||*~22 Jul 2001|06:40pm~*
Circus July 2001
A Plastic Fantasy?
Their wild look and makeup makes you think they come right from Christopher Street Day. Tons of hairspray went into their rather eccentric hairstyles, the amount of makeup the five guys use would last KISS and Marilyn Manson quite a while, and their piercing and tattoos look like an army of tattoo and piercing artists had a full time job. Nothing seems �normal� when it comes to Orgy.
The sources Orgy draws from are as varied as the way they look, Kraftwerk, The Cure, Thrash Metal, Gary Newman, then add a bit of Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson for good measure and you got the unique sound of Orgy.
Jay Gordon (vocals), Amir Derakh (g-synth), Ryan Shuck (guitar), Paige Haley (bass), Bobby Hewitt (drums) are the members of Orgy, 5 guys with makeup and multicolored hairdos. Orgy is a combination of things interesting in music now - heavy metal-style loud guitars, rough vocals, electronic-touched production, and lots of makeup, tattoos and piercing. Or as Korn front man Jonathan Davis - they�re also signed on Korn�s Elementree label - once put it �They�re fashionable pretty dudes, so all the chicks will dig �em.�
With Vapor Transmission they follow the path they started with their first album Candyass. To say Orgy are a bit controversial would be downplaying it on a major scale - if Orgy decides to do something - no matter what - they take it to hilt, because according to front man Jay Gordon �normal rules don�t apply for Orgy!!!�
From a band that looks so wild and unusual, you certainly expect something else in an interview than the friendly, down to earth front man Jay Gordon. He apologizes for several cancelled interviews in Europe and explains what happened.
�It felt like the world was tumbling down on me, at least my world did. You know I had to sort out my life first, it was all to crazy. I wasn�t playing the big star or anything like that, I was just caught up in the middle of a lot of personal problems and, well it really was a crazy psychotrip.�
Jay pauses for a moment before he goes on explaining what happened, and you can hear from the tone of his voice that he�s serious and still pretty shaken.
�My girlfriend was sick, she�s still not well, there were a lot of problems and because she always cared for me, she was always there for me, it was my turn to look after her. I just couldn�t let her down.�
After a short break he continues and sounds almost like he is trying to apologize for his personal problems or putting his personal life before his fans and what he considers his duty to the fans and music.
�Music is certainly the most important thing, it�s the most important thing in my life. My girlfriend knows it, she�s always known it and I was always honest about it and upfront. She can deal with it and it�s usually not a problem, but this time I really had to show her that I respect her just as much as I respect my work and that I really value her. She needed me and it would have been really shitty if I�d have let her down. I hope the media and our fans understand it, but I think they will.�
According to Jay the band was baffled about their success for quite a long time and only recently came to terms with being one of the hottest bands in America.
�For a while I just couldn�t believe it, I was almost shocked, maybe shocked is the wrong term, I was just overwhelmed with it. I didn�t know how to react, I didn�t really know what to do, what is expected of me now. Then I just started to accept it, I kind of simply accepted it without giving it too much thought. I think it was the right thing, I didn�t let it go to my head, I just accepted that people like us and that they like us just the way we are, so we shouldn�t change anything or let our success change ourselves.�
While a lot of people claim - especially people that don�t like Orgy - that most of Orgy�s success is due to the way they look, and most of their popularity springs from their shock value, Jay Gordon absolutely disagrees and offers a completely different take on the subject.
�I always dressed funny or weird if you want to call it that, it was always part of who I am and I dressed in my freakish way a long time before we ever thought about founding Orgy. Our image is definitely part of our chemistry. There is a certain chemistry in our band, as it should be, every band has it, at least every band worth a dime.
Of course I know that a lot of kids like our looks or even copy it, but I don�t mind. I think it�s very flattering and pretty cool. And if you think about it, music and fashion is not too far apart.�
Jay insists that their weird, spacey look is certainly not part of a marketing strategy but more of a visual expression about how they feel. He claims that marketing strategies don�t play a role and the guys do whatever they feel like doing.
�We really don�t think about offering an image or having a certain concept about how we look or how we should look. And definitely we weren�t sitting down with an image consultant and got hints on what would go down well with fans. We always dressed in a particular way and just because we had some success, why should we change it?
