Tech-Death! Nuclear Blast Records isn’t a label to mess around when it comes to brutal, mind-bending death metal… This much we know. But with a band like ORIGIN on their roster, they’ve pretty much set the benchmark standard for what every other band wants and wishes they could do.
The 4-piece (formed in Topeka, Kansas of all places) have an incredible ability to whirl up a sonic blitzkrieg of frighteningly mesmerizing sonic textures, at breakneck speeds, that I can’t even imagine being able to perform. As a drummer myself, let me just say that hitter John Longstreth is a Gumby-armed octopus of a man whose percussive abilities are beyond the scope of comprehension.
The group rounded out 2013 in grand fashion while on tour with the mighty Gorguts and, as anyone will tell you, the shows were absolutely insane! Then, from seemingly out of nowhere, they drop this on their Facebook page:
“ITS OFFICIAL: the ORIGIN “OMNIPRESENT” sessions are a wrap!!! It was a grueling month, but you can be assured we have produced some of the most intense and diverse Origin material to date!! (Rest assured “diverse” does NOT mean clean singing or any soft metal BS) We go from lightspeed to absolute zero and back on this one. We are everywhere and nowhere. We are Omnipresent.”
So, I caught up with vocalist Jason Keyser via email to talk about the tour, their upcoming album, Omnipresent, and when we can hope to see them back on the road!
G- Hello and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today. Origin recently completed one of the most metal tours Earth has ever seen with Gorguts… How do you feel about the shows, and what’s recovery time been like for Origin!?
J- The shows were all spectacular. It was our first tour in the US in over a year, and we got to hit a few cities Origin hasn’t played in much longer.
Our biggest concern was doing a tour almost fully in the northeast in the dead of winter, but thankfully the tour gods were on our side and we dodged some of the more severe weather, narrowly missing some heavy snowstorms. I don’t think there was a bad show in the bunch… Sold out Chicago, Montreal and NYC. John pulled double duty on drums and killed it every night. We would ask him whether it was harder to play the Origin set or the Gorguts set right afterwards, and he would tell us Gorguts was a cool-down after an Origin set, but I’m sure he would just tell Gorguts the opposite.
G- After this super solid tour, you surprised us with news that recording for your latest release, Omnipresent, was in the bag! Was Origin writing while on the road, or did this all happen afterwards?
J- We had been planning to get a follow up to Entity written and recorded for a while, just kept it under the radar until we had everything planned and booked and ready to go. The album had been more or less written in pieces over the last year.
It can be difficult since we all live so far apart; John and I in New York, Paul in California, and Mike in Kansas, so we can’t just get together and jam out new tunes. Even when we are on the road together, it’s hard to find a quiet place to create. Paul and John send their own ideas and tracks back and forth via email, and Mike and I get them eventually. I would say we had about 4 songs more or less completed before we hit the studio, and a skeleton for the rest.
This being my first Origin album, I learned that this is WAY more prepared than they have been for some of the previous albums. But results are results, and they’ve killed it in the past and we’ve done pretty well on this one too I would say.
G- Did you guys go straight into the studio after the tour? Where did you go to track and record the new tunes?
J- We had a few days after the tour for Christmas and New Years, but basically right after that we all flew to Kansas to clean up writing and start the record. We recorded in Chapman Studios in Lenexa, Kansas with longtime Origin producer Rob Rebeck. Rob was great to work with. (He) kept the process smooth and kept us all in check when we’d start losing our minds.
G- When can we expect Omnipresent to drop? Will there be any special physical options (vinyl/packages/limited goods) that we should be on the lookout for?
J- To my knowledge, it will be out sometime in early June in the US via Nuclear Blast. I’m sure they will have all the bells and whistles and special limited options as usual. Metal fans are the most reliable in that they love having a CD or LP in their hands rather than downloading, and we would never want to let them down.
G- Origin is well known for technical ability and speed, and we can safely assume that Omnipresent boasts plenty of both. How have the live receptions been to the songs, and how do you feel about the tracks overall when in comparison to previous Origin releases?
J- We have yet to actually premier any of them. There are definitely going to be some surprises on this. We have all the speed and technicality you’d expect from an Origin album, but we also show our diversity and willingness to experiment. No clean vocals or anything… Lets just say it is not just a myth that Origin can play slow. Light-speed to absolute zero. You’ll just have to check it out to see.
G- And we will! Do you have any tours in the works or dates scheduled for 2014 at this time? When can we expect Origin to hit the road again?!
J- We will without a doubt be hitting the road hard in support of Omnipresent. We are working on the dates now. Australia, US, Europe, Asia can all expect visits from us soon. Not necessarily in that order, but some multiple times.
G- Do you have a favorite song or album that you have ever written? If you could only give 1 song to someone who’d never heard of you before, to try and make a new fan, what song would you give them and why?
J- Being that Omnipresent is the first album I’ve written for Origin, I’d say it’s one of them, maybe “THRALL:FULCRUM:APEX,” which will be on that cd. If there was a favorite to perform or a personal favorite I would say “Saligia” or anything off of Entity grabs the fans the most. When the song “Antithesis” comes off well live though, I’ve seen clubs explode with energy.
G- So, you’re finished up tour with Gorguts, and that is a wetdream for many a metalhead, but are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future? Who do you hope to share a stage with in the future, given the opportunity to do so?
J- It’s a First World Heavy Metal problem that, over time, you meet, tour with, or become friends with most of your idols or people you have the utmost respect for. It’s a cool feeling to become personal friends with bands you had posters of or were once so excited just to see live.
I would say, even though I’ve played hundreds of shows with them already, I always look forward to touring with Immolation. They are just the best guys and total pro’s on the road. We, as a band, would always love to open for some of the bigger acts, Cannibal Corpse or any band drawing huge crowds of people that may not have already heard us before. That’s always our goal; To always expand into new audiences. If it were my personal choice, I’d love to tour with Bolt Thrower one day, maybe because I know it will never happen.
G- Lastly, the music business is a tough place, and Metal, being Metal, is a tough cookie to crack. What advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
J- Never expect fame or money. They definitely CAN be had, even in metal, but don’t go into it thinking you’re special or deserve something. It may sound harsh but nowadays, especially with the internet, we are all a dime a dozen and expendable in the eyes of the fickle masses.
THAT BEING SAID, I would absolutely encourage anyone looking to make it in music to do it for all the passion and joy playing music can bring, cause it really can be a life-changing experience to create. More specifically, on a personal note, I would add to cherish every first-time touring experience in different places.. First US tour, first EU tour, etc… Have as much fun as possible and remember as much as you can, ‘cause it never gets better than that first time hitting the stage in a new place feeling. But I’m rambling. Thanks for the interview and HAIL SPACE