By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy
When I first heard of the Deftones, I did not really care for them. I originally thought their sound was to spacey and not straightforward like I usually like heavy metal. However, I decided to give them another chance and bought White Pony. I started to hear the complexity of their music, and I found myself beginning to get lost in their sound. Black Orchid Empire is looking to carry the alternative metal torch that the Deftones lit for them. A trio based out of London, they have been achieving critical and commercial success, thanks to their 2016 debut, Archetype. They have returned with a new savage beauty in Semaphore, and I had the opportunity to chat on Skype with their frontman and guitarist, Paul Visser.
With his Solar and Jericho guitar hanging in the background, I asked him why the group is called Black Orchid Empire. Paul told me it could stand for lost in the mists of time, but he honestly told me he does not have a sick story behind. However, he says he will come up with some great origin stories to build the mysticism behind the group. He first hooked up with drummer Billy Freedom through different projects, and when they found bassist David Ferguson while auditioning bassists through the website Star Now, they thought it clicked and Black Orchid Empire was born. We would have good conversation surrounding the new album, where they decided to put a Sci-Fi spin on Semaphore. We even got into our love for both Star Wars and Star Trek. According to Paul, the album is like a novel, with each song being a new chapter. Semaphore includes the short interlude “Hellopause,” so I wondered why they added it into the record. Paul says it was like an intermission, letting the listener know the album is almost over.
When it comes to the protests and the media’s coverage of it, we had a nice in-depth conversation on what we can take away from it and what we can do to move forward. The chat I had with Paul was insightful and fun at the same time. He had a great sense of humor, and we both have a keen sense of love for music. We both believe that the power of music can heal the world, which is what we need. Black Orchid Empire has some tentative dates planned for the fall in the UK, and they hope to get to U.S. sometime next year. Their sophomore album, Semaphore, is out in stores now, and I suggest checking it out. To Paul Visser, I salute you. Horns up!!!
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