h is orange
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h is orange

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The best kept secret in music

Press


H Is Orange, a southern CA band that is making quite a buzz—a buzz big enough to get tapped, to go on the Warped Tour 2004. H Is Orange is Sam Nelson – vocals, Troy Britton and Jay Skinner – guitars, Marcel Blanco – bass, and providing the thunder on the skins, Guy Staniar. A little before 9:00 PM the boys hit the stage and opened their audio-adrenaline-induced set with"Turning the Light On." It was like a surge of electricity that shot out into the crowd. And from where we were standing it was clear the people there came to rock…and H Is Orange was more than happy to deliver the goods. Automatically, the band's sound reminded me of acts like Filter, Jane's Addiction, and U2 (when they rocked), and a dash of 311 thrown in for good measure. Their set featured "The Thrill of the Escape" and the groove-laden mover "Wasting My Time." The boys also introduced a new song, "Disconnect," that went over well with the crowd. We can only imagine how many people will be going ga ga over H Is Orange: This is one band that is definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with. Find out more at www.hisorange.com. - All Access Magazine


Electing to release a live album for their debut full length shows how much value this most obscurely named Los Angeles-based act place on the emotional side of their music. For H Is Orange of course, "Don't Trust The Easy" is of vast importance; having inspired many locally with their debut EP "Be Silent And Know" the group are now looking towards a larger emporium, that of the world. And this eleven tracker is their weapon of choice on the mission, though that analogy is pretty poor to be fair, as this is not a work which takes upon the violence such a metaphor may suggest. For H Is Orange are self-schooled in the art of efflorescent melodies, and "Don't Trust The Easy" documents exactly what they have accomplished to date.

The key thing with live recordings is foremost the recording quality, and it is of particular necessity that this should be as clear as possible when this release is the only available format for the majority of H Is Orange's songs. Usefully, the mix on "Don't Trust The Easy" generally fits this requirement, and allows their music to shine through accompanied with the added atmosphere that tends to rise with the crowd reception between tracks. Rhythmical and nimble bass motions back up the flowing movements guitar-wise, and the music is propelled forward via the clear and emotional vocals of their frontman. With two guitarists in the band providing the string-work, H Is Orange utilize this pairing efficiently, with multiple parts layered in an effective manner that increases the complexity without making the music over-challenging to the casual ear. Which is not to say they are necessarily simplistic, for the melodic rock which pours out of this release is of far more interest than most likely anything which will be pushed towards radio airwaves this year. Ranging from light poetic caresses to more upbeat generally bass-led attacks in the more momentous songs, "Don't Trust The Easy" showcases a young act still gleaming with ideas and throwing a lot of effort into putting them across.

While they may be a little too elegant and peaceful in their music for those who don't embrace such qualities, the melodic qualities and lavish tunes penned by H Is Orange thus far are a powerful display of how to go about writing thoughtful and seductive music which can quite literally sell itself. An impressive outing for an early release, this collection of their finest songs at present will no doubt be looked back upon with fondness for many years to come, as H Is Orange attain notoriety in increasingly wide circles. For a relaxing but adventurous listen, "Don't Trust The Easy" should be acquired.

Rating: 4 out of 5 microphones
- Chris (March 13, 2004) - IAteYourMicrophone.com


Southern California is—and always has been—a hotbed for new up-and-coming bands, and H is Orange is no exception…except the members are exceptionally personable and well-spoken (and their music is great too!). Somewhere between the post-hardcore sound of Helmet, drone string melody of U2 and sky-high vocals of Tool, rests H Is Orange—though the band’s not resting on its laurels (mostly because they don’t have any yet). Recording their first full-length record, Don’t Trust the Easy, live at The Mint in Los Angeles, the members of H Is Orange clearly bring the talent and passion that many of their contemporaries use studio acrobatics for.

H Is Orange’s five members come from diverse cultural and musical backgrounds, adding elements of Central America (El Salvador), jazz and syncopated rhythm timing to their already broad hard-rock scope.


Guitarist Troy Brittain began playing guitar in third grade, learning from his mother the ins and outs of guitar that weren’t necessarily based in Americana or rock ’n’ roll. “She’s from Central America—El Salvador—[where] it’s very common for everyone to play a musical instrument.”

In reference to his upbringing, he adds, “I grew up all over the place, Phoenix, Arizona. Idaho for a little bit. Columbia. South America. It was really cool.”

“My parents ‘forced’ me to join the band,” he laughs. “It was violin first because my grandpa had a violin. Then it was piano, and then they put me in guitar lessons, which was basically me sitting there with a guy and a metronome, and he taught me how to play ‘Amazing Grace.’ Once I learned sort of the basics—you become familiar with tones—so once I started jamming with guys I knew I was able to learn Metallica riffs easier because I had that frame of reference to go from. Had I not learned anything from school or been a part of that and learned those things, I would have ended up without that knowledge.”

Guitarist Jay Skinner began playing music in junior high. “I got my first guitar around sixth grade/seventh grade but didn’t really start to get into it until about ninth grade. That was when I really started woodshedding (to practice on a musical instrument) and got pretty good. [I] had a couple of high school bands, then went to college for sound recording and technology, and got a minor in music. I sang in choirs in junior high and high school. I was deep in the game, grew up singing in church choirs and stuff. Music has always been a part of my life. My older brother is a musician also.”


