In the attempt to read the plumes of smoke rising heavily from the LP “Black Smoke Rising” by The Orange Revival, one must be careful not to end up with his or her head in the clouds. Such is the intoxicating nature of the songs collected within – rock of frustration sent to the air with great elevation.
Given the strength of smoke signals as a tool used to communicate over great distances, it seems appropriate that the fuzz-and-organ drenched explosions delivered by The Orange Revival travel from the sacred soil of Sweden to sweeten our rock and roll dreams. But the message received would be equally pleasing no matter where the fire of The Orange Revival began its burn – and songs like “Bring Your Light” and “Ever” confirm that their fire is burning bright.
We sent a smoke signal of our own to Sweden, reviving the band’s Eric from his fourteen-hour, twelve-string, technicolor dream, who was then kind enough to fill us in on the many colors of The Orange Revival. Enjoy.
The opening song (“Yesterday”) seems to us the perfect introduction not only to the “Black Smoke Rising” album in particular but to the music of The Orange Revival as a whole – memorable, massive and (maybe) mystical. What can you tell us about the creation of this song? What does the “black smoke” referenced in this song refer to, and what led to the decision to title the album as such?
The song was made around March of last year and recorded around May so we could have the 12” ready before our European tour. But we didn’t get it before the tour so … hehe. It was a lot of stress recording/mixing/mastering the songs off the album and at the same time booking a tour, work, etc., but it worked out. The time when I was writing the song was really sad and bad … it was a black smoke rising.
What was your very first experience playing in a band and what was most surprising to you – either in a positive or a negative way – about that experience? What bands or artists persuaded you to start creating your own music? How do you think your concept of yourself as a musician or artist has evolved since starting The Orange Revival?
I started playing music when I was like 10 years old but never really got into it. Then I got hooked when I was 17-18 and since then I have played in a few different bands ,but ended up only playing with my own band (Orange Revival) ‘cause that´s the music I wanna play.
Dylan was a big influence when I started playing guitar again and singing, etc. … Elliott Smith and Nico, also. They are three of the people who made me start playing again, but there are many, many more.
I just play whatever comes up in my head and don´t think much about a certain sound – rather a good mix than a repeat.
Are all of the members of The Orange Revival from Sweden originally? How do you think your upbringing or adolescence in Sweden contributed to you developing an interest in music? Sweden has a notable history of producing bands in not only the psychedelic (from Baby Grandmothers to Dungen) and rock and roll realms (The Hellacopters, Graveyard, etc.), but in more difficult to define realms as well (ABBA, Bathory, Parson Sound, Jasper TX). What music from Sweden continues to excite or interest you today?
Yeah, we are all from Sweden. It’s been a few different members during the last few years – Andreas has been playing with us for one year now, Christian for a bit more than a year and Volter for six months. Every member has changed except for me since our acoustic European tour in 2010. It was dirty, we slept on the streets most of the time, got drugged and robbed in Spain, etc. Felix (our guitarist then) was found in the woods on a bench without anything except clothes. Somebody had carried him down there away from us during sleep, it was all very weird … hard to describe on a computer. We will put out a short film from that trip if we can find a camera to transfer the tapes to the computer … there is 11hours of footage from that trip.
We have many good friends in Sweden who plays great music and as you said we have Graveyard, Dungen ,Trummor & Orgel, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, and many, many more, among which are some of the newer bands here that we like!
Have you ever seen this website before? What do you think your reaction would be if this group asked The Orange Revival to perform at one of your events? What do you think the audience reaction would be if you actually did it, and would you play a song called “Lord, I’m Gonna Shake It”?
The video they got there is out of control. Psychedelic shit!
If we had a song called “Lord, I’m Gonna Shake It,” we would definitely play it and let them shake their brains all the way to reality …
“Composition 14:39” is another song on “Black Smoke Rising” that continues to fascinate us, especially given its organ-heavy, “Satanic Majesties”-style sing-along vibe. What does the title of the song have to so with its contents, if anything? Is it possible that there exists a fourteen-minute, thirty-nine second version of this song somewhere?
The song was written and recorded a sunny day last winter in February. I recorded the acoustic guitar and the organ melody thru the built in mic on my Macbook – haha! – and the vocals as well, then added drums and some vocal layers in our studio. I started to record it when the clock on my computer said “14:39,” so I just named the project “14:39” and never came up with a better name.
Do you have a preference between playing live with The Orange Revival and recording with The Orange Revival? What do you hope the audience translates from your sound when hearing The Orange Revival play? What types of things do you like to experience yourself when watching live music?
I like both playing live and recording. I just want to hear good music if I go to a concert, I guess … and to see that they enjoy to be there playing.
Would you care to comment on the rumor (the rumor that we are attempting to start right now) that you will spend half of your time at Austin Psych Fest running a food cart serving orange sherbet cocktails, duck l’orange sandwiches and raw orange Mentos (the Freshmaker!), called “The Orange Revival”?
The rumor is that we will serve warm Johnny Walker Red from a parachute.
How did you first hear about Austin Psych Fest? Have you visited the States previously? Are there any bands in particular that you are looking forward to seeing play at the Fest?
Yeah, I think we all have been in the States before, except from our bass player. We are looking forward to seeing as many bands as possible. The Brian Jonestown Massacre is always great and haven´t seen The Black Angels before, so that will be fun, and The Telescopes and … yeah, it’s a lot of good bands! Looking forward to see which other twenty bands will be playing this year!
In his classic book “Lord of the Flies,” William Golding writes the following:
“His voice rose under the black smoke before the burning wreckage of the island; and infected by that emotion, the other little boys began to shake and sob too. And in the middle of them, with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, Ralph wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy.”
Guess the stone was produced in space and released in Piggy´s face. Too bad, though – he was a good guy.
What’s next for The Orange Revival?
We just came back from a gig in Stockholm and we are playing a gig here at our home village on Friday and we are recording many new songs which will be out soon! Hopefully we will have a new EP out before we go to the US. We have been playing many new songs live, but haven´t really had the time and strength to record them all yet. We are also planning some gigs around New York and some other cities before Psych Fest, so keep an eye out! Looking forward to seeing you in Austin!