work for artists such as Perc, Oscar Mulero and Traversable Wormhole. Orphx has also attracted attention for their use of modular synthesizers in recent years. They have appeared in the modular synth documentary I Dream of Wires and will appear in Industrial Soundtrack for the Urban Decay, an upcoming documentary on the history of industrial music.
Orphx have released collaborations with En Nihil, The Infant Cycle (Jim De Jong) and Mark Spybey (Dead Voices on Air). Oddie and Sealey also recorded more ambient / electroacoustic work as Antiform between 1995 and 1997. Existing side projects include Eschaton (a collaboration with Ancient Methods), O/H (Rich Oddie and Dave Foster of Huren / Teste), Oureboros (Rich Oddie and Aron West of Tropism).

Facts

1: Inspiration : www.youtube.com/watch?v=viwAEsSvac4

2: Physicality : www.nicolascollins.com/hand made.htm

3: Representation : www.femalepressure.net

Questions

What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
Rich: Everyday life, dreams, media, books and films.

Christie: Experimentation with instruments, jams and conversations with friends and other musicians, environmental sounds.

How and when did you get into making music?
Christie: I played piano and guitar as a child, and my father inspired my interest in synthesizers and electronics. I saved my money for my first synth when I was about fifteen. I was listening to new wave and synth pop band s like Depeche Mode and New Order.

Rich: I discovered industrial music around the age of sixteen and was inspired to buy my first synth, an Ensoniq ESQ1. One year later, I met Christie. We were both deeply into shoegaze and started a band in that vein. After a year or so, it dissolved. I was working on more industrial inspired music with my friend Aron West and Christie soon joined us to form Orphx.

What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
Christie: This is really hard to do as I feel like my interests are constantly shifting and it would be impossible to pick what I think are the five best albums of all time. So here are five that were influential at different points in time:
Aphex Twin – Selected Ambient Works Volume 1
Depeche Mode – Black Celebration
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Basic Channel – Quadrant Dub
0 – Oleva

Rich: I’ll take the same approach:
Einsturzende Neubauten – Strategies Against Architecture
Skinny Puppy – Cleanse, Fold and Manipulate
SPK – Leichenschrei
My Bloody Valentine – Loveless
Steve Reich – Music for 18 Musicians
Talking Heads – Remain In Light
Can – Tago Mago
Pan Sonic – Vakio
Fluxion – Vibrant Forms
Acid Mothers Temple – Univers Zen Ou De Zero a Zero

What do you associate with Berlin?
Christie: Never ending night life, art, music and creative people.

Rich: Yes.

What’s your favorite place in your town?
Christie: The Dundas Peak – a trail along the escarpment that looks down to the Dundas Valley and the city of Hamilton. It has been an inspiring place at many different points in my life.

Rich: The conservation area and forests near my home, and a cafe downtown that makes great coffee.

If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Christie: I am also a painter so I guess I would focus more on my visual art and more interactive art.

Rich: I don’t think I could survive without music. But if I did, I would probably spend my time on writing, visual art and /or teaching.

What was the last record you bought?
Rich: Szare – Lost Shapes

Christie: Dasha Rush – Sleep Step (a beautiful record!)

Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Christie: David Lynch

Rich: I’m most excited about the collaborations I’m involved with right now (Orphx, O/H, Eschaton, Oureboros), and a couple that are on the horizon. But if I’m thinking of other inspirational artists, then Mika Vainio, Glenn Branca, Daniel Menche, Charles Cohen, Esplendor Geometrico and Deutsch Nepal all come to mind. And David Lynch would be brilliant, yes.

What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Rich: As a performer, one of the most memorable was one of our first Orphx shows in Europe. In 1998, we played at a festival in Stockholm and the venue was the MS Stubnitz, a WWII era boat that has been converted into a mobile arts centre. We were opening for Pan Sonic and the festival included many of our favourite artists at the time. Our first show at Berghain in 2012 is another one that I won’t soon forget. As a spectator, I’ve seen a lot of inspiring performances. Some of my favourites: Daniel Menche, Boredoms, My Bloody Valentine, Swans, Sleep.

Christie: As a performer, my favourite recent shows have been at Berghain in 2014 and No Way Back in Detroit that same year. As a spectator, one of my favourites shows was My Bloody Valentine in Toronto in 1992.

How important is technology to your creative process?
Christie: I think that technology is quite important. Our music is always evolving, making use of the most recent innovations in technology and reassessing and experimenting with those from the past.

Rich: Our approach to music making changes as the available technology changes, though some approaches have remained the same. For example, in the studio we still use a lot of the hardware, drum machines and effects pedals that we originally gathered together in the early 90s. Our early recordings used some basic MIDI sequencing but obviously computer sequencing and sound processing have become much more sophisticated over the last twenty years. During the early 2000s, we were using more and more software for generating, sequencing, processing and recording sounds. Over the last eight years or so, modular synths have become central to our studio recordings and live performances. So we now use a mix of hardware and software. Both have particular strengths and advantages. The ability to produce records from a home studio has been a great development in music production and this has been central to our creative process from the beginning.

Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
Rich: No siblings.

Christie: I have one brother. He is a computer engineer and does not particularly understand the music that I make but I think that he does respect the fact that I continue to pursue what I am interested in and that I have achieved some success with it.

Our Favourites: Shit fun IV  | Hungry Ghosts |  Against your will surface

Links: orphx.com | Soundcloud | Facebook