Everyone who knows us knows we�ve always dressed a bit over the top, dressed the way we liked to dress without giving a 2nd thought to fashion. Sure we want to look cool, but we want to look cool for ourselves, not for anybody else. We do like our crazy clothes, we like the way we dress, we like wearing makeup and we do wear makeup even if we�re not onstage. We always liked tattoos and piercing and unusual hairstyles, basically we always did want to look like nobody else does. We really don�t think about our image and I think it is just dumb luck that a lot of fans consider our look cool. On the other hand they could also think we look like complete dorks. Of course it�s flattering but it doesn�t change anything!�
But even if Orgy like to have their own style and doesn�t seem to care what the rest of the world thinks about it, Jay has to admit that glamour plays a major role for them�
�Oh of course we do love glamour and craziness! Colors, you know, the world has to be colorful, brilliant, crazy, decadent! We like the big chaos! You know there is a reason why we all think Blade Runner is the best movie ever! Blade Runner just denies the reality, it�s perfect science fiction, what is real and what is unreal, fiction and reality, absolute madness, absolute chaos! I think that�s the right atmosphere, that is exactly where Orgy fits in.� What really seems a bit strange is the fact that while Orgy do look so modern and revolutionary, they admit that they worship the old electronic master Gary Newman�
�Gary Newman is the only artist all five of us like just the same. Funny enough we got really different tastes when it comes to music, but we all love Gary Newman. There are precious few musicians on which we all agree, you know, musicians we have as common ground. One of them certainly is Gary Newman, but there�s also David Bowie, especially when he had his experimental phase in the late 70�s and of course Kraftwerk with their straightness and their insistence to use only electronic elements as a form of expression. We always found that very impressive and very courageous!!
If you ask me, the guys from Kraftwerk were geniuses! I could be wrong but I think they invented the drum computer. Some musicians think drum computers are the downfall of the music, but I can�t see anything wrong with it. I mean you�ve got to look at the bright side of things, I haven�t met a drum computer so far that drinks anybody�s beer! I think I own a graveyard of drum machines, they always fascinated me! Of course now they�re all outdated, but I still keep them, they sound so cool and you can use them again! I�m not parting with them!�
But while they draw from electronic sounds, Jay comes up with a revelation - he confesses that the 5 guys from Orgy do hate electronic music and consider it much too cold and sterile.
�It may sound strange, but in a way we do hate electronic music because it is a symbol for our cold, rotten and somewhat damaged time. But then again there are bands like Kraftwerk or really great and exciting styles like drum & bass, they draw exclusively on electronic and they changed it. What I mean is, they added some life, they gave the whole genre of music life and changed it from being sterile and cold to something that is alive, that inspires you, touches you.
That�s one of the reasons why we use so much electronica in our sound, as a sign of respect and some sort of homage.�
Even Jay Gordon realizes how strange or even crazy that sounds and he adds with a sly smile. �I told you, we�re really a bunch of schizophrenics and maybe, just maybe we�re not really sane�Maybe we�re just a bunch of lunatics! Ha ha ha!�
But for people that are �not really sane� as Gordon so charmingly phrased it, they manage a superb album that almost sounds like a concept album. The lyrics on Vapor Transmission sound like a book with several chapters, all dealing with the downfall of our civilization. Are a bunch of lunatics really able to plan something like that?
�Actually it wasn�t planned, not at all! I don�t know if you believe me, but I realized when I listened to the finished CD what is going on. That there is some sort of red threat that weaves through the whole lyrics, that runs through. It�s true that there is a read threat, but it certainly wasn�t planned. I gave it some thought and I think it is because when I wrote the lyrics, I was having some really deep thoughts. For 12 months I was thinking about the lyrics, you know, mulling them over in my head and always trying to dig deeper, you know, add another layer of thought. I know every artist will claim their work is personal, but honestly, Vapor Transmission is unbelievably personal.�
Gordon brings up the subject of their first single, �Fiction (Dreams in Digital),� and that it affected some people to think it is more part of a movie script than an actual album and how he was inspired by cartoons of superheros and modern Japanese culture.
�A lot of people asked me if I�m working on a script because some of the songs have a very visual effect on some people, I think that�s great, really great. And you know, our first single �Fiction (Dreams in Digital)� deals with that subject, because in Japan they got some digital superstars and they would really worship them a lot more than they would worship actual people.
