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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, April 18 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 16
Kris Orlowski latest Seattle act to go national
Arts & Entertainment
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Kris Orlowski latest Seattle act to go national

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Every bird has to leave the nest, right? So the time has come for Kris Orlowski to flap its wings and head out into that big, open sky. Or, something like that. The Seattle band, which routinely performs locally, including last fall's Bumbershoot Festival, is expanding their horizons to a national audience with the release of their new album, Believer (in stores as of April 15). "Fighting the War" is the leadoff single from the record, and the music video for the track debuted on YouTube this week. To receive the latest updates on Kris Orlowski, visit the group's official fan site at www.krisorlowski.com, or go to www.facebook.com/krisorlowskiband, or follow them on Twitter (@KrisOrlowski). I caught up with frontman-guitarist Kris Orlowski (who I met in a restroom stall a year ago - true story, but not what you think) and here's what he shared with me inside The Music Lounge.



Albert Rodriguez: Do you live in Seattle?

Kris Orlowski: Yeah, I live in Queen Anne. I'm looking at the Space Needle right now.

Rodriguez: Are you a native? Have you been here a long time?

Orlowski: I've been here 8 1/2 years, but I'm from Washington. I grew up in Bellingham. I went to Western [Washington State University], I went to Skagit Valley College and Whatcom Community College for a little bit, too. The only time I really got out of here was I spent a stint in London playing soccer for the University of London and a summer in Rhode Island selling books door-to-door. But definitely Seattle is my home now.

Rodriguez: What are your goals for the new album, Believer? Obviously, you're looking to expand your audience, but are you hoping to be on "Saturday Night Live," appear on late night talk shows, go international?

Orlowski: For me, I want to be able to play music full time. You have to be playing the Hollywood Bowl and playing "Saturday Night Live" in order to do that, in order for your whole band to do it full time. There's that, and I'd love to have a #1 record. I'd love to tour Europe. Those are kind of the main goals. It'd be great to chart on Billboard. It looks like with some of the forecasting, we might be able to do that, which is rad. But to be honest, at the end of the day, it's just wanting to play music more. I don't get to do it as much as I'd like, because I still have a day job. I'm stoked to have a day job and to have that money coming in, but it's not my first passion. I love my job, but I love music more.

Rodriguez: For your core fans, who've been listening and following your music for years, is there any fear that branching out translates to selling out and that they'll not go with you on this journey?

Orlowski: Yeah, there is that fear, for sure. There's a double fear here because most of my records before have been a lot more folky and my vocals contribute to that folky vibe. But this record is a pop album, so I'm a little nervous that some people aren't really going to be into it, especially when you're an artist in Seattle, where indie rock and folk are a little more of the scene. But I hope people will latch onto it, even if we get a little more mainstream.

Rodriguez: For those who aren't familiar with your band, describe your sound.

Orlowski: This is the question the band dreads answering because it's going to pigeonhole them or put 'em in a shell, but it's like the most necessary thing so that people can relate to it. I'd say we're kind of a folk-pop band, in terms of genre, and we kind of sound like - shit, who do we sound like? - I don't know, it's like pretty easy listening.

Rodriguez: Is it pretty organic? Obviously, you guys play all of your own instruments. But there's pop music out there that is heavily produced, and other stuff that has a more natural sound to it.

Orlowski: There's definitely not a lot of production to what we sound like.

Rodriguez: Will you be touring the rest of the year?

Orlowski: There's an announcement, we're doing a national tour; I can't say who the band is yet, because we're still finalizing a few things, but it'll start in late May and goes through July, playing everywhere from New York to Texas to Toronto.

Rodriguez: What are your live shows like? Are they acoustic, or are you guys plugged in the whole time?

Orlowski: Usually, it's full-on amps and a five-piece band. It's a pretty big sound for some of the songs. I'll play acoustic guitar for about 60% of the set and electric guitar for the other 40%. We've got an electric guitar player in the band. We've got a keyboard player who sings and we've got a bass player who sings a little bit and a drum player. Our bass player is really funky; he's got a bit of an R&B/soul sound to him, so he definitely gives the songs more sass. It makes you want to move a little more.

Rodriguez: When you're on the road, what do you miss most about Seattle?

Orlowski: What I miss, actually, is all the health food. When we go to the Midwest, there's nothing to eat. I tend to eat pretty healthy. I'm one of those snobby guys who's always looking for the healthy stuff - no trans fats, all natural - so Healeo up on Capitol Hill is one of my favorite spots to go to. And, there's just not that many juice bars unless you hit LA. Summers are what I miss the most, because Seattle summers are really like nothing else.

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