Even though the axes are falling at Atlantic Records, reportedly already claiming Screamin’ Cheetah Wheelies, Extra Fancy and King’s X (and more to follow), members of Orange 9mm feel like they’re on top of the world at 75 Rockefeller Plaza.
“There’s just a super good vibe here at the label, from the mailroom up to the heads,” drummer Matt Cross said recently from the company’s New York headquarters. “They’re really, really into the band. We played this show in New York not too long ago and about 150 people from the label were there. I guess that’s what they mean about us being a high priority.”
The New York-based, full-throttle rock quartet delivers the goods with its Atlantic debut album, “Tragic,” released July 30. To some, tracks such as “Fire in the Hole” (the first single) and “The Method” are just a galaxy of noise. To others, it’s a guttural, soul-purging experience.
“Anybody who doesn’t listen to aggressive music,” singer Chaka Malik said, “I don’t care if they don’t like the record or not, just as long as they admit to themselves that it kicks ass. Not to be conceited or anything.”
Cross and Malik say they and guitarist Chris Traynor and bassist Taylor McLam credit producer Dave Sardy, frontman of Barkmarket, for opening up their songs and allowing them to relax and enjoy the moment.
“Dave was super easygoing,” Cross said. “He came in and said, ‘You know what? I’m not one of these bull—- producers, like we’re going to spend two weeks on this drum track for this song.’ He said the first time you lay a song down is pretty much going to be the best you’re ever going to play. We went for the vibe and the energy.”
Malik said half of the record was recorded in one day in a Brooklyn studio.
“We were going in to just do some demos,” he said, “and Dave was like, ‘Okay, let’s start taping. How many songs do you want to try?’ and we said 12. I didn’t leave that room till 2 in the morning and we never went back and listened to anything. The whole time, Dave was saying ‘This is the record.’ He was right. Even the songs we went back and tried to re-record at another session didn’t come out as good.”
It was a dream situation, Malik said, but one that they may never duplicate.
“That’s something we lucked into,” he said, “whether the moon was in the right place or somebody’s great-great-grandmother was looking down on us.”