Nigel Rojas - Orange Sky

August 26, 2005


Photo Credit: Chipster PR

You guys are from Trinidad.

Yes, we are. I live in the tropical Caribbean a few miles off the coast of Venezuela. Itís a Caribbean island but weíre very, very south. Weíre seven miles off the coast of Venezuela.

Thatís cool. Tell us a little bit about Trinidad.

We are about 2,000,000 people on this island and our main music everyone knows is calypso and soca. So many bands at parties have hard rock. Old school and new school hard rock and reggae playing. Everybody is out having a good time. I guess we come from that type of music back home. We have a lot of soca and calypso but thereís also a lot of reggae and rock.

You folks are very upbeat, happy people.

Iíd say so.

I think thatís awesome.

Yeah, it is. Itís cool, man. Itís nice. I love life.

Itís a good thing because music is taking a doom and gloom approach and I think itís great when happy, upbeat people interject a little fresh air in and make things go back on the up side every once in a while.

That is awesome. That is what is keeping us alive right now. I canít say how much we appreciate what you are doing for us Angela. Right now weíre just trying to get a few seeds and plant as many seeds as possible and make a bunch of new friends by playing out. Our album is about to be released on September the 27th and we feel very, very lucky. Granite Records has organized that for us. Weíre also going to be starting a tour with Adema on the 14th of September on the West coast. These are the shows that weíve done out of the Caribbean womb. Out of Trinidad and Jamaica and Barbados. Itís really surreal right now but we feel really lucky and we feel really happy.

I can imagine. How did you guys come up with name Orange Sky?

I named the band Orange Sky as a trip kind of vibe. Sunrise and sunset. Infinity. That type of thing.

You guys are putting out this debut CD. Do you incorporate a lot of different elements of music into your music like calypso and that sort of thing?

Not so much calypso but I call our music roots rock. Meaning you have hard rock, new school, and old school elements, but you also have roots. Your roots styles are more like reggae and that type of thing. Not so much calypso as such but Caribbean rhythm for sure.

This will be something new for people.

Yeah, pretty much. I think we will try really hard to keep it as organic as we could. Stick to what we feel really happy about musically and we feel really fortunate the way people have been responding to stuff.

Have you guys been doing a lot of shows around the area you live in or have you guys been outside of Trinidad?

No, we've been playing the Caribbean a lot. We've done a couple 100 shows in the Caribbean in the last couple of years. We've been very lucky to cultivate a really good fan base here and even in South America. This is the first time we're going to come to the States and really try to make some new friends and plant some seeds.

That is awesome. How did you guys get together?

Me and my brother have been jamming ever since. Four years ago we just got together with a couple of the guys and it sounded like a good time to secretly put a band together for my songwriting and we've just done really good, man. People like the stuff and it's miraculous to be honest. You can take a thought and turn it into a song and then you can take that and transfer it to people and make that exchange. We've had a really good vibe. It's miraculous where we're going to.

I noticed your last name is Rojas. You have Spanish ancestry.

Yes, my father is from Venezuela so we have a really strong Afro-Latino background.

Are different languages spoken in Trinidad?

No, we're really an English colony since the 17th century so we are predominantly English speaking.

When you and your brother were growing up, what kind of musical influences did you have and what were you exposed to?

We know a lot of people are really ashamed about the '80s and all that but we're not. A lot of the musical magic that happened, especially in rock, happened in the '80s. Despite all the fashion tragedies, the music to us meant a lot. It goes way back with the Motley Crue Shout At The Devil, Twisted Sister Stay Hungry, Judas Priest British Steel. All that stuff up to now. AC/DC, Black Sabbath, a lot of rock and a lot of reggae. That's what we listened to growing up.

I was a teenager in the '80s and I thought that was when music came alive.

I think so very much. We're very fortunate to have our producer, Jeff Glixman, who worked with a lot of bands in the '80s. From Kansas to some Black Sabbath and a couple of other bands. Georgia Satellites and Electric Light Orchestra. We're really fortunate to get his touch. We didn't really want too much of a new school kind of thing going on. We wanted to capture our live sound which is kind of edgy but we also wanted to make a really precise, perfect studio sound on our album as well. Someone with the '80s touch is really what made it turn out perfect.

Tell us a little about Upstairs.

Upstairs is a compilation of 12 tracks we had to choose to put on the first album. It was recorded in Atlanta last August over a period of three weeks and it was mixed in New Jersey for another three weeks in November. Pretty much, the songs are really close to our hearts and I think we have quite an eclectic mix of music there. That's Orange Sky right there. That album represents us and what we do. We're not trying to be heavier than anybody. We're not trying to be more melodic than anybody. This is our formula. We just try to keep it organic as it is. Upstairs really emulates where we're coming from musically.

