US Tech-death outfit Origin are back with their latest skull-crusher “Omnipresent”
Rather than doing questionnaire type of interview we wanted to find the stories and concepts of their impressive discography. Going through the production but more related to the music and the creative ideas behind of each of your records, call it the artwork, music or the lyrics.
Paul Ryan: (The Artwork & Music)The discovery album. Most didn’t know what to expect or what Origin was visually or by the name. It was the late 90’s. It was on Relapse. As an album cover, it was vast & mysteriously endless. Creation is a slow process & when galaxies are formed it a very brutal time-consuming process. Once you push play yours on a light speed journey of bludgeoning chaos to unchartered speeds & realms unknown to death metal. As in creation, a young star had formed unknown what the future would hold or what this form of music it would spawn.
John LOngstreth: FIRST ALBUM! Always a fun time and lots of firsts on this one. This was the first time I had been in the studio since the Angelcorpse days and I was extremely nervous. I remember things going well for the most part, but I also think I remember the album coming out slow, and the label wasn’t very impressed. Funny how lots of people still consider this Origins best work, as it appears archaic and slow to us. This was the first time we went to Racine Wisconsin to work with Chris Djuricic. This is also the first time (and last time) where I walked into a razor wire fence and came stumbling into the studio with blood all over my face. Good times!
Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas
Mike Flores: Meaning without form, without end and not human. This album was released in 2002. Origin toured a lot to support the s/t album and continued writing at the same time. Although it was only two years since the first album there was already a progression to the songs. Natural evolution was occurring. The songs were becoming more complex and the speed at which we were playing was becoming faster. The topics of the songs were evolving from earthbound anger to astronomical anger and we were embracing the limitlessness of the universe.
John Longstreth: Loosely translates to “boundless shapeless inhumanity” according to some old pre-Google Translate software…This is the album that really saw the band come into its own, I think. New vocalist, new bassist, and maybe a solid year with the new line up working together on, and off the road. Some of my favourite memories of the band live are from this part of the past. Everything from living in Lawrence Kansas, the parties in Topeka, hearing Gateways to Annihilation for the first time. SO, We entered Studio One in Racine again, set up all the gear again, and everything was to go as it goes in the studio again, but something was different as we started tracking. Everything was faster than in the rehearsal room…MUCH FASTER than in the rehearsal room. I remember hearing some warnings from the guys, but at the same time everyone was kind of stunned at how the material was coming out. “Take it easy, your playing REALLY fast…buuuuuuuuuut” type of stuff. We were all pretty excited by day 3, excited that we had something that could “compete” with what our peers were putting out. I remember having a headache on the first day, and someone giving me Excedrin Migraine saying “there’s caffeine in those, so be careful”, and from that point on it was “LUDICROUS SPEED! GOOOOOOO!” Unfortunately, this would be the last time we worked with Chris at Studio One. I think there was some strange label/studio politics, as we loved working with Chris, and keep in touch with him to this day. With this album, from writing the first song in rehearsal to the first tours that followed it, I can quote “the good old days” when looking back to this one. I think a few of us truly can as well.
Echoes of Decimation
Mike Flores: Sweeps and blast beats. Echoes were built for speed. The cover art was done by longtime friend of the band Robert Black showing the displeased face of an entity composed of galaxies and stars. Musically it was pummeling. We were very meticulous during both the writing and recording process. It was recorded at Black Lodge Studio in Eudora, KS by Robert Rebeck, who recorded the Origin demo “A coming into existence” and Clinton Appelhanz (Unmerciful) who was playing the guitar for Origin at the time.
John Longstreth: I remember hearing something…you hear it? That Echo? An Echo of something far more brutal … a Decimation…maybe 3 years ago…in the past… Not here anymore……….I remember something truly decimating… AHHHH YEA! It was Informis Infinitas Inhumanitas! These songs are merely Echoes of Decimation! HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! I wasn’t on it.
