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Co-founded in 1978 by Chris Cutler, London-based ReR Megacorp remains a musician-led independent label after almost 40 years. Blithely disregarding market wisdom, it continues to release titles across a wide spectrum of genres.
ReR is home to cult bands This Heat, Henry Cow, Faust, Art Bears, The Necks...
Being in a semi-professional rock band is a full-time hustle. Living that hustle every day is the true artistic product of the independent musicians, writers, filmmakers and visual artists for whom 9 to 5 is not an option. But what does the art of lifestyle look like? And how do you sell it? The Oranges Band’s success does not include the benefits of increased visibility and financial reward, but lies in the less tangible satisfaction of its curious side effects. Listening to (Guided By Voices’ frontman) Bob Pollard crack bad jokes backstage and filling in for him during a soundcheck in North Carolina while on tour with GBV are, by all means, unique achievements. Success, however, was convincing Doug Gillard, the real scientist of GBV, to lend his incomparable talents to the Oranges Band's latest full length, The Oranges Band Are Invisible. Playing bass with Spoon in the early 2000’s and opening for them on subsequent tours is a career highlight, but success was being invited to play a few songs with Spoon at Baltimore's VirginFest in 2007 and appearing on the "jumbotron." This is exactly the kind of intangible reward that doesn't fit in a spreadsheet, but it exemplifies an understated, "wait, don't I work with that guy" approach that is truly unique to the Oranges Band.
Touring the U.S. was the band's goal when they started out, and by every estimation they have succeeded. The results of over 200,000 miles put on two Dodge vans in eight years have been felt less in album sales and more in outstanding bills and bad credit. That mileage has, however, paid many times over in the envious looks of dudes in bands wondering, "how'd they pull that off?" Opening spots and tours include the Lifter Puller reunion shows in their hometown of Minneapolis, the Dismemberment Plan reunion in Washington, DC, the Lemonheads, a Polvo reunion show, the Rosebuds, Palomar, Spoon, Guided By Voices, The Hold Steady and Ted Leo. This impressive list speaks not only to the recognition of musical talent and personal respect felt for the Oranges Band, but also to a crafty coercion necessary—in a Darwinist kind of way—for a band with no gimmicks.
The Oranges Band live happily in a landscape of limited options. Only here is stubborn persistence an absolute necessity. Only in this world of confinement and without obligation to an existing standard is creativity an effective possibility for developing fresh solutions to familiar challenges. Left homeless when their label, Lookout Records, went "catalog only," the Oranges Band looked to adversity to motivate activity. Responding with confident ease, they asked "what next?" and not "what happened?” While the music industry struggles to define and defend its investment in the future of music as a commercial product, Roman Kuebler created every7th.com, a monthly person-to-person music subscription service that focuses on music's interactive and artistic capabilities.
When faced with the departure of two of their long-time members, the original duo Dave Voyles and Roman Kuebler recruited Pat Martin to play bass and focused forward on another year spent writing songs and playing shows. Challenged with filling out these new songs for a 2008 recording, Roman, after an inspiring YouTube adventure, was reminded that Doug Gillard was not only one of the greatest rock guitarists around, but also that the two had outstanding plans to collaborate. These challenges only ever arrive with unexpected necessity, and the need is, as always, also the opportunity. Being the Oranges Band is a life-long performance art piece that plays out every day like a conceptual obstacle course. The product, the payoff is that moment when you hear it clearly through the racket, and you know they got it right. How do you sell it? You can't. What does it look like? Well, it looks like the Oranges Band are going on tour again.