With the release of their third album Forever in 2017, Code Orange have become one of American hardcore's prime exports. With a slew of hard-hitting tracks and an even more hard-hitting live show, the Philadelphia natives have made the most of their steady ascent by touring Forever extensively, particularly across the US and through Europe. “We've definitely figured out a way to recreate these songs while still keeping it high-energy and captivating,” says Reba Meyers, one of the band's three guitarists/vocalists.
“In the past, I think we've definitely struggled because we can't always do everything live. We always have so many ideas for layers, different colours and these bits and pieces that we can't do live. It's been hard to figure out a balance, but we have a much better idea of it now. The songs have changed a little bit from recording to when we do it live, but having five people on stage now gives us a lot more to work with.”
Meyers is alluding to Dominic Landolina, who officially joined the band in mid-2017 on guitar. Landolina was previously the lead guitarist in Meyers' indie-rock band Adventures, which also featured fellow Code Orange members Jami Morgan and Joe Goldman on drums and bass respectively. When it came to bringing in a fifth member of the band, which had previously only ever been a quartet, the group knew hiring Landolina was a no-brainer. “He spent time with us while we were writing Forever,” says Meyers.
“He was great to have around, because he helped us shape a lot of the riffs. When we were working on the songs, we got him to play guitar for songs where Shade [AKA multi-instrumentalist Eric Balderose] was doing stuff with the synthesiser and programming. We have a pretty scattered process, so it was really hard to do things on the spot. When we had him around, we kind of got a taste for what it would be like to operate as a five-piece and it felt right. Besides everything else, we've known Dominic since we were all little kids. We didn't want to bring in anyone who was just going to be a hired-gun touring member – that's not our style. We like to have a complete working unit, and that's what we have now.”
Code Orange have released three new songs in 2018, their first since becoming a five-piece. Among them are ‘Only One Way’, which was released as a part of Adult Swim's singles program, and ‘The Hunt’, which features none other than Slipknot's Corey Taylor as a guest vocalist. At the time of interviewing, Meyers and co. were using their downtime away from touring to work on even more new songs, which are likely to end up on album number four for the band. Although she plays her cards close to the chest, Meyers does let on that one should certainly expect the unexpected with this next batch of songs.
“It's sounding pretty sick, man,” she says. “I mean, it's a process. It's exhausting, but it's going well. I'm stoked to be doing this again. I don't want to give too much away, but songs like 'One Way' and 'The Hunt' were kind of meant as transitional songs – to give people a taste of what it will feel like when we do another record. They're great songs, but when you're doing small stuff like a single or an EP, you can't really get as deep as you would for an album. We're going to reach a lot further into our sound, for sure.”
In the meantime, Code Orange will ostensibly wrap over two years of touring Forever when they arrive in Australia next March for their second-ever tour here. The primary reason for their tour is to be a part of the mammoth 2019 Download Festival, the UK version of which Code Orange has played multiple times. “It's definitely a highlight of our year every time we get to do it,” says Meyers. “If the Australian version is anything like that, then it's going to be a really good time.”
Code Orange will perform at Download Festival in March as well as a headline show in Brisbane. Forever is out now via Roadrunner Records.