Dana Ortt


More to consume or more than one can chew? In the modern world, where social media has a grasp that is more or less untouchable, consummation of opinions is at a mass, but does it benefit us in the long run? Creating divisions between people might give a different impression of what is to be a path forward for mankind. Concerns and a first statement comes from the newly emerging band, Mythosphere, teaming up Doom Metal heroes to create something different. Steinmetal had a good talk with Dana Ortt of the band to understand what is going proggy this time around.
February 20, 2023
Mythosphere's Dana Ortt: "During the pandemic it seemed to me that media in the US inflated an already hostile and divisive political environment" interview
Hi Dana, it is a pleasure to have you sir for this talk about your new foundation of Mythosphere, how are you doing today? 

Doing good here! Hope you are doing well. Thank you for the interview!

Earlier on I had the pleasure of getting to know your band Pale Divine, which is a Doom Metal journey into the corners of retrospect on its own. Getting down to business on topic, 2020 started out something in mankind that became one of the toughest ordeals for many people, even today. Would you say, other than the reasons mentioned, that the foundation of Mythosphere has a connection to the pandemic? 

Yes, the Pale Divine album came out June of 2020 right when many venues were shutting down. The shows Pale Divine had planned in efforts to promote the album and the band were all cancelled. Cruz Del Sur had released the Consequence Of Time album along with a reissue of the Cemetery Earth album but the band was unable to play shows to promote it, was unfortunate timing. I started writing songs, but the songs were a different vibe from what would be appropriate for Pale Divine. Darin and I decided to apply these songs to a new band. Victor and I had met previously and discussed collaborating on a album, some of the initial song ideas I sent him ended up on this album. I'm glad we could collaborate with Victor and are in the process of writing a follow up Mythosphere album

Whether the pandemic, or not, was the case for the starting out of Mythosphere, what exactly is the main inspiration that is behind Mythosphere? And I am referring to ideas that are other than the shreds of material that weren't suitable for your main bands

The Mythosphere songs have more of a progressive sound to the chord progressions along with arrangements. We didn't think this material would be appropriate under the banner of Pale Divine or Beelzefuzz. As the writing process continued, we arranged the songs with Victor's melodic guitar playing in mind.

Your newly released debut album, "Pathological", is quite the food for thought, philosophically speaking. The questioning of oneself was the first to pick my interest. In a way, at least for me, it is to doubt the conformity, and challenge it in a way. How do you feel about that? Is there a message here that is opted to open other's eyes and ears? 

The songs do have lyrics pertaining to using critical thinking and questioning of one's beliefs. During the pandemic it seemed to me that media in the US inflated an already hostile and divisive political environment. That divisive environment would keep people engaged online so much it appeared some would lose the ability of critical thinking and adopt an attitude of a suspension of disbelief towards any information that didn't go along with what content they were consuming online.

The lyrics to "Kings Call To Arms" pertain to this observation with the verse "Who will carry the cross, who will stand and fight, who will serve these infinite acts of senseless sacrifice". There will always be politicians and talking heads promoting a agenda. Social media platforms I think have greatly expanded the reach of negative ideals. I think it's important to keep an awareness of the content we consume and not allow that content to compromise our health, our empathy towards others and the ability to respectfully communicate with others.

There are also the isolation and disconnection themes that are being addressed. Earlier I mentioned the pandemic, and when I read the dossier, it just struck me that there might be a connection. What is your take in regard to these two elements? Would you say that you found yourself immersed in these aspects of life?

The lyrics were written during the pandemic and were influenced by my circumstances and what I saw others going through. The themes of isolation and disconnection would also be part of the emotions involved. It was a difficult time and writing the music and lyrics was a positive outlet in attempts to make sense of everything that was happening.

We talked about challenging beliefs and choices made; therefore, it would be interesting to know what are your beliefs? What sort of choices that you made that had you questioning yourself and your deeds? 

I currently don't ascribe to any religion. I don't currently have a political party I support. The 2-party system in the US which uses 24 hour media platforms pushing political agendas I think has created such a negative division in the way we interact and communicate with each other.

In relation to morals and messages that you wish to convey to your listeners. Other than doubting and not accepting everything told, what other forms of message does "Pathological" provide to its listeners?

The theme to the "Pathological" song is using critical thinking and keeping an awareness to the content you consume. The line in the song, "Pathological liar, something in your voice leaves me hope, until the wild raging fire, speaks through me" relates to putting too much credence into caustic online content and denying the legitimacy of information outside of what channel news or political affiliation one follows.

The front of the eagle, or hawk, featured on the artwork of "Pathological" is quite something, creating several pictures in one actually. There is also that silver effect to it that shares a spacy feel. What can you tell about the vision behind this artwork?

