Interview with Selfless Orchestra

Tell us about your latest release: the main concept; what fans should expect; what were/are your goals with it:

Eden is Lost is the first single from our album Great Barrier, which is a studio version of a performance we created in response to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, which is slowly dying due to factors including climate change and intervention by governments and mining companies. We wanted to write a piece of music that could tell the tale of struggle and hope that is involved with the reef and those that seek to protect it. Eden is the song we play at the end of our set that is about hope rising from despair, the power of people to stand up for what they believe in and fight the powers that be. Our goal is to bring people into the world of ‘Great Barrier’ to learn more about the story we are weaving and the struggles involved in the survival of this natural wonder of the earth.

Did you have a specific sound in mind when you formed the band, or did that grow and evolve as you played together?

Our manifesto is: “Create uncompromisingly beautiful and brutal music that investigates the realms of hope and despair” – We came together with a purpose, a message and a fight on our hands. To protect a natural treasure from the wrong doings of governments, corporations and greed-driven companies. We wanted to create a sound that invoked hope and passion within the listener, without lyrics, without telling them how to feel, but stirring an emotional response.

How does your writing process normally work out?

Eden was based off a classical guitar piece that was written by Steven Alyian (Guitarist, Composer) and bought to the band. The song, originally a solo performance, was expanded into an 9 minute long movement that incorporates many more instruments. Steven worked closely with Ray (bass), Jerome (drums) and Madeline (Strings) to complete the arrangement. To do so they travelled to a remote property in Western Australia out of phone range and stayed there for several days writing and working on the song arrangements until a new version was completed.

What are your ambitions and how far do you want to push your band?

Our ambition is to empower audiences to defend and protect their social rights and environment. We are not merely a ‘band’ but a social poetical movement incorporating musicians, film-makers, artists and activists. We will use our music to respond to the important issues of our times, creating powerful soundtracks to present the stories that matter without preaching at people how to feel, but presenting an epic story and sound that weaves together into truth.

What are your influences/musical references and the impact those same influences had in your sound?

The idea for this project came about one evening whilst I was listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor with some friends and we were having a heated conversation about the Great Barrier Reef. The music and the passion of the topic we were discussing complimented each other, I realised that talking was not the answer to solving these problems, but action, through a creative act. We have been heavily swayed by this act and others such as Mogwai, Sigur Ros, Boris and also the meditative music of composers such as Steve Reich.

What’s next for you?

We are an artistic armada that can make a creative response to any issue we see fit to shed light upon. Now that Great Barrier is recorded and the music is committed to our hearts we are already beginning to tune into the next performance piece and story we wish to tell. Guitars are being strung and keys are being tickled lightly with quiet anticipation of what we may focus on next. Our hearts feel our next composition is one much closer to home: in the desert of Western Australia there is a story that needs to be told of our first peoples of the Wagkatja country and an ongoing struggle with international invaders that have penetrated our ‘terra nullius’ in the name of the power, profit and pain that can be derived from a metal resource that serves absolutely no living being on this planet. The media has chosen to ignore this very serious plight, and so we will step in to tell the story through our music.