Saturday 21 July 2012

ORANGE // Interview & Review

 Tim Armstrong of Rancid discovered and signed ORANGE when they were just 16 years old. Fast forward and ORANGE has been a band for over ten years and they’re still in their early twenties.

The LA pop-punkers are back in the UK so Est.1987 took the opportunity to catch up with front-man Joe Dexter to chat the new sound, why he loves the UK and why he hates oranges!

Joe Dexter on stage in Manchester
First things first- should I be wearing Orange to come to one of your shows?
[Laughing] Well, yes! But at least you’re wearing black, that’s the next best thing.

This is the second night of the UK tour. How was Birmingham last night?
Birmingham was fantastic; it was great to see all the kids come out and wear orange to support us and like at any first gig of the tour we’re still finding our feet so y’know, its going to get better from here on out. We’re really excited for tonight!

What can we expect from this evening’s show? I heard you might be playing a new unreleased song?
We like to keep our set fresh, especially as this is a tour that is solely for the fans; we don’t expect anything from this tour except for having fun with all the kids that have supported us. So, we definitely like to keep it fresh with new songs and maybe a new cover, but I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised.

Guitarist Alec Gomez at Manchester Academy 3
What are the differences playing over here to back in America?
There’s more of a crowd over here which is fantastic. We spent nine years trying to make it in America but there are just so many bands there that the competition is just so fierce. And then we got on this tour with Zebrahead about two years ago over here and the crowd really responded to our music and we were thinking “we’ve been touring in the wrong place for the last nine years, let’s come to the UK.”

You recently released a video for “Resist” – was it fun making it?
Yes! We worked with the same director that did the video for “Everything I Need”, Tim Thompson, and I just think that he’s a talent waiting to be discovered, he’s so creative. We shot the entire thing in just an afternoon and the rest of it was all hand animated on Tim’s computer. It was a blast.

You started ORANGE in your teens, over 10 years ago. How would you say the band has evolved musically along the way? Have your influences changed?
That’s a great question; I feel like our style has evolved drastically, especially if you listen to “Welcome To The World of Orange” our first record when we were about sixteen and then our latest EP is “Dead Sexy”. If you compare the two it sounds like the same band but it’s so much more evolved and mature. As with any songwriter you progress in your life and lyrically everything just matured for us.

ORANGE's latest EP
And where do you see the next 10 years going?
Gosh, I know where I’d like to see us but I don’t know where we will be; but of course we would like to make a career out of this. I often daydream into the future but I do like to stay grounded at the same time.

Is your most recent EP “Dead Sexy” a taster of things to come and the direction you’ll take ORANGE?
Yeah, totally, and that’s why we put it out. Our last full length was in 2009 and we’re in 2012 now and that’s a massive gap for a band to take. So we put out an EP to keep it fresh and give fans a taster of things to come; it’s a little heavier and a little more new wave, if you will.

Storytelling seems to be at the forefront of your music and lyrics; is that something you have consciously always wanted to do? And how do you go about forming songs?
ORANGE at Manchester
Oh yeah absolutely, I think any good songwriter aims to tell a story that a listener can get involved in. We’ve just been fortunate that I’ve got a lot to write about and maybe not all the stories are relatable but it’s good to get them out. I’m always about music and melody first and then lyrics will come last for me. Melody is so important for me.

And finally…you guys are obviously called ORANGE; but do you eat many oranges?!
Actually I’m allergic to oranges! So it’s really ironic. I hate orange juice too; it’s so sour and horrible. No oranges on the rider!

And here’s what happened when ORANGE took to the stage…

Alec Gomez on stage in Manchester
This was a tour that admittedly was to thank UK fans for the support they have given to the transatlantic pop-punk quartet. The band undoubtedly have faired more successfully on UK shores and tonight was about embracing the band’s musical evolution and being taken along for the ride. 
A sea of orange lines the front of the stage; the colours worn and displayed with pride from the loyal fans. 

Bursting on to the stage at the Academy 3, ORANGE breaks into the upbeat and angsty "Elektron Gun". Theatrical by nature the stage is awash with cartoon cardboard cut outs of themselves and even our very own Mariachi in the shape of guitarist Alec Gomez. The rhythmic "Cool Mexicans" with its chanting lyrics and intricate guitar riffs is played alongside fan requests submitted online. "This one’s for you guys”, bellows lead singer Joe Dexter before breaking into “Rollercoaster”. ORANGE play tracks from throughout their career, and as promised throw in a cheeky cover version. LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It” is given an impressive and playful pop-punk makeover.

ORANGE on stage

Despite a few technical difficulties, Joe leads the band confidently through the set; jokingly naming the crowd “ladies and gentle germs” amidst chants of “can I get an amen?” ORANGE aren’t breaking any boundaries with their blend of power pop-punk, but that isn’t to say that what they do doesn’t work. They are a band that are ambitious, have gone out there and done it and have a successful and devoted following. Their performance is precise and dynamic; songs such as “Affirmation Song” prove that they can deliver infectious songs that are gritty, yet harmonious and the band made sure everyone in the Academy had a good time. “Resist” the band’s most recent offering, leads the way for the bands next musical progression; fiery, vibrant and slightly heavier the track soars though the venue, as does a beach ball!  ORANGE; simple pop-punk at its most enjoyable.

Be sure to catch ORANGE on tour...