“I said that shit, and I take full responsibility for saying that shit,” announces Jami Morgan, who handles the drumming and vocal duties of the wonderfully terrifying Code Orange. Morgan is referring, of course, to the recent interview he did with Metal Insider in which he referred to some bands in the heavy scene as “bargain bin fucking deathcore bands.” The statement got a lot of attention and a lot of backlash, but Morgan simply does not care. “It’s not like they mixed my words up—that is exactly what the fuck I said,” he adds.
To those scouring the internet for news, this and other similar statements by the band (like the calling out of Asking Alexandria not too long ago) might seem off-putting or holier-than-thou. But as Morgan passionately and jovially rambles on, it becomes clear that Code Orange are anything but pretentious and self-righteous.
“There’s plenty of bands that we respect,” he says. “Every band we’ve toured with, we respect. We’ve gotten to open for Deftones, we’ve toured with Killswitch Engage, Every Time I Die, Terror…We’ve gotten to do a little bit of all kinds of stuff and we’ve got a lot of respect for a lot of different kinds of music. But there are just a lot of bands out there that I don’t like and we have our own alternative to that—or else, why would we exist? If I felt that [Code Orange] was just another of the same thing that was already there, why would we do what we do and put all the effort we put into it? If anything, it’s a motivator to me. It’s not so much taking on shitty bands. But if people ask me, I’m just gonna tell them what I think.”
“If people ask me, I’m just gonna tell them what I think.”
As he discusses this and the band’s insanely brutal upcoming record, Forever, he maintains his upbeat attitude, even when he and fellow bandmate guitarist/vocalist Reba Meyers both describe the band and their new music as “painful.” Anyone who has seen Code Orange live in the past or has listened to Forever’s singles, such as “Kill The Creator” or the title track, will be able to attest to their assessment. Watching the music video for “Forever” is a highly captivating yet vicious experience.
“Our imagery is very specific,” Morgan says of the music video. “I think it’s all one singular vision and that’s something I don’t see in a ton of bands now, and that’s something that I really like in the bands that I follow. I think the visuals match what we’re about. It’s definitely brutal and it’s dark, but I think we have our own specific brand of it that includes a lot of dynamics of dark and a lot of shades of that. Every second of that record, we worked our asses off on. There’s no filler.”
If Code Orange have been actively trying to offer a serious alternative to the “bargain bin” bands of the scene, they’ve definitely managed to achieve it with Forever. It’s not just hardcore, not entirely metal and not exclusively industrial, but a hybrid of all these genres and more, compacted into one impressively cohesive work. And if there is one word to describe Code Orange other than “painful,” it is “jarring.”
To prove it, Morgan talks a bit about the band’s upcoming headlining tour that pops off in the beginning of 2017. Virtually each date hosts different acts (Lifeless, Youth Code, Gatecreeper, Nicole Dollanganger) springing from a variety of genres, and this has definitely not escaped the notice of some very perplexed fans. “Regardless of what people are saying, I like mixed bills,” Morgan says. “It’s our tour. We’re happy we got to have bands that we like. I’m really happy with the mix. I don’t think it’s something people are going to get to see every day. It’s gonna be a very jarring experience. And our set’s going to be a jarring experience. And the whole show is going to be a jarring experience, so that’s what we’re all about.”
Code Orange don't just jar the world with their sound, their visuals, their words and their tour choices (as if that weren’t enough), however. For first-time viewers, their lineup can be a bit surprising as well. As people are wont to observe, guitarist/vocalist Reba Meyers is in fact female. While she herself doesn’t pay much attention to this, the media and the outside world love to point it out. We’re doing it right now. But right now, we’re pointing it out because most people who notice Meyers are extremely impressed. A chick? In such a brutal band? That’s fucking awesome! The catch-22 here is that it shouldn’t matter what sex or gender you are when it comes to accomplishments, but it also does matter because it has the opportunity to make a positive impact on others.
Of the matter, Meyers says, “It’s just who I am. If people want to take that and be influenced by that and be empowered by that, then that’s awesome. I don’t want to play the typical female role in music. I want people to see that you can do whatever you want and play the role you want; it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman.”
“I don’t want to play the typical female role in music. I want people to see that you can do whatever you want and play the role you want; it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman.”
So really, whatever you happen to notice regarding Code Orange truly does not matter to them. Not one bit. They only strive to make the best music they can and provide a real alternative to heavy music in the best way they can. And if you do get offended, Morgan has this to say: “I understand. It’s all good. It’s literally all good.”