The Ormidales are a duo comprised of Bill Oliver and Mark Branscombe, singer-songwriters based in Vancouver, BC.
Forming in 2007, The Ormidales offer a unique sound that results from their love of multi-genre music and their willingness to venture into many styles of music. With their songwriting having a visual aspect to it, there’s always a story to pair with the music that goes hand in hand with video or film imagery.
Kicking off the heated weather with their most recent single “Strangers After All,” the buoyantly welcoming environment that seeps into your speakers crosses a multitude of genres as they embody a psychedelic soundscape centered around tight percussion and rhythm that could shake the house down.
The Ormidales deliver a narrative that is rich in the theme of connecting individuals with their past and present through the beauty of technology, as isolation is breached in the digital age. With the lyrical imagery being reinforced by the smoldering vocal timbres, curiosity becomes us as we are lured into an atmosphere so thought-provoking that it has us feeling nostalgic in the best ways possible. Carrying forth a luscious ambience that has dimensional layers filtered through “Strangers After All,” the dimensions conveyed go beyond the lyrical motifs and drizzle into the reminiscent structure of the musical components heard.
What we love about The Ormidales is their ability to make it sound as if they have the force of four to five band members accompanying their creative visions, when in reality this dynamic duo thrives off of the effervescence they each outflow into one another’s imaginative vessels. “Strangers After All,” has us pulling out our yearbooks and taking a trip down memory lane as The Ormidales continue to transmit hues of wistful recollections in the intoxicating melodies they bring to the table.
Welcome to Buzz Music, The Ormidales. We observed such a gravitational pull in the mix as we indulged in “Strangers After All.” What inspired you to tap into your memories and write this piece?
Mark: I had been locked away since March during the pandemic’s peaks in 2020 and had a bit more time on my hands to walk in my East Vancouver backstreets in the evening, sometimes with an iPod and sometimes without. The houses in these hoods tell tales of the people who currently live there and provide clues as to who may have resided there in the previous century and what their lives may have been like. At the height of lockdown with everyone working from home, the streets were really vacant at about dinner time. It reminded me of days when I was a kid and we’d all be home eating dinner watching Walter Cronkite on the 6:00 CBS News. Coincidentally I was in contact by internet with people from my childhood that I went to grade school with. After a few messages to hear how life had gone for each other, we left the past where it was and went on with our lives…curiosities resolved, misgivings forgotten and apologies rendered and…strangers after all
You have a knack for creating colossal sounds when it’s the two of you at the helms. Could you please share a glimpse of what the creative process entailed when bringing this song to life?
Mark: The chorus of Strangers After All was the root of this one, three notes really. It came from a few words are sung into a cell phone while out walking around. There is an inventory of melodies in the back of our brain and the game is to sidestep those specific ones while borrowing an essence from the human effect that they produced. Picking up an acoustic guitar next, the chord structure finds its way into your hands, another game of avoiding exact patterns that belong to songs you might have absorbed somewhere. The demo done on a rudimentary recording program moves back and forth between Bill’s house and mine for a few weeks and then on this one, we gave it over to Scott Young’s studio for a drum part before recording the “keeper” instrumental and vocal parts. It’s at the basic track stage that we get a feel for how big the song wants to be produced, and whether we’d call someone to feature on it; a throat singer, a cellist, some horns, or a guest vocalist. On Strangers, we had Matt Black in the UK grace the track with a piano and an organ part. We sensed the rock’n’roll aspect and figured to keep it fairly lean, hungry, and rhythmic; working on the song I was always dancing. The “colossal” element is probably due to the mix and mastering done by Jaime Estalella who works a lot with young pop and R&B folks. He’s engineered on a Grammy-nominated Ed Sheeran album and had a great mentor working with award-winning engineer Dave Pensado in Los Angeles who has mixed an incredible range of styles for so many top artists. Jaime is so good at arranging and shaping the sounds in our music and we communicate with very similar musical references. His passion for music bursts so beautifully out of all the tracks he works on.
Bill: Pretty much every song starts with our acoustic guitars, from there the vibe is developed. We might say I feel a Bowie vibe or a Nick Lowe guitar sound just as a reference, We have been around radios for a long time and heard so much. You are going to pick up all these sweet memories in the Cranial Jukebox and it was those sweet melodies that help shape our sound. Pop Music! We do our back and forth tracks at our homes and have worked with musicians in the UK and Croatia as well as local musicians to help fill our soundscape. Once done it heads south to our mix master, Jaime Estalella in Los Angeles.
Do you find that your unique sound takes influence from your environment of Vancouver, BC?
Mark: I don’t know if it’s a bit like other northern areas for artists up here. Vancouver isn’t a bustling scene like New York, London, or LA with its attractions and distractions, latest trends, what’s hot and what’s not. We’re sort of left alone a lot, like reclusive painters and writers to feel the cold, with our rainy winters, loneliness, depression, or moodiness and then that jolt of joy and exhilaration in spring and fall with the changing of seasons. The ocean is a favorite place for sure to touch base there with rhythm, power, release, and metaphor.
Bill: Vancouver is beautiful and I was born here but not sure if our sound is reflective of the city. I think our music is the result of our musical environment and all we have ever heard influences the vibe we want,
What happens to be the highlight of your artistic career to date?
Mark: Artistically, I was really pleased with our first album The Ormidales. It was the first time we got to write, visualize and then produce a set of songs the way we heard them in our head. Recently, the recordings and videos for "Strangers After All," New Rome, and Pretty Numb were high points. We were able to write songs that provide insights that resonated with people and craft songs that sounded good to us. I’m happily living down all the recent music that is getting released.
Bill: Getting our song "What Am I Supposed To Do" in the top five for Song Of The Year on Radio Six International in Scotland as well as having our song" "Waiting For Catherine To Call" played at halftime twice at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool in front of over 50,000 raucous Liverpool fans. That is energy!
What's next for you?
Mark: Really? Everybody gets a “next?” Bring it on! This summer we’ll hustle our music, get airplay where we can, circulate our videos, learn more about business, keep our perspective and stay healthy. I’ll get a call from Bill in the next few months, something like “Hey, I’ve got this song, it’s sort of….” and the cycle starts again with another song looping in both our brains at 3 am for weeks on end…
Bill: Never endless creating and bringing our songs to life the way we hear them and interpret visually.