Brandt Orange Returns With "Good Energy" from Debut Album [Q&A]

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Asian-American songwriter and producer, Brandt Orange, returns from working on his Fresh Finds-featured side project, Morii Morii, with his latest single, “Good Energy.” Ahead of his upcoming debut album, “Good Energy” provides listeners with a peek at what is to come for the young artist.

With popular releases like “Hands” amassing a million plays and counting on Spotify alone, Brandt Orange has already proven himself an expert storyteller, but his latest song, “Good Energy,” pushes the artist’s work even further. This track feels effortless, his lyrics carefully walking the line between a stream of consciousness and a crafted story. With its casual electric guitar and a less-is-more production style, Brandt Orange reveals a new sense of maturity and deliberateness with his craft.

Ahead of his supporting tour this fall with Gus Dapperton and Spencer, we spoke with Brandt Orange about his writing process, his love for Frank Ocean, and what we can expect from his upcoming debut album. 

OTW: This is your first single off of your upcoming debut album. Why did you pick this song specifically?

BO: In the past year or so, I've released a few singles that are pretty different thematically and sonically. It was me falling in and out of love with creating, learning countless lessons, and figuring out what in life evokes the most emotion out of me. That being said, it's been a while since I've released my own music (Morii Morii), so I wanted to start the rollout with something that really shows the through-line of my writing the most. "Good Energy" was just that. I can see 15-year-old me writing these melodies and lyrics. The more I write, the more I get stuck in my head about what is good or bad. There's a blissful ignorance about 15-year-old me writing songs that I feel "Good Energy" captures, and I hope that translates.

OTW: I know you are a very meticulous when creating your music, controlling pretty much the whole process single-handedly… How did “Good Energy” come together? Was this any different from your typical process?

BO: First off, I want to shout out one of my closest friends (and now roommate lol), Cyrus Elia. Yes - I write all my songs and do a lot of the production work on them, too, but I accredit nearly all of my creative growth in the past year to Cyrus; he's a wizard haha. I think of him more as an executive producer on the project, making sure that what I'm trying to say gets communicated in a way that's focused and powerful. "Good Energy" was no exception to that. I would produce it piece by piece and ask for his opinion along the way. He'd give me advice and criticisms… I wouldn't listen to a lot of them, and then two weeks later I'd realize he was right and change them. That's how our creative relationship has been - he's really helped me to silence my ego in creative spaces.

OTW: “Good Energy” seems to be a very personal song, and the album is also destined to be quite intimate to your real life. What is the story you're telling across this album? What are some of the main themes?

BO: Yeah, it's extremely personal for me. All I'm going to say is that the album details my personal journey with character and morality. There was a breakup involved, and I also touch on me wrestling with my ethnic identity, death, and religion.

OTW: Which song from your upcoming album are you most excited about releasing? Do you have a clear favorite?

BO: I'm the most excited about a song called "Videoscreen." I don't think it's gonna be a single but I'm pretty sure it's gonna be the first track on the album.

OTW: You’re going on tour with Gus Dapperton and Spencer soon, how did that come together?  

BO: It's kind of a long story, my manager has been talking with Gus' agency for a minute. A couple of their reps eventually came to my show at The Factory last month and I guess they liked me enough to throw me on the tour very last minute. So so grateful and super excited to play with them.

OTW: You cite Frank Ocean as one of your primary inspirations; how do you feel his work has influenced yours?

BO: It was a gradual thing for me, I didn't fall in love with it at first. I think as I grew older, I started to relate more to his personal story, and I got to see how his personal life inspired the music that he made. I realized that he's really just telling stories about his life. That was really powerful to me because up until that point, I was writing songs about made-up stories. Also, his attention to detail is inspiring (space, sounds, lyrics, etc.).

OTW: Here’s just a fun one – if you could collaborate with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?

BO: John Lennon! I think there is an enigma surrounding his name that maybe precedes his works. I wonder, sometimes, if we prescribe more power and magic to his process than he did. It might have to do with his early death. For example, I think I like Paul McCartney's writing more, but I'm more intrigued by John's. It's intangible and seems transcendental. I would've loved to work with him just to observe his process when writing a song. I have a feeling it was a lot less precious than we like to think.

OTW: Who are your Ones to Watch?

BO: Jack Samson, Benee, Hope Tala, Brandon Banks, Common Souls, Mk.gee, Taylor McFerrin, emawk, and Boy Willows just to name a few.

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