CVIndependent

Tue01162018

Last updateWed, 27 Sep 2017 1pm

Not a lot of people have heard of the local band High Fantasy—but that’s likely to change in the upcoming year.

Orlando Welsh and Ryan Jovian, both of whom were in the now-defunct rock/electronic band Metroid, have been creating an interesting blend of indie-rock and dance music, including releasing some material on SoundCloud.

During a recent interview with Welsh in Cathedral City, he explained why he and Jovian took their music in a different direction.

“A lot of it had to do with Ryan,” Welsh said. “He has a completely different music taste than I do. He’s an indie-rocker, and I kind of tend to lean more toward pop music and punk rock. He’s always had the coolest music collection of anyone I know. So he came up to me and said, ‘Hey, man, I have this idea for this band; you just have to trust me.’

“Before, in our old band … we’d have to do everything together, but I said, ‘Why don’t you take the reins, and let’s see what you’ve got.’ That’s how the sounds for this came up. He just wanted to try something different, and he plays just about any instrument, and he’s very heavy on the keyboard and production. He started bringing songs, and we started putting lyrics to them. Before, we’d sit there with a full band, and we’d be like, ‘What do you think, drummer? What do you think, guitar-player?’ … Five people trying to come up with an idea take a bit longer, or there’s a lot of conflict.”

I asked Welsh if he missed playing stuff with more of a rock edge.

“Not really, because this is really fun. … I’m still playing bass, and I’m still singing,” Welsh said. “Ryan is playing guitar, and his guitar is heavily distorted; he has a My Bloody Valentine-loud guitar. It’s also heavy on the keyboard and the electronics. It’s a blend of both.

“I love electronic music, and bands like Reggie and the Full Effect, and how he incorporates rock, Moog sounds and synthesizers. (Before), we were mainly a punk rock band, and it was fast, and sometimes you miss that. I miss it because the music was fresh back then, and it was uncharted territory. There was this place not too far from here called Bobby C’s that we’d play at, and it was always exciting. I guess everybody misses the days when they were young.”

Welsh said High Fantasy is on the cutting edge, much like Metroid was back in the day.

“Everyone was into the ‘screamo’ thing. We were heavy into synthesizers,” he said. “We were more dance-y, and the disco beat was really prevalent in the music, but the keyboards were always there. We’d show up to shows, and they’d be like, ‘You have keyboards? What are all these keyboard noises going on?’ … We were doing that before that stuff got popular, and we stood out. We’d show up, and there would be a hardcore band playing, and we’d have to win the audience over. Sometimes, people didn’t like us and would ask us, ‘What is this gay music you’re playing?’ We’d end up playing in gay clubs, too, and we had gay fans, so they embraced us. We played one show where we stripped down to our underwear onstage, and I had this leopard-print bikini on. If you Google it, you might be able to find a photo of me from that show.”

Welsh said he understands there are many different segments in the local music scene—but that there is more togetherness now than there was 10 to 15 years ago.

“I grew up in Palm Springs. Palm Springs always had more of a dance scene to it, and I think Indio has a good dance scene to it also,” Welsh said. “Palm Desert, not so much, and that’s more of a heavy town, where it feels like you have to come with a 7-string guitar—but I love all that kind of music. … Universally, I believe the valley has become more of a whole because of the Internet and Facebook, and you can see what’s going on with bands now. You hear about a show, and you can watch the show from someone’s Facebook Live footage. There are more dance clubs in Palm Springs, like Toucan’s, Hunters and places like that.” 

Welsh and Jovian have spent a lot of time recording. Welsh said he loves how easy it is nowadays.

“Recording is a lot of fun. Ryan has been building his recording rig for years now, and it’s portable,” Welsh said. “He has it down to a science now to where he uses an iPad, and has pre-amps in a really nice microphone. We set it up in my living room or his sound booth at home. It’s so easy now. … We’ll sit there and track for hours or days until we get it right. It’s awesome, because you don’t have to spend a lot of money in a studio. Our drums are built digitally. … A traditional drum room would cost you a ton of money to get it done. We like being able to do it ourselves.”

High Fantasy has big plans in 2018.

“We’re releasing songs and videos. We’ve gotten to the point where we can make our own videos,” he said. “My brother got into making videos and filmmaking and bought a nice setup. He learned how to use it in a fast amount of time. We just do it all ourselves. Sometime in 2018, we’re going to start playing shows and touring. We wanted to have content out first and build a fan base online first so we’re not playing some bar to five people, which can be discouraging.”

