Re-entering orbit

Laika reinvents after two-year hiatus

Kelly Allison

It’s been two years since Jordan Dorge, frontman of Winnipeg death metal sextet Laika, has played a live show. But on Oct. 11, he’ll return to the stage with bandmates Steve Tedham (synth), Mike Mason (bass), Ian Garraway (guitar), Alex Kling (guitar) and Blair Garraway (drums) at the Windsor Hotel for the release of the band’s sophomore album, Somnia. To mark the occasion, Dorge hopes to plan an evening that metal fans will not forget, including performances from Tyrants Demise, Mortalis, Withdrawal and Occvlt Hand.

“It’s a great mixture of bands we don’t play with normally,” Dorge says. “Since we’ve been away for a while, we wanted to get a very eclectic line up. We want to entice people to come out and pack the Windsor. The first 25 people in the door get a free Laika CD.”

Somnia’s release has been long-anticipated for Dorge, as Laika’s previous album Crafting The Cataclysm was received with little critical fanfare.

“There was a lot of negative and a lot of mid-range feedback. Like, sub-par,” Dorge says of the band’s debut. “We were still figuring out our sound on that record. The production was good but it wasn’t as good as it could be.”

Why such a lukewarm reception? Dorge feels the band’s unique sound cannot be easily categorized.

“We are death metal but we’re more melodic. We don’t fit into the mold of melodic death metal,” Dorge explains. “We’re not traditional metal in any sense but we do have death metal elements. We’re a weird hybrid.”

Somnia will be released by Filth Regime Records, a company founded by Dorge earlier this year. In only a few short months, the label has released projects by such Canadian metal acts as Numenorean and Endless Chaos.

“Until now, we’ve put out mostly vinyl releases,” Dorge adds. “But we’re doing CDs for Somnia because we’ve been so dormant. I have no idea what to expect.”

Despite his love for music, Dorge maintains that Laika’s strongest influences come from other areas of pop culture.

“I feel like movies and books are the direct inspiration for our music,” Dorge admits. “We actually have a song on our first record called ‘Diving into Blindness,’ which was loosely based on the movie, The Lovely Bones. A lot of our stuff is deep rooted in psychological thrillers and horror films like Rosemary’s Baby, Suspiria and The Omen.”

However, Dorge believes that creative changes made in the passing years have yielded positive results.

“The recording of Somnia was really fluid,” Dorge says. “There were no hiccups or anything. Working with the band was amazing. We were just in and out. They’re great musicians. They’re my best friends, some of them I’ve known since Grade 6. I’ve seen them grow from babies into this crazy pot of talent.”

Dorge hopes that the Winnipeg underground music scene will welcome him back with open arms.

“We know our sound,” Dorge asserts. “We’re stronger musicians. We’ve been fine-tuning these songs for two years and now we’re going to display them. This is the new Laika.”

Published in Volume 69, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 8, 2014)

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