The LA-based Songwriter, Musician, Composer, and Educator Orange Dog offers power to the people with his latest concept album titled, 'The Power.'
Wes Hambright (Orange Dog) trained and studied at multiple notable schools like UCLA, LAVC, and California Institute of the Arts, honing his film scoring abilities and Jazz arrangement. Through various TV sync placements and film scores, Orange Dog is making his way around the industry and charging full-steam ahead. Through his latest album, 'The Power,' Orange Dog built the project around the idea that everyone has the power to create positive change in the world.
Diving into the project with the first track, "Pressure on You (feat. D Gardner)," the song opens with a speech from John Lewis speaking on the social revolution that's still present today. As D Gardner opens the album with her sweet vocals singing playful lyricism, she offers incredibly rhythmic lyrical delivery while grooving over top of Orange Dog's plucky and fresh Alternative/Soul instrumentation. Giving an ode to the late Aretha Franklin through lyrics like, "-treat everyone you meet with r-e-s-p-e-c-t," D Gardner offers this song immense strength as she leads by example, preaching equality and justice within each passionate lyric.
Moving onto the next track, "LGBTQI (feat. Honey Hip Hop)," the song opens with a punchy bassline and Orange Dog chanting lyrics of wishing to be someone's boyfriend. As Honey Hip Hop's playful vocals make their appearance, she begins to chant the same lyricism back to Orange Dog, exclaiming that she'd like to be someone's girlfriend as well. As the song continues, the brilliant back and forth between Orange Dog and Honey Hip Hop offer a highly playful and sensual atmosphere alongside the gripping instrumentals. This song oozes sexuality and power, not to mention the unique Electronic/Alternative/Pop production Orange Dog has captured; the track makes for an exhilarating experience.
With the next piece, "Choose Love (feat. Honey Hip Hop & D Gardner)," the song opens with spacious electronic production and haunting filtered background vocals speaking of giving love a chance. As Honey Hip Hop comes around with her bars surrounding the narrow-minded people everywhere and the divide within our country, the chorus comes around where she belts her heavenly vocals and preaches that we must choose love. The supporting production is incredibly modern through spacious synths offering a darker tone to the song and quick electronic drum breaks. Ending the song with a beautiful piano outro, Orange Dog allows listeners to reflect on whether they offer hate more than love.
Through the fourth track, "Teachable Moments," the song takes on more of a powerful, synth-wave instrumental. As Orange Dog places a speech by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez overtop of the entire two-minute tune, this song acts as more of a reflective interlude that allows the listener to take a breath and listen to the powerful words spoken by Ocasio-Cortez surrounding the corruption amid our system and the hush money that's turned a blind eye. Orange Dog has fuelled this track with fiery electronic production that blasts us into the celestials, far away from the political dishonesty we've seen these past four years. One phrase in particular that continues to linger in our minds is, "-yeah, there are almost no laws that apply to the president."
The next hard-hitting track, "Stand Up Tall," opens with a quick-tempo through a gripping kick and pulsating synths. As Orange Dog makes his deepened vocal appearance, he begins singing a powerful message of standing tall and firm in your ground amid the chaos you're surrounded by. As the instrumentals continue to offer a Hi-Fi approach through the fascinating and engaging sonic aspects, Orange Dog increasingly adds more sonic flairs that keep the track incredibly electronic while also incorporating organic electric guitar and brass around the mid-way point. We love the inspiration and motivation that Orange Dog offers listeners with this lively piece.
Moving to the next song, "Sing a Song (feat. D Gardener)," the track opens with haunting organ melodies and a nostalgic synth arrangement, offering highly retro electronic elements. As D Gardener makes an entrance with her soothing vocal stylings, she begins singing a saddening story of regret and remorse towards the tragic actions that have taken place this past year. While D Gardner sings lyrics like, "-no, you can't take the bullets back once they break the air," there's a massive instrumental breakdown where eerie and haunting elements accompany Barack Obama's filtered voice speaking on acting upon the second amendment responsibly. Ending the song off on a widely reflective note, we highly appreciate the album's concept thus far.
Reaching the next banger, "Exile on the North Ridge," the song begins with a wide array of synths offering a highly modern and intense atmosphere. The song's entire first minute consists of the haunting electronic soundscape and the House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff speaking on impeachment. Continuing on the heavy journey with Orange Dog's gritty and deep vocals offering in-depth lyricism regarding our loneliness that this year has served, the song takes a significant shift through the addition of a children's choir, reminding us of the future of our country. Through the song's ambient production and Orange Dog's thorough lyricism and instrumentation, he's genuinely infused this project with all the power our country needs to get back on its feet.
Moving forward, the next piece, "Oooh la La," opens with Orange Dog chanting the title while profound synth-work comes in to offer the song a slice of technical bliss. As the broad instrumental's breakdown, a powerful piano melody strikes our speakers alongside thrilling electric guitar chords and kicking percussion. As Orange Dog continues with his desirous lyricism towards someone he's captivated by, he pushes the song with an immense sense of desire and need. The exciting instrumentals perfectly compliment Orange Dog's playful lyricism, as they both move towards the outro with heat.
With the next track, "The Power (feat. D Gardner)," the song begins with distorted electric guitar melodies and a muffled speech reminding us of the power we hold as individuals. While Orange Dog and D Gardner start singing with captivating harmonies surrounding the power we hold, a sweet and jazzy instrumental breakdown submerges us deeper into the song through bright brass and snazzy snares. Continuing with Orange Dog and D Gardner's layered vocals reminding us of our power, they both offer an empowering space alongside the dynamic instrumentals that give us all the might to make changes amid our world.
