If you're a hardcore fan who considers yourself open to new things, Code Orange's "Bleeding In The Blur" will test that self-characterization. The Pittsburgh band's latest single from their excellent album Forever is surprising even on a record that cherishes hybridity: the song is a grunge powerhouse, full of pronounced, morose melodies while retaining the lyrical laceration of its thrashier kin. The track's music video, premiering today on The FADER, fits comfortably in the band's visual canon. Directed by Max Moore, the visuals undergo a variety of distortions, like the room of mirrors Code Orange performs in, or the oil slick-like refractions that trace the band as they appear to bury a body.
Over email, the band's Reba Myers answered a few questions about songwriting, creating a narrative between videos, and what the band learned from its biggest tour cycle yet.
"Bleeding In The Blur" is different than any other song you've released as Code Orange. Were you consciously aware of this during the writing, and did it affect the process?
Thank you. "Bleeding In The Blur" was the second song we wrote on the record. I think it is just the best and most developed version we’ve made so far of a song with a strong melodic tendency. We’ve always attempted to make certain songs on our record have a mix of melody, dissonance and fire, but "Bleeding In The Blur" has our best balance of those elements thus far in my opinion.
Your lyrics often read like a manifesto: most broadly, they represent a militant refusal to accept the society we've been given, or to be ground into a nub in the process. Did the 2016 election affect this mandate?
I don’t know that the 2016 election had anything specifically to do with the lyrics, but if people are able to relate to them in that way, then that's a good thing. Jami wrote the lyrics, so I’m sure he could reach further into their meaning than I, but I know they’re very personal to him and to our band. They are fueled by frustration and maybe about being sick of people in this world who care about the wrong things. You could tie that to the political climate in ways as so many are struggling under the hands of people like that. In broad strokes, our record I Am King is about coming into yourself and accepting yourself. Forever is about using that power and the pitfalls of that. That's the most basic way I can put it having not written the lyrics.
You've toured with some giants of metal, including Killswitch Engage, Deftones, and Gojira. Did you approach these shows differently than previous ones, and if so, how? Did you learn any valuable lessons from these bands?
We go into them as prepared as we can be. We know that these types of opportunities may not always be there for us, so we take as much as we can from each one. I could write out millions of little details of lessons I’ve learned from each of these bands and tours. These bands have all showed us tons of respect, and even just that is a lesson. To never become the type of band to get so caught up in themselves that they don’t try to build the music world around them. Gojira, Killswitch Engage and Deftones all care about music and they went out of their way to put a young, hungry, angry band that sounds nothing like them on their tour. They themselves have all made time testing records that still get young kids excited and wanting to start their own bands and create interesting, important, real music. I personally am very inspired by that.
In the closing seconds of the video for "Forever," we see a dead body with I Am King carved on its forehead, a reference to your last album and its cover. What did that symbolize? Did the ideology of Code Orange change significantly between I Am King and Forever?
It symbolizes the next step. We like to weave a continuing thread in everything we do musically and visually. There's somewhat of a continuing journey going on in these records and videos and that is part of it. The actual ideology of Code Orange hasn't significantly changed, no. It has grown from experience and struggle and frustration. It is always growing. We have a increasingly clear vision for the world we want to create in heavy music and otherwise. But the mission remains the same. I Am King was the birth in many ways of our band’s mindset and new found hunger. Forever is a more driven, dynamic expansion on the ideology and sound.
How does Code Orange as a unit view compromise in terms of your music?
When it comes to what we are creating we don’t compromise for anyone. we write what we want to write and make the choices we want to make and feel are best suited for us as a unit. Whatever we end up doing that will always be the case.
What's the status of your other band Adventures?
No status really. It's on hold. Just not doing anything right now with it. If it feels right we'll pick it back up but it doesn't right now.
Thumbnail photo by Hans Christian Terslin