Origami Angel is seen on the DIY Recording of “Gami Gang”

Origami Angel is seen on the DIY Recording of “Gami Gang”

Made up of guitarist and vocalist Ryland Heagy and drummer Pat Doherty, the prolific two-piece has released an astounding seven projects in just five years. Each release has been infused with the perfect balance of blazing-fast tapping and twinkle riffs, thick and layered chugging breakdowns, and perfectly complementary accentuated drumming. What’s more is that the pair always finds time between releases to grow, evolve, and tear it up in brand-new and exciting ways.

If you’ve somehow managed to miss DC outfit Origami Angel’s rise to the top of the DIY emo scene, you’ve got a lot to catch up on.
ryland and pat of origami angel
Ryland and Pat of Origami Angel

Most recently, Gami dropped their sophomore LP, Gami Gang. This record sees the band ambitiously flexing in every direction. Doubling the size and length of Somewhere City, the band’s first LP, Gami Gang is 20 glorious tracks of perfection—and all of it was recorded in Ryland’s bedroom.

As a massive fan of this band, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting down with Ryland to chat about the new record and get the ins and outs of his incredibly specific and impressive rig. Check it out below, and then head to Counter Intuitive Records to pick up some beautiful Gami vinyl.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Congratulations, of course, on Gami Gang—it’s an incredible record. As someone who has been following your band since the early days, it seems like you were steadily building an audience that just totally exploded exponentially after that first LP dropped. Did you feel a massive shift or growth in your audience after the release of Somewhere City?

Yeah, in terms of the recognition, I think you’re totally right. We had sort of been building up this cult momentum through the earlier releases, which was the goal. That was a big release year for us, 2019, because it went: The Holy Split, then Gen 3 four months later, and then Somewhere City came out six months after that. We always had it planned that way, as part of the first LP rollout in a sense. We wanted to have this year where we released like 16-17 songs, and this is how we could do that financially.

I think there’s huge pressure in this community to get that first LP out, but it’s just tough. You want to make it right, you want to be able to do drums in the studio or whatever. Whereas with the EPs, you can do them your own and build momentum that way, so that’s kind of the approach that we took.

Once we hit Somewhere City, though, the recognition was through the roof in a way we weren’t expecting. We were playing shows we booked before Somewhere City at places like All Star Lanes in LA and like 300 people showed up. Same in Arizona—we were playing at a tattoo shop I think, and people were just going crazy. We sold out Beat Kitchen in Chicago, too. Just all over the country, there wasn’t a sleeper—places I had never expected us to have a significant draw were filled with people having fun with us. That was something that we hadn’t prepared to experience and made us realize that Somewhere City was a huge, huge step for us. It can’t be overstated. The first LP is so important to bands and I think there’s always a rush toward it, but I’m so glad that we were able to wait and take our time and get our legs under us before we did it.

You can definitely hear that growth from project to project with how solid and tight your presentation always is. It’s funny to hear you say that this has been you all “taking your time,” though, just because you’ve managed to still put out seven releases in just five years. That would be insanely impressive for any band, but especially being within the DIY space as you are, where such steady release consistency isn’t exactly common, it’s pretty incredible. Thank you, that means a ton to me because that’s what the whole mission statement has been since day one. It’s hard because art and business is something that, in the heart, should never overlap, you know? But it has to a certain point and that’s something I realized very early on. When I was paying for the first EP , paying to have it mixed and shit, I was just like dang—it’s crazy how much money and energy and effort can go into this.

Pat and I talked and we made a conscientious decision that as a band, we want to be as self-sufficient as possible. We were also working full-time, Pat was going to school, so I was like alright, let’s just sink money into shirts and every cent we make will just go back into the band fund. Luckily, after the first run of selling shirts at shows and everything, the band fund was positive, so we started figuring out how to put that money most effectively back into our next record and just kept pushing.

I was super surprised (and excited) to see that Gami Gang was twice as long as Somewhere City. Was it always in the cards for you guys to put out a double LP so soon after the first record, or was that a result of having extra time due to the pandemic? What’s really funny is that we actually had this idea of making a 20-track album even before we recorded Somewhere City.
gami gang album cover
Gami Gang album cover.

When we were writing Somewhere City, I was working pretty much 50 hours a week and Pat was a couple of hours away at school, so it was kind of just in between grinding. I was just making sure that I was getting as much down musically as possible whenever I could. I was writing this Somewhere City concept and anything that didn’t fit that, I kind of put in my back pocket. In the mess of everything, it took me a couple months to realize . I got a notepad and wrote everything down that wasn’t for Somewhere City and realized I had like 35 songs. I wasn’t finished with a lot of them, and it gave me a little bit of anxiety even thinking about it because I loved them but knew there was no way that we could put out all of them.

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