Interview by Rob Kern.
Hailing from the Caribbean island of Trinidad, Orange Sky are setting their sights on North America. With the release of their debut, Upstairs, and an opening slot on the November/December Yngwie Malmsteen tour, Orange Sky will be introducing their hard rock vibe to the masses. Fans of hard rock played with energy and emotion (ala Living Colour or King’s X) should have no trouble getting into the Orange Sky’s groove. Shortly before heading out on the road in support of Yngwie, Orange Sky lead vocalist/guitarist Nigel Rojas sat down for a short chat with reporter Rob Kern to discuss their US visit..
From Out Of Nowhere: First off, give everyone a brief introduction to Orange Sky.
Nigel Rojas: We are a five-piece band from Trinidad, which is south of the Caribbean. We play roots rock or what we call roots rock, which is rock but we have some Caribbean elements in it as well. We’re very happy to be touring in the United States, our album is out now on Granite Records/Universal and it’s available across the United States and Canada. We’re very exited about it, we’ve played some shows in Spokane, Seattle, Oregon and we played L.A. It’s been great, we’re really getting to see the country through the windshield of our van (laughs). It’s a beautiful country.
FOON: Is this your first time touring stateside?
NR: Yes, it is. It’s been wonderful.
FOON: How has the crowd response been so far?
NR: We’ve had a really overwhelming vibe from everyone so far. It’s exceeded our expectations; a lot of the kids are coming to our shows, the older people and the younger people are all digging it. People came up after the show and bought some cds and t-shirts, we’re feeling a really good vibe, thank god.
FOON: Will Orange Sky be making a swing across to the east coast?
NR: Yes, we will be touring with Yngwie Malmsteen. That’s when we will be seeing the Midwest and east coast.
FOON: Growing up in Trinidad, what were some of your musical influences?
NR: We listened to everything. It went back as far as the early 80’s, getting some Judas Priest, some Motley Crue; the Motley Crue Shout At The Devil era. The Wailers, Peter Tosh and things like that. I guess our music is a mixture of all those influences, rock and reggae. The best parties in Trinidad are the ones that have hard rock both old school and new school with some reggae and everybody is just cool.
FOON: How did Orange Sky hook up with Granite Records?
NR: Well, to begin with, our producer is Jeff Glixman, who produced Kansas. He’s worked with a bunch of people from Yngwie Malmsteen to Black Sabbath to Kiss. He put us in touch with management, which is Phil Ehart; he’s the drummer for Kansas. He’s also Kansas’ manager. He flew down to Trinidad, checked us out and said that he was going to try to get us out of the Caribbean womb. They really have been incredible to us and they got us a deal with Granite, and here we are. The album is out and we’re performing in the States trying to plant some seeds and make some new friends every day.
FOON: The cd comes with a bonus live DVD also, right?
NR: Absolutely, the first few thousand printed are going to come full added value bonus DVD on the inside. The DVD is Orange Sky live in Trinidad at one of our concerts. It gives people an idea of what we look like apart from what we sound like. Our live shows are where we really get to make a connection. We are a live band and we love to play so that DVD emulates all of that.
FOON: As I listened to the cd, I said to myself, “I bet these guitar riffs really smoke live.”
NR: Thanks, man, that means everything to me.
FOON: With any luck, you’ll get to sit down with Yngwie and trade some licks.
NR: Boy, I wish, he’s a guitar god. He’s one of my heroes! I think I’m gonna play a ukulele anytime I’m around him (laughs).