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Jami Morgan Code Orange - Interview
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Code Orange

Comprised of Jami Morgan (Drums / Vocals), Eric Balderose (Guitar / Vocals), Reba Meyers (Guitar / Vocals) and Joe Goldman (Bass), Code Orange have gripped listeners and press around the globe with their visionary compositions and aggressive power. Crashing through the confines of genre limitations, Code Orange proved that their power lies in their fearlessness and audacity which has placed them at the front of the pack. Their latest album 'Forever' comes out January 13th, we speak to drummer Jami Morgan about the new album and how it all came together.



Steve: Good morning Jami, how are you doing?

Jami: What's up man, how are you doing?

Steve: Good thanks man and yourself?

Jami: I'm good, I'm good, it's night time here.

Steve: Yeah we are doing the complete reversal. How's things with Code Orange? I know you guys are really excited to get your new album out. How's it feeling in the camp so far?

Jami: It feels good, we worked really hard. We're ready to work even harder and tour and see our art to fruition. We're very proud of it. So we're ready to go.

Steve: For myself as a listener I find you guys hard to pigeon hole. It's a horrible word to say, how would you describe your sound?

Jami: We're influenced by many things and many bands, we got a lot of respect from many bands but our sound is us. It's gotta be us down the road and we are hard to pigeon hole because we're trying to do something new. There's a lot of elements that are influenced by many bands so it's not to say that's not true at all but we're trying to do something new, if we're not trying to do something new in any kind of way there'd be no point for us to exist at all. So I want people to say "They don't like Code Orange", that's what I want people to say.

Steve: Absolutely, I guess the closest I come is a band like Nails, would that be a fair assessment?

Jami: We're definitely different than Nails in a away. I'm definitely a big fan of Nails, I think they're awesome. I think they have different influences, they would definitely say they have different influences than us but I'm sure I think they're more straight brutality the whole time. They're quick and I think we're doing something a little different. I think they're fucking unbelievable but yeah I think it's something different, maybe depends on what song you put on. I mean if you put on our new record we have songs that are...well you would never hear on anyone else's record, they're weird rock songs or weird experimental songs but yeah I like Nails a lot.

Steve: How do you think your sound has evolved from I am King to present in Forever?

Jami: I think I am King is kind of like us re-establishing, you know, becoming adults in a lot of ways. We were establishing what the ground work was for what we want to create in the future. I think we did a good job doing that, I think that this record builds on that a lot. That was always our goal and I think we've gotten a lot better, we did a lot more practicing. We're not naturally these great musicians at all, we're just punk kids/ hard core kids but we put a lot of work into that aspect while trying to be creative and I think it's a much, much better record than the last. I really like our last record, I think it's really great. I think this is, this record is the beginning of us becoming us in a lot of ways establishing our brand and what we want to do. It's very specific.

Steve: Sure, would you call it a proving ground of sorts?

Jami: I think that the last record was a lot of that in our own scene in hard core and I think with this record we are stepping into a lot of new territories . We're influenced by Hatebreed, we're influenced by Nine Inch Nails, you know what I mean? You can hear those things in our songs but we're creating something that's Code Orange you know? That's what I want at least and we'll see what people think.

Steve: So going into the writing process for this album, did you go in with a theme in mind or did you go into the studio and let the tape roll?

Jami: No we never go into the studio and just let the tape roll EVER. We're not that kind of band, we come in with very clear ideas of where we're going on all notches. There are bands that do that, every song was written and every song was polished and then to be made better in the studio. We don't go in with a skeleton, there is a very strong theme, every lyric is written. You know I feel that this stuff is very important, all our visuals are very carefully thought out. We're very cold and calculated and you know that that's the way we want to be. There are a lot of bands out there that just make records, we're not just a band who make records for people to listen to, I want it to be more than that.

Steve: Fair call. So what was it like to work with Kurt Ballou? To my mind he is a genius. Does he come in as the kind of big brother and help you guys out or does he let you put your ideas on the table? How does that work for you guys?

