The Subtle Orange story begins at an elementary school in Woodside, California where lead singer Dane Schumacher and guitarist Swain Yakupitiyage bonded over a shared love of Green Day and burgeoning dreams of starting a band. Flash forward to high school where a fated run in during a skate session at the old elementary campus between Dane and Swain rekindled their childhood friendship and sparked the momentum for their very first jam session. Dane admits, “If you ask a six year old what they want to be, they’re almost always gonna say a rockstar. I feel like we just didn’t forget that.”
Enter keyboardist Adam Moledina, bassist Shay Lebovitz, and drummer Max Gray for an added trifecta of jazz band kids with a steadfast passion for rock. It’s a narrative you see time and time again – combining the technical background of jazz band with abstract sonics derivative of your dads dusty vinyl collection in the garage. And yet, Subtle Orange flips that predictable progression on its head with an inspired array of influences that takes the backburner to their tireless search for originality.
“As anyone matures, they become more comfortable with being an individual and trying a few more things that might not be tried and true. I think when we were younger, we were like, how can we be the Strokes? But the older we get it’s like, how can we be Subtle Orange? That’s our number one mission – figuring out who we are.” – Dane Schumacher
Their newly released single “Easier Said” produced by Stefan Macarewich (Wallows, Sun Room, Young the Giant, No Vacation) is a turning point in identifying the Subtle Orange sound. Filled with dizzying riffs, percussion that unravels like a slow burn, and a curious cascade of synths, “Easier Said” notes on a tumultuous relationship headed for the rocks. Delving into darker subject matter with a harder set of sonic tendencies to back it up, Subtle Orange is voyaging toward a new era.
“Stefan Mac did a great job bringing it to life. We wanted to stay true to the classic rock influenced sound because in the past, we’ve done more garage rock records. Indie is such a broad genre – it’s like talking about religion and saying Christian. There’s just so many sub-sects. I think any new rock band is gonna be called an indie band, that’s how we started. But, to us we’re making rock and roll. We’re making alt-rock with psychedelic influences.” – Dane Schumacher
From their roots playing house shows in high school to their recent slot at Bleached Fest performing among the likes of Surf Curse, Omar Apollo, Stephen Sanchez, Leon Bridges, and Remi Wolf to name a few, Subtle Orange is undeniably on the rise. With a loyal fanbase who has stuck it out with them from the backyards of the Bay Area to their packed show at Bottom of the Hill (SF), their childhood dream of making it as musicians is a sentiment that carries over to the community they have fostered. From experimenting in the studio with Stefan Macarewich to discovering what makes them who they are on their latest single, there’s no better time to be listening to Subtle Orange.