Just about a decade ago, Code Orange — going by Code Orange Kids at the time — were turning heads with sludgy, blistering hardcore as seen on projects like 2014’s I Am King. A handful of albums later, the band’s sound has grown in new and unexpected ways, and 2023’s The Above marks their biggest swing yet.
Following in the footsteps of 2020’s industrial-tinged and experimental Underneath album, The Above once again sees the metal outfit exploring new sounds and finding inspiration in unexpected places. As frontman Jami Morgan tells it, though, it’s all part of the plan.
“It’s calculated in the sense that we plant seeds and over time we grow them,” he explained to Heavy Consequence before his set at the Louder Than Life festival in Louisville (watch above). “To me, it’s like all of our art is all on the same big wall, and it all needs to work together. I think [The Above] is a big leap forward for us, but I think it also sits really well in our little universe.”
Whether it’s collaborating with legends like Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan on the song “Take Shape” or simply setting the stage ablaze during a performance, the band continues to prioritize genuine passion for their work. Everything they do, from producing music videos in-house to trying out new sonic styles, comes from a real and grounded place. It’s why they’ve garnered cosigns from some of the biggest artists in hard rock.
“Real recognizes real, fake tries to pull real down,” he says of the scene’s support. “We’re not a big ‘band’s band’ guy in the sense that, I don’t think a lot of the guys in these bands necessarily love everything that we do, but they recognize that we’re a real, old-school band who put the pavement in.”
“We’ve been grinding, and we care about our art,” he continues. “We put everything into the live show. It’s life or death for us up on the stage, and bands like that respect that.”
Luckily for fans, the band’s passion and “life or death” stage show will be on full display during their upcoming 2024 North American tour, kicking off in February. UPDATE: The tour has been canceled due to guitarist Dominic Landolina’s “serious health issues.”
Watch the video above for our full conversation with Jami Morgan, who also discusses collaborating with Corgan and working with Code Orange’s new drummer Max Portnoy.
Trouble viewing the video above? Watch on YouTube.