Bassist Marcel Blanco began like his band mates, playing guitar in junior high. “I was never really involved with school music, sort of just did it on my own, learned on my own, played with friends and was in bands. [I] worked my way up to these guys, and about a few years ago took up the bass and really fell in love with it. It felt more like an extension of myself. My family is Latin American, so growing up I heard a lot of Latin rhythms and stuff and that probably helped draw me towards it. The rhythm aspect and groove of the bass really moved me.”

Another aspect of H Is Orange, aside from its mastery of melody and crunch, is singer Sam Nelson’s vocal range. His ability to go from the high notes to the guttural, soulful scratchiness is due in part to his involvement in chorus classes and singing instruction. “I took the sort of generic music class where you would get the recorder, you know, the one that everyone gets. But I also, in seventh and eighth grade, took the percussion class, which was a pretty big deal where the teacher was also a drummer. But I didn’t really get serious about music until high school where I met this fool (drummer Guy Staniar) and actually I hurt myself playing football, and he was laying next to me, also injured and I said, ‘I heard you play drums.’ And he was like, ‘Yeah I do.’ And so I said, ‘Well I can sing.’ And so we got together, put a band together in high school, did our separate thing, went to college and then got back together again and brought everyone else on board. It wasn’t really a romantic story of how we got together—we just put out ads in the paper. It was a year in the making— L.A. is a rough place to find band mates. Everybody thinks, ‘Everybody goes to L.A. to find a band,’ and that’s exactly the problem,” Sam says, smiling.


Marcel adds, “Tons of guys with the image, the look, brand-spanking-new gear and can’t play a thing to save their life. They look the part but just can’t pull it off.”

Sam continues, “It took a year for this to come together. Then it happened like this (snaps fingers). Troy answered an ad, and Troy knew Marcel, and we (with drummer Guy Staniar) were a four-piece for about a year. Then, we wanted to add another guitarist. Initially, it was an electronic component that we wanted, but Jay is a programmer as well, and Troy knew him from before and he really filled out the sound.”

“We finally reached a point to where it was a natural feel—it was a chore initially because it’s hard when you add a member in. It’s difficult because you know we had this thing going. But once it gets worked in, it worked awesome.” Troy says.

Drummer Guy Staniar started hitting the skins at the age of 10. “I was in school band, jazz band, chorus band in grammar school. Met Sam in high school, like he said, and then put the drums down for like six years when I was in college and didn’t play drums at all for a long time. Then I decided to pick it back up and moved out to L.A. from New York.”

Troy adds that music education also played an integral role in his present position as guitarist for H Is Orange. “The myriad of music classes I was in I didn’t learn to appreciate until now. You can’t really learn how to be a good songwriter—it’s something that sort of just comes to you. That is just the sad fact; some people are born with it and some are not. But if you have that foundation (music education) to go from, there’s a better chance you’ll be a better songwriter all around. You’ll find how to apply it and make it a better extension of how you think. With anything you learn as a kid, it becomes a better understanding of things later in life. Back when I was in junior high and high school, I didn’t realize how important it was, but now, thank god I can appreciate it now.”


H Is Orange is machine-like in its approach to the business side of playing (said with tongue in cheek) and marketing its music to potential fans. From the band’s DIY approach of self-producing its full-length with an enhanced CD to getting added in college radio rotation, H Is Orange is on its way up and all without the help of a multimillion dollar recording and publishing contract. Basically, it’s just five music lovers, living out their dream by any means necessary.

Though the band is gaining momentum on the West Coast while performing on select dates at the Vans Warped Tour, H is Orange will soon be taking an extensive West Coast tour—and surely a national tour will be forthcoming.

Keep your eyes peeled for H Is Orange!

Thanks guys!!!

By Shane Roeschlein
- The Music Edge.com


Discography

2004 Full length album - "Don't Trust the Easy"
2002 e.p. - "Be Silent and Know"

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

h is orange is a hard rock explosion of pounding riffs, hypnotic melodies and powerful lyrics. Formed by five smart, opinionated musicians -- Sam Nelson on vocals, Guy Staniar on drums, Marcel Blanco on bass and Troy Brittain on guitar -- the band has successfully sold a five-song e.p. and, more recently, a full-length album, "Don't Trust the Easy" that has already garnered rave reviews and sold to 33 US states and far-flung countries including Estonia and Japan.

With the focus and assurance of a band that has made its way independently through the competitive music scene for more than three years, h is orange continues to thrive, placing their music on radio and TV, in videos and feature films and has successfully planned and conducted four independent regional tours.

The emotional live performances of h is orange have long satisfied LA crowds and wrought comparisons to bands like Filter, A Perfect Circle and U2, and the band is now reaching wider audiences, with appearances at festivals like the Core Tour in Venice and the Warped Tour in San Diego. More information on the band is avialable at hisorange.com. The "Don't Trust the Easy" CD is available at CDBaby.com, TowerRecords.com and many independent retailers in Southern California.

Thanks for listening.