Throw Up The Horns; An Interview with ORYX

Native to parts of Africa primarily, the Oryx is an exceptional type of antelope.  For the duo Abbey Apple and Tommy Davis, they look to the animal’s characteristics and features as a great way to describe metal music.  The dark markings on its face and legs of the majestic animal look as if they have splashed corpse paint all around themselves.  As for antelope’s horns, they are virtually straight and could possible spear through anything.

Together, Apple and Davis have masterfully elevated their sound by going piercing forward together alone.  ORYX is a tour de force with their heavy fuzz, trudging percussions, and deathly vocals.  With it being a two-person effort, the end result comes off as if a bulldozer is crashing through the unyielding barriers.  On February 23, ORYX plans to unleash their second full-length Stolen Absolution, a continuation of damage that the duo has been paving since their inception in 2012.

Ghettoblaster recently caught up with the Denver duo to talk more about the band.  We also discussed the influence that metal has had on them, their latest album, and much more.

What was it about metal that peaked your interest?

Metal music has been a big part of both of our lives since we started going to shows early on. Abbey and I both began going to see bands when we were about 14 and instantly were drawn to it. Some of my favorite shows were rowdy house shows with a bunch of friends headbanging to metal bands, beer cans flying across the room, people pushing and shoving in camaraderie. I think metal provides an outlet for people to assert their anguish, disdain or anger but do it in a way that is actually positive and cathartic.

How did the two of you come to start ORYX?

Years ago Abbey and I helped run a DIY show space in Las Cruces, NM called The Trainyard. It was kind of the perfect spot to throw shows being located right near the railroad tracks, the noise was never an issue for that neighborhood. We lived right down the street from it, so she and I would show up at around midnight and play as loud as we wanted without bothering anyone. I was really influenced by bands like Earth, Man is the Bastard, Eyehategod, Drunkdriver, and wanted to play some heavy music in that vein. After working at it for a couple months, we started playing shows and put together a demo tape. This was ORYX in the early stages.

The two of you moved from New Mexico to Denver not long ago.  What was the reasoning behind the relocating?

After touring a bunch, we had our eyes set on a few cities we thought would be fun to live in. The music scene back home had dwindled and we sought a new home. Denver (and CO Springs) reminded us of our hometown DIY scene in its heyday and we really clicked with the people there. Abbey got accepted to the University of Denver and we decided to make the move happen.

I saw that the band had a massive tour back in 2016.  Looking back, what were some of the best moments from the time on the road?

Yeah, that tour was insane! It was epic to get to see the whole country in one trip, one day you’re in Florida, the next you’re in Seattle. One day we’re drinking caguamones in Tijuana, the next we’re at an old Irish pub in Boston. We love every minute on the road.

What was the band’s vision when putting together the new album?

We set out to create an album that could represent our live sound more accurately and articulate our voice better than any of our other previous recordings. Working with Dave Otero on this album was an exciting opportunity for us and he truly helped us achieve our vision for the record.

How long did the album altogether take to put together?

Altogether it took about four or five months from conception to recording.

Being only a two-person project, ORYX applies a massive force of sound.  How do you find yourself going to those deep levels with such minimal labor?

The truth is that having a massive force of sound comes with plenty of hard work and labor. The quest for tone is a never-ending journey, especially in a two-piece.

Lyrically, are the songs constructed by only one person or is it collaborative?

Typically, I’ll write the lyrics. Then Abbey and I collaborate on the song structure and timing.

I saw that one of the band’s influences is the Tibetan Book of the Dead.  What was it that you took away from the literature?

Neither Abbey nor I proclaim ourselves as Buddhists, but that literature has had a significant impact on our lyrics and voice as a band. Collectively we gravitate towards the philosophy that you can find more peace in life by preparing yourself for inevitable death.

Is there plans yet to go out on the road for another epic tour?

We plan on touring the new album in the spring of 2018. Details to follow!

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