ORCHA talks aliens, mental health and simulation theory — Sungenre Interview

ORCHA talks aliens, mental health and simulation theory

ORCHA
ORCHA is the moniker of Melbourne-based violinist Matt Sheers. Following the release of his debut EP Bodybound in 2017, he’s embarked on building his own recording studio and has worked with multiple producers including James Cecil (Architecture in Helsinki) for his upcoming debut full-length, Reflections.

Tell us a bit about your latest release.
My new song “Euphoria” is a track I wrote about searching for experiences which give that joyful, euphoric feeling of being alive. I guess it’s mostly about being hopeful and optimistic, always seeking those transient moments of elation in between periods of ordinary everyday life and the never-ending staircase towards exultation. It’s the final single from my upcoming album, Reflections.

Describe your first live performance.
One of my very first live performances was my first EP single launch at The Grace Darling Hotel… I had written only about six songs, and my set only went for half an hour! I played as a two-piece with me on violin, samples, loops and vocals, and my drummer played beats and live kit. At the end of the gig everyone wanted an encore but I hadn’t written any more songs at that stage and couldn’t play anything else.

My emotional and mental state has been changing so rapidly the last few years from struggling with depression and anxiety to finding so much joy and beauty in living every day in the moment.

Are there any overarching themes in your work?
I have many themes in my work, I started a mind map of different areas I wanted to explore in my new song and the full album. One of the first ideas I had was thinking about human consciousness and how our experiences in life shape who we are and how we view the world. I wanted to try and explore the ideas of different ‘lenses’ or states of mind that I view my world through, and how they intersect with other people. My emotional and mental state has been changing so rapidly the last few years from struggling with depression and anxiety to finding so much joy and beauty in living every day in the moment. I guess mental health and understanding my own existence are the main themes of this album.

What is your favourite album of the year so far?
My favourite album of 2020 would have to be Concrete and Glass by Nicolas Godin, from the french band Air. It is just a perfect mix of sounds, I love the production and the songwriting, slightly playful but very heartfelt. He gets a range of guests on the album from Alexis Taylor, Kadhja Bonet and Kirin J. Callinan (curve ball, but amazing). It has a very Air sort of sound, but is also super modern and fresh! He does an amazing live performance of the album on Facebook inside a giant clock tower in France.

What’s the weirdest gig you’ve ever played?
I have been live-scoring a circus show called Kilter for the last few years with a circus group called One Fell Swoop. It’s not so much ‘weird’ as it is ‘different’, with a pair of acrobats performing amazing stunts on a slackline that is pulled tight across a rocking half-moon shaped apparatus. You have to see it to understand! But we’ve been playing lots of pop-up performances in parks, theatres and played White Night 2019. I usually perform on stage and interact with the acrobats, as much as I can whilst playing and looping violin!

Do you believe in aliens?
100%. I just finished watching Raised By Wolves, the new Ridley Scott series and it is furthering my belief that we can’t be alone in the universe.

Are we living in a simulation?
I think that life is much too complex, intense, amazing and scary for it to be a simulation.

What’s next for you?
Eating better, exercising more, resting, getting more sunshine and talking to a psychologist about all the things I’ve started to understand about myself.

If you could collaborate with any artist, in any medium, who would it be and what would you create?
If I could collaborate with any artist I would bring back Salvador Dalí and create a virtual reality world of his paintings, which I would then create a score for. People could then enter this magical world and go down into a surrealistic wormhole of sound and art.