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Space station horrification

Orbital Express set their sights on Halloween and the future

John Cameron
Editor-in-Chief

If nothing else, the members of Orbital Express are great dudes to sit down and have a beer with.

Of course, they are something else – the quartet is Regina’s premier space-rock outfit, with songs that sit on that Sabbath-y heavy metal line between scorching electric blues and boot-stomping hard rock. They’re local fixtures, too, not only willing to go out and play shows to local crowds but to regularly attend shows they aren’t performing in as well.

When Roberto Giannini and Adam Ennis sat down for an interview at the Barley Mill, way up in Regina’s northwest end, it took several minutes to get down to business. More important than the formal interview were: ordering drinks, talking about potential Orbital Express Halloween costumes (rejected ideas included dressing as the Power Rangers and as a mariachi band), and generally shooting the shit.

A band this busy needs any chance to relax that they can get. Giannini and Ennis came to the interview fresh from an Orbital Express practice.

“We’re playing some of the older ones, so we have to bring them back from the dead,” Ennis intoned, grimacing menacingly.

The band has been working hard on writing new songs, he explained. Although Giannini and Ennis said the band is always excited to play songs off their record for a new audience, they seemed very excited about their new material. For them, their new material demonstrates that they’ve “matured” from their old songwriting style, which Giannini described as “balls-to-the-wall.”

“Now it’s like, well, we have that higher energy,” he continued. “So we gotta kind of harness that and make it into a song someone can sing to or go, ‘I’ve heard this melody before, this is these guys.’”

Ennis confided that, though Orbital Express is still committed to their self-titled debut, they’re already preparing to go back into the studio and apply what they’ve learned over the last few months to a new record.

“We already talked about [recording in the winter] … it’s nice to have the first one out of the way, so we can do this one so much better,” he said. “It’s not a learning curve anymore.

“That doesn’t mean we’re going to stop promoting the first one,” he added. “There’s still people who haven’t been exposed to it.”

Giannini agreed. “We still want to give it its life.”

“For the people who haven’t been exposed to it, we’re going to find out where you are,” Ennis said, raising his hands and making a shoving motion. “And push it on you.”

That’s not an imposition for the band, though. They relish any opportunity to play for a new crowd, like when they opened for Clutch, the legendary American hard rock outfit, in Saskatoon earlier this year. Ennis and Giannini were surprised how strongly the audience responded to them, with Ennis calling it “the closest I’ve ever felt to being a fuckin’ rock star.”

That wasn’t just because of how high profile the show was, though. It was a chance to win over some new fans, the sort of people who’ll come up to them after a show or at O’Hanlon’s and tell them all about how they feel about the record. For Ennis and Giannini, the way they feel about record sales and meeting their rock heroes pales in comparison to how they feel about meeting those fans.

“It’s the best feeling to have,” Ennis said, sounding like he meant it.

Orbital Express are playing a Halloween-themed show on Friday, Oct. 29 at the ORR Event Center, located at 4400 4th avenue here in Regina.

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