Interview with Jami Morgan from Code Orange: “Triple H came to our band practice”

Code Orange Band Promo Photo

Few bands in heavy music are as polarising right now as Code Orange. Love them or hate them it feels like almost everyone interested in heavy music has something to say about them. At the centre of it all is Jami Morgan (drums/vocals) who is effectively the spokesperson for the band. His brash and confident attitude divides opinions as much as their music does. We were able to catch up with him before Code Orange took to the stage at Brixton Academy to support Trivium.

So I guess just to get started how have these shows with Trivium been for you?

Jami: It’s been going well. It’s a new crowd which has been great.

When you say it’s a new crowd, have you noticed that Trivium fans are super die-hard for that band. Have they been enjoying you or has it been a bit split?

Jami: We’ve been doing really well on merch and stuff so some are definitely taking to us. But I mean we don’t care we just do our shit, we get right in their face and fucking bring it.

Like that photo that’s been going around shows, it just sums up what you guys are like perfectly.

Jami: Aha you liked that one then. But really a lot of crowd dig what we’ve done. There’s always some guy who’s like “fuck off, fuck off man”. But we’re just like “fuck you” and I’ll point him out. But tonight I think we’re gonna have a lot of fans in.

So do you think fans are becoming more open to different styles of heavy music? Like whilst certain scenes still exist do you find people aren’t just sticking to the one scene they came from?

Jami: Oh yeah I completely agree.

With you coming from a hardcore background it sometimes feels like that scene pushes back against bands trying to break out and get bigger. Have you felt this at all since the release of Forever, where you really started to try new things?

Jami: I feel like we started off with a lot of weird stuff anyway. I Am King was a lot more consolidated because we wanted to rebuild then. But then we’ve just added those elements back in as well as some new ones. We were always weird, we were always not suited or accepted. So we don’t really give a fuck. We get backlash fuck yeah but we don’t care who gives a shit right?

Does it almost fuel you?

Jami: Yeah exactly. But it’s not just from hardcore we get backlash from everywhere, who doesn’t nowadays. Go on instagram or anything and look at the comments.

Yeah, that you’re more anonymous online means people will feel like they can get away with criticism more.

Jami: People say mean shit sure but if you care about that you’re on the wrong path.

So like talking about bands stepping out of their scenes. Do you feel it is important for a band to step out and play with bands you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to?

Jami: I think it just depends on the band. Some bands are just made for little venues. And I think it’s a beautiful thing. I love the hardcore scene and I think it almost should be small in some ways. Some bands are made for that and some aren’t. I know that we’re not but I think we can still help contribute to the hardcore scene, we’ll never really leave it. We’re doing Outbreak this year, we never leave and come back. We’re always there.

So when you’ve played with bands like Gojira and System Of A Down have you felt like fans of these bigger bands have started to turn up at Code Orange shows?

Jami: It takes a lot of work but it is growing. You have to keep growing that audience.

I guess that now there are more press outlets covering you and you being on the cover of some magazines now has meant more people who otherwise wouldn’t be aware have started to take notice.

Jami: We are definitely getting more coverage now but we’ve never been like a “press band” because we’ve had so much grind up to this point. People can go look and that and go “oh okay that’s legit”. It’s definitely not for everyone, I know there’s a lot we do that won’t be for everyone but we just do our shit.

Yeah it’s weird seeing people say you came along out of nowhere with all this hype when like you said, you’ve been grinding away for years now. Like you’re not just some buzz band that suddenly got picked up, you’ve worked hard for this

Jami: Oh yeah and they’re gonna say that about the next one, they’ll be like “woah this shits suddenly big”. But for us we just gotta keep trumping ourselves. Destroying our past goals and destroying our past ceiling. So that’s what we’re gonna keep doing.

So it’s been around 15 months since the release of Forever. There have obviously been some huge moments for you over this album cycle but were there any that you really didn’t see coming?

Jami: Obviously the grammy’s was a big moment. Playing on a WWE event and some of these tours have been big. That remix with Alt-j, we’ve done a bunch of crazy shit.

The Alt-j remix was the one that really surprised me.

Jami: It was out of nowhere but they’re fans of it. I think what Shade (guitar/electronics) did with those tracks was sick. And I wanna keep doing stuff like that because it’s a way to get our stuff out to new people without changing our music. So we can bring these people back to us but the records we make aren’t gonna get weaker. They’re gonna stay hard. We just want people to hear this weird take on something they like and just come back to us.

Performing on NXT was another moment I found really cool, what was that like for you?

Jami: It was fucking crazy, I was scared as fuck. Triple H came to our band practice, the room was about as big as where we are now and he walked in. We were waiting for him and just seeing him come in was crazy. I was a huge fan of him growing up. He was the coolest guy ever.

