WARNING: The new Magick Orchids album, Origins of Grinding, may cause involuntary movement of external limbs and an itchiness to tap your toes. It’s not recommended for people with unwillingness to live and breathe creativity.
Booyah! Magick Orchids band members Champoy Hate (Primitive Electronics/artist) and Rhea Tepplim (songstress/artist) have recently recorded their album Origins of Grinding. It’s being released on cassette via Vanity Projects , and Home Room is hosting an album release party this Thursday, January 12.
Margot Padilla interviewed Champ and Rhea at a Secret Santa mixtape swap hosted by Rhea at Home Room in late December. They shed some light on the inner workings of Magick Orchids.
How did you come up with the name ‘Magick Orchids’ for this project?
Rhea: It was one of those things where you kind of say something random and everyone around you thinks you’re a genius… No, never mind (laughs).
Champ: Originally it was Magick Bitches, but we decided to go with something more subtle.
You collect literature erotica and host a sex talk show on your web based radio station Only for the Open Minded. Are you making any kind of sexual reference with orchids?
Rhea: No. Some of our art comes off as obviously sexual — like Champ’s art, a lot — but it’s not purposeful.
You’re not only in a band together, but you’re also romantically involved with each other. How do you guys work as a band, being that you’re also a couple?
Champ: When you’re in a band with other people there’s a little less tension. But music is kind of like therapy. Making music together helps us better each other and other people.
Rhea: If I’m upset with Champ about music, or if we’re not happy with the way it’s going, we usually just switch it up to another project that helps us keep balanced too.
Champ: I tend to be more cynical and sometimes negative, Rhea is more positive. She’s the positive to my negative. We feed off each other’s energy.
Rhea: I’m a recluse when it comes to music. I would make music in my bedroom alone if not with Champ.
So Champ’s the one who gets the music out there for you guys?
Champ: We don’t usually create music with the thought of other people listening to it. We flirt with the idea, but it’s not our main driving force. For the most part, we make music for ourselves. I don’t want to sound selfish, but I think that art can be selfish.
Rhea gets up to go help someone make some tea…so sweet! Doesn’t seem selfish to me. They both are constantly helping and being so attentive to everyone in the gallery even while being interviewed.
How do you keep things balanced? You have a lot of other projects and creative workshops going on constantly. How do you find time to do them all?
Rhea: This is just what we do. We have a lot of help from our friends, who are part of this big community of creative people. We don’t just get together and hang out at a Starbucks. We all help each other work on things we need to get done. We coordinate a date to work on crafts or create art and music. We are constantly producing and creating, and that’s also how we socialize.
How did you guys meet? Did you meet in L.A.?
Champ: Yeah. Actually, Rhea interviewed a band I used to be in.
Champ, you’re originally from the Philippines. Does that influence your sound at all?
Champ: I carry where I’m from with me and I feel like it spills over into the music I make as well as the art that I make.
What kind of equipment do you guys use?
Rhea: We have a Roland sampler and some pedals. Not too many things. We try to avoid having millions of chords to plug in.
Champ: Yeah, we keep it as minimal as possible. I’ve always just messed around with sampling and making different sounds. Rhea is the real musician.
When did you guys start recording Origins of Grinding? I keep calling it “Bad Acid” because I keep saying Orangens instead of Origins. So embarrassing to have a speech impediment during an interview. LOL.
Rhea: We started recording about a year and a half ago.
Champ: We actually were inspired to record after being a part of LA Lottery League.
We became more interested in creating songs with more structure. Usually we just played whatever we felt at the moment no matter if we were practicing or we were at a show. We always just played what came naturally and never wrote actual parts. It was more of a feeling.
Being in the Lottery League and working with other people, we saw how fun it was to create songs that have parts. We wanted to record and have these actual songs for people to dance to and have fun listening to. I mostly play like different sounds and samples, but now with a beat and different parts and Rhea does her thing over that with, like, a melody and lyrics.
Watch: “Bad Acid,” from Origins of Grinding, directed by Matthew Teardrop.
Don’t miss the show…
This Thursday, January 12
The Garden Hour presents…
Magick Orchids Origins of Grinding release party
with Walter Gross
Plus DJ Maimes and L.A. Zinefest