7 Orange ABC
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7 Orange ABC

Berkeley, California, United States | SELF

Berkeley, California, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative

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At times reminding me of another of my local favorites, Geographer, at others reminding me of some earlier Radiohead stuff, 7 Orange ABC showed up last Thursday at the Starry Plough in Berkeley ready to rock, roll, chill, psych out, and get a less-than-packed house (but still a solid showing of people) lost in the soundtrack to our lives for sixty minutes......

........7 Orange ABC hit the stage and made believers of the uninitiated. They played “Just Like a Dream”, a track you can catch over on their MySpace. I’ve been listening to it regularly over the past week and between the warbly lead riffs and the hauntingly-thin-but-all-at-once-engrossing background vox, it has become a mainstay in my playlist. Having a stand up bass is always a welcome sight (and sound) as well, especially when the bassist breaks out the bow on occasion.

The guys are fairly new to the scene, but they’re well worth the the time if you like pre-electronic Radiohead and those like them. Your next shot is going to be at the Uptown in Oakland on December 16th. Be there. Seriously. - The Bay Bridged


Orange ABC went through a grueling debate before agreeing on a band name. After months of deliberation and posting a list in their shared kitchen with the top 30 picks, they finally decided on a cynical prediction of the future. "I thought about how many bands there are and how many bands there will be," says drummer/vocalist Daniel Wright. "It seems like all the decades had their patterns when it came to band names." What happens when all the choices run out? Will bands just have to be classified with numbers letters and colors?
All five members of 7 Orange ABC are songwriters, hailing from different parts of the globe with extensive musical backgrounds. They became friends while studying music in Boston. Beginning as a 12-piece ensemble called Yes-Theory, each week members would bring material to work with. Slowly they found and pushed limits: how dirty, how pretty, how loud, etc. Twelve became five and they mutually decided to move from Boston to the Bay Area. In Berkeley since May 2009, they have already established themselves locally with a solid amount of gigs including Red Devil Lounge and the legendary Hotel Utah in San Francisco.
Experimenting with sound is what Wright had in mind years ago when he started his music, poetry and storytelling collective workshop in Boston in the form of a band. For example, Wright's own "special hi-hat" that he created himself is a Wuhan China cymbal on the bottom, "the cheapest, nastiest-sounding cymbal you can buy," and a Paiste Signature splash on top. "Individually they sound amazing and together they sound more like a snare than hi-hats usually do," he says.
Many of their songs feature polyrhythmic passages and vocal harmonies that slowly build up to a heavy climax followed by a break down. It's minimalist rock, where the space or air between sounds is integral to song construction and tempo.
7 Orange ABC layers vocal harmonies reminiscent of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Like Young's Harvest Moon, the writing style - matched with the raw folkiness of Ethan Glazer's acoustic guitar strumming - create a feeling of nostalgia and introspection. "Directions," off their self-titled EP, presents eerily mystical acoustic tones morphing into choral background harmonies comparable to early post-Syd Barrett Pink Floyd, pre-Dark Side of the Moon. "This is Not the End" sounds like the Beatles meets early Radiohead.
In addition to Wright and Glazer, Trevor Bahnson plays guitar and sings and Mateo Lugo plays guitar. Haggai Cohen-Milo - who was born and lived in Israel, playing jazz there until he was 20 - plays some electric, but mostly upright bass. "There is a cultural background to the music I'm bringing," he says, considering his role. "Israeli jazz grows out of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's music that results from being in an emergency situation since birth."
7 Orange ABC are a solid unit. "Living together and practicing every day isn't easy, but the prevailing feeling is we're doing something special," Bahnson says. Raised in New Mexico, he discovered Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan as a teenager. He only listened to those two artists and nothing else for a whole year while learning how to play. Bahnson doesn't particularly like new guitars, because they "don't feel played enough."
?He brings a classic guitar sound to the band with his 1971 Gibson SG. At this point, 7 Orange ABC has released two EPs, each with four tracks. Bahnson says the band won't perform anything unless it's true to them on a deep level. "Deliver it and mean it," he says. "Better to blow one person away and piss off the rest than to half-ass the thing and let people feel nothing."
The last EP was recorded on two-inch tape and transferred to digital at Ex'pression College in Emeryville. The band mixed it themselves at home using Logic. Now they're moving toward recording their first full-length in the studio.
"Recording is its own beast," Wright says. "There's recording, and then there's music, and there's how they react. Performing right now is the most important thing for this band." Considering how recently they moved to the Bay Area, the quintet has done a solid amount of gigging, converting Bay Area indie-aficionados into a blossoming fanbase. Show-goers have dubbed them "the thinking man's band," with their attention to minute details of their music and a tendency to get involved in intense debates concerning aspects from dynamics and time signatures to textures and soundscapes. Glazer, who grew up in Thousand Oaks, Calif., says he has always had an enthusiasm for crafting music. "My approach to songwriting has always been very focused on lyrics and vocals, whereas Haggai and Mateo approach writing from a more compositional standpoint - creating a symbiotic relationship," he says. Wright adds, "Mateo is doing things on guitar that are beyond my instincts, and I do the same for him with lyrics and melodies. Together we create something bigger than both of us." Guitarist Mateo Lugo grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and plays a Gibson ES-335 and a Dobro 1976 resonator, using a slide on each. Lugo brings a spacey, experimental, futuristic sound to 7 Orange ABC, complimenting the classic sound of Bahnson's guitar. Last summer, after reading books on everything from circuit bending to soldering, Lugo built his own square wave oscillator. "I've been discovering that sound and sound combinations have a will of their own, they travel in a certain way," he says. "Like a sculpture or building, things fall together because we're on earth in this way. What I've been doing is catching those things and trying to be aware of what these sounds want to be and how to express that." The oscillator he built, named "The ABC Box," has three oscillators, one stutter, one starve button and a chip that takes all the frequencies and divides them - creating unpredictable sound. "It has this whole indeterminate quality which has become an important part of my music," he says. "It's all about chance - always different - which I find remarkable."
7 Orange ABC's plan for the long run involves making music together, music that will continue to evolve. Wright says it's similar to a relationship, in that you find new ways to work and be within it. "The music has to change or it ends, as do all things in the world," he says. - Performer Mag


Discography

We are currently in the studio, awaiting our first official EP release....

But our singles as of this moment are -

The Bridge
Not Enough
This Is Not The End
Directions
All Of Them
This Old Thing
and more...

Photos

Bio

It seems like all the decades had their patterns when it came to band names. What happens when all the choices run out? Will bands just have to be classified with numbers letters and colors? A slightly cynical prediction of the future from guitarist and vocalist Daniel Wright, with over thirty names on the table this one was “it”.

All five members of 7 Orange ABC are songwriters, hailing from different parts of the globe with extensive musical backgrounds. They became friends while studying music in Boston. Beginning as a 12-piece ensemble called Yes-Theory, each week members would bring material to work with. Slowly they found and pushed limits. Twelve became five and they mutually decided to move from Boston to the Bay Area. In Berkeley, since May 2009, they have already established themselves locally with a solid amount of gigs including Bottom of the Hill, Red Devil Lounge, and the legendary Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

Experimenting with sound is what Wright had in mind years ago when he started his music, poetry and storytelling collective workshop in the form of a band.