Sea Creature Encounters and the Spiritual Realms of Denver's Psych-Tropic Group, OrKa Odyssey
By: SoundBite Magazine
Denver's OrKa Odyssey is a Psychedelic Synth-Pop group influenced by cetaceans, nostalgic childhood memories, spirituality, and 80's films. Despite being surrounded by the vast forests and glorious mountains of Colorado, the group's psychotropic melodies are focused on the depths of the Atlantic ocean and harmonious sea creatures. Their tropical songs depict otherworldly experiences and recount stories with mystical wildlife they have encountered on trips. OrKa Odyssey released their latest album, "The Legend of the Golden Dolphin," on July 1st. They premiered their album release during their West Coast tour in major cities such as Portland, Seattle, and Sacramento.
The visionary group is composed of Kyle Malone, (lead vocalist, producer, writer, keytarist,) Brett Ives (songwriter, vocalist), Deano Gray (saxophone, clarinet, and flute player) and Scott Moelich ( bass player and guitarist). Brett is related to related to Burl Ives, composer of the beloved holiday track, "Holly Jolly Christmas."
During the inception of their instrumental track, "A Concerto for Plants," Kyle met his band member, Deano, when he put a Craigslist's ad in Denver for a clarinet player. The fanciful and extravagant track was created from a vision of an amorous performance to plants. "I was at our local kava bar and I wrote out a long title for the song. It was a song derived from an idea about performing a concert for plants in an art gallery in Denver. A month or two later, the idea became reality. And that's how the record began..." stated Kyle Malone, producer. Their collaborative friend and bassist, Scott, shortly joined the group after. "He was naturally drafted into the pod. That's what we call ourselves, pods, since we're orcas. That's how OrKa Odyssey came to be," mentioned Kyle.
OrKa Odyssey is spawned from Kyle and Brett's previous group, tHE HEARtS IN LIGHt, which was established in Tennessee. During a momentous trip to St. Augustine, Kyle's life was changed by recurring dreams and an interaction with dolphins. He was swimming in the ocean with over thirty bottom nose dolphins when one of the dolphins jumped beside him then he heard a voice in his mind say, "You!" Due to this otherworldly experience, he donated the proceeds from his album, "Summer Hearts and Dolphin Death Dreams," to Bluevoice.org, an organization whose mission is to save dolphins and whales. During this time, the BP Oil spill had occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, Kyle felt a call for a greater purpose in his life.
The group incorporated mysticism and spirituality into their band's name, OrKa Odyssey. "The orca looks like the Ying Yang which represents balance. "Ka" is the Egyptain word for "eternal soul"" stated Kyle. Being heavily influenced by the Beach Boys and the Beatles, Kyle utilized similar production from these legendary artists to create futuristic music revolving around art and freedom.
Their latest DIY album, "Legend of the Golden Dolphin," appears at first glance to be loosely influenced by video games such as "The Legend of Zelda." However, the group was inspired by imagination, spirituality, and their favorite nostalgic tv shows such as "Stranger Things." Kyle majored in Film and was influenced by 80's films. They created an experimental album that would remind listeners of their childhoods.
"How has religion, spirituality, faith impacted your music?"
Kyle Malone: "One of my majors in college was Theology. In my life, everything is centered around my relationship with God. We're not a Christian band, but my spirituality leads into my songwriting. The only rules we have in our band is excellence and innovation. There's no way to hide it for me, it just comes out of me. Music is such a spiritual thing. Music is black and white. It's a spiritual force." - Kyle Malone
Brett Ives: "I just want to put good in the world. You can put good or bad in the world"
Scott Moelich: "I see music as a way to heal the planet."
"What impact would you like to have on your audience?"
Kyle Malone: "For me, everything starts in the studio, I try to make myself a vessel, I feel like I can personally beam love vibes into people's souls. I visualize the notes transforming into hearts shooting into other people's hearts. That's why my previous group was called tHE HEARtS IN LIGHt. For me, it's a spiritual experience. I call the studio, my church. My church can be anywhere, nature, the studio is a holy place for me. With God, I feel like everything is in his timing and his will. When I go into the studio to make tracks, it's the closest thing to having a religious experience."
Brett Ives: "For me, it's more about the live experience. I wrote a track called "Keep My Head Above Water." I wrote this track at the lowest point of my life. It's a song about overcoming obstacles and troubled waters. Helping people out of a time when they feel there is no escape. For me, it's about being an inspiration to people."
Levi Ebeling Photography
"What is your favorite track from the album?"
Kyle Malone: "After Atari" is a song about being a child in the late 80's/early 90's. It's all about living in a simpler time. It's called "After Atari" because our generation is the Nintendo generation. The song was inspired by the show, "Stranger Things." I was talking with Brett, we should do a nostalgia song."
Kyle Malone: ""Heart of the Sea" is another favorite track because we all spontaneously got together and decided to record a song. It started off as an idea and we went through with it. We captured a special moment and it was done live. The record ends with this track. The last line in that song says, "We love the ocean." And that sums up what we're all about."
Even though the group resides in Denver, Colorado, their progressive music captures tropical assonance and oceanic storylines. "Being away from the beach, you're able to channel it because you're longing for it." stated Brett Ives. Innovator and producer, Kyle Malone, highlights ocean and tropic themes in this album due to growing up listening to the Beach Boys and vacationing annually in Florida. "When the Beach Boys recorded their record "Holland," they went to Netherlands and converted a barn into a studio. They wrote "California Saga," it's all about the history of California. Even though they were inspired by the Netherlands, they missed home and California." mentioned Kyle Malone.
OrKa Odyssey are planning to stay in a monastery as part of an art project. They want to make a spiritual record. "The times are changing. I feel spirituality has been intensified the last year. I spoke with my buddy, Nick Littlemore from Empire of the Sun. We discussed how the world needs another "What's Going On"(Marvin Gaye) or "Pets Sounds"(Beach Boys). We want to make a record that brings love and unity to the world," mentioned Kyle.