Order Of Voices: "Anyone who says they're original is lying"

press shot of Order Of Voices

“Anyone who says they are original is lying.”

As statements go, it’s a pretty bold one. But Leigh Oates, singer with Sheffield quintet Order Of Voices, has a point: it’s undeniably difficult for modern artists to be truly original due to the plethora of genre-defining musicians who have come before them. It’s virtually impossible not to hear familiar quirks or nuances in the vast majority of music that is being released today. Order Of Voices, however, have ceased the pursuit of originality in favour of reimagining the past into an amalgamation of past and present.

“It’s just about taking themes and changing them incrementally,” Oates continues. “We’ve got a ton of very wide-ranging influences and we just want to play the music that we, as music fans, would want to hear. It comes down to the fact that we don’t like the same stuff as a band. We’re not contrived, and we don’t want to do what other bands are doing.”

Oates, along with Ashley Homar (guitar), Stefan Blackwood (guitar), Ian Gaunt (bass) and Aynsley Dickinson (drums), has been driving Order Of Voices forward since the band’s inception in 2009. Part of that drive has come from their ability to create without boundaries. “No one is telling us what to do, and we don’t put any limits on ourselves. If someone is giving you a lot of money to produce a product, they are going to want a say in how that product is put together,” Oates states. “I think it’s very rare when companies give you free reign as an artist. When you’re working with smaller companies or are self-financed, you’ve got more freedom to produce what you want. It’s people like Prog that help massively, and it’s grass-roots stuff.”

The band’s second album Constancy is one of contrasts, with assorted layers being uncovered with each listen, from Porcupine Tree’s delicateness to a bizarrely fitting Alice In Chains vibe. Oates says it’s these layers that the band were aiming for, to give each listener a different experience to take away with them. “Whatever people want to connect with our music, we’re happy with that. We leave our music open-ended,” Oates explains. “We don’t write concepts, and I mainly write around the human condition and the different emotions we experience. We write songs that people don’t want to skip: we trimmed our songs down from 14 to 10. We didn’t want to put stuff on there that didn’t hit the mark.”

The quality and innovative nature of Constancy is testament to the perseverance of Oates and the rest of the band, who have overcome a variety of setbacks and personal tribulations to produce a release befitting their grand aspirations. “There were a lot of false starts, technical issues and illnesses in the band,” Oates recalls. “It’s taken a long time to make this album, and it’s been a real labour of love.”

Prog File

Line-up: Leigh Oates (vocals), Ashley Homar (guitar), Stefan Blackwood (guitar), Ian Gaunt (bass), Aynsley Dickinson (drums)

Sounds like: Layne Staley fronting Porcupine Tree with a dash of Tool thrown in

Current release: Constancy is out now and is self-released

Website: www.orderofvoices.com

Order Of Voices - Constancy album review