It�s kind of strange, in a way, think about it, they really are into virtual stars, or even superstars, they worship them more than real icons, like Marilyn Monroe for example. When I was working on the lyrics, I imagined how a real human being, a human being from flesh and blood, is kind of tied in with a virtual person. And to be honest, is there really anybody who never ever had the fantasy of being the hero in his favorite cartoon or comic?
It might sound arrogant, but I think I�ve got a very complex personality, and because of my very complex personality, Vapor Transmission seems like a very complex story. Welcome to my weird thoughts!� Orgy always insisted that a band needs to have a secret, that there needs to be some sort of myth surrounding the band, that they don�t want to be exposed like glass figures and easy to explain. Of course the way they look helps do it, but what is the true reason behind the mystery? Why is it so important for Orgy to be a bit secretive?
�We don�t want to be explained, hey, we can�t even explain ourselves, we have little desire that other people do that, you know take us apart and built us together again with some sort of instructions, or a formula about how we think, how our brains work, how we work and all that.
I think if a band hasn�t got a secret anymore, they lost almost everything, they certainly lost their claim to be rock and roll! They�re dead then, you can neglect them, shit on them if you want to put it this way. After all we�re not ABBA or one of those bands that were simply styled through!�
He admits that he hasn�t got a clue how long the band can keep their mystery and how long the band will be around - after all they are 5 very different characters - but he is convinced that they�re going to give it a fair run for the money!
�I really don�t know how long a band like Orgy can keep some secret, some kind of mystery, I don�t even know how long a band like ours can really exist. Our biggest advantage is, that we are 5 different characters and every character adds something to Orgy, it wouldn�t be the same with one of us missing, it would be different you know. It is a big advantage but at the same time it could turn into a disadvantage.
I really don�t know, I have no formula, Orgy has no real formula, it just happened and we like what happened, we like what we�re doing, we think it�s very exciting and we�re really trying our best. We�re always on the edge, maybe right now we�re even a little bit farther on the edge than we used to be, but it makes it all the more exciting for us and for others.
We know that it�s THE chance of a lifetime, well a lot of other bands are really good and they never get a chance like that and it�s depressing. But we can�t do anything about it, this is our chance and I swear we do everything we can to make it work! Sometimes we feel like we�re living in our own fantasy world, it really seems to be too much. But we�re really going to give it all we�ve got!�
Jay Gordon explains why Orgy is close to the edge and why they want to put all their energy and their reserves into the band, why they really want to go to extremes and do whatever is possible with the band�
�We want to give it our best shot, we really do want to give it all, all we�ve got, all it takes. We have to, and we have to do it now! We have to do it now because we�re only young once! I think you can only feel this crazy energy once in your life and right know we do have the energy, we do have the madness, the craziness, all the energy and inspiration we need. Now we have it and right now we are a crazy bunch that is able and willing to get it all out, to get the energy out and give it all. How much is that? I really don�t know, I think we leave it up to the audience to decide!�
But despite the crazy and mad, Orgy somehow doesn�t seem to expect to become superstars, of course they wouldn�t mind but it�s nothing they think is worth aiming for. In short, Orgy is going to take success, life and all the rest just how it comes. �We don�t expect to become superstars, that isn�t something you can plan or expect, it happens or it doesn�t happen, simple. There is no way that you can change the taste of the audience, they like you or they don�t like you. The most important thing about it all is that you like what you�re doing, that you�re 100 percent behind it all, that you are not doing things half hearted or half assed.
Let me put it this way, we don�t expect to become superstars, but should we become superstars we wouldn�t have a problem with it. I don�t think we�d be caught up in the status of things. We�re a band, we�re a rather provocative band, if you want to use that, then we do have a status, a status that seems to be rather popular at the moment. But I think our way of being provocative is more serious and certainly a lot more believable than what bands like KISS and Marilyn Manson do.
We�re serious about provoking! But anyway, we don�t expect to become superstars. That is not our goal, our goal and our expectation is, that mankind sees us as 5 characters, we�re 5 different characters, we all play in the same band, but we don�t want to be lumped in, you know, so each of us is the same, just another part of Orgy. Orgy is a band made up of 5 completely different characters, that is true, but despite the fact we all play in the band, we all want to maintain our individuality and we hope the public will grant us that.�
The story about their early friendship Jay Gordon and Jonathan Davis had and the fact that Korn signed them as the first band on their Elementree label, gathered Orgy a lot of criticism. A lot of people claimed they were just a manufactured band and without the support of Korn they�d be nowhere. Orgy never made a secret out of the fact that it was a stroke of luck, but they always insisted that they would try to do what they can to show that they�re not just a band that got a deal because they knew somebody, but that they are also a band that can hold their own.
