“You may find me and my guitar in some unexpected places!”
About a year ago we posted two anonymously produced Mystery LPs by Wes artists, including a self-titled release by one mysterious Orkinpod, which A-Batte described as “definitely not your everyday Brian Wilson tribute.” As for who exactly is behind Orkinpod’s fractured psychedelic pop: “Nothing like a little mystery,” the unnamed artist declared.
Until now. Orkinpod has recently revealed himself to be Wesleyan senior and famed Argus comics editor BJ Lillis ’12, who performs all the parts and records much of the music in his bed and shower at his home in Sleepy Hollow, NY. Lillis is back with his sophomore release, Boardwalking, complete with more light guitar fuzz, colorful acoustic pop, and Beach Boys harmonies and available for free download at Bandcamp. Highlights include the sunny “Waking Up in the Afternoon,” quietly gorgeous “Waltz of the Jellyfish,” and a weirdly seductive interpretation of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”
Click past the jump for a few audio samples and a brief interview with Orkinpod. Also, stay tuned for possible impromptu Orkinpod campus performances.
When and how was Boardwalking put together?
The record was recorded over the summer, largely in my bed. Somewhat in my living room. Also the bathroom. It was recorded using a variety of acoustic and computerized instruments, over a bed of heavily manipulated and layered drum samples. Also me tapping a pencil on a book. It was assembled in Garageband, and the vocals were done using the internal microphone on my computer, lying down in the shower (without the water running, obviously. Although I did briefly experiment with playing harmonica in the bath.) I played all the instruments myself.
What are some of the main influences behind the album?
My main influences are Phil Spector’s wall of sound, the Beach Boys, and Disney teen “stars” from Annette Funicello to Miley Cyrus. I’m interested in the ways that electronic music has permeated popular music since the 80s. While I was recording I was listening to Demi Lovato’s second single La La Land and the Crystals’ Girls Can Tell on repeat. Also Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz. Baths. The Mars Volta. Janelle Monae. John Fahey. And Mary Chapin Carpenter. If your parents are white, middle-class Americans you probably have some Mary Chapin Carpenter lying around your house somewhere. It’s like adult-contemporary meets Country music, but I can’t resist it.
Any plans for campus performances?
I have no formal plans to perform on campus at the moment, but now that I’m a senior and the prospect of not being a Wesleyan student anymore is looming, I’m really hoping to engage with the music scene on campus. You may find me and my guitar in some unexpected places!
Why Orkinpod? Well, orcs are cool. Also orca whales swim in pods, and replacing “c” with “k” is very alt. I wanted to be like Bright Eyes, I guess.
What inspired you to come forward with your identity now?
In all honesty, I played the record for some friends, and they really dug it, and suggested I try to get it out to more people, so here I am. Being anonymous didn’t really work. Turns out people just don’t really listen to anonymous music. I think like five people downloaded my last album. I’m hoping all the people who kind of know who I am at this point think, “Hey, BJ made a record,” and give it a listen. And I hope people like it.