country of Norway is becoming a music lovers paradise and one
of the hottest rock bands coming out of the northern European stronghold
is Orango. With its near hard rock sonic attack, the 2013 CD
release of Colonial Militia Vol. 2 should go far to
put Orango on the map big time. Essentially a well produced hard rock
album with some serious sonic etchings, the CD echoes some of the
great English hard rock bands of the late 1960s / early 70s
including Deep Purple, Quartermass, Black Sabbath and others. Theres
also some very cool instrumentals that bookend the CD, giving rise
to a progressive hard rock orchestral side. At the hub of the Orango
sound is singer-songwriter Helge Bredeli Kanck (guitars)
who gets solid support from his band mates including Karl-Joakim
Wisløff (bass / keyboards) and Trond Slåke
(drums), with additional percussion work from producer Kai Christoffersen.
Commenting on the bands growing stature in the following mwe3.com
interview, Helge adds, The band and the songs are becoming better
all the time, at least thats what we believe. Some have
compared Orango to ZZ Top and Deep Purple, but theres also some
layered vocal harmonies
amid the sonic bedlam. If you dig the 70s sounds of Deep Purple
and Led Zeppelin, youll be in for a treat with the sound of
mwe3.com presents an interview with
Helge Bredeli Kanck of ORANGO
mwe3: Has Orango carved out a niche for themselves in the hard
rock arena of 2013? Can you give some background as to the founding
of the group and tell us about your recordings and how that has led
to your Colonial Militia Vol. 2, which is actually the follow
up to the first volume. What does the title mean too? Humorous no
Bredeli Kanck: Well, its hard to say, really. I hope so.
Anyway, if we have been able to carve out anything at all in the rock
arena in 2013, it must probably be quite an achievement, I guess.
You know, being a three piece rock n roll outfit and all,
you must be honest enough to admit that you're probably not the first
to come up with that kind of concept. That said, I think Orango has
managed to create our own more or less unique sound, with a hard,
swampy kind of rock feel and a nice three part harmony blend. At the
same time were part of a long musical tradition by which we
feel very inspired. Makes us feel at home.
The band got together way back in 1999 as two cousins. Trond the drummer
and Helge the guitar player, teamed up with army buddy Karl-Joakim.
In the beginning it was all mod suits, Rickenbackers and Ludwig drum
kits, etc. Over the next couple of years we released two EPs and an
album, which got a really nice reception. We toured all over Norway,
until we suddenly got fed up. I dont know why really. Maybe
the fact that we had been living together in the drummers grandpas
house for a year or so, is part of the explanation. Anyway, Orango
rested until 2010, when we got back together and immediately started
to work on a new album, that was to be Confessions. If youre
listening to Villa Exile and Confessions, its
easy to tell that they're both Orango albums, but Confessions
is definitely a more grown up album. Probably because now were
grown ups, too. On this reunion album and on the two Colonial Militia
albums that were to follow, we teamed up with producer and long time
friend Kai Christoffersen, who used to play drums with Seasick Steve.
A very nice and gifted guy who works his ass off to make this band
sounds as good as possible. I would be happy to recommend him to every
rock band, though we hope to keep him for ourselves.
Militia albums were recorded at what must be one of the best and
most spectacular studios and locations we ever saw: Ocean Sound Recordings.
Located on a tiny island in a rather harsh part of the Norwegian west
coast, its just a fantastic recording studio, which has attracted
the likes of Mark Olson (Jayhawks), Arcade Fire, Travis, and a bunch
of others. A great room, state of the art equipment, a hardworking
and very professional staff, and most important peace and quite!
We did twenty-three songs in nine days, and took the tracks back to
Oslo to do some overdubs and mix it. The plan was to release it as
a double album, but having these studio bills piling up, we figured
we could make more money if we released it as volume one and volume
two. (lol) No, really, its more a matter of not being bigheaded
enough to do a double album at this point. Two volumes seems more,
Where did that title come from? Its from you guys. You and your
revolutionary war. The colonial militias were loose army units that
consisted of farmers, settlers, trappers and indians, brought together
by the generals to assist the regular army in a guerrilla kind of
way. When the crop had to be cut, they had to return home for while,
before going back, or maybe desert. Thats how Orango sees itself
as a guerilla kind of rock n roll band, a little
bit on the outside of the main stream music business, doing what we
want to do when we want to do it.
These days Norway is a hot spot for great new bands and recording
artists. Can you tell us something about music scene in Norway these
days? It seems like this is the best round of new bands that sound
like bands did 45 years ago! To my ears, Orango sounds like an early
1970s mix between Grand Funk Railroad and Quartermass. What musical
influences go into making the Orango sound? Also can you say something
about recording for the great Division Records? I know they also have
the amazing Farmers Market too. What other groups can you recommend
from Norway these days?
Helge Bredeli Kanck: In my point of view, the Norwegian music
scene is just as entertaining or boring as any other music scene.
It depends on the bands and artists. But its true that this
country has produced and continues to produce a lot of really good
acts. Our problem, compared to the Swedes, for instance, is that we
havent been that good at exporting and showcasing our bands
outside Norway. Maybe its because this is a rich country and
people dont have to work that hard, really. No rich man plays
the blues, you know. That said, Oslo is the capital in Scandinavia
that has got the highest number of concerts during a year, and each
night you can easily choose between ten to fifteen live shows, which
is pretty good for a city with just half a million people living there.
The venues are great, too.
have always liked their rock n roll, and its true
were not the only band inspired by the heroes of the past. I
think it´s hard to say what musical influences are more important
to us, but the mix tape we put on to make sure we have a good time
in the tour van, will probably contain a little bit of Creedence Clearwater
Revival, Graveyard, early ZZ Top, Wolf People, Zeppelin, Grand Funk,
Cream and Manassas on it. And we just love the vocal harmonies of
Crosby, Stills & Nash. Its probably no secret.