The artist Shane Rice designed the artwork. Our friend Bill Kole created the space background and layout. In the songs "Walk In Darkness" and "Star Crossed" there are references to astrology themes in the lyrics and Darin suggested having a reference to that in the artwork. I didn't notice the multi pictures in one effect until Darin pointed it out, imaginative and creative artwork by Shane Rice

With Doom Metal already being part of your life for quite some time, and you have more than a handful examples under your belt, "Pathological" takes a little different note. Tracing back to the progression of Rock music in the 70s, you rehash old atmospheric feels, laying down a few epic elements while entangling with vintage art of Doom. How do you find this straying away from your chief comfort zone with Mythosphere on this record?

I think the songs on the Mythosphere album take on a progressive and metal influence more so than albums recorded with Beelzefuzz and Pale Divine. The Beelzefuzz albums show influences of Doom and Stoner Rock, Mythosphere has a bit more of a progressive metal influence. We are writing songs now for the next album and have some songs that have more of the Doom and Stoner Rock tonality as well as songs that on more on the progressive side. I'm excited about what we are working on, and I think by this summer we'll be back in the studio recording the 2nd album

The course of the songwriting process of "Pathological", if I understood correctly, was a journey of refinement, rebuilding in a way of old material that was written but never used. What can you tell about this process of creating the songs of "Pathological"?

Two of the songs on the album I showed Victor maybe 4 years ago when we first started talking about collaborating, the arrangements changed a bit but the main idea was there. I'm writing and recording new music ideas a lot. Some songs on this album started as a small idea recorded years prior. A chord progression and vocal melody I recorded last night might get used on this next album as is or it might get a key change, a tempo change and get recorded the following album cycle. I like to record ideas and update them to see if I can add any new quality to them. All of the songs on this album went through different arrangements over time.

There is the mentioning of ex-Fates Warning's Victor Arduini as probably the catalyst in the refinement process of the songs, and from what I listened, his contribution is extensive, having the band cross borders and creating a special kind of havoc melodically. What can you tell about energies that Arduini brought to the ongoing shaping music?

The songs were initially arranged with Victor's guitar playing in mind. I sent Victor some demos of the songs to which he then recorded some melodic guitar ideas. We further developed the songs and lengthened sections for Victor to track his melodic playing and soundscapes. We initially had 12 or more songs which we narrowed down to 8 in order to focus on recording them in a studio in a timely fashion.

When it comes to influences, and you don't have to focus on exact bands to answer this one, which directions of music stood by you as these songs took shape? Perhaps other genres that took part in your listening sessions that aren't necessarily the ones I mentioned. 

I'm a fan of 70's rock. Outside the genres of rock, prog and metal I regularly listen to a oldies radio station that is close to my house called WHGM Gold which often plays some deep cuts from the 50's, 60's and 70's. I'm also a fan of singer songwriters like Leonard Cohen, Scott Walker, Neil Young, Johnny Cash

I noticed that three adjectives that you guys used to describe the general happening surrounding "Pathological", this is quite unique I might add, to sum this experience in such separate words, yet with tight connection to one another. In a little bit of length, how did this album make you feel after its completion, as you dived in to listen to it?

It was great listening to the final mixed and mastered version of the album knowing the songs were written, recorded and released in less than 2 years. There was a lot of collaboration involved that made the album become a reality. I'm proud of what we recorded and would like to expand upon the tones, tempos, and lyrical content on the 2nd album.

Even though I really enjoyed the epic proportion of tunes such as "King's Call To Arms", I found myself wanting more and more after listening to the short, but sweet, "No Halo", and its following scorer, and clincher, "Through the Night". Talk about early 80s meets late 70s, this a little British, loaded American, a simply diving experience in merits of utter power. What can you tell about these songs? In a way these two are a step forward into vintage Metal, and less into the mind triggering elements, right?

I think songs like "Through The Night" do show influence of early 80's metal like Queensryche and Fates Warning. We'd like to expand upon that vintage metal vibe on the next album and have some songs with some faster tempos.

Progressive or not, which of these songs challenged you the most, in a way drained you to the point where you needed a break from it for a bit?

The songwriting process developed quickly; the lyrics were written in a timely manner unlike previous albums where I've had difficulty finishing lyrics. I think the most challenging part was when we went to the studio to record vocals. The vocal melodies were still very new and some of the melody lines weren't so refined at the time.

With hopes that this band would also be featured live, what are your plans to support the newly debut, "Pathological"?

We are playing the Maryland Doom Fest this June as well as working on some show appearances in our area. Would love for the band to be able to play some festivals in Europe.

I wish to thank you for your time for this interview, it was great to have you and talk about another new foundation of Metal and Rock. All the best, Lior Stein. Happy New year! 

Lior, thank you for the interview! Also, thank you for the review of the Mythosphere album. Happy New Year, man!

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