�It was pretty simple, I knew Ryan who played with Jon in a band and he introduced us. We started talking and found out that a lot of our musical influences were the same. We talked about Bowie, Sisters of Mercy, Duran Duran, all that and somehow we just sat down and wrote some songs together. It�s not a big secret and there isn�t any scandal involved. It�s just what happens when musicians meet, they talk about music - what else?�
One thing Orgy doesn�t care to hear is the word �gothic�, even if they do look slightly gothic and included some gothic elements in their music. �Sure, we included some of the elements, but I don�t think we sound like a band who belongs to the goth or industrial corner, that drawer isn�t really ours. We had a completely different approach. We started out playing all that heavy shit, then we decided we want and need something else and we sat down and thought about it. In the end we found a style that includes everything we like but is still pretty unique
I think our music is best described as some weird mix of neo-gothic future and post chaotic madness. We kept it really open and didn�t try to force a message on anybody, I think our audience should have their own interpretations, their own thoughts. Of course every song means something but I think it�s far more important to let the listener decide what it means for him or her.�
When they released their cover of �Blue Monday,� the old New Order hit, more accusations were loud that they are just copy cats and used the easiest way - a cover - to gain success in the music business. A lot of critics and enemies of Orgy claimed that they were lacking in originality and talent. Do they regret that they basically started their career with a cover song?
�No, of course not, it is a great song and we like the song. It was some sort of tribute to the 80�s and especially New Order. A lot of people didn�t understand it but there is not much we can do about it, or could do about it. We mentioned in every interview why we picked �Blue Monday,� but if somebody doesn�t want to listen, what can you do? I think it certainly takes more than just a good cover, even if it is one of the most brilliant 80�s songs, to make it.
On the other hand I do understand the prejudices, at least a bit, on the one hand every artist is looking for the real magic key, the key to success, but on the other hand it is really poor to take the easiest way. Then there is another thing, you can do whatever you want, if you�re not among the lucky 5% that get the chance to get heard, that get a record contract, then there is not much you can do at all.
�Of course there are plenty of people in the business that are doing it all for the love of money, they want success and flashy cars, but if money is your only motivation, the sole driving force, then I think it�s better to stay out of it and not give music a bad name. I don�t have a big mansion in Beverly Hills and I don�t drive a Ferrari. If there is a magic formula for success, than I don�t know it.�
Funny enough Jay Gordon�s first brush with music was heavy metal, he played in a band called LIT, a grind core band from his native San Francisco.
�For a while I kind of flipped through different scenes, you know for a while I was enthralled by trash bands like Exodus, Megadeth, Metallica and Death Angel, but I was always open for almost every style there was. I went to glam shows and was inspired by Bowie, Slayer, everything. Music and science fiction always fascinated me. When I moved to LA, I started playing in hard-core bands and met people like Korn. You could say I assimilated a lot of different styles.
I was 12 years old and saw Iron Maiden and the Scorpions in concert. Somebody must have given me some crazy drug, and I loved it, I was so impressed, the show, the music everything. I was completely into it.�
But it comes as no real surprise when Gordon confesses that his true love were always the 80�s, and while a lot of people claim the 80�s were just full of rubbish, he manages to find some positive elements.
�I always loved the 80�s, I still do, a lot of people associate the 80�s with a bunch of crazy bands, you know, complete lunatics, high on drugs and just into their own egos and addicted to cheap thrills. Of course it�s true, there were such bands, but there were also some really cool bands, bands with visions that did truly revolutionary things.
One thing of the 80�s - and I can�t see anything wrong with it - was fun, I was always under the impression that guys like Motley Crue had a lot of fun. And what�s wrong with having fun? Life is often grim enough as it is!
A lot of people also think synthies are a thing of the 80�s but it�s definitely a part of Orgy and a lot of other bands use synthies as well, we just do it in a really obvious way, we�re not hiding them. Before we discovered trash metal and started to play trash metal, some of my favorite bands were underground - at that time the Cure and Bauhaus were underground. I think it is one of the reasons why we mix so many different styles and it is - despite all rumors - also the reason for our band name, Orgy. Our sound is an orgy of different styles!