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Ghosts and orgies 

Audrye Sessions contemplates the good life

Audrye Sessions frontman Ryan Karazija and bassist Alicia Marie Campbell have gone through a lot, including the dissolution of their romantic relationship, extended recording sessions in a haunted barn, and a close encounter with a plummeting airplane.

But let's begin with the truck-stop orgy.

"The truck-stop orgy, that was in Amarillo, Texas don't ever go there," says Karazija. "Mike [Knox, the band's other guitarist] was sleeping in the van; we didn't have tinted windows, and all our gear was in it, so one of us would have to sleep out there. Everybody else was inside the Motel 6.

"So Mike woke up in the middle of the night, and directly in front of where the van was parked was a motel room door, and it was wide open. And there was an all-male orgy going on inside. It was very odd, because they had big cowboy boots, and he says he just laid there in terror that they'd seen him and that there'd be a sudden banging on the window."

Unlike the cowboys, the banging never came.

Audrye Sessions' strange journey started out in San Francisco's Bay Area. It was there that Karazija, raised on Radiohead and the Beatles, met up with Campbell, a Bjrk-obsessed ex-model who played guitar before moving on to bass.

The Radiohead influence is still evident in Karazija's falsetto. ("Oh yeah, it pisses me off," he responds dryly when asked if he's annoyed that Thom Yorke ripped off his vocal style. "Next question.") And like Silversun Pickups' Brian Aubert, Karazija has a knack for crafting ethereal melodies set to dynamic arrangements, deftly moving from a whisper to a scream.

OK, maybe not so much a scream as a kind of earnest keening, the sort of thing Bono used to do before his voice dropped. In fact, the soaring chorus of "Turn Me Off," the lead single from their self-titled major-label debut, wouldn't sound all that out of place on one of the Irish group's earliest albums.

Not long after they were starting to get noticed, Karazija and Campbell ended their relationship, but not their band: "It was like, I'm not leaving the band. Well, I'm not leaving the band either. Well, fine. Well, fine. Well, fuck you. Fuck you! We were both stubborn, but it ended up being great."

As previously noted, there have been other entertaining incidents along the way, both in the studio and on tour.

"On our way from Virginia Tech to Nashville, we were on the 40 and this old warplane flies overhead, like really low. He was trying to land on the 40 actually, but there were too many cars, so he just bit it into some trees."

When not dodging orgies and airplanes, Audrye Sessions like to record in the company of poltergeists.

"Mike was the one who experienced that," Karazija says. "We were all in different bedrooms and he had to sleep out in the front room. He said something started rattling near the TV and then it sounded like somebody was walking up by him where he was sleeping and he got freaked out. I remember he came running into the room. He wouldn't sleep in the front for the rest of the time there."

Of course, this was the same guy who witnessed the truck-stop orgy.

"Exactly," says Karazija. "I think he's full of shit."

bill@csindy.com

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