Orianthi

US-based platinum selling artist, Orianthi is bringing her guitar shredding skills and rock/blues vocals to The Gov for one night only this Sunday. Orianthi will be flying into her hometown of Adelaide directly from Canada after performing at Roxodus, Ontario’s Epic four-day Rock Festival featuring Alice Cooper, Nickelback, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Aerosmith, Kid Rock and many other rock greats.

During her career, Orianthi has shared the stage with a long and comprehensive list of rock legends in the US, Europe, Japan and Australia including Carlos Santana, Steve Vai, Joe Bonamassa, Dave Navarro, the Royal Machines, Dave Stewart, Robbie Krieger, Don Felder, Michael Jackson and ZZ Top. Orianthi also made history touring the world for four years as Alice Cooper’s first female guitarist. Focusing on new solo music, Nashville has been her home away from home as she wrote and recorded with Grammy winning producer, Marti Fredreksen. This album which will be released later this year, is a return to her rock and blues roots with unique guitar riffs and versatile, rich vocals featuring on every track. Orianthi speaks to Hi Fi Way about coming home to play at The Gov

There always seems to be something special about you coming home and playing at The Gov. How much have you been looking forward to this one?
Always! It is always a really special venue and coming home to Adelaide and getting up there with my old band, seeing friends, my family is always around and in the audience. Just the energy is wonderful, I can’t wait!

Is playing at home a little less pressure than a regular tour and a chance to have some fun?
Oh yeah! You know what? That’s the whole idea and that’s why I’m doing it just to have a bit of fun. I really wanted to play a show because people have been asking me a lot to play The Gov and I’m thinking absolutely. This time around I wanted to book it and do it since I’ll be home for a visit. I haven’t been home for over a year and a bit, nearly two years which is crazy. I’ve been working so hard finishing off a brand new album in Nashville. It’s a rock alternative blues record which is a new sound I have moulded with Aerosmith producer Marti Frederiksen and we did it in a month.

Writing, recording and everything was done in a month which is crazy. I had a blast and I would say that it is the best record that I have made. I’m so excited about people being able to hear it and it is something that I’m truly so behind this sort of sound, it wasn’t over thought, sometimes you go in and pull songs a part and this wasn’t about that. Some of the songs are literally like diary entries for me and are fun to play. We moulded a sound and I’m excited about releasing it and playing it live. I think the album will be out late September or October when the single is going to come out then the record. I’m so stoked!

Will there be a taster or a preview of your new songs here at The Gov or will you keep them under wraps for now?
I’m keeping this one under wraps, I’ve done it before where I’ve played new songs and then everyone has their phones out so that’s what everyone hears. They don’t get to hear the single the way I want it to be heard. This record I have made really fast and something I’m really proud of so when people hear the first track or any of it they hear it properly rather than through some crappy iPhone.

When you say that your sound has changed, what influences that? Is it being even better as a writer, guitar player or did something you listened to influenced your sound in a profound way?
Everything you just said basically, literally listening to a lot of different music that I hadn’t listen to before. When my friends come over they play me stuff, I really got in to Nine Inch Nails and Hendrix. Hendrix is always inspiring to me, he left it open and improvised, he changed the way people heard the electric guitar, he was such an innovator. Listening to that and St Vincent, I’m listening to so much and cruising around with my friends they’ll be saying listen to this track. So I am influenced by a lot of different beats and sounds and then life as well. I’ve been through a lot in the last five years and it has been a pretty crazy time of ups and really bad downs. I’m literally getting myself up and making art out of life, that’s what this record is.

Was there any pressure there to put the foot down and get cracking with this new album?
The last record I did was in Nashville with Dave Stewart, we just wanted to have fun and just make a great blues rock record. I went over there with three or four songs written and we winged the rest. I hired the best musicians in Nashville and I had the best time doing that with Dave. Then after that I went on tour with Alice Cooper for four years. As soon as I had finished the record I got a call from Alice asking me to be his lead guitar player. It was like ok, awesome! It was like celebrating Halloween for four years which was awesome. I went through a musical journey and here I am now. Life has been such a roller coaster and writing from experience in coming through a lot of things, dealing with a lot of positive and negative things, it worked really well. I was going to release a record with beats and this kind of stuff but I was just experimenting. I went through this whole experimental thing working with urban producers and honestly I think is something you just have to go through to find where you are supposed to be.

Do you think album will influence what you do with the next one?
I think honestly the environment and the way this album was written and done I would say yeah. I really enjoyed the process as I really like to work out of my studio here in my house in LA. I bring ideas to my studio here and experiment then we go through that with my producer in Nashville. Some of the sounds are from my garage band and then I just mould them bringing in live drums, samples so the whole process is really creative.

What was it like working with Sebastian Bach?
Awesome, I’ve known him for a while because he is good friends with Alice Cooper and the first time I met him was in a car with him and his wife driving to Christmas Pudding. He got up there and sung his arse off and we just became friends. He asked me to write for his record and so we wrote a couple of songs together, did demos, and I’m excited about people hearing it because it is heavy. His new record is going to be incredible. The songs we wrote together I’m really proud of. I also worked on a song with Nikki Sixx as well which was really cool. He called me and had these incredible lyrics and being a fan I was truly honoured, it’s the only ballad on the record and it’s his diary entry. It’s pretty heavy and this song is something I had get out going through some heavy shit. I think a lot of people will relate to it and there’s definitely moments on this record, and there will be some other collaborations to, there will be some additional tracks that will be added after the record is put out or maybe we’ll hold off until those tracks are done when I get back.

Do you like to have your songs written before recording them or do you leave room to improvise in the studio?
Some were but some weren’t, Marti is an incredible song writer and we sat around and wrote a lot of the songs together. Most of this record is fifty-fifty in terms of song writing with Marti and myself. The whole process just worked well, it really did.

Any plans to release some vinyl?
I love vinyl, I love the way that it sounds and I don’t think you can beat it. I grew up listening to my Dad’s vinyl record collection, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, Santana… it’s just that realness and I still love the days of vinyl and CD’s.

Is LA where your heart is or is there still a soft spot for Adelaide?
I’ve lived in LA for fifteen years and I’m thinking about getting a place at Nashville as well as I split my time between both but I do want to get a place in Adelaide as well at the beach so I can stay with family when I’m off tour. I have friends everywhere who are touring all over the place. I like moving around and being inspired around the world. I’ve been fortunate to have travel around the world and I can’t wait to do that again with this record.

Interview By Rob Lyon

Catch Orianthi at The Gov Sunday night, tickets through OzTix

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