Ahead of our Amplify: Forever West event this weekend, we thought we’d chat to our headliner, Orange Orange and see what he’s been up to since we last chatted back in May last year.
Photo by Phoebe Veldhuizen
Hey Orange Orange, nice to have you back chatting to Forever West. For those new here can you please introduce yourself!
Hola Forever West! My name is Ryan but I make cool music under Orange Orange. It’s my solo pursuits of music with my own production, my own tastes and my own beliefs being infused to create songs.
Where did the name Orange Orange come from?
Back before I was releasing my own music. I was going through an alias crisis for my Instagram back in high school. I went through quite a few names… some about skunks, some about Kylo Ren, some about Pokemon; ultimately the name “Orange Orange” was the name I came back to and stuck with. I think Orange is a very cool colour, with many connotations that are applicable to life (whether it’s to be seen in fluro orange, a sepia-like tint for an old photo or nostalgic memory, or other connotations with fruits or hazards), and the many definitions of Orange have been intriguing me ever since I duplicated the word way back when.
You have such an incredible style of music with a mix of genres, what and who inspires you to make the kind of music you make?
How kind of you! Thank you! A combination of thorough self-producing and a ridiculously large array of musical loves and influences leads to myself having a little too much on my plate sometimes. I feel that my method has recently devolved towards hand-picking my favourite things about certain songs I listen to and melding them all together. Like one of my recent releases “Future Role” tries to combine the catchy synth rhythm from George Alice’s ‘Stuck in a Bubble’ with some dynamic and arrangement cues from The Flaming Lips, particularly their big song ‘Race for the Prize’, along with the driving feel of Sydney Miller’s ‘Out from the Inside’. Obviously, I’m not copying these songs to a tee, but I reckon those influences can be heard if you listen closely.
The guidelines for my arrangements are so incredibly loose, which leads to songs sounding so radically different from others. I think the other element that makes the mix of genres so blatant is that I try very hard to avoid repeating myself so blatantly within a release because repetition can sometimes bore me to death. That’s obviously not how all artists operate, or SHOULD operate; it’s just my personal preference really.
In the end, I can lay the blame on the big wig alternative bands for my pursuit of many stylings in one project, because those bands are big enough to be so ambitious with each song. I’m looking at you Radiohead and Everything Everything.
Ryan after having a sneaky look at your website I read you began to explore songwriting and production more going into your second EP "What Did the MUNKEE Say Now??" - What did that process look like for you, taking those further steps into musical exploration?
Golly… I’ll need to update my website I reckon!
I was working on the songs for MUNKEE before we had the lockdowns but even way back when I was writing those songs I was really beginning to understand the power of production and its limitless potential, alongside where my musical interests and strengths lie. Before then, I wrote a lot of songs with simple preset sounds and boring drum sounds on Ableton, and that was fine… but as I grew more familiar with sounds I understood how to enhance these sounds and shape them to be more powerful, being able to make the sounds on my own.
Alongside this, I felt that I was becoming more potent as a lyric writer after much practise and that I could finally write more on topics that I wanted to explore (and write less on wanting love or being sad), and I felt reinforced that I could be braver with what I said, and weirder with the things I said, but confident in the way it was said.
I also felt I could interweave all this lyric work back with my new sound and get some interesting results. I felt that understanding the themes of what I wanted to say helped inform where I wanted the song to go, and how I wanted things to begin or end. Once I understood this, I was writing songs at the rate baby boomers were being born. There was no stopping me, really.
What ended up on the MUNKEE EP turned out to be just the tip of the iceberg – the new songs that I have been writing seem to be exploring some interesting themes and songwriting stylings. Look forward to it!
Photo by Maxine Zanoni
Talk to us about the residency with Sydney Miller? What can we expect…or will we just have to wait and see?
It’s been splendid so far! We’ve played some amazing shows at the Gasometer so far… opening for each other… with such talented supports (Stella Bridie and Holly Hebe). It’s been so ridiculously fun. We also went up to Chewton last weekend to go play at the Red Hill Hotel and I have to say it was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had with playing music. The owner of the hotel was absolutely amazing, they were so hospitable and kind and we were so happy to be working with them– HUGE shout out to James & the family up there. Everyone was so happy to be in regional Victoria performing, and we had some quality time around the area before and after we played, walking through gardens and at markets.
As for coming up… we have a show in Beechworth on the 18th of June and a final show at the Gasometer on the 22nd. Expect a set full of twists and turns, surprises and huge moments– I don’t want to spoil it but it will be a classy display.
Your new music video for your song ‘Granny Lands’ has us in awe. The beautiful cinematography, movement and of course the song all work so effortlessly together, it's a fantastic clip. What was the inspiration behind shooting that clip, was there something particular you wanted to resonate with listeners and viewers?
Thank you! Most of the credit deserves to go to Maxine Zanoni, Louis Walter and the passionate crew that all worked tirelessly to ensure our vision came to life. I spent quite a lot of time discussing the topics of the song with Maxine and trying to translate the themes of corporate greed and negligence of the environment onto the screen. In response, Maxine and Louis scouted these amazing locations that show the urban sprawl of mankind and how it has reduced certain locales from nature to pure brutalist architecture, and had them as a backdrop to host myself and Sydney Miller. I think it was very powerful, and I love seeing the city lights, decrepit structures and power lines in the background of our performances.
Something that unexpectedly put this video beyond what I was envisioning is that the majority of these locations are quite close to where I live in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Locations like the energy and petroleum terminals in Spotswood, the old Bradmill factory in Yarraville and the freight line cutting through South Kingsville help reinforce that identity as an artist from the west. I like that.
What's coming up next for Orange Orange?
My second album is 95% finished! We’re already playing all the songs in our live sets, now I’m just organising and making content for these releases, music videos, gigs, photos, artwork and stuff. Hopefully we can do some more touring as the end of the year comes around – which is when I’m hoping the album can be released.
Photo by Phoebe Veldhuizen
You can catch Orange Orange at Amplify: Forever West. Settle in at the Bluestone Church Arts Space for an afternoon of live music, literary performances and art by emerging artists from the Western suburbs and beyond, guest-curated by Rude Baby Records.
Sunday, June 19 ♡ 4:00pm - 6:00pm
⛪️ Bluestone Church Arts Space - 8A Hyde Street, Footscray 3011
More info + tickets here