International who? That’s the response you’re bound to get when inquiring about the experimental indie pop rock quartet, International Orange. But this will soon change; that is, if these North Carolina natives can manage to stay together long enough to continue producing more of the quality music the group’s initial recordings have hinted at.
Well-constructed harmonies, crafty guitar licks and peculiar experimental sounds are what separate International Orange from every other group of chain-wearing kids with thick black glasses that call themselves rock bands.
And if you happen to like those inexperienced “rock” bands — screaming nonsense while playing power chord progressions of no more than three notes — then you’ll not enjoy the juice of International Orange.
The pop/rock band is currently on tour, beginning in New York and reaching as far south as the Sunshine State. IO will perform one of its final shows Friday at USF’s Special Events Center.
International Orange is technically fronted by Django Haskins, but it’s the combination of Haskins and two other important songwriters — bassist Robert Sledge, of former national pop act Ben’s Fold Five, and industry accomplished guitarist Snuzz — that contributes to the band’s overall magic.
“There are not one, but three writers which bring completely different outlooks and style to the band,” Haskins said. “Lyric writing is a combination of simplicity, honesty, and humor, together with fluidity.”
There is no hiding where IO derives the majority of influence and inspiration from, as both Haskins and Sledge agree that The Beatles’ “Let It Be” is one of the greatest songs ever written. And as far as aspirations go, The Beatles are not exactly a minimal standard to live up to.
“We write really melodic pop songs with lots of harmony and our live shows are always full of energy,” Haskins said.
But mainstream success, a la the Fab Four, doesn’t seem to bother these boys one way or another.
“There is a lot of great music going on right now. Unfortunately a lot of the great stuff is not played on the radio, and the music I love will never be played on the radio.”
Most people, at one time or another, have probably heard of Ben Folds Five or a least their smash single “Brick.” You know, “She’s a brick and I’m drowning slowly.”
Bassist Robert Sledge remembers the days when he was on tour with Ben Folds Five and hasn’t forgotten the importance of writing genuine music and “real” lyrics that not only stay true to himself but to the entire group.
“I don’t write any fiction. All the songs are true, however, sometimes I use metaphors that can be mistaken for other things,” Sledge said.
And now for the million-dollar question: Why did Ben Folds Five break up? The real reason is probably not what you think, but it goes to show that some musicians still write music out of passion and not necessarily with dollar signs in their eyes.
“I didn’t want to do it just to make money if the feeling wasn’t there. As karma runs out on any relationship, it ran out on the band as a whole,” Sledge said. “There was no pressure from the outside or record label to rewrite another “Brick.” All the pressure came from within the band and that is the reason everybody decided to move on.”
So, if you’re not familiar with the sound, songs or style of International Orange, than free up some time on Friday for IO’s free concert. It’s a chance to get an early taste of what could soon be one of the most talented pop/rock bands currently touring the indie circuit.
International Orange plays a free show at the Special Events Center tomorrow at 9 p.m.
Contact Jason Martinez at firstname.lastname@example.org