“Don’t record too many songs” — Our first self produced recording project was comprised of 13 songs mixed, mastered and packaged. Looking back at it, it would have been smarter to only record the best handful of songs we had at the moment rather than taking on such a long recording project.. Some of the money spent would have been better spent on marketing and touring.
As a part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Off Orbit.
Off Orbit is a psychedelic jam/groove band from Miami, FL founded and fronted by brothers, Mo (vocals, bass, keys, harmonica) and Marc Oz (lead guitar). The bros acquired a taste for Rock ’n’ Roll and Alternative music while growing up in sunny South Florida. As soon as they could, they started jamming together and soon after found themselves collaborating on different musical projects while interacting with the local music community. After a period of experimentation and line up configurations they honed the type of band that would meet all their musical expectations and ideals. Enter Off Orbit, whose first EP, City of Wonders (2012), received positive reviews, most notably from famed record producer, Stuart Epps, for its fresh take on psychedelic Rock and Electro Funk. Throughout the years since its inception, Off Orbit’s founding members have teamed up with other seasoned musicians from the Magic City to round out the group into what it is today.
The diverse sound of Off Orbit can be categorized as a “psychedelic jam-band” but their influences and composition are much more than a genre. They take the listener on a journey undefined by musical eras and genres with a mix of rock, funk, blues, folk and bluegrass. The band creates a diverse listening experience in their work, which comes through heavily on their versatile 2020 EP Sixter. Off Orbit’s Sixter features soulful vocals, bass driven grooves, storytelling guitar solos, and upbeat percussion.
Off Orbit’s “Truth” from their 2020 EP Sixter has amassed over 37,000 streams on Spotify, while “Crooked Suit” and “Got Me Going” both have surpassed 13,000. The band tends to explore political and social topics in their work, but in less of an “in your face” manner. Their perspective as an outsider looking into our society allows them to peel back the facade and elaborate on all the mistruths and injustices in our country. Off Orbit is not a political band by design, but it’s awfully hard not to be in today’s social landscape. If you asked either brother they would describe Off Orbit as a Rock ’n’ Roll band, but with all the diverse sounds and moods they are able to create, it sounds like much more than that. People who listen to the band for the first time mostly describe it as “psychedelic”.
While receiving regional critical acclaim for Sixter, the band continues to stay hungry and search for new ways to express themselves musically, refusing to be held down by a specific genre. Off Orbit’s live performances are a sight to behold, as they bring the same energy from their recorded tracks to the stage. As one of Miami’s up and coming rock acts, the band was gutted by 2020 with few performance opportunities as a result of Covid-19. Instead of being stagnant in these dire times, throughout quarantine, Off Orbit has begun working on their follow-up to Sixter, a full length album with the first single expected in Spring 2021.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/1afb0cad127dd8d91a2135bdb5b015b2
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Mo — My brother Marc and I grew up in Miami. Marc — We grew up playing sports and video games with our friends and listening to rock n roll. In some way our childhood activities molded and defined our competitive spirit, imagination, and creativity.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Marc — Our commitment and love for the process of making original music have made 20 years fly by and feel like a lot of fun.
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Marc- I had an interesting night when I spoke and handed our band’s CD to Mars Volta’s guitarist, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, while at a trip to New York for a music conference in which we partied hard, met a lot of people, and played irreverent and unapologetic loud Rock n Roll on two separate nights. On the same trip we also met and jammed with one of our teen heroes, Blankito Man of the band King Chango. That whole weekend was such a rockstar moment of our lives.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Mo — There are plenty of anticlimactic moments from when we first started playing. None of those moments seemed very funny at the time, but one that makes me laugh to this day is driving to a gig with all my gear and cables only to realize I had left the bass guitar at home.
Marc — A procrastinator by nature, when I was first starting out I had the bad habit of wanting to change the strings on my guitar the same day, sometimes hours before, a gig. I quickly realized that wasn’t such a great idea if you were looking to stay in tune or not have to tune up after every single song… Silly mistake.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
Marc — Right now we are very excited about the fact that we are able to write and produce songs faster and more efficiently as our home studio and recording abilities keep growing and evolving. It not only saves us time and money, but also provides a creative freedom that at times we feel gets interrupted when under the clock.
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Mo — Our society is more and more diverse every day but it seems that stereotypes and labels still dominate the media and entertainment industry. It is important that our popular culture reflects the true diversity and individualism that exists in our everyday world. As brothers with hispanic roots, we can attest to how a certain look or even a name can cause people to typecast and label. That is in part because of the bias that exists in the movies, tv shows and even music that is out there. I look forward to the day that I see a housekeeper in a movie who is not named Maria.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Marc — I mean, if you surround yourself with the right people, advise and tips are always gonna be in the air. It’s really up to you to want to listen which sometimes sounds easier said than done.
“Things I wish someone told me or I wish I would have listened to”.
1- “Your music sounds better in english” — We first tried to make it as a Latin Alternative band.
2 — “Don’t record too many songs” — Our first self produced recording project was comprised of 13 songs mixed, mastered and packaged. Looking back at it, it would have been smarter to only record the best handful of songs we had at the moment rather than taking on such a long recording project.. Some of the money spent would have been better spent on marketing and touring.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Marc — “If it feels forced, don’t do it”. Meaning that if at rehearsals you are hanging out, arguing and debating more than actually playing instruments, it may be time for you to consider looking or start another project. If the music you are making doesn’t make you proud or represents who you are, unless it is paying well, it’s best to look to play the type of music that brings a smile to your face when you play it and listen back to it. The process and the ride have to be enjoyable for the whole thing to be worth it.
You are both people of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Mo — In the imaginary world in which I am somehow an influential person, I would love to focus my energy on the problem of hunger in the world. It is unconscionable to live in a world where someone is throwing away food from abundance while others are starving at the same time.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Mo — We have been blessed with a family that has always been very supportive of our musical endeavours. Sharing the journey with them makes it all the more worthwhile. At its core, music is made to bring people together and the way that it brings our family together is something special that we treasure”-
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Mo — There are countless quotes and sayings that have helped to shape my thoughts and my approach. Perseverance and discipline are cornerstones to being a musician. There are long hours of practice and dedication to music that come with the territory. Patience is the eternal exercise of reminding myself to slow down, take my time and put in the work that will pay off later.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
Marc — My person would be Slash. G n R was my favorite band growing up and he’s the reason why I decided to learn how to play lead guitar. I still think he’s the coolest rockstar around and at the same time seems like a very down to earth person. I would just wanna hang out and talk rock n roll with him, nothing crazy, lol.
How can our readers follow you online?
Marc — The best way to follow us online is thru our IG page @offorbit_music and Facebook at FB.com/offorbit
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!