Houston Calling

Ten Questions for Orange Is In

January 24th, 2006 · 2 Comments

Orange Is In have a new CD, Another Lame Semi-Tragedy, which will be available at the band’s CD release show this Saturday night (1.28.06) at Rudyard’s. Arthur Yoria and SkyBlue72 open the show.

The band will also be playing on the Fox morning show this Friday (1.27.06) so be sure to tune into the program.

I recently asked Orange Is In members George Kovacik (vocals), Chris Rogers (guitars), and Jeff Balke (bass) a series of questions. Enjoy.

Ten Questions for Orange Is In

HC: How did Orange Is In get started as a band?

Orange Is In: Jeff and George had been writing and recording songs since early 1997, and despite numerous attempts, couldn’t find the right mixture of people to play the music like it should be played. It was frustrating because songs would get started but never finished because finding the right people was so difficult. Amy had worked with us by recording some violin tracks for songs we were producing, so she seemed to be a good fit, but it wasn’t until Chris and Leesa joined (early 2004) that the songs really began to take shape. Leesa and Jeff clicked right away as a rhythm section and Chris brought a unique and creative style to the music. He seemed to play parts and riffs that instantly fit every song.

Our first gig was at Rudyard’s after only four rehearsals. It was a little rough, but we all knew we had something special. “Orange Is In,” a name we actually found after asking some people on a local basketball bulletin board to throw out some names, just seemed to fit. No hidden meanings with it. No hidden agendas. It just simply sounded good, so we grabbed it, and here we are.

HC: What do consider to be your musical influences?

Orange Is In: Everybody brings different influences to the band. There’s everything from Elvis Costello to Van Halen to Bruce Springsteen to Led Zeppelin to The Smiths to Ozzy to Peter Gabriel. Maybe the only completely common influence among everyone is the Beatles. Even though we have all of these different influences, the music has consistency. It is recognizable as us from one song to the next. Some of that might have to do with the violin. Besides John Mellencamp and Springsteen, you do not hear to many pop songs featuring violin.

HC: How was recording the new album? You guys used Sugar Hill, right? I know that the albums of other bands who have recorded there always turn out top-notch. It pays to pay for a good studio, in my opinion. I
always hate hearing albums that sound like they were recorded in someone’s bathroom.

Orange Is In: Well it’s funny you should say that (about songs being recorded in bathrooms) because we actually recorded a lot of the CD in Chris’ studio, Rogers Recording, that is located in his house. We did the drums, bass and most of the violin at Sugar Hill because of the great mic selection and cool sounding room in Studio B. Also we wanted an analog sound, especially for the drums. We recorded vocals, guitars, keyboards and a few other things at Chris’ room so we would have time to get our ideas together and not feel the tick of the clock. We went back to Sugar Hill to mix with Steve Christensen, who is really a great mix engineer. It can be a long process but if you put the extra work and take your time the CD will reflect that.

HC: How does Orange Is In approach the songwriting process? Is it a collective effort?

Orange Is In: Up until this past year, George and Jeff wrote everything, having been songwriting partners since the mid-90’s. Although the band musically collaborated on the arrangements, the songs were in the hands of them. This last year, Chris became much more involved and now the three of them work on songs together. By working with complimentary talents, it brings a greater diversity to the material.

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry? Are you for or against the MP3 “revolution”? How do you use the internet as a tool to market yourself?

Orange Is In: When looking at CD’s, we noticed the “No unauthorized reproduction” disclaimers on them and were considering going with standard language until we saw that our friends in Drop Trio had put “Unauthorized duplication, while sometimes necessary, is never as good as the real thing” on their new CD, Cezanne, and we went with something very similar because we embrace technology and independent distribution via the internet. Jeff co-owns a web development company and Chris is an audio engineer working on computers on a nearly daily basis, so the band is very comfortable with the idea of the use of technology for both making and distributing music. We still would prefer that people buy the music rather than try to get it for free, but getting people listening is more important to us right now than going postal on downloaders.

As for the internet, we use it as our primary marketing tool outside of Houston and it is how we get information to our friends and fans via mass emails, etc. We use electronic press kits and make our music available for purchase via download through several websites like Outboundmusic.com. We also put our music on band websites like GarageBand.com and MySpace.com.

HC: I usually ask this of all the bands and get a wide array of answers. Some see Houston’s “music scene” at a disadvantage because of the size of the city (as opposed to somewhere like Austin, which has a more compact area in 6th Street) and some don’t see any cohesive scene here at all. How do you view the “music scene” in Houston? How would you change it if you could?

Orange Is In: We are all veterans of the Houston music scene, some of us longer than we¹d probably like to admit. The problems with the music scene are complex and can¹t be solved with any quick fix. There is the size of the city and the lack of a central entertainment district.

But, maybe the most significant problem is the unwillingness by musicians to acknowledge our own diversity. There has always been the complaint that we have great music here, but no one notices. Actually, that’s not true. The rap, hip hop and r&b scene is flourishing. Destiny’s Child and Beyonce in particular are major superstars. We have numerous country, Latin, jazz and Tejano artists representing Houston both nationally and internationally. We have legendary blues musicians who have called Houston home since the 50’s. It’s unfortunate that we believe that a great scene is limited to the amount of rock, pop and alternative music that represents your city. Even if you don’t care for a certain style of music, it is foolish to ignore it if it has the ear of millions of people. Why not get some benefit from that? It would be nice to see those of us who represent that side of the scene work with musicians and artists from other genres instead of staying so segregated and wondering why we never seem to get any respect.

HC: If you could have any band cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band?

Orange Is In: I think maybe The Butthole Surfers doing our song “Dividing All We Are” would be pretty cool.

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about your music?

Orange Is In: Bad.

HC: Now that the album is released, what does the band have planned? Any touring on the horizon? I know you have day jobs, so are there plans to market the album outside of Texas?

We are definitely not going to let 500 copies of Another Lame Semi-Tragedy sit in the attic collecting dust. We plan to play Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth (playing Mayfest in May), possibly in south Texas, as well as the Houston area. We don’t want to play every week in Houston because it just seems to limit the audience for a big show. We are also sending our disc to stations throughout the state who have local shows that feature Texas music. We also hope to tour the East Coast this summer and some festivals throughout the country. We want as many people as possible to hear us as possible. We will also be doing alot of marketing on the internet and working very hard to get onto indie radio stations throughout the country. If this CD doesn’t sell, it will not be for a lack of trying. Trust us.

HC: What is in your CD player right now?

Orange Is In: How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb — U2 / Dresden Dolls — ­ Dresden Dolls / Employment –­ Kaiser Chiefs / The Rising — Bruce Springsteen / Try! — The John Mayer Trio / Breathe Me –­ Sia / C’mon C’mon — Von Bondies / Absolution ­– Muse / Everyone is Here — The Finn Brothers / In Your Honor — Foo Fighters

Thanks to Orange Is In for taking the time to answer these questions. Please be sure to come out on Saturday night for the band’s CD release show at Rudyard’s. And pick up their new album, Another Lame Semi-Tragedy, while you’re there.

Visit Orange Is In on the web here. Visit Arthur Yoria’s website here. SkyBlue72 can be found online here.

Now Playing: Paul Weller — “From The Floorboards Up”

Tags: Music

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gary // Jan 24, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Cool! I’ve grown really fond of Orange Is In. Good job (again).

  • 2 Phil // Jan 27, 2006 at 10:38 am

    Orange Is In will be interviwed
    on KPFT’s radioACTIVE show Friday at 1-2 pm

    90.1 FM
    livestream at kpft.org