Interview: Michael Bok From ‘OPIA’
Its been a busy few months for Perth prog metal outfit OPIA with their debut album ‘EON’ having been released earlier this year. We sat down with frontman Michael to discuss the experience of completing such a task as well as a hectic 2016 to come!
We’ll start off with the pretty massive achievement of your debut full length ‘EON’ coming out recently, how’s the feeling now that it’s all done and out in the public?
It’s going really well, we’re just in album rehearsal mode at the moment, had a pretty epic album rehearsal last night getting everything ready. The album is getting received now and it’s a great feeling, it’s been a long time in the making and we just couldn’t be happier, we’re just stoked and really happy.
Must be really exciting, I Heard you guys got some Triple J airplay as well, being a band that’s out of the mainstream genres is this still a huge achievement or just an added bonus for you guys?
The first two singles off the album we released, 1Minute Ago being the first and Signs being the second had a little bit of triple j love, which is awesome it is a bonus I guess, anything like that gets pushed to more people. More exposure is always a win for bands like us in this scene, it’s really cool. I’m hoping the album gets received well, but at the end of the day I’d take anything whether it’s independent local community or a bit more mainstream is always a bonus. It’s great when people recognise your music especially when you’ve put a lot into it, it’s a win for sure.
These lead singles you mentioned, 1 Minute Ago and Sign, they’ve got a some really good reception on the socials, were these always definite singles from the get go or picked out of the bunch for the necessity of having a single?
Basically, the way we worked it with all three and even the latest track Still Standing was, collectively we probably had around 16 – 20 songs before we started putting the album together and then we started to look at what could be the singles for radio, we put out the same amount of energy into all of them I guess, then try to refine the singles, they were definitely hand selected for that reason for sure.
Was it tough task nailing down all the songs from the album starting from so many songs you could choose from?
Yeah it was, it was really hard. I take ages to make my mind up as well which made it even harder. The guys and I sat down and discussed the songs like ‘this one’ or ‘this one’ you know so it was an epic task trying to refine it especially after so long. We’ve been going for a few years now so a lot of these songs trace back to even the original members. It’s definitely a selective process but I think the album shows, not so much a new direction, but just a new sound, there is a lot in there and we just make it as vast as possible so it wasn’t just all the same sort of vibes you know what I mean?
Yeah, definitely, so you must be really excited about playing these songs live, you said you had been in the studio smashing out practise to make the songs tight, so are you guys raring to go and play shows and tour?
Yeah totally ready, we just can’t wait to get on the road. We’ve got El Grande festival on the 11th of March in Brisbane and Sydney on the 12th at the Bald Faced Stag, and then we have a couple more to come back to in Perth then were hopefully looking to Melbourne and Adelaide after that. Really can’t wait to get out there, the last time was around 2013/2014 that we toured, we’re just hanging up to get this album on the road and get on the stage to be honest.
So After touring and these shows you have planned what’s next for Opia, back to writing? Back to the studio? More Touring? Some supports even?
We’re trying to pin down some bigger stuff for us, get the band in front of more people of course so this year is going to be about touring the album and getting as much as we can under our belt. It can sometimes be quite hard coming from Perth as you’re really far away from everything, we’re really just timing it and organising it the best we can. Writing is always on the agenda, we’ve just started piecing together some new stuff already, we just keep rolling always basically, we rehearse a lot we write a lot so we’re pretty tight the three of us, so it’s on going really. New music pretty soon actually.
So you guys are always writing everywhere you go you never stop writing?
I guess so there is always a back log of stuff we’re tidying up on, a lot of it starts off as an acoustic idea which we put in the bank for later, there are always new ideas emerging.
This year sees you supporting Buckcherry on their Australian Tour, how do you feel about that?
Yeah it’s going to be a fun gig for sure, it was something that came about and we had the opportunity to jump on there and we just said yeah why not. I mean I guess Rock n Roll is Rock n Roll but there is a quite a big difference in the genres between us, still, its all live and loud and live so let’s do it.
Looks like it’s a big 2016 for OPIA, hope you guys kill it.
Yeah we’re really hanging to get out there and push it, Thanks!
OPIA’s debut album ‘EON’ is out now!
OPIA Australian Tour
Friday 11 March – El Grande Festival
New Globe Theatre, Brisbane
Saturday 12 March
The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney
Saturday 19 March
Metropolis, Freemantle (Supporting Buckcherry)
Saturday 23 April
Ding Dong Lounge, Adelaide