Jami: Well he's done all of our records with us, records our LP's but he's not really a hands on guy in terms of song writing and all. I think if we wanted him to be he would be, he's a very good song writer one of the most influential bands to us mostly especially when we were younger but he's very useful in getting the sounds that we want. I think his records are all about the sound and that's what people keep saying to us in the interviews but all the records with him have a sound. You put on the Nails record and our records and the drums and the guitars are very different or a Converge record and they are all great records. I feel that he and us have a sound together and Will Yip was a bit part of it this time who is a producer out of Philly (Philadelphia) who has done Tidal Side and a lot of stuff on the rock scene and he helped us do a lot of the electronics on this record and the vocals and all of the layering's. He helps co-produce the album. He's done a lot of the Run For Cover albums but he was tremendously helpful. Kurt Ballou is unbelievable, I hope we get to do a lot more of our records with Kurt Ballou and Will Yip together because I think we've got the absolute best combo of the two people that are very now.

Steve: Yes and very prolific as well. It seems that a lot of the bands I speak to on a regular basis have nothing but good things to say about Kurt and just in general. It seems to be a unanimous vote there.

Jami: Yeah he's great, I'm very glad we get to work with him. I'm glad he likes working with us, we just do our thing you know? You can't put any of the blame on him for anything because song wise we make all the choices so if people don't like it that's on us and not on him.

Steve: So in terms of lyrical content where do you guys get your inspiration from? Like what's going on in the world? What's the story there?

Jami: I think there is broad strokes of theme which I feel our last record 'I am King' was about coming into our own, staking our claim in the lot of ways and trying to be something in wanting to be something better than you think that you are, you know what I mean? This record is more about coming into that confidence and what you're going to do with it. In a lot of way it reflects on what we're doing with our actual band but there is a lot of personal stuff in there as well and it's about pain, that's what our record's about and that's what they're always going to be about. But along side that there is a lot of positive stuff as well in terms of it's about being accepting of yourself and for us that's what our first record was about and this record is about being confident with that and not letting people deter you of that which many people want to do at all times. Everyone especially in the times we live in now but I ain't going to let anyone do that to me or my friends.

Steve: That's a fair call. Would you call this your darkest to date so far?

Jami: 100 percent it just keeps getting darker every time and it's getting further down the rabbit hole of psychosis. We'll see how dark we can get. That's why we are here. There are a lot of other bands that are here for the other reason, that's great I like that shit. I like jamming all kinds of shit, that ain't why we're here, nobody's listening to us. I'm happy with empowering people for sure but at the end of the day it's about metal and it's about hard core. It's about being pissed off, that's what our shit's about, that's the outlet.

Steve: Sure that's your venting point

Jami: 100 percent.

Steve: Will we be able to catch you guys sometime in 2017?

Jami: Sure we will. Nothing is set in stone but we'll be there. We come everywhere and we've gone everywhere for a long time and we're still very young so we will be there 100 percent. I love going up there, we've been to Australia once before and it was fantastic.

Steve: Awesome so what is your favorite song to play off the new album so far? Any standouts or do you just like playing the whole damn thing?

Jami: I'll say this, I truly love the whole damn record. People do say that often and they are probably telling the truth but every riff on this record we thought about and we considered and we put our best foot forward and hopefully our next foot forward in a few years is even better but this is what we've got now and we put it all into this so I like every minute of it. It wasn't written for singles, there's lot of song that I love and when people hear it it'll be easier to talk about it because we will get some feedback from people but when I listen to it has a lot of ups and downs like a movie in a lot of ways so I'm very happy with it.

Steve: Well it's been really great speaking with you this morning Jami and I really appreciate your time. Thank you so much. All the best to you and the rest of the band and hope to catch you live at some point soon.

Jami: Dude 100 percent I can't wait also, thank you very very much.

Interview by Steve Monaghan on December 19th 2016