Aussie bruisers Orpheus Omega are just about to head out on tour, so what better time to catch up for a chat as part of our ever-popular On The Road series? Drummer Matt Themelco is in the hotseat…

First off, congratulations on the new EP – Are you happy with it as a concept and as a finished product, and has it met with the reception you’d hoped? “Thank you! We’re all absolutely stoked with the response to Portraits. Our launch show went as well as we could have asked for, in terms of crowd response, our wacky uniform ideas, and on-stage props all being successful! We’ve been able to crush the original vision we had in mind from conception to conclusion and that’s been a great feeling. Every band member was able to express themselves via their own song and choices, we feel we got exactly what we wanted out of this release”.

And now to the reason we’re chatting – your upcoming tour. You’ve been going a fair while now… can you remember much about your first ever tour? “It’s a blur, and I’m probably the worst member to ask as my memory is the dodgiest. I was fifteen when we started out which feels like a lifetime ago – but I definitely remember using a lot of janky broken gear, a lot of laughs, heaps of uncomfortable sleeps in cars, running on three hours sleep per night… So not too much unlike a current tour!”

And what about your first tour with an international band – how did that differ after you’d been playing just with other Aussie bands? “That would’ve been the Amon Amarth Surtur Rising Tour in 2012. It was such a fantastic peek behind the curtain at how big tours run for us all as youngins. And it was with a band we all loved and respected too (still do). I feel like we stepped up our game immediately after that in terms of professionalism, the gear we use, how we conduct ourselves, and also as songwriters. Invaluable life experience and a lot of fun as well”.

What’s the best venue in your opinion in Australia? And does that differ as a punter to actually playing? “Excluding the big stadiums which we’re yet to play (maybe one day we’ll open for Ed Sheeran?) I have a soft spot for 170 Russell! Love the vibe, have seen heaps of killer bands there, and the food options around don’t hurt either. Max Watts is a very close second and another venue where I have a lot of great memories on and off stage! I do love a good stadium show though – like seeing Parkway Drive with their intense pyrotechnics, but am also a sucker for some of the more intimate ones. Gotta have a mix of both”.

Who do you have the best memories of touring with – and why? “Honestly, every single tour has ended with us all having a positive experience or takeaway. But if I personally had to pick – probably Insomnium and Omnium Gatherum. Mostly for the fun factor! They’re dudes you can have a drink and a chat with at any point during the tour, with some crossover nerdy interests like ourselves. I have some stories after big nights out with them on tour that I could never repeat in this interview” (laughs).

Maybe one day… Aside from your tools of the trade, what’s the must-have piece of kit that goes into your bag first when packing to go on the road? “I’m always packin’ a banana or two as a snack, and if I have my wireless earphones on me I’m good to go. What more does a man need? But as for the rest of the members, it ranges from a jar of honey for Chris (Themelco, guitar/vocals)’s throat, to funky Hawaiian shirts in Luke (Ashley, guitar)’s luggage. Leon (Monaco, bass) always seems to have sunnies with him. And I feel like Kes (Gallagher, keyboards) has never gone on tour without some kind of leopard print scarf so let’s go with that”.

And what about a luxury item that you probably shouldn’t take but manage to slip in? “I feel like everyone brings their Nintendo Switch with them if that counts. Good in theory, but we’re usually too busy catching up on sleep in the backseat of cars to play them”.

And what about tunes? Who makes it onto the Orpheus Omega tour bus playlist? “Honestly, just about anything goes. The latest metal albums get a spin, but so does the odd – Michael Bolton, Lady Gaga, Bring Me The Horizon, Tyler the Creator, Run The Jewels, et cetera. Literally anything is fair game”.

There’s nothing odd about Michael Bolton! Now, You’re sharing most of these dates with Triple Kill, which makes for a pretty entertaining lineup. But overall, how strong do you think the metal scene is here in Australia at the moment? “We love those fellas, we match each other’s level of enjoyment on stage! The metal scene seems to be stronger than it’s ever been. Shows keep popping up left right and centre, even after a drought around the pandemic followed by some shitty economic times, it still manages to withstand it all and prosper. Not to mention the new bands coming up within the Metal/Metalcore scenes are just crushing it and getting better and better! You love to see it”.

Back to the EP – Which track are you most looking forward to playing live? And can we expect any surprises, set-wise? “I love playing Exist To Observe live, even though it’s the most challenging drum-wise, that’s a song I’d spin over and over even if I wasn’t part of the band! You can maybeee possiblyyy (definitely) expect one or more covers on the upcoming tour and I’ll leave it at that. One for the heavies, one for the lols”.

Anything else you’d like to tell our readers before they come and see you in action? “We’re all about having a great time! We have a hella inclusive and friendly fanbase so we welcome everyone to get involved in our crowd shenanigans. Don’t be scared to grab a friend and jump in the pit, or to come speak to us after the shows, especially if it’s your first time seeing us. We’re always keen for a chat and some banter”.

Go HERE to see where Orpheus Omega and Triple Kill are headed…