What inspired the name of the band? What are your influences and are they the same as when you started out?

Since I am a solo artist, the band name is simply my name. However, I chose to go by my full name after searching “Ryan Orr” and finding several others by that name who were notable for different things, one of whom was an author. This was years ago, and I have gone by my full name as my artist name for SEO purposes ever since:) 
As far as artistic influences go, there are quite a few. Some that come to mind right away are Pearl Jam, Tool, Radiohead, Thelonious Monk, Beethoven, Tom Waits, PJ Harvey, Sade, Elliott Smith, Nick Drake, The National, Iron & Wine, Bjork. I have been influenced by a number of artists in other mediums as well, like filmmakers Michel Gondry, Stanley Kubrick, Ingmar Bergman, Darren Aronofsky, and Peter Jackson. Some visual artists I get inspiration from are Francisco Goya, Blu, Salvador Dali, Joel-Peter Witkin, Dorothea Lange, Francis Bacon, Jean Michel Basquiat. There are many more, but these came to mind while I was writing this.

How do you approach songwriting?

I most often have a small piece of a song when I start. It’s either a single lyric, or a chord progression, or sometimes a beat. Usually it starts with some form of the music and the vibe of that part inspires the lyrics, which commonly start out as maniacal mumblings and mutterings, a sort of free-association writing exercise. And yes, I do have themes to which I return. One of these is exploring the darker sides of humanity. I like to write about what hides in the shadows of ourselves, our psyches, that we have to peel away layers to find. I also write a lot about social and political issues, though that subject matter is often hidden in metaphors and symbols. And I like to write about love, loss, all the emo stuff:) I tend to use songwriting as catharsis, so although I hate to admit it, I don’t often write about happy things. When I’m happy, I just BE happy – when I’m not, I write.

Why do you write the sort of music that you do?

I think I approach genre in an almost FOMO way. I have a lot of influences, and I like a lot of different approaches, so I jump around from style to style all the time. That said, I gravitate toward music that has infectious or haunting melodies, dynamic instrumentation, and some sense of emotional turmoil. What I write is usually some combination of these things, whether it’s indie rock  or folk, or electronica.

How do you decide what to perform live?

My main focus for this is discerning whether or not I feel I can do the song justice by myself or if I need a band to pull it off. Some larger sounding rock songs need a band to be “believable”. When I really decided to pursue a solo career, I got a loop station and began writing specifically for that environment. I like doing that, but it also doesn’t replace the energy of having other musicians with me. Sometimes a song takes some editing to translate from the album to the stage, and sometimes a song on a record will morph and change the more it is played, so I think an important aspect of picking live songs is also giving each piece some breathing room and being really honest with yourself. The best way to approach that type of decision is to step back and act as a producer – if you were in the audience, would YOU like the song you are playing? Or, what are you trying to achieve with a given song on the list? Is it to get people energized? Ge them to dance? Act as a filler for a long set? Give the fans a deep cut? Break up the intensity with a mellow melody? That type of consideration can help get your live set list together.

What plans do you have for the future?

Over the next year or so, I will be releasing a series of singles with The Animal Farm, and will be performing them both solo and with my band. I will also be releasing a new album in July called New Imperials. It will be released on CD and Vinyl first, then later on streaming platforms. I am also finishing up a new music video for one of the songs from the album, and that will be released sometime in either July or August. Pre-orders for the new album will start soon, and people can go to www.RyanDavidOrr.com to pre-order on CD or Vinyl, and to see a short video talking about the new stuff. So, lots of new stuff coming up! Be sure to follow on Spotify to hear when the new singles will be released from The Animal Farm! People can find me and info about my music on InstagramTwitterFacebook, and YouTube. They can also sign up for my monthly newsletter on my website, and when they do, they will receive a free “welcome EP” download:)