Mike Flores: The opposite of what we had done. The focus changed from sweeps and speed to writing something that stuck in your head. The songs were becoming longer and more epic. The music was creating visuals in your mind. All without changing the sound we were recognized for. It was a continuation of what Origin was at the time but there was definitely a new sense of freedom during the writing process. The songs began to dictate when they were done and create themselves.
John Longstreth: A band comes full circle! Eventually, the band started to fall apart while on the road for III. Long story short, both Jeremy and I left the band. The Echoes of Decimation line up decimated itself and was an echo of what stood as Origin for maybe 3 years, and at some point in early fall, Paul Ryan and I got on the phone and had a very nice discussion. Shortly after, in that following summer, “the good old days” were back and we were on the road again. We called up Jeremy Turner to see if he was into it again, and he was! Antithesis was written pretty quickly, but tracking was a bear! We were tracking 10pm to 7am, or something like that and it made everyone completely bat shite crazy! The album turned out to be one of our best works, and the touring started again. So did the problems.
Mike Flores: This was the first Origin album to be released on Nuclear Blast. It was created as a three-piece and it seemed like deadlines came quicker and we each had more responsibilities. The lyrics were dealing with decaying earth and exhausted resources due to human neglect. Overpopulation and the evolution of extinction.
John Longstreth: We had lost James, we lost James’s replacement, Relapse was out, but boy ohh boy did we have some death metal to record! Paul came up to my place in NY in mid-October and we had “skeletonized” the entire album in two weeks. I think I remember handing out candy to the trick or treaters on Halloween night as we were rehearsing the new songs. I would go to bed at 10pm, and Paul would stay up all night and practice by vocalizing along to a bunch of Deicide, and Cannibal Corpse albums while I slept. We had to accept in basically days worth of discussion that Paul and Mike would have to write and perform all the vocals on the album. It was very frustrating, but also a good challenge that we enjoy having memories about, but would rather not repeat. A much easier time in the studio than Antithesis, I don’t remember much of it aside from it being a relatively smooth process. We had basically hired Jason Keyser as we entered the studio, but he had just started a travel abroad program for the school, so we wouldn’t see him for another 8 months. Since the album was written without a vocalist, it lacked any real theme or plot. It came out to be a very dry, technical, “musician album” in our opinions…very well written I think, but also very vague and too the point.
Jason Keyser: As the first album that I could contribute to lyrically and thematically, there has been a legacy of 15 years of amazing work to keep to the standards. The overarching story embedded in “Omnipresent” is that of humanity’s ever-expanding ability and progress, equalled only by our equally vast and unrivalled arrogance and sense of self-entitlement. As we grow more and more powerful in our own eyes, we will one day venture beyond our home of the earth as we know it and aggressively seek new forms of conquest. It is only when we reach into the cold unknown with all the oblivious godhood we have bestowed upon ourselves that we will face the cold reality of our insignificance, facing the ever-present indiscriminate forces that have only let us exist in this blink of time because it has yet to casually wipe us out on a whim. ”Omnipresent” is a story of a search for something more significant, more meaningful in human existence, but discovering that there is less meaning to our sentience than we could ever imagine. The eventual downfall and extinction of life as we know it, down to a last living being, is the only way we can truly understand our place. When there is a last living conscious life, only then can we understand what it is like to be omnipresent, with no rival, no comparison, no other base of knowledge. 1 and 0. Everywhere and nowhere. Omnipresent. For the artwork, we used Colin Marks again, the artist from the Entity album. We explained we wanted something along the same minimalist lines of Entity that could somehow represent the insignificance of man. With only a few lines of explanation, he gave us just what we were looking for. A single from falling into an endless loop of the forces he will never understand. It is simple and disquieting, it is everything we were looking for.
John Longstreth: This was pure recording studio joy for me. Easily the most fun I’ve had in the studio. It was just too easy, and I’m still bummed that i left early to go back to my day job in NY. This was Jason’s first album with us, we put the pressure on him and he came out just as we expected. Slightly traumatized, but with an excellent performance executed! One must be comfortable in being in total existential pain in order to record an Origin album. The force is strong in this one.
Interview by Alex Milazzo – Copyright 2014 © Heavy Music Artwork.