By Will Brown
Pick & Mix 2016 continues this weekend, which is a collection of free performances and workshops around Auckland, one of which includes Wellington psychedelic future funk quartet Orchestra of Spheres.
Consisting of Mos Iocoss, Baba Rossa, Jemi Hemi Mandala, Zye Soceles, EtonalE, Tooth and Woild Boin, we caught up with bassist EtonalE ahead of their Pick & Mix Showcase this weekend.
How was Orchestra Of Spheres formed?
It was formed by Baba Rossa and Jemi Hemi Mandala. They were just experimenting with some guitar based rhythms, that was back in 2009 I think. Then they had Zye Soceles join them on the bass and Mos Iocoss join them on gamely and theremin., So that’s sort of how the core group formed. And after Zye Soceles left to go to Sri Lanka I joined on the bass.
How the name come about?
It was Baba Rossa. The way he explained it was the idea that some people think of humans as spheres. So he thought the name Orchestra Of Spheres evoked some interesting images. However anyone wants to interpret is cool.
You all have some interesting names in the band. Did you choose your name EtonalE?
Yeah. It’s sort of like Eternally and tonal which has links to music. And my actual real name start with E and everyone calls me Eve. So it sort of worked that way for me.
Orchestra Of Spheres had a unique blend of sounds, how would you describe it?
I struggle as trying to describe it as anything. I really enjoy the polyrhythmic aspect of it and getting in to trance with some of the music. You can kind of zone out and zone in. I enjoy using interesting sounds come into it. But I have trouble describing it. I like the idea that we use these rhythms that you can use in a couple of different ways. Primarily it’s like ecstatic dance music.
How does the songwriting process work?
In a lot of different ways. Sometimes Baba Rossa will bring a tune that he’s made with the guitar line, the bass line, the keyboard… so he’s worked out every part of it. Or sometimes we will just go and start playing and see what happens… which is pretty common for us. We have this thing where we think of something and play it at the same time and see what comes out of that. So we’re not necessarily communicating from the start with each other, we just have our own idea in the moment, and sort of try and work that into some sort of cohesive musical idea.
We play all sorts of musical games which each other to kind of push the boundaries of what is interesting to us.
You’re heading to Auckland for Pick N Mix. What can we expect from your performance?
We’ll be playing tunes from our new album and we’ll probably have a few newer ones up our sleeves. We’ll do a bit of improvising. We probably won;t know until the day but we’ll make it as enjoyable and fun as we can.
What other plans have Orchestra Of Spheres got for 2016?
Baba Rossa is actually going to China for three months as he has residency there. But we are hoping to do some more experimenting and work towards a new album. But we’ll take a but of a break towards the end of the year. It’s been a busy year so far, so it will be nice to have a bit of a break and gear up for next year.
So maybe a New Zealand then too?
I hope so! We haven’t done one for ages and I love touring around thee South Island and going to lots of small places. I would say we would be doing that early next year.
Saturday 6 August, Lower NZI, Aotea Centre
Sunday 7 August, Hauraki Rooms, Bruce Mason Centre