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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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    Posted: November 03 2011 at 17:30

TORGO is a US act consisting of Farris Antoon (vocals, guitars, keyboards), Martin Antoon (guitars, soundscapes, vocals, keyboards), Ryan Talbot (bass, vocals, keyboards), Casey Wilkes (saxophone, clarinet, vocals) and Ian Paine-Jesam (percussion). All of the classically trained musicians, and aiming to give their fans a true to life multimedia experience when performing live. Their philosophy as far as performing goes: That the listener should feel like they are watching an opera, listening to a film score, and attending a rock concert all at once.

I got in touch with the band and Farris Antoon answered my questions.


When and by whom was your band born ? Did any of you, past and present members, play in any other bands before joining up in your band ? Why did you choose that name and which bands were you influenced by ?

The band was formed in the winter of 2009 by myself along with a number of fellow musicians at Loyola University in New Orleans. Of the original six piece lineup, only Martin Antoon, Casey Wilkes, and I remained with the band. Ryan Talbot eventually found his way as the band's permanent bassist and Ian Paine-Jesam as the band's drummer, who had both played together in another band before. Every member in the band has been classically trained and has past experience with various bands and ensembles, but this is certainly the most progressive group any of us have been a part of. As for the name, it really just happened as a simple but mysterious word that seemed to be intriguing enough to stick as the band name. Trying to list influences is difficult as the list is so expansive, but aside from the usual progressive rock suspects such as Yes, Porcupine Tree, Tool, etc. we are also influenced by a wide number of genres. I personally take a lot from film scores, specifically with regards to leitmotifs and arrangements, and composers such as Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, Steve Reich, and Avro Part have played a significant role in shaping the band's sound. 

How is the music scene in your area now and is it difficult getting gigs there ?

While New Orleans does have a respected music scene, Torgo definitely doesn't fit conveniently in with any of the established genre scenes. The majority of local music focuses on funk, blues, or jazz, though there is a steadily growing metal scene in the area. Pleasantly, however, the eclectic nature of the band has provided the benefit of allowing us to stand out quite easily against many bands that sound very similar. Getting gigs can sometimes be tricky, but people are usually quite responsive to our live show.

It is your objective to give the audience a multimedia experience. Please give us an idea what you mean by that and what you do during a gig.

The idea of the multimedia experience means that while the music is extremely important, it isn't all there is to the band. For example, we constantly update our website with content that relates to the narrative concept behind the music, and we also use film to add another dimension to the experience. We see Torgo as an outlet for elements of music, film, and literature to all be utilized to take the listener on a journey. Live, this means often times we design film projections to accompany the music, and we also use sound samples and pre-recorded voice narration to flesh out the concept and allow the songs to flow naturally into each other.

Over to your debut album Divinity Transmissions, Phase One: Salvation for the Dead from earlier this year. Please tell us more about this album.

The album was recorded ourselves beginning in the summer of 2010 and was completed in the fall of 2011. It tells the first chapter of the multi-part narrative, and focuses on the struggles of Nem the gunslinger on his quest for revenge. The album provided us with a great opportunity to incorporate many elements that cannot be reproduced live, such as the string and horn arrangements, layered textures, and field recording soundscapes. Right now it's available on iTunes, Amazon mp3 downloads, or on as a "pay what you want" download. Additionally, anybody can email us at [email protected] to request a CD copy at a "name your own price" plus shipping.

For those of us unfamiliar with your music; how would you describe you music and which bands would you compare yourself with ?  

The band's sound is rather difficult to define, and I think it is in large part that way by design. The focus is always to make music that is "visual," in that it works in service of the concept to take the listener on a journey. We try to create music that is akin to experiencing a film, musical, and opera all at once, all presented in the form of a progressive rock concept album. Every member of the band listens to countless different types of music, and we never saw any reason why we couldn't utilize all of those influences in the context of one band. Sometimes that means even within one song there will be a diverse combination of styles, but we always aim to make sure it remains cohesive. I think the best comparison that I've heard about the band was "if Tool and Queen had a car crash, Torgo would be the soundtrack."

What is your plans for the rest of the year and next year ?

Now that we've got our first album out, we plan on spending the next few months playing live regularly while continuing to expand the film and literature components online. We've already got a few hours' worth of new material composed, so we expect to begin rehearsing it soon to incorporate into the live show.

To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?

Of course we'd like to thank you for taking the time to talk to us, and we encourage anybody who is interested in what we have going on to download a copy of the album. You can pay whatever you want for it on, and we hope that people find something unique and worthwhile in what we have to offer.

Thank you to Farris Antoon for this interview

Their PA profile is here and their homepage is here

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