Orgy interviewed about returning with “Karma Kastles” and other new work

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Los Angeles-based electronic rock band, Orgy, has a lot of new music in the pipeline, and they’ve just released their first single of 2021, “Karma Kastles.”  Lyrically inspired by people they’ve known in LA over the years, the song had already been included in their live show before Covid-19 put the brakes on live music. Eager to get back to performing, Orgy has been taking the time to finish and fine-tune more recordings. They have an EP slated for release later this year, and more material ready to follow.

Orgy was formed in 1997, releasing their debut album “Candyass” the following year. They are known for such hits as “Stitches” and “Fiction,” as well as their cover of the New Order classic “Blue Monday.”  Frontman, Jay Gordon is the only original member in the current lineup, which includes guitarist/backing vocalist Carlton Bost (Stabbing Westward, Berlin, etc) as his primary songwriting collaborator. Rounding out the band is Nic Speck (bass, backing vocals), Creighton Emrick (guitar, backing vocals) and Marton Veress (drums).

In a phone interview, Gordon and Bost discussed “Karma Kastles” and the current status of Orgy.

I know that you’re planning on releasing more music later in the year. How did “Karma Kastles” come to be the first single? Was it done as an initial one-off?  Was it just the first track you completed?

Jay: There’s some music that’s coming up that’s more like industrial-type stuff. This is more of like a rock track, but it’s a cool one and it’s got some electronic elements. It’s dark and moody in the verses and gets kind of bugged out in the choruses.

Carlton: I think it went through a couple of different incarnations, but yeah, it was the first one of this batch that we completed.

I know you’ve performed it live previously. Do you feel the song has evolved in any particular way on its path to the recorded version?

Jay: Actually, the live performance kind of evolved from the recording. It’s kind of the way Orgy works. It’s kind of weird. We don’t work like a traditional band where people get together. It’s just really and Carlton and I sit around and do some stuff and then we introduce it as a song to the band and do whatever.

What inspired it lyrically?

Jay: It’s kind of about a million women and guys that I know in LA. I write a lot of songs about the people that are around me a lot, or people that were around me in the past. It just kind of talks about all of them. You know, ‘you were chasing stars out of the Boulevard, looking for a few connections on your fresh start, but your parents kicked you out because you maxed out all your cards, now you roll them with a brand new car.’ It’s like, wait a second, didn’t you just get cut off from your parents? Aren’t you supposed to be moving back to Iowa or wherever you’re from? Then how did you just pull up in a nice new Benz? Oh, new boobs, you got new boobs. Oh, and a lift job. I see you.
Carlton: I think a lot of people moved to LA and put on this big false show of themselves for a while and then you find out who they really are later on,
Jay: And then everybody’s like, “Oh my God, did you see that person? blah blah blah.” And then they’re all like best friends the week after. It’s cute. I mean, it’s silly, but it’s cute. And kind of makes you want to vomit. Then you smile.

As it’s been a while since there’s been a new Orgy release, what made you feel that the time was right to put something out? Did the pandemic and lack of live shows have any impact on it?

Jay: With this record … we’ve owed the fans a record for a long time. There’s no excuse not to give them one. And the pandemic was an even better reason to get it done. But it was not the reason for the record. It’s a reason for us to finish this record.
Carlton: It is allowing us more time to kind of nitpick things and get everything exactly right.
Jay: I think that’s more towards the other songs, because this was kind of written before all that started.
Carlton: I think it’s made the music a little bit more serious-feeling, maybe. I mean, we’ve written like tons of music and we’ve got to figure out what’s going to be on the record.
Jay: There’s literally a hundred songs. And then we just got to narrow it down to 12, and then pick another 12 for the next one. It’s going to be hard to choose, I think.

Do you feel that your approach to music and the creative process has changed over the years?

Jay: It definitely has changed. I still don’t really have a formula for the way I write a song. Like, sometimes the lyrics will come first. Most of the time the music comes first. I don’t know what my process is, but I think it’s changed somewhat over the years. We do things better. We make things sound better now, more quickly. It doesn’t take as long to get a drum sound right, for example. Everything just kind of happens faster now.

Carton – you’ve been involved with many different projects. Do you feel that any have had an impact or influence on your work with Orgy?