For more information on High Fantasy, visit www.hghfntsy.com.

If you’re ever looking for Orlando Welsh, just look for his easy-to-spot hair—and, yes, it’s real. I’ve personally been able to find him in crowds at events from Coachella to the Vans Warped Tour, where he’s been in attendance as a professional photographer. Welsh is also a local musician, and has been in Metroid, Mingtran and Break Dance Vietnam. He now has a project with Metroid bandmate Ryan Jovian called High Fantasy (sometimes stylized as HGH FNTSY); they have put up some tracks on music sources including Spotify and Apple Music. For more information, visit www.hghfntsy.com. Welsh was kind enough to answer the Lucky 13; here are his answers.

What was the first concert you attended?

When I was super-young, my parents took our family to see the Pointer Sisters. I wouldn’t really consider it a concert, but they had a nice stage. It was at some county fair in Kentucky. But I actually consider Lollapalooza to be my first concert. It was the year Green Day and Smashing Pumpkins headlined; The Pharcyde played too—oh, and the Beastie Boys. Damn! That was so epic, and it was the first time I saw a full-blown mosh pit. Unfortunately, I was caught up in the middle of it. I didn’t know what to do, so I got wrecked, but it was so much fun.

What was the first album you owned?

The Jacksons’ Destiny album. It had such an epic cover, and we used to play that on repeat on my dad’s record player.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Goldfinger, nothing,nowhere, Tame Impala, Dreamcar, Tidal Babes, Skepta, Das EFX, The Cure, and HGH FNTSY.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Corny-ass country music where the lyrics are just really silly. I am sorry if I offend anyone, but the super-corny stuff makes me laugh—but not all country music is corny, though. There’s some awesome stuff like that one Lady Antebellum song where the dude says, “Another shot of whiskey.” I like that song, and I can relate to them on that song. I love Stagecoach, but not as much as Coachella.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

Nirvana! I wish I had gone to one of their concerts when I was kid. I think Kurt Cobain is the truth.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Old Mariah Carey songs and music videos, especially that collaboration she did with Ol’ Dirty Bastard. I’m constantly playing her old music videos on YouTube, and if you come to my house, you have been warned: You will probably watch some Mariah videos.

What’s your favorite music venue?

The Glass House in Pomona. I love that place so much, and the people who run it are so nice.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“Daylight licked me into shape, I must have been asleep for days. And moving lips to breathe her name, I opened up my eyes. And found myself alone, alone, alone above a raging sea. That stole the only girl I loved and drowned her deep inside of me,” The Cure, “Just Like Heaven.”

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Michael Jackson. After I saw the “Thriller” video, my life was never the same. I became obsessed with music and music videos. I’m still obsessed. It’s one of the reasons I play music.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I would ask Kurt Cobain: “Can you stay a little longer?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Hey Suburbia” by Screeching Weasel, or Prince’s “When Doves Cry.”

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

The Get Up Kids’ Something to Write Home About.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

“Strange Symmetry” by Arwelone featuring HGH FNTSY. (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13

Jared Huss is not a musician; instead, he’s arguably the most bad-ass skateboarder here in the Coachella Valley. Want proof? Check out this amazing shot here by photographer Orlando Welsh of Huss riding a rail atop a freeway overpass. Huss was recently kind enough to answer the Lucky 13.

What was the first concert you attended?

Coachella 2008.

What was the first album you owned?

Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP, the censored version.

What bands are you listening to right now?

Nirvana, Lou Reed and John Frusciante.

What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone love, but you don’t get?

Country music.

What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?

GG Allin, but I would be in the very back row for sure.

What’s your favorite musical guilty pleasure?

Enya.

What’s your favorite music venue?

Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneertown Palace.

What’s the one song lyric you can’t get out of your head?

“Dream Baby Dream,” Suicide.

What band or artist changed your life? How?

Bill Hicks, because I believe his comedy provides an answer.

You have one question to ask one musician. What’s the question, and who are you asking?

I would ask Kurt Cobain: “How did you really die?”

What song would you like played at your funeral?

“Bury Me a G,” 2pac.

Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?

Fugazi, 13 Songs.

What song should everyone listen to right now?

Richard Strauss, “Also Sprach Zarathustra.“ (Scroll down to hear it.)

Published in The Lucky 13