Influential Album: Ryan Peoples of Oryx & Crake on Sufjan Stevens


* New series called #OpenEarsInfluencers, highlighting an album that had a major influence on artists, music industry folks, and music fiends alike’s love for music, an album that was really a catalyst and started it all for where they currently are in their musical journey. 

This is a special week as we celebrate the upcoming release of Oryx & Crake‘s long awaited sophomore album, Marriage, due out September 25th via Deer Bear Wolf Records. This Saturday, September 12th, Oryx & Crake has a very special “Marriage” release show planned at The EARL with a reception to follow at the Brigantine Beer Parlor and Recreation Hall with Dot.s. If you are anywhere near Atlanta, you don’t want to miss this experience.

Your RSVP is requested here. Formal attire optional.

Check out the single “Hold Hands For Dry Land” from Oryx & Crake’s upcoming album Marriage:

To celebrate the upcoming Marriage, this week we’ve asked each member of the six person band to give us their influential album. Check back here throughout the week to get to know Oryx & Crake and some of the albums that helped bring the band to this stellar new album.

Today’s first entry is from frontman Ryan Peoples who provides vocals, guitars, synths, singing saw, and programming for Oryx & Crake. Ryan’s album:

Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz

Ryan Peoples of Oryx & Crake on Sufjan Stevens’s “The Age of Adz.”

Ryan Peoples of Oryx & Crake on Sufjan Stevens’s “The Age of Adz.”

“There are so many records that discretely or directly influenced our new record Marriage. Pink Floyd, Simon and Garfunkel, Robert Wyatt, as well as modern influences like Phosphorescent and Dirty Projectors all make appearances at one point or another.. Even Gotye is directly referenced at one point! The Antlers’s Hospice album is one of my favorites, and I strove to capture the emotiveness and scope of that one. The difficult subject matter that Hospice takes on is inspiring, and, as I get older, I only want to make albums that tackle something big.

But what really sold me on the idea of how to make a concept album was Sufjan Stevens’s The Age of AdzI love how everything feeds into the concept from the artwork to the lyrics to the instrumentation. Stevens really did a 180 on his ‘usual’ instrumentation because that’s what this album called for. We embraced this idea and really tried to use the instrumentation as a metaphor on Marriage. We combined instruments that usually don’t go together, or sound at odds with one another, a contrast or struggle which often happens with a commitment to a person or an ideal. The wholehearted commitment to the concept while avoiding becoming too cerebral and keeping emotive is something I hope we captured.”

– Ryan Peoples/Oryx & Crake

More On Oryx & Crake:


Facebook: @oryxandcrakeband

Twitter: @oryxncrake

Instagram: @oryxncrake

YouTube: Oryx and Crake

Soundcloud: oryxandcrake

Bandsintown: OryxAndCrake

Bio: A commitment. An adventure. A journey. Peoples use these words all the time in relation to marriage, in vows and explanations and elegies. So, too, do husband and wife Ryan Peoples and Rebekah Goode-Peoples of Atlanta’s Oryx & Crake. Though, chances are they mean it in a totally different way.

“There’s a beast in me/and I know you know this,” Ryan sings on “Strange as You Are,” the opener of the band’s latest album, Marriage. But knowing and seeing are two different things entirely, and Oryx & Crake make hay of the tension that lies between the two loading on Patterson Hood’s “duality of the Southern thing,” abandoned religion and nods to more than one of the great post-apolcalyptic novels of our time for good measure. Ostensibly, Marriage is about commitment – in a broad sense, not just between romantic partners – but it’s even bigger than that. Marriage is also about ambivalence.

For an album to tackle such big and slippery themes, it almost has to be cinematic, and in that regard, Oryx & Crake do not disappoint. Marriage displays the grandeur of Arcade Fire’s finer moments with the lyrical and emotional heft of Sufjan Steven’s more personal cuts. Tracks like “The World Will Take Care of Me” show off the group’s range, beginning with nothing but a voice and a guitar and gradually sneaking in layer after layer of sound, creating a sense of something rich and organic, which permeates the album.


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Mike Gerry

Head music fiend at OpenEars Music

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