We got a chance to interview Orono Noguchi and Soul, members of the indie pop band Superorganism. Here’s what they had to say about their projects, their popularity, and the group’s future.
Every year Mexico City rejoices with the celebration of the riveting music festival known as Corona Capital, which sees many internationally famous bands give some of their best performances in one of the most exhilarating musical atmospheres the world has to offer. This year, Superorganism was among the bands that visited Mexico’s cosmopolis, and they were extraordinarily well received. The young group, formed in early 2017, has a rather peculiar history and style, delving in what has been described as psychedelic pop with a fresh and original sound.
The London-based band is composed of eight members, and we got a chance to interview two of them during their stay in Mexico City. Here’s what Orono Noguchi (lead vocalist) and Soul (background vocalist) had to tell us about their experience in Mexico, their history, expectations, and dreams. (The interview has been edited for clarity).
When you released your first single, Something For Your M.I.N.D., many members of the band didn’t even know each other personally: you had only met online through forums and via e-mail. Now, most of you live together in London. What is that like and what does this living arrangement do for you creatively?
Orono: We haven’t been back in a while, so it’s hard to say. But it can be kind of… well, I don’t know. You basically spend 24/7 with your friends. It can be intense sometimes. We don’t fight, but it does get intense.
Soul: I think it’s actually just a matter of convenience when everyone’s closer together. But the methods that we use are pretty much exactly the same as when we’re far away, because everyone likes to create small bits by themselves and then share ideas that have already been developed. So we’re not in a room jamming, like Led Zeppelin or Grateful Dead. It’s pretty much the same, but more convenient.
How did the name for the band come up? What does it mean for you?
Orono: I think someone just came up with it, like “hey, how about Superorganism?” There was no hidden deep meaning behind it. We’re not called that because we’re a group of people working together or anything like that. We simply said, “We need a name, and that one’s cool.”
Soul: Yeah, the name came first, then the story happened afterwards, which was an unplanned, fateful thing.
Orono: Like pretty much everything we do.
Soul: When it happens like that (when it’s not planned so much), it just feels better than if it were carefully orchestrated.
If you could choose any place in the world to give your best performance ever, which place would that be?
Soul: Maybe the United States of America, because Orono has a special connection to America. Boston, Ohio.
Orono: Yeah, definitely, my favorite shows are always in the United States.
Soul: Touring there is special in a way. People really like the music and they show it in a very appreciative manner. I’m not saying that other countries don’t, but there’s a kind of forwardness to that appreciation that we get from America that we don’t really get in quite the same way elsewhere. Whether that’s being really loud or meeting them after the show, it really does make you want to perform better. It’s all about the audience. We’re audience-driven. You get the best performance when we get a cool crowd, rather than in a specific place.
Where do you see Superorganism a year from now? What are your hopes and dreams for the band?
Soul: Really, we’d like to keep doing the same thing to a degree, but we also want to expand as people. Orono, for example, would like to go to college.
Orono: I mean, we need some time off, actually.
Soul: Yeah, some time off from the band so we can grow as individuals. So we can later come back and be a stronger group.
Do you mean eventually or do you need some time off right now?
Orono: We’re gonna get it soon.
Soul: The thing is, the music industry works in a way that when you become somewhat popular you go on a two-year tour that is a very intense working experience, and by the end of it, you naturally need some time off. I think that’s what we’re talking about, really. A year from now we’ll have had more free time—time to grow and maybe pursue other interests. And then, we want to come back together to be a better Superorganism.
So, Orono, you’re interested in studying Literature. Any favorite kind of literature, and do you have a favorite author?
Orono: I think I’d like to focus on American literature, but I read anything, really. And as for favorite authors, I really like Hunter S. Thompson.
Beyond the break you’re planning to take, what are you most excited about professionally? Any upcoming projects your fans should be aware of?
Soul: I’m definitely interested in doing some music outside Superorganism. I don’t have a name for it yet.
Orono: I think everyone’s interested in that.
Soul: Yeah, everyone wants to do something a little bit different. I’m particularly interested in doing music that others can dance to. And I want to do dance music, specifically, because the kind of culture of going and dancing for hours is very exciting to me. I want to capture that kind of movement, that euphoria.
If you could give your fanbase one—and only one—piece of advice, what would that be?
Orono: Don’t listen to me!
Soul: I suppose I’d tell them to read a lot and always pursue their curiosity.
If you could go back in time, would you do anything different about your careers?
Orono: No. I guess it’s a butterfly effect: if we didn’t do something or did it in a different way, we wouldn’t be here right now—and I wouldn’t want that. I’m not really a person to live with regrets, because I think you can learn from everything. So yeah, I wouldn’t do anything differently.
Soul: You know, I’d hate to go back and do all this again! [Laughs] I mean, I enjoyed it, but do all last year again would be daunting—I would rather just go on!
Many of the band members use pseudonyms. Why is that, and why don’t you, Orono?
Orono: Because I have a cool name. I like it.
Soul: Well, Soul is actually my real name that got translated into English. But the explanation for the other guys is that they wanted to play a character, and this band presented an opportunity to do so: to be “extra” versions of ourselves. Giving us pseudonyms is just an exciting way to live. Especially in the context of a band.
So far, which has been your favorite moment with Superorganism?
Orono: The US Tour was a highlight for me. The whole tour. It was very chill and we went on Conan. I also met some of my musical heroes on the way. I just had a really good time.
Soul: Actually, even last night was a highlight for me, playing here in Mexico City. The crowd was so loud and Orono ran on like a superhero. I was very emotional about it all, I almost cried. It made it all worth it: it made me realize our music is making people happy and energized, so that made me feel it deeply and almost break a tear. That never happens to me!
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