Saturday, June 23, 2007

Interview: Toby Kremple of The Georgetown Orbits

1. So tell us, who are The Georgetown Orbits?
We're an 8-piece traditional ska/reggae band from Seattle WA. The band
formed in early 2004, started by myself and the drummer. We recruited
people who had a strong appreciation for the roots of ska and reggae,
and started playing shows around the city with a full rhythm section,
one toaster and one horn player. The reactions were good, since there
aren't any other bands around here who focus on ska and early reggae,
so we made a number of fans pretty quickly. We met a lot of the
promoters and bands in the scene who liked what we were doing, and we
got our feet in the door. In 2006, the Dead End Social Club (Olympia,
WA) released our first single, 'My Baby's Okay,' which has been
popular in the US and Europe. It's just gone up from there- playing
bigger shows for more people, and getting ready to release our first
cd next month.

2. Whats it like when you guys write a song?
It depends. Sometimes one of us will bring in charts and we'll each
learn parts and make adjustments to the arrangement of a song, other
times we just come up with an idea at practice and we'll play around
with it until it's workable as a song.

3. I can't think of many ska bands from Seattle, what is the current
music scene like in Seattle, and where do you fit in?

The Seattle scene is small. There are a few bands who have been
playing for a while, and a number of others who pop up here and there
but don't stay together very long. It's been growing in the last few
years, though- more people are coming out to shows, getting to know
each other, and bands sticking around for longer. Our place is in
playing more traditional ska. We stick mostly to the old Jamaican
sounds of ska and reggae, where many of the bands we share stages with
are playing faster, more rock-influenced ska.

4. You guys have been working on a new album for some time. How is it going?
Great. We're nearly done. It's a first for us, so we're all learning
how much work and collaboration is required to produce a great album.
We've had a lot of control over the process, which I think makes for
better results. We were really able to capture the feel of the band,
recording the rhythm and horn sections live, and engineering the
sessions ourselves.

5. You've played on the same bill with some very notable musicians. Are there any moments that really made an impression on

I've had some very humbling moments in the last few years- opening for
the Skatalites and letting them use our backline, Karl Bryan talking
my ear off backstage. The Skatalites have played in Seattle twice in
the last five years, both of which I had a hand in. Those have been
the biggest shows I've helped put on, which has strengthened my
appreciation for the roots of the music. That's some serious business
if some of the same few people have been playing together for over 40
years, and they're still all over the world playing shows…

6. How did you come to appreciate Ska music?
It started in high school in the late 90s, as the national ska craze
was dying out. My friends and I were into the all of the skapunk and
2-tone music. As time went on, most of them moved away from ska, but I
kept listening to it. When I moved to Seattle, a few people turned me
on to the Skatalites, whose music I got a hold of but didn't really
understand until months later. I had started booking shows with the UW
and playing music with a few people. I was tagged as the ska guy
wherever I went, since I was one of a few people in Seattle with an
interest in booking ska shows and collecting records. My love and
appreciation for the music has just grown since then, collecting more
music, discovering more bands online, booking bigger shows, and
playing with a more successful band.

7. So far the Georgetown Orbits have played actively in your local
scene. Do you plan to tour?

Yes, eventually. We'll get out on the road when the time is right.

8. Can you suggest some Seattle ska and Reggae musicians to our readers?
Natalie Wouldn't, Clinton Fearon, The Crucialites, Little Big Man,
Stiff Upper Lips, The Panda Conspiracy, Legal Lies, Dub Championz,
Library Science, Get Down Moses, Majesty in Denial, the Diablotones,
Yogoman Burning Band, Bremerton Dub Rockers, the Bankshooters

9. What venues would you recommend to those visiting Seattle and why?
Studio Seven has a lot of local ska shows, and they're one of the few
places that is all ages with a bar. Nectar's in Fremont has a lot of
local and touring reggae acts, as does Neumo's on Capitol Hill.
Culture Yard Productions has a great handle on the big touring reggae
and dancehall acts that come through town, and myself or Local Chaos
put on most of the local ska and skapunk shows at the above venues.

10. Any last words?
To all the promoters and fans of ska- stick with it! There is an
endless amount of ska and reggae around the world that is there for
anyone who takes the time to look for it (myspace is a good resource).
And take every chance you get to see the original Jamaican musicians
when they come through your town!

Make sure to check

1 comment:

  1. Wake the town and tell the people! The Orbits are keeping the jamaican musical tradition alive. For that, we are thankful. I, for one, will be snatching that CD up as soon as its available.
    -The Crucialites


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