I think it’s cool cos he’s a proper metal fan as well. 

Jami: He’s the man, he’s just the fucking best.

And with the grammy nomination even if that didn’t totally work out this time I guess its just motivated you more?

Jami: Oh yeah we’re gonna win one for sure. This isn’t over. It was a great thing to happen to us and it shows that it’s possible.

So do you feel like your influence as a band has increased since the release of Forever? Whether it’s encouraging bands to experiment more or like that band you pointed out ripping off your imagery on twitter.

Jami: Yeah that was weird, like they ripped off our entire spinning 3D logo and everything. But really I don’t know if I can be the one to say this really. But I dunno I can’t really blame anyone cos we’ve taken inspiration from other bands ourselves. I think there are a lot of bands that are doing stuff we’ve done that definitely aren’t admitting it. It’s not all as blatant as that one band but I think you can definitely make a list of stuff they’ve done. I think it’s a good thing in a lot of ways, but I wish that they would acknowledge it, that would probably make me feel better about it but you know, fuck it.

You can look at in two ways right

Jami: Yeah I mean we’ve taken stuff from other bands too, it’s cool. I just don’t like the band who rip us off and then talk shit about us cos those bands exist as well. I think as long as you’re cool with us and respectful then it’s great. Like I said we’ve taken many things from other bands so I’m happy to give back.

Do you feel like your success will give other bands more confidence to try do stuff their fans wouldn’t typically expect?

Jami: I think it’s weird because it’s definitely given some bands a confidence boost but also our confidence makes other bands mad all the time. Like we have a lot of bands who don’t like us because we’re so confident with ourselves. But they can’t really point to one thing they actually dislike. I’ve never torn down a band from our world or said we were better than a band from our world. So I think people misinterpret having self confidence and believing in yourself. Telling this bigger world that we’re here. We’re trying to prop our world up and sick of people misunderstanding that.

Do you think people mistake confidence for arrogance then? 

Jami: We’re just proud of what we’re doing and these people can’t actually point to anything we’ve done that’s arrogant. They say that, bands say it too and they’ll say it behind our back. I don’t give a fuck, fuck them. The bands I’m friends with know I support the shit out of them and I do a lot to support them. We’re gonna keep doing that.

This sort of links back to what you were saying about playing stuff like Outbreak Fest earlier. You’re giving back to that scene that you came from. 

Jami: Yeah exactly, we wanna do it. And if it goes well and the kids like it we’ll keep doing shit like that. If it doesn’t and no one turns up then we’ll stop. As long as people still show up and are still supporting then we’ll always be there.

So just to move onto to something a bit different. A little while back you released Only One Way, was this done as just a standalone experiment or do you feel like this is the sort of direction your sound is going to move in for future releases?

Jami: I think it’s gonna be a real mix. I wanna put stuff out in that lane, but I still wanna do full albums and have it all synch up. People will see, I’ve got a plan for it all.

The song leans heavily on the industrial elements you really introduced in Forever, was that just what you wanted to do at that time?

Jami: Yeah exactly that’s just the song we wanted to release. And it’s still got hard parts in it anyway. It’s got hard riffs, there’s not necessarily a mosh part but there’s hard shit in there. We’re still gonna do hard shit, we’re gonna write all different kinds of songs. If people are gonna sit there and now think every song we’re gonna release is gonna sound like that, like how dumb are they. Actually not how dumb are they that’s a bit much, but I mean they must not be listening to our albums properly. Our albums have got all kinds of shit. So clearly that’s one lane we went down. We wanted to make like a groovy kind of rock song. There’s a little bit of Type-O in there, little bit of Alice but all that going through the grinder of the crazy Code Orange process. And I think we succeeded in that. I love the song and I think we’re gonna rock the song live. We’ve got all kinds of songs coming, anyone who’s an actual fan will clearly get that.

Yeah there’s never been been like one particular sound for you. Like I wouldn’t be shocked if your next songs was way heavier and filled with mosh parts.

Jami: Yeah I mean I don’t think we’d ever just do a straight up this is just a song filled with mosh parts cos it’s fucking watered down and sucks. Will we do insane songs with crazy mosh parts, absolutely but we never did straight up hardcore songs. I mean there’s stuff on I Am King that were a bit like that but still had weird shit going on, we just weren’t as good at it then.

So I guess just to wrap up, what else does the near future hold for you guys?

Jami: We got a lot of stuff. I can’t really say what, when and where but I mean when we get off tour we work on new material. And then we get straight back on tour, we don’t take time off.

Great, well that’s everything then, thanks so much

Jami: Dude thank you.

Code Orange will next return to the UK as part of Outbreak Festival in Leeds on the 16th – 17th of June 2018.


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