J Orphic is an ambient-martial group based out of Milano, Italy. Having released five albums, with their latest album ‘AD ASTRA’ (2016), Marco De Marco and Lucija Hrvat are at the height of their game sonically and lyrically. ‘Walking In The Garden Of Taras’, ‘In Conflict With Medusa’, and ‘My Systers In Struggle’ are some of the track highlights, whilst this departure isn’t so much a departure from their previous album ‘Unsere Weltaschauung’ as it’s more of an addition to a hardworking group’s vast collection.
How did J Orphic come about? You’ve been active since 2005, what was the start of this endeavor?
Marco: Hi Sarah, first of all let me thank you and Last Day Deaf for the time you are spending with us. We appreciate your interest in our project. Yes the embryonic status of J Orphic was born in 2005. At that time was my intention to create an experimental and ambient sound and I wrote some tracks just for me and my friends. In 2006 myself and Nicholas of the French martial project Joervall decided to release a split album for free download on the net label La Caverne Du Dragon. The split ‘Propaganda 900’ had a good return in terms of listeners with a considerable number of downloads. In the same time we received the offer from the German label Skullline to release ‘Propaganda 900’ on cd in 100 copies. The history of JO began there.
Like I mentioned in the previous question, you’ve been active for over a decade. How were your lyrics, your sound, your overall musicality evolved?
Marco: During the last years I had the opportunity to discover new electronic products usually used in the cinema which allows me to create new kind of sounds that I ignored before. Yes they are much expensive but time after time I have collected them. Currently, I can state that the sound of JO is changed from a strict martial to a neo-classic attitude. We love to create classical atmospheres with the intent to sing the spirit of the heroes. Epic and classic sound is now the approach of JO.
Your last album, ‘Ad Astra’, was released by Twilight Records in Argentina. How did that collaboration come about? A duo of sorts from Italy, a record company from half way across the world.
Marco: The reply of this query is very easy. The Italian labels are not interested to release the music of JO and therefore we are forced to move to other countries. Don’t ask me why I’m not so much interested about the reasons. Twilight Records of Gabriel Carbone is a very professional label, they have provided also the cover art of ‘Ad Astra’ that has been created by Fernando Piciana (I have just given them my general idea about the cover art and Fernando created the cover in perfect line with our style). They are serious guys and we also signed a contract with them with good conditions for us. We hope to work again with them.
‘Ad Astra’, is the latin word for “to the stars”, is this a divination of what is to come for J Orphic with this latest album?
Marco: The scope of this title is to better identify the current sound of JO that is always more close to the neo-classic. A majestic and epic sound can be related to the universe or the cosmo, not only to a martial attitude. We like to use latin words in our lyrics. This is nothing else than our origin.
‘Walking In The Garden Of Taras’ is probably my favorite track off of ‘Ad Astra’. What went into writing this one?
Marco: Heheh… this is also our favorite track. We choose ‘Walking…’ also for our video-clip of the album. My inspiration about this song was to create a classic approach and mix it with heavy percussions but the classical impression prevails over everything.
What do you hope fans gained from listening to ‘Ad Astra’? And future fans will, as well?
Marco: I suggest starting listening ‘Ad Astra’ if you are interested in neo-classic sound. I don’t know if they can reach some benefit or to gain something but for sure is a different approach respect to the usual martial music.
Who are some of the little-known martial artists you’re interested in currently? Any hidden gems you think our readers should give a listen to?
Marco: To be honest in the last months I do not listen any music coming from martial bands, maybe because I don’t want to be influenced by the sound of the others or maybe because I’m not so much interested to the this kind of sound. If I have to talk about hidden gems I can tell you that the best gem I can propose is Accademia Prima. As you know this is my neo-romantic avant-garde project along with my friends Giovanni Leo Leonardi (Carnera) and Lisa Duse (Porta Vittoria). You should listen to this project. I’m very happy with AP.
What rejuvenates your creativity? Some artists find creative refuge in listening to music, sketching, others are inspired by going for a jog, etc, what is it that clicks for you?
Marco: The source of the inspiration is always a drama for creativity. The sources always change in the time. What is your source of inspiration could drastically change in the next year. Often happens that what you are watching out of your window could become the origin of a new sound. Personally, I’m very influenced by the classic music. Absolute artist/genius like Wagner or Tchaikovsky are the main influence for me. Of course I will be never able to be in competition with them but it is my intention to capture the feeling of their music and atmosphere.
Lyrically you invoke many historical scenes, what are your lyrical inspirations?
Marco: Basically there are no too much words in our music since the most part of our tracks are music. In any case scope of our sound is to allow people to create visions of the reality; basically our personal humor can change if you listen to a certain type of music. Regarding lyrics, to be honest, they are not a fundamental part of our songs/tracks/music.
“When the heroes die, people build their tombs. When the heroes die, monuments are constructed. When the heroes live, a land becomes a nation“. Is the quote that went along with your third album, ‘Villa Ardita’. Who are your modern-day heroes?
Marco: The sentence that appears on ‘Villa Ardita’ is our vision of a Hero. People should construct monuments to persons still alive and not when they are dead. Our modern heroes are all the people which fight against the religious fundamentalism. Nations governed by ‘‘religious prophets’’ could be a problem.
What’s coming up next for J Orphic? A new full-length? Gigs, a tour?
Marco: Yes, we are writing our new album. It will be more neo-classical oriented respect to ‘Ad Astra’ and the sound will be very dramatic. It could be used also for a movie soundtrack I believe. I don’t know when will be finished but for sure during this year. Thanks for your interest for J Orphic.
Photo credits: Lucija Hrvat