So you guys are being yourselves.

We've gotten a good response based on that, thank God. We decided let's just be that as opposed to trying to be something else just to be accepted.

Absolutely. Why did you record the album in one place and mix it in another?

Reel To Reel is an incredible facility but they were very booked in November so the only other place that we could have gotten at the time with the budget that we had was another studio in New Jersey that Jeff suggested that is a very, very good studio. We went there and we got a really good job done. We got see Wildwood, New Jersey. That's where the album was mixed. We were glad to get to see that place as well.

Yeah, New Jersey is actually a very nice, lush, green state.

Yeah, it's close to the sea and the studio is about a block away from the ocean so it was really nice.

New Jersey is known for its oil refineries but it does have its nice areas.

Yeah, we had a good time and we got the job done. We liked it in Jersey.

You write all of the songs or at least you did in the early days. What do you write about?

Pretty much I guess just life. I don't really sit down one day and say "okay, I'm going to write tonight or I'm going to write tomorrow." It just comes and I just feel the right time and the right words for the right melody. The right theme and it just happens. I've been writing songs for a while. Writing riffs. They just seem to come together like a big puzzle. Basically, I don't know what the next five Orange Sky songs are going to sound like. It's just part of one big adventure and it's worked that way so far. The songs are just about life really. What we go through. There is some romantic anguish in there of course and everything else. Man on man wars. Man against man injustices. Vibes like that. We're just thinking about life. We don't have a certain content that we stick to or anything like that.

You guys did a cover of Cat Stevens' "Peace Train".

Yes, we did.

Coming from such a small, upbeat area how do you feel about everything that's going on right now?

We love Cat Stevens. He's an incredible songwriter and craftsman. We started to jam to "Peace Train" in the rehearsal. Then we started to do it live and people had such a tremendous response to it, we just decided to put it on the album. There was some anxiety as to what kind of band people would think we are. It might give people the wrong impression of what we are but we aren't really worried about that because we aren't trying to be happier than anybody. We don't want to be branded as a metal band or a hard rock band or a reggae band. It's just music. We're really, really glad we did that track because it's gotten a good response.

I think it's great that you guys did that too. I think songs like that are very important right now. Get people to chill out a little bit and take a step back and think about things.

Yeah Angela, the way the world is right now and the stuff that's been happening beyond time. I guess that could just be our little contribution. At least how we feel and drop all that macho crap and give me a lunch money kind of vibe and just be ourselves. Sing about love and whatever else.

Amen.

We're just glad about what you guys are doing for us. Giving us the clubs and the CPR right now at the time we need it the most and planting seeds. We really appreciate this.

It's great to see people do something new and adventurous and come over here from an exotic place like Trinidad. I thought that was real cool.

Yeah, we feel special. We feel really honored and we feel very lucky because there's a lot of good music out there and a lot of people busting their asses and trying to get representation either from a label or management. We feel very lucky with the team that we have around us and with Granite Records. Thanks to them we're going to release our album on September 27th. The first couple of thousand CDs are going to have a bonus added feature on the inside which is an Orange Sky DVD with us live in concert as well. You can check us out at myspace.com or www.theorangesky.com.

Can you tell us a little bit about the DVD?

It was filmed in Trinidad in February. It basically captures us in our element with our people. When we throw a show, we get a couple thousand people coming out and this is one of those shows. Just captures us having a good time and having a good show. I think it's a good way for people to realize the exchange and the connection that we make when we play live. It's a big part of us. The connection and the exchange that we make when we perform live. We love to play.

You guys are having fun and that's the element that's missing in a lot of music today.

Yeah, we almost feel guilty about it sometimes but it really is 100 percent fun. We just feel very, very lucky. I know I keep saying that but that's how we feel.

We need you guys to come over here and have fun so we can have fun. Fun is a good thing.

Absolutely, that's what we're looking forward to.

Are you guys just doing the West coast or is that going to expand a little bit?

With Adema, we're going to be doing only the West coast. We're doing a couple of shows with them and then we're supposed to tentatively do Yngwie Malmsteen in October. Open for him across North America and Canada. We are very excited about that as well. We get a chance to just play and make that connection. That's what we are living for. That's what is going to help us to get across what we want to get across.

I can't wait to see you guys in Texas sometime. Any other thoughts or comments?

We just want to thank you very much for giving us this interview. On behalf of me and the rest of the boys, thanks a lot and anything we can do for you guys, just let us know. Hope to meet you one day.

Orange Sky