Green River Ordinance
Green River Ordinance is one of my favorite bands of this year, their latest album Under Fire is a masterpiece, good songs with great songwriting, it’s also one of my albums of the year. I love what this band does. I got to find out more from the band and they gave some great answers. So read on.
1. Are you happy how things have gone for the band so far?
Things are always up and down, but we have been very blessed as a band to continue making music and to have fans that have supported us through out the years. I think most musicians can relate that there is always another level to push their art toward, but looking back we are very lucky to of had the success that we have had so far. GRO has experienced great times and some really rough situations, but all in all we are very happy with the road we have been traveling.
2. What was the inspiration for the new album?
A lot of the inspiration for Under Fire was the experience of touring non stop and going through all the changes that took place since the release of our previous album Out of My Hands. During that time we traveled across the country a bunch of times. A few of us met our now current wives. We experienced what is what like to be away from our loved ones, and we felt the joy of coming home. Under Fire is full of the struggles of life and the the hope that can come out of the darkest places. The songs on the record are not just teenage love songs. We have grown up a lot since out of my hands and we wanted to make a record that showed how we were changing and growing as people.
3. How was the recording process different to the last album?
When we recorded Out of My Hands there was a lot of pressure to write nothing but the magic single. Every song needed to be three minutes and thirty seconds and the record label had a very specific genera of music that they wanted us to fit into. When we were writing Under Fire we decided to put aside the constraints of genera and to stop worrying about what an A&R guy would want. We just wanted to write songs that fit the songs themselves. As a result Under Fire explores more of who Green River Ordinance is as band. We are a band of five different people with different influences. Some of our songs have a little country flair to them and some have a some soul and gospel to them. We feel like this record really sounds like Green River Ordinance not just our favorites songs from the 90’s. Not to say that there is anything wrong with radio friendly pop songs, Under Fire has a few of them, but we did not want to force that mold onto every song that was written.
4. Were you happy with the responses to the new album?
We took a few risks with Under Fire and we were really happy with the response we received from our fans. It seems so far that Under Fire has created a wider audience for us and has really opened some new doors. We are really proud of the album as a body of art and it is really encouraging from others that feel the same way. Its cool to have an album that has had country and pop success as an independent band.
5. How are things different being independent again from being on a major label?
Our band has really grown and changed a lot since the last time we were independent before we signed to Capitol records. As a band we like to take more initiative in all the elements of our business and we enjoy the extra responsibility that comes with being independent. Even when we were with the record label we ended up taking back the control of our photography music videos and art work. It is just nice being able to make decisions as a band with out having to go through the red tape of a record label, and its nice to not have people making decisions for you with out asking your opinion. At the same time we owe a lot of our success to EMI they did a great job of pushing us to markets and giving us our first shot at radio.
6. Why did you leave Virgin Records?
Virgin/Capitol/EMI records was defaulting on a very large loan at the time, and as a result they asked us to write and record a record in only a few months so that they could meet their quarter deadline of money they could spend. We had been touring non stop and hadn’t been given a single opportunity to take time from the road to write. It made no sense for us to rush and make a mediocre record that we were not proud of. We have always made an effort to put out music that we are proud of and is the best possible representation of GRO. Staying with EMI felt like taking the final exam for a college class and not taking any time to study the material. So we decided not to gamble our life’s work of GRO and we walked away from EMI. We spent a lot of time and effort writing and recording a record that never would have existed if we stayed with EMI. With out the red tape of EMI we also made a pretty sweet acoustic record, a covers EP, and a pretty fun christmas record. Being an independent artist gave us the opportunity to make music that we wanted to make.
7. How did fundraising sites help the band?
Well we used a website called kickstarter to give our fans a chance to fund the recording of our record. Through kickstarter we pre sold copies of the record as well as other GRO merchandise and services. Some of these included phone calls from the band, back stage hang outs, pre show dinners, and acoustic performances in a fans living room. Through the website we were able to raise over 40k dollars and we were able to write and record the record debt free. It was a great way to bridge the gap between fan and artist and there are people out there that saved the life of Green River Ordinance and are the reason we are still a band.
8. How has social networking helped the band?
I find this question funny because it is so multi faceted, but I am assuming you are from Australia and I am pretty sure that you probably found out about GRO through some form of social networking either Facebook, youtube, or twitter. Twelve years ago a friend either burned you a cd or you found out about new music through the radio. Now I find music through social media, and not just Facebook and twitter status either, people instagram pictures of the music they are listening to and they post spotified playlist. Social media is the main way our generation is informed of well.. everything. With out a record label we rely on social media for most of our business.
9. What was the idea behind filming and performing songs acoustically off the latest album?
Lets face it most people cant really sing these days, and its easy to fix mistakes with computers. We don’t use auto tune or fake back ground vocals we play our instruments and write our own songs, and its fun to play songs naturally with out any technology.
10. Who would the band most like to work with on an album?
U2 or David Bowie.
11. How does the band worm up before playing a show?
We usually say a prayer and make sure we have enough bottles of water.
12. What’s the band’s drink of choice?
13. Any chance of playing Australia some time soon?
We would love too, but its a bit expensive for a poor rock and roll band like us.