Putting out our albums on Division Records is handy, as some of us
even run and own that label, and we gain full control of everything
we do, which is as old-fashioned as it is important. The label has
put out a wide range of band and artists, and the speed-balkan-boogie
ensemble Farmers Market is now on that label to. They actually used
to be on Mike Pattons Ipecac label. Division puts out the music
they care about, and are not so stuffy when it comes to the various
sounds and genres. As long as it's good and real, it usually passes
the audition. These are not on the Division roster, but if you want
to check out some good Norwegian acts, I would strongly recommend
Jonas Alaska, Monica Heldal and Mikhael Paskalev. Real music. No fakes,
no agendas. Just real music. And of course, everybody knows Turbonegro.
mwe3: What inspired the instrumental tracks? Sounds like you
have every base covered on the Colonial Militia II album! You
guys did a great job on the instrumentals, so would you consider doing
more symphonic hard rock instrumentals on coming CDs. What are some
of your favorite rock and non-rock instrumentals and instrumental
Bredeli Kanck: I almost forgot there were instrumental tracks
on these albums! (lol) We wanted a statement, some sort of fanfare
or overture to open the album, and the same kind of thing to close
it. The idea was that you should be able to play the Colonial Militia
albums reel to reel, with the two instrumental tracks being the glue.
Then we fucked up, as we got the part one and part two of the instrumentals
completely wrong. It was all probably due to working too many long
hours. (lol) But, yeah, it was some kind of conceptual idea behind
those songs. Musically it must have been inspired by many of the conceptual
outputs of the late 1960s and early 70s, I suppose. Maybe we
should pay a little homage to Pink Floyd for that guitar thing, but
thats just too obvious, isnt it. We´ll rather claim
it as an invention of ours! We havent made any plans on becoming
a symphonic rock band and I will work very hard to make sure such
a disaster is avoided. (lol) But when it comes to instrumental music,
if its good we go along with it. We love the work of Quincy
Jones, the Bossanova album in particular. The bass player listens
to a lot of jazz, and the drummer prefers Herb Alpert when he's cooking.
Link Wray is cool, too. Our all time favorite instrumental recording
must be Albatross by Peter Greens Fleetwood Mac,
mwe3: The CD benefits from a great studio sound. Can you say
something about when and where Colonial Militia Vol. 2 was
recorded and when was the music written? Who else was involved in
getting the sound together in the studio and the CD mastering too
was excellent. How are you planning to market the CD and promote the
CD outside of Norway and the E.U. in general?
Bredeli Kanck: Ocean Sound Recordings, again. Thats the
secret... along with a well prepared band and a great producer. Both
Militia-albums were recorded over that nine day period, with overdubbing
and mixing taking place at Calmeyer Studio back in Oslo, where we
all live. The music was written, rehearsed and arranged just after
the Confessions tour. A couple of the tracks we made in the
studio during the recording sessions. We just love to play and we
were really productive for a period there. Still are. We actually
managed to squeeze in a couple of 7 inch singles between those albums.
The album was mastered by Morten Lund at Lunds Lyd in Oslo. Hes
been around for a long time and really knows what hes doing.
These days a lot of Norwegian bands send their albums over to some
of those hot shot mastering wizards youve got in the States
to get the work done. Orango, however, likes to be in the studio listening
to the playback and have a cup of coffee when its done, so we'd
rather do it here. As long as it sounds good, we couldnt care
less about names and CVs.
far Orango has been busy doing albums and touring in Norway, but were
eager to bring the band around to other territories. The next album,
which were starting to record this summer, well definitely
be out there!
What guitars and amps are featured on your CDs? What guitars and keyboards
interest you the most and do you perform strange sounding keyboards
or add in other sonic effects in your search for the coolest sounds?
Bredeli Kanck: You´ll probably regret asking me this question,
as I will have a hard time keeping myself from raving on forever.
The main guitar featured on these albums is a clean and simple Les
Paul Black Beauty custom made in 1980 and brought over from the US
by a friend. Thats the favorite guitar, matched with either
a vintage Fender Super Reverb, a Vox AC30 or a Marshall Bluesbreaker.
But the albums also feature a Telecaster Deluxe, brought over from
the States, too, a 12-string Rickenbacker and even a plain Fender
Stratocaster. The bass player makes do with his Jazzbass, Precision
bass and a Rickenbacker, too, usually played through his vintage Ampeg
stack. For the drums, we always go for the vintage Gretsch and Ludwig
kits. Nothing beats it. The albums also have a lot of Hammond B3 organ
with Leslie and some Fender Rhodes on it, sometimes with a wah-wah.
And then, as the bass player is also a classically trained violin
player, we do the string sections ourselves. We keep arranging and
dubbing it over and over until we got ourselves this nice little chamber
orchestra, kind of. It does the trick.
mwe3: So what are you planning for Orango and other musical
endeavors moving into 2014?
Helge Bredeli Kanck: None of us have any other musical endeavors
outside Orango, which is great for the band. The drummer just bought
himself a little farm just outside Oslo. Very idyllic, very romantic.
In a couple
of weeks we'll gather there together with the producer to start rehearsals
for the next album, which will be recorded during the summer and autumn,
in between festival appearances and other live gigs. This album will
be released sometime in the autumn 2014. The whole working process
will be filmed, too, and we'll end up with a kind of mini-rockumentary,
that we plan to release together with the LP, for those who care.
The band and the songs are becoming better all the time, at least
thats what we believe, so we really look forward to make and
put out the new album.
Thanks to Helge Bredeli Kanck @