Carlton: No, I wouldn’t say so. I feel like everything is kind of uniquely and individually its own. And especially with Orgy, it’s definitely its own entity and its own vibe and feel and sound and everything. So, I wouldn’t really equate it to anything else.

Orgy started out on a major label. Has the shift to becoming independent had an effect on the band and how it works?

Jay: We’re really about to find out on our own for once, with nobody else’s help. We’re going to try some very new things with this record, like as far as how we’re working on promoting it, and how we’re going to sell it, and how we’re going to distribute it and everything. And I think it’s going to be very interesting to see how that goes.

To prepare for this interview I was listening to your older music on Spotify and saw that “Blue Monday” was your #1 song. When you did that cover, did you have any idea it would have such long-term success?

Jay: No, but it really does go in and out. It’s been number one over the years, intermittently. It’s so crazy. It just keeps regurgitating itself, as does the original. But I had no idea that it was going to be as successful as it was.
Carlton: It may be that when new people discover the band, maybe that’s the first thing they listened to because it’s that familiar, and they just gravitate towards that first.

While live shows aren’t happening right now, are you planning on doing any online performances?

Jay: We might, but see the problem with us doing that is our drummer Marton is in Hungary, Budapest. It’s a little hard for us to rehearse with him there. But if there’s a way to figure it out, we will. He practices all the time to the songs. So maybe if we could just do like a live stream rehearsal a few times, then we could just do the show. But we’re going to try to do something crazy with this song, like market it in a different way. I don’t know, maybe crypto – it has some crypto parts of it. I mean, I’m no Grimes, but wow. She made a killing in like 20 minutes; it’s cool that you can do that. The architecture is there that people can actually invest in and actually purchase a piece of your song. So I’m thinking of all the ways that we could monetize it and move on to the next level, but we’ll see.

Has Marton being overseas been a problem with recording the new material?

Jay: We program a lot of stuff, and I kind of program it to where Marton would be like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s what I would play.’ I mean, he would do some cooler stuff than programmed, but at least it’s close. So then sometimes he’ll listen to it and go, ‘Oh, we need to do this right here.’ And then I’ll flip the beat around a little bit. So I let him hear things, and he’ll be like, ‘let’s do this here’ and then we’ll change it.
Carlton: We may have him do some stuff when he gets back, after this is all over with, and just put his stamp on it. He’s done that with some of the other stuff that has happened. So, we have some of his performances.

Are you planning on getting back into live shows as soon as it’s possible?

Jay: I want to play. I want to play everything from bar mitzvahs to beaches, to backyards. I want to play out, live so bad. I’d play in your front room. I’m ready to go. I’m literally like ready to go.
Carlton: It’s going to be interesting to see how that all works out because every band out there is going to be wanting to do the same thing.
Jay: Every club is going to have to do like day-long festivals every day to accommodate. You’re going to be able to see like a hundred bands. Like we’re playing twice; we’re at the Red Lobster in Anaheim and then doing another show at Vegas after that. The bands are going to be going nuts. Like we’re playing the casino pool at Harrah’s, like bad Vegas, and then like an apartment building or clubhouse. It’s seriously going to be like that.

Orgy emerged at a time when ‘industrial’ was really catching on and there was a wave of bands combining rock with electronics. What are your thoughts on the way the scene has evolved?

Jay: The stuff we did back then is definitely making more of a comeback than you could even imagine. It’s like, wait, I’ve got to go back now. I’ve got to do the shit I used to be able to do. Really, that’s what’s happening right now. I don’t know why, but that wave is catching right now. And that’s what a lot of people are doing. I see it clearly. What’s really crazy is that like with the industrial genre, so to speak, DJs have taken over – maybe in a little different form, but the notes are the same. The grooves are the same, maybe just slower. They’re doing repetitive arc, industrial-type things in the EDM world. There’s some incredible similarities between like Gesaffelstein and like Nine Inch Nails or something like that. There’s a definite intersection right there.

Is there anything else that you’d like to add?

Jay: Just that hopefully people like the single. Keep your ears and eyes open. We’ve got some more stuff coming in, and we’re just going to start cranking them out here really soon. So then as soon as all this nonsense is over with, we’re going to be getting out there and seeing everyone.

Purchase or stream “Karma Kastles” : https://orcd.co/karmakastles

Follow Orgy: Facebook | YouTube | Instagram | Twitter

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