• Stephanie Heath

The Orange Constant is releasing a new album mid-May [Interview]

Updated: May 12, 2020

(04/29/2020 Atlanta, GA) Despite all the concert rescheduling, festival cancellations and constant unfortunate news, there's one thing that has assisted with keeping us in high spirits--that thing is music.

Photo Credit: Nicholas Jude

I had the privilege to interview the frontman and guitarist Andrew Brantley of Athens, GA based band The Orange Constant about their third full-length album titled 'Peel.’ The album is set to release May 12.

Q: How long has The Orange Constant been working on this album?

AB: Its been about an 8 month period with about 5 to 6 recording sessions. We're always writing and shaping up material, sitting on extra songs. We pulled some songs that we wrote 5-6 years ago and some of the tracks on the album are new. It was relatively easy to go to the studio while we were touring. We were tying up loose ends and polishing the record in January.

Q: Are there any personal favorite songs of yours on the album?

AB: It's hard to say, we all feel good about the album. There's a lot of variety from jam band to R&B hook, and acoustic instrumental. "Go!" is a song that our drummer Sam came up with the original guitar riff reminded me of a String Cheese Incident song. I helped with the chorus progression through the rest of the song. There's three different time signatures with 5-4 riffs (which is a meter for a song) and something we haven't done before. The vocals sound nice and the ending is unique.

Q: Any collaborations on this album or upcoming ones we should be on the lookout for?

AB: We recorded 'Peel' with producer John Keane, who also recorded our first album. Keene has worked with R.E.M. and Widespread Panic. Our long-term friend in the Athens music scene Christian McDaniel played percussion. Keane also incorporated a steel guitar on the album.

Q: Fondest memory on a previous tour you’d like to share?

AB: Actually I've been thinking about this specific memory recently. I got married and two days later went on a 3-week tour which was our second tour through the Northeast. We performed at Dogfish Head Brewery that is located in Delaware and we were looking for a place to crash. Our bassist Tyler Walker knew a couple in Annapolis, Maryland and while we were waiting to hear back we were sleeping in the parking lot at a WaWa gas station. We got the confirmation that we could stay with them for a couple of days and they had a beautiful house on the water and a hot tub. The couple made food for us, took us on the boat and even downtown. They were so generous to us.

Q: Who are your favorite bands to perform with?

AB: We've had a lot of long-time friends in the industry. We played the most shows with CBDB, Funk You, and Voodoo Visionary who I've learned a lot from. I met Voodoo in high school so we have lots of history together. I was in the same grade as their drummer's younger sister. Watching Mike Wilson play in high school really inspired me to take guitar more seriously. They're a rowdy bunch, and lots of fun to be around. Universal Sigh is another band from the Athens music circuit that we consider our 'brother band' because we're all on the same page regarding where we are in our creative endeavors. I feel that way about the Virginia-based group 'Kendall Street Company'. They have been performing as long as we have, we founded The Orange Constant 7 years ago.

Q: Favorite venue to perform at?

AB: I would have to say The Loft in Columbus. They kind of backed off in booking and focused more on jazz artists but they had a really nice sound system. There was a homey feel to it and it also wasn't far from my parents lake house in Alabama which we would always go visit.

Q: Let’s take it back to pre-quarantine days, what was the last show the band performed and where?

AB: The last live show was on March 8th at the Charleston Pour House Deck.

Q: Does The Orange Constant have any upcoming live stream performances?

AB: As of right now we're planning on doing a live stream a few days after the release, but we haven't locked a date in just yet. It's a matter of logistics and coordinating with the venue to see if it is possible to make it happen.

Q: How many days has the band been in quarantine? All together? Separate?

AB: Its been a few weeks for us. We've had a couple of band meetings in person for a writing session, other than that we've spent some time apart. Chris Freiberg (keyboardist) is my roommate and our drummer Sam Groveman moved closer to the Atlanta area.

Q: How has the quarantine affected the band? Any setbacks?

AB: Everyone has been adapting. We haven't had band practice in awhile but we've been taking the time to relax. I've been working on yard work, which has been a side gig of mine for many years. I also cut my own hair, I've had long hair for quite a while. My wife assisted by trying to even it out but I definitely need to go to a barber shop in the near future! I wonder about the perspective of well-known artists such as Widespread Panic or Phish how it affects them, if at all?

Q: Could you share a pro-tip from quarantine? Something you've learned and it can be anything.

AB: Staying outside to work on yard work and taking on new hobbies has been keeping me sane. I've also learned to not push myself too hard, to get a couple of tasks done and be content with it. Also finding simple ways to go outside and stay socially distant. My neighbor also gave me a ping pong table because he didn't want it anymore. My wife is a master gardener and has been breaking ground and planting. We're very fortunate for having a backyard where we can grow our own food which I've noticed has become more common since the pandemic. We must not get anxious, things will go back to some sort of normalcy. We must adapt to push ourselves and find how we can make ourselves active in culture.

The cover photo for this interview was taken by Julian Alexander.

'Peel' is now available on Spotify and other streaming services. https://open.spotify.com/album/2vAnhp2O9tnJ8jhdfx5XjN?si=wfdt1S_LQEWWMHYWjuv-rw

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