We talk to Orlando Deer about the weird and wonderful world of his art
It takes a certain type of person to produce the type of artistic oddities that Orlando Deer creates. From Dolphin Under My Man’s Chin to From The Mind Of A Scarecrow, the strangeness manifests itself differently across the audiological spectrum and extends even to the track titles.
The problem many artists find as they delve into a bizarre artform (or ‘Bizzart’, to coin a portmaneau) is that it can transpire to be an acquired taste that alienates a lot of listeners. Yet the self-described “sonic surgeon” Orlando Deer himself has so far received a surprisingly positive reception to his quirkily ethereal soundscapes.
“The general public reception has been surprisingly positive,” explains Orlando. “For the longest time, it was very difficult for me to find an audience that thoroughly appreciated my material because of how experimental it is.”
That’s no lie. As experimental sounds go, Orlando really pushes the boundaries in a way that few other artists dare to. It’s often interesting to ponder what drives artists to pioneer a sound in this way. But apparently, in this instance, it comes from a natural instinct within him as an individual.
“It came through a lot of self-discovery. I have always been a sonic scientist for marrying genres of music that no one would think gel together, in search of a sound that I can truly call my own, except I did not quite know what I was doing, or what I wanted to do. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but this time I knew I wanted to make music that was timeless.
“I studied from a broad range of music genres, cherry-picking the universal elements that I felt shared in common, and “Flights of Whimsy” was its product. Ultimately, I do what feels right to me.”
Yet despite this journey of self-discovery and development, the project was born out of an unconscious decision one morning. Orlando remembers “waking up that morning feeling an overwhelmingly incessant drive to make new material.” This was December 11 2014, and since then the project has produced a multitude of wacky tracks with equally strange videos.
“The videos are an extension of notions and motifs that were not fully translated in the music,” explains Orlando. “I try not to use visuals as a crutch in communicating my ideas, but it can be useful when trying to establish the intended mood of the song. The flipside of the coin is that it leaves less room for the audience to interpret the work in their own way.”
That’s not to say that Orlando forces an interpretation on the audience. The videos are anything but straightforward explanations of mood and vibes: they’re absolutely mind-meltingly strange. It’s an art form, of course, with an interpretation to be derived from the video. But on a surface level? Bizzart.
But in spite of the weirdness of his craft, the speed at which he’s turning out well-formed music and video, Orlando is still our spirit animal. His creative process for videos goes like this:
“I write the treatments, pick the best one, procrastinate, decide on the colour harmonies, procrastinate, design the elements, and animate them in After Effects.“
So in spite of his out-there musical form, he’s just as keen on procrastination as the rest of us. This is reassuring evidence that Orlando Deer is actually a human being and not a visitor who fell to earth and stayed, with the intent of “world domination*” in the future. Though still not quite enough to prove conclusive.
* Festival appearances.