According to Dustin Hill, the only way one can be considered a true artist is if art is created out of necessity; that is to say that one must create art because it rises to the surface of consciousness and needs to come out, and for no other reason. This philosophy, amid Hill’s innate talent for writing music and lyrics—as well as his penchant for psychedelics—has given birth to two vastly different Portland bands: White Orange and Black Pussy.
“When a new song is coming out of me, I try to describe it as if I’m not even writing it,” he explains. “It’s the silence within myself and the songs are beamed into me.”
Throughout the past year Black Pussy’s popularity and success, both at home and abroad, have skyrocketed. This has not only landed them a spot on Metal Hammer’s March 2013 compilation for their song “Blow Some Steam Off”, but also commanded the attention of the legendary Palm Desert musician Brant Bjork. In turn, Bjork decided to produce their latest full-length album, which is due out in fall 2013.
However, for a true artist like Hill who has music constantly conjuring itself in his mind, the sounds don’t always fit the mold for a band like Black Pussy, which is rooted in ’70s rock ‘n’ roll and blues. The other sounds, which tend to lean more toward the scales used heavily in ’60s and ’90s music — with crushingly driving guitar riffs that require a six-foot-six drummer in order to beat a 32″ kick drum into submission—get filtered out into the band White Orange.
The band’s single “Middle of the Riddle”, which was released as a picture-disc single and sounds like a rock ‘n’ roll arena thunderstorm, regales the age-old advice, “Sometimes less is more.” This is perhaps a perfect analogy for White Orange, a band comprised of four members (vocalist Hill, guitarist Ryan McIntire and drummer Dean Carroll of Black Pussy, with the addition of Adam Pike — owner of Toadhouse Recording Studios – on bass) honing their craft through a tight filter of sound and style and creating something that is not only relentlessly heavy, but also as catchy as the classics of pop music.
White Orange’s live show aims to be just as intense as its music, with an “orgasmic seizure-inducing light show” and the band members nearly hidden from the waist up. “It’s heavy like a mushroom trip,” Dean Carroll says. “You might even need to leave the room. It’s like you’re melting.”
“I don’t know if you’ve ever done psychedelics,” Hill muses, “but that place where you’re grillin’ and you’re kind of scared and disconnecting from your physical body, you know it’s happening, but when you get back and you try to describe it, none of the words describe where you just were. That’s kind of what White Orange is.”