Is your metal heavy?

By Darby Sawchuk

Somewhere in California, rusty loading carts rattle and screech behind Taylor McLam, guitarist for rap/metal trio Orange mm. With an accent befitting an X-games participant, the amateur skater and rider spews pent-up energy through the phone.

"We have to focus every time we play on bringing as much energy as we can," waxes McLam. "We’re playing our instruments as much as possible. Being back on a bus is allowing us to work on our instruments again which is great. You can always get better. It’s an endless search for perfection–which you’ll never have–but that’s what keeps pushing the music and the genres."

Orange mm bring their quest for perfection to the MacEwan Hall Ballroom on Oct. to play with fellow rap/metal hybrids, Machinehead. Not joining them for the trip, however, is the original headliner for the tour, Sevendust. Due to a birth in the family of Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose, the quintet will miss their Calgary stop.

"It’s no fault of anybody’s," McLam states. "Thank God Morgan’s wife’s going to be okay. We just had these unexpected days o when we wanted to be playing."

The extra time allows Orange 9mm to hone their skills and tighten their live performance.

"We always put our live twist on things. It’s going to take on a more abrasive and guttural sense than the record produced. I think we were really into the glossy feel of a record when we were recording. We’re definitely not a glossy live band," arms McLam.

Their latest release, Pretend I’m Human, highlights that slick, glossy production, but more importantly, features a willingness to experiment. Not content to follow in the footsteps of most rap/metal bands, Pretend I’m Human plunges into a new style in each song.

The tracks find Chaka Malik’s vocals floating rhythmically on top of drummer Matthew Cross’ punchy beats and McLam’s always-changing sounds. Sometimes accompanied by digital effects or programmed background instruments, Malik’s occasionally-melodic vocals accompany an unexpected variety of genres ranging from their rap/metal roots to atmospheric, toned-down numbers.

"[Pretend I’m Human] was written spontaneously in a six-week period. We went in with a shit-load of demos that we had done over the course of a year and we ended up scrapping it all and writing the record on the spot. It was amazing… We wanted a conscious effort to make a record, not songs. We wanted something you could listen to front to back" says McLam.

A desire for artistry in an ever-expanding genre drives Orange mm. With the success of bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn, Orange mm’s future holds the potential for mainstream appeal.

"We’d like to get to that level," hopes McLam. "For me it’s all about what kind of niche we can carve and what kind of band we can be. I love those bands, I think they’re amazing. They bring aggressive music to the masses."

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