Moving on to the second last piece of the project with "14 (feat. Douglas Kearney)," the track begins with a fiery electric guitar intro and sweet, plucky synths offering a quick-tempo. As the lively song continues, Douglas Kearney offers his filtered vocals while delivering more of a spoken word approach, depicting quite poetic lyricism. What keeps our ears deeply engaged is Orange Dog's gripping instrumentals and his mix of electronic and organic sonics that create an incredibly powerful and enthralling atmosphere. Ending the song off with a round of applause, we're excited to see how Orange Dog will end this powerful album.
Continuing with the use of President Obama's speeches through the album's outro track, "Groove 4 a New Mindset (feat. D Gardner)," the song quickly moves from Barack Obama speaking on the power of the people to the quickly-paced beat offering a blast from the past through the nostalgic electronic arrangement. As Orange Dog begins vocalizing incredibly witty and thorough lyrics surrounding a needed mentality change, he continues to encourage listeners to change their way of thinking and drop any negativity to channel their inner-power. The blistering production is just as engaging as Orange Dog's lyricism, keeping us locked in while ending the song with scorching hot electric guitar, whopping drum patterns, and punchy synth use.
Offering us power left, right, and center, Orange Dog has set sail into greatness with the release of his strikingly conceptual album, 'The Power.' As Orange Dog reminds us to stand firm in our inner-power and beliefs, he paints vivid pictures (lyrically and sonically) to give us a power boost for a better future.
What initially inspired you to create such a thorough and conceptual album with 'The Power,' where you go deep on our country's political and social issues?
I’m inspired by people currently trying to enact change for a better world and by people from our history who have done the same. I’m especially inspired by the young, new generation of activists who have shown this incredible energy, determination, and confidence as they work to make their visions of a better world a reality. I’m so impressed by them. They make me want to be better, to do more. On the other side of the coin, I have to admit, I was also inspired by some of the wrongs I see. I wanted to get people thinking and talking about these wrongs and I’m hoping my music can encourage people to have meaningful conversations and generate ideas for change. And change comes in all different sizes. Change for good
at home, in our communities, around the world, at work, in schools… they all ripple out and impact the world. And that inspires me.
You've mentioned that names like John Lennon, Barack Obama, John Lewis,
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Martin Luther King Jr. inspired your album, 'The Power.' How have these forward-thinkers helped you create your project?
There is a CBC interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono from 1969 where he talks about the people having the power. Watching that video was a mind-opening experience. I realized that we, the people, have the power to raise our voices when we see wrongs and enact change. We have the power to stand together and make a difference. The forward-thinkers you mentioned are inspiring to me because they speak their minds and stand up for issues
I care about it. Their words ring true and fill me with hope. Their courage and perseverance, their intelligence, and their ability to articulate complex issues… how can you not be inspired by that?
Speaking on the features within your album, 'The Power,' what were you initially seeking when looking for artists to accompany you on the project? What do the featured artists bring to the table?
I wanted to work with great musicians and artists who could bring their unique style to the project, to give the album dimension and diversity. For this album, I worked with some people who I had worked with before, as well as some new talent. I approached D. Gardner because I had worked with her on a film I scored called, Some Torches Don’t Burn. Her voice is powerful and beautiful but it’s also full of personality and emotion. Listen to her on Pressure On You - she kills it. Guitarist, Matthew Sarinana, and lyricist/songwriter, Jadan Echo were both former students of mine. It was a blast to work with them and they brought an amazing energy to the tracks they worked on. It was my first time working with Australian
rapper, Honey Hip Hop, and I loved her edginess and sass. She really helped bring LGBTQI to where it needed to be and on Choose Love she took this challenging wordplay and made it simple and natural. Very cool.
Within your album 'The Power,' you infuse the project with heavy electronic production as well as striking Rock instrumentals. What pulled you into this unique sonic route for the album? What was it like creating your instrumentals/production?
The Moog synthesizers I used were always going to be the backbone of the project. But each song was written on the piano or guitar and their instrumentals organically grew out of those simple parts. Once the general idea of a song was flushed out on the piano or guitar, I’d go to the synth rack and realize it in different iterations. I’m a big fan of working with
Moog sequencers and arpeggiators to take the initial musical information and creating something completely new with it. As far as post-production goes, we mixed at a studio I had worked with before called, Grandma’s Warehouse run by engineer and producer, Andrew Bush. Andrew’s a vintage gear guru with great ears and his place was ideal for this album because I wanted that classic analog warm tone.
Finally, what do you hope listeners take away from your entire album 'The Power?' What lyrical concepts did you want your audience to reflect on after listening to the project?
I hope listeners are inspired to think about the issues and also have a sense of hope. I want them to feel empowered, to realize they can make a difference. The album is structured like a story. There is a call to action in the beginning and evidence of change in the end. The first tune, Pressure on You, calls on listeners to carry a responsibility to work toward improvement. Issues from our society are brought up and examined in the next 9 tunes. The last tune, Groove 4 a New Mindset, is the final act where the journey proves fruitful; we are in a new place and it’s better than where we were. And change is ongoing. We’re striving to be better, striving to make the world better. The lyrics, “Abracadabra, yes, it’s so possible. Abracadabra, yes it’s so magical,” hint at the magic in even the smallest change. And the idea that as long as we are trying to improve things in the world we are making magic.