Karachi based indie band //orangenoise talk to Instep about their debut album, the experience of being part of Uth Records, playing live and much more…
//orangenoise: Daniel [Arthur Panjwaneey] and Talha [Asim Wynne] had been jamming for a while as another band, and when we met up with Danial [Hyatt] and Faizan [Riedinger] the four of us had a few songs between us that were a little punk/shoegazey. I guess everything up till now is an exploration of that direction we found then.
Instep: How many members are there in the group? And what is each person's role in the band?
//orangenoise: Essentially there's the four of us. Daniel and Talha are mostly involved with the song writing/concepts and vocals. We try not to limit ourselves to an instrument but Talha is usually found with the guitars around his neck, Daniel doing the bass work, Danial handling drums, and Faizan playing synths and/or guitars.
Instep: Why is the band called "//orangenoise"?
//orangenoise: We had signed up for this gig for CityFM89. It was the World Music Day concert in 2010. We had no band name at the time and had to give in a name for the flyers and stuff. One fine day, after a lot of obsessing over a band name, Talha spat out "orangenoise" and that was it. The "//" keeps it all together.
Instep: How would you describe the music you guys make? And in what genre would you classify your sound?
//orangenoise: It's an explosion of senses and an over saturation of feelings, quite like something boiling out of a pot. I don't feel it's our job to look at what genre this music that we're making falls into. It's our job to just make the music; people will classify it as a particular sound anyway. Though if you really wish to give it a name for the sake of it, let's just call it chappalgazing for now; even we have no idea what it is!
Instep: What does //orangenoise bring to the music industry that isn't out there already?
//orangenoise: Awesome live shows! We love playing live, and seriously feel that if you want to really see what we're all about, come to our live shows.
Instep: Do you think the fact that you're making experimental music and doing songs in English limits your appeal for the Pakistani audience?
//orangenoise: The Pakistani audience itself doesn't know what it really wants; they will go in the general direction of things and pick up stuff along the way. Liking or disliking something gives it limitations in any case. But a listener who's eager to explore different sounds coming from Pakistan would be stumbling on to something new. And in a place where everything gets redundant after a certain point, a change is very welcoming.
Instep: Have you guys ever had the impulse to make something more mainstream instead of experimenting with psychedelia and shoegaze?
//orangenoise: We just want to be honest with our expression. We don't want events and people influencing the decisions we make musically. We have to trust our music to find a place on the listeners' iPods or computers or whatever. It's not like we're avoiding the mainstream route; what we end up doing just doesn't fall on the same plane. Most of our songs have a pop song lying somewhere in its initial layers but that's just where the fun beings for us - to mask it and layer it up and provide the listener with an experience of finding hooks and passages that they can hum away later on or just be reminded of.
Instep: Are there any bands that you feel you are particularly influenced by?
//orangenoise: Influences from the past and present, any band that's ever been messing with the limits of what we know as music. It's safe to say that all four of us have certain individual influences that once put together sort of end up creating what we have as a sound here collectively. Some of those influences are Pink Floyd, Slowdive, Porcupine Tree, Frank Zappa, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tortoise, and Radiohead to name a few. A lot of electronic music, modern jazz, and avant-garde stuff as well.
Instep: How important was Uth Records in your musical journey?
//orangenoise: It was like a test in a way. A lot of questions hovered around. Can we adapt to a studio environment that wasn't our own home? Will we have enough time? Are we disciplined enough technically for studio work? I guess all these questions and more were answered in that episode.
Instep: How was the experience of being a part of Uth Records?
//orangenoise: It was three days of mad fun. We felt like working musicians and it would be really awesome to have that sort of stuff going for you if you're a band that's always up to something. The whole studio rigged up and ready to go. Plus Zeeshan [Parwez] and Gumby are brilliant to work with!
Instep: Please tell us about your debut album, A Journey to the Heart of Matter.
//orangenoise: This album is a collection of songs we've been playing since after our first release, veracious, back in January of 2011. We built up a repertoire of 10 to 12 tracks which we'd shuffle around in live shows. We've been trying to record these tracks for the past year, working with various techniques and methods, trying to get our live sound down on the album. Finally in, like, August of this year, we figured out a setup that worked for us and managed to contain that live and loud feel we were going for. This album is completely home made and self-produced - the mixing, recording, and mastering…everything.
Instep: You've released the album as a “name your price” download. Why did you choose to do so?
//orangenoise: Bandcamp is a fantastic website. It gives the artist the option of putting the album up for free, as a set price, or as 'name your price'. We opted for 'name your price' because, why not? We spent so much selfless time into making this record; it would be nice to get something out of it at the end of the day too.
Instep: How successful has the “name your price” strategy been monetarily?
//orangenoise: Out of the almost 500 downloads since its release, 21 downloads have been paid for, that too very generously.
Instep: You guys were heading to Kabul, Afghanistan for a show. Please tell us about that.
//orangenoise: Yes, we were invited for a three day festival there. Unfortunately our visas took too long to process and we ended up missing the shows.
Instep: You are also part of an episode of Lussun TV. What can you tell us about it?
//orangenoise: Lussun TV is an initiative from the musicians/artists of this new wave of crazies coming out from Karachi. Headed by Nadir Shehzad (Sikandar Ka Mandar), it takes under its wings bands and musicians who are doing something other than the ordinary. We have one episode out on its first season and we're featured in the upcoming second season as well. I think we might just be the first episode this season. The Lussun TV team is an entirely DIY unit, and by DIY we literally fall on the very definition of the term. Talha was director of photography for this season; Faizan worked on some of the art direction and visuals; Daniel and Danial were producing the audio and in charge of sound engineering for the sessions. At the end of the day we were all sweepers as we had to clean the premises up each day too.
Instep: What can we expect from orangenoise in the coming months?
//orangenoise: We've got the Lussun TV episode this season, just waiting for YouTube to come back, which we hope it does. We are also working on a video for a track from the new album, so that should be out sometime in the following months as well. Then once again, there's live shows! Come to them!
- By Sameen Amer
Instep, The News on Sunday - 28th October, 2012