The Octopus Project: The flailing tentacles of eclectic pop-art   

Sunday 20th, January 2019 / 11:58
By Trevor Morelli

Photo by Marshall Tidrick

CALGARY – Mash together video game bleeps, harmonious synth scales, a righteous dance groove and the occasional spontaneous yodel and you get indie-electronica act, The Octopus Project direct from Austin Texas. Incredibly refreshing, their sound is random, eccentric and moving in many directions.  

“I think we’re all pretty open to a lot of stuff. We all like so much music and art and anything we experience we take a little bit of inspiration from, whether it’s a film or painting or someone’s record,” says multi-instrumentalist Toto Miranda providing some insight as to where The Octopus Project take their artistic cues from. “It’s less trying to do different influences than trying to draw from the widest range of sounds that we can. I think maybe less into this style or that style and more attracted to this quality of sound or that quality of sounds, like textures and rhythms and energies.” 

The band’s latest effort is Damsel (2018), the soundtrack to the offbeat comedy film of the same name. While The Octopus Project has collaborated with the directors on previous soundtracks, multi-instrumentalist Josh Lambert says the quartet really wanted Damsel to have a sonic quality that set it apart. 

“For this one, since it’s a western, we wanted to fill it with sounds and texture that kind of fit in that world, but we didn’t really want to sort of ape previous soundtracks or styles,” says Lambert.  “We were really trying to dive in and make it something unique and something our own and something that fit the project itself.”

The Octopus Project strives to keep things innovative and give their audiences one of a kind performances. They recently played an entirely improvised show in Austin where the band set up in the middle and surrounded themselves with ambient mood lighting. 

“Most of the time what we’re doing is all organized around beats and rhythms and trying to make everything kind of as propulsive and dynamic as possible,” says Miranda. “This is a chance to explore this other space where we also enjoy being really open and spacious and working with different qualities of sounds.” 

Although conceptual performance art has been a part of the band’s MO, going into 2019 they plan to shift gears once again. “We’ve released three releases in the past couple of years,” explains Miranda. “I feel like we’ve sort of exhausted that stuff. So we’re kind of in the phase of figuring out what’s next — writing new tunes, working on new stuff and really just kind of approaching things in an exciting way.” 

 

Prepare for fireworks, The Octopus Project play Jan. 27 at Broken City (Calgary).

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