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Welcome to the first endorsed artist spotlight!
We're kicking things off with long time Vratim artist, Travis Orbin.
Hot off the heels of his 'Finite: Complete' and 'Silly String Redux' releases, we discussed life in quarantine, career highlights, and his newest solo LP 'Finite III' out today!
Be sure to check out the full album stream of 'Finite III' on YouTube as well as Bandcamp!
You started drumming a pretty young age, but when did you really know you wanted to pursue drumming as a career and it wasn't just a phase? Did you always know or was it something that as you played more you wanted to get more serious?
The first time I sat down on my own drum kit, I knew that I wanted to play for the rest of my life. Figuring out how to do it as a profession has morphed over the years, but I'll always be learning, playing, and challenging myself.
Any words of advice for those seeking a career in drumming or music in general?
The two abilities that have been of most benefit to me, both artistically and professionally: knowing how to read and write drum notation, and how to play to a click.
What was one of the hardest skills for you to learn as you were progressing with your drumming/music career?
Unfortunately, I spent a really good chunk of time practicing and playing sans click. When I got 'married' to it, as I like to say, it was a difficult transition. However, the first recording that I made with a band after I had some time with it under my belt was a magical moment; I felt like a professional for the first time, which might be an odd sentiment to read - but it's how I *felt*. Elation!
You've had quite the career so far, what's one of the highlights or achievements that sticks out to you most?
That's a tough one, I'm always kinda taken aback when the spotlight is shone on me more deliberately. There have been some fun tours, some really great records that I've been fortunate to have contributed. Perhaps my first Modern Drummer interview, since that had such nostalgic value as well as intrinsic artistic clout. I'm sure the bigger highlights are still to come, but I'm too busy working to think about that stuff.
You're known for writing some very intricate and progressive drum parts. You also have a rather unique drum configuration described as "minimalist, quasi-open-stance," how and why did you decide on it? Was it developed in conjunction with your development as a musician?
There are a host of factors that led to the evolution of my setup, and they are all detailed in a video that's going on a decade old at this point (yikes!): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jCd3yWXKyEo
A lot of drummers these days put out videos, but few compare to the amount and quality of the content you upload. What made you decided to document the songs you work on so in-depth?
When I built my home studio up to the point that it was 'tracking-ready', at first I dabbled in interpretations of Sky Eat Airplane tunes (my band at the time), videos to showcase parts I had written while in Periphery, and other miscellaneous things. When I began doing sessions regularly, I simply took that concept/work process and applied it to the session work; I didn't really think twice about it. I remember asking Hayato Imanishi of Cyclamen, "Hey, do you mind if I film the session?" and that was that!
With touring at a stand-still and the music industry being mostly on hold, I imagine you've had some additional time on your hands. How have you been staying busy during the lock down due to coronavirus (COVID-19)? You just released "Finite: Complete" and "Silly String Redux," was that your primary focus during lock down or can we expect more releases?
Life in quarantine is honestly not much different than 'regular life' for me, I've always led a fairly monastic existence. The big indicator for me is that my last tour took place in January, so everything after is kind of a swirled whirlwind of creativity. In no particular order: I've done session work for numerous artists, tracked bass and basic iPad synths for an EP I've been picking at (for which I am now currently writing more songs to add to and will probably turn into an LP), composed an LP, finished work on 'Finite III' and 'Silly String Redux', mastered both of those records along with 'Finite: Complete' with my friend Taylor Larson, did a solid week of video production to promote those three records (along with doing the album art, ordering CDs to be pressed, submitting for copyright, blah blah blah!), and I'm now currently rehearsing the next solo LP (which is the aforementioned one that I composed while in lockdown). I'm probably forgetting some stuff, haha.