Max Gray ’21 is the drummer for the Bay Area-based band, Subtle Orange. The members of the band have been promoting their upcoming album, “Albion,” ahead of its release.
Subtle Orange recorded “Albion” at Skyline Studios in Oakland, California and plans to release it on Oct. 18. Gray said the cover art was designed by artist Pablo de Lucca. The title “Albion” comes from the name of the Bay Area street where the band’s “communal home” is, where they spent much of their time making music together.
Subtle Oange’s music centers itself around pleasant vocal and instrumental harmonies, and is professionally recorded at Light Rail Studios and Skyline Studios. Their lyrical subject matter focuses on relaxing and enjoying time spent on California beaches.
“I think that the music in the newer album is a lot more complex,” Gray said. “The first album was pretty beach-oriented and pop-y, and upbeat, but this one is more musically dynamic.”
Along with Gray, the other members of Subtle Orange are bassist Shay Lebovitz, keyboardist Adam Moledina, singer Dane Schumacher and lead guitarist Swain Yakupitiyage. They boast over 500 monthly listeners on Spotify. The band first formed during their junior year of high school, though they all now attend different colleges. This album is their first release since their debut self-titled album in 2017.
In an interview via video chat, the band members were excited about the development of their musical profile. They feel that the new album is an opportunity for them to showcase a more mature, elaborate sound.
According to Schumacher, “With (Albion), we were trying to find our sound a little more.”
Despite the success of their debut, the members expressed a collective desire to show growth as musicians and songwriters. The tracklist of “Albion” features a more mature attitude when compared with popular songs from the last album like “Surfrock Serenade” and “Memories of June.”
“I’d say it’s way more introspective, especially with the lyrics,” Moledina said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a sad album, but it’s definitely less of a party-beach energy. It’s a completely different vibe, but it’s still very much us.”
Since the band members now attend different schools across the country, Subtle Orange has had to overcome some distance-related adversity in the making of the album.
“It did take a while for us to finally get this album out the door,” Moledina said.
They overcame distance by working together on music while in the Bay Area and planning release details while at school. “Albion” benefited from this long lead up, as it gave the group more time to deliberate on the specifics of its rollout. The band was selective with the album’s content, choosing to release a shorter album rather than a full-length LP.
“We wanted to pick songs that sounded cohesive together, that’s why the whole album is pretty slow (tempo),” Yakupitiyage said.
In the future, however, the band wants to release music more consistently. They plan on promoting themselves through sponsored social media content, playlists and music blogs.
“This December, we want to release a single or two,” Schumacher said, “We want to do more marketing from all the stuff we learned about (the) last album.”
Subtle Orange’s “Albion” promises to impress with its contemplative lyrics and melodious instrumentation.