Many of the bands around nowadays, willingly or not, attach themselves to a scene or movement in one way or another in order to define what kind of sound they're going for. Even ones that attempt to defy genre classification can usually fit pretty snugly into a scene or community.
But Denton's Orange Coax, consisting of vocalist Sashenka Lopez, Bobby Taylor on saxophone and Adam Cahoon on drums, defy all this fairly well.
"How can you be minimal and extreme at the same time?" asks Lopez.
Well, by employing only microphones (and sometimes a megaphone in lieu of mics) as electronic devices in your music, as Orange Coax do, while still managing to sound hard, intense and chaotic—or, as Lopez calls it, "a crazy, fast-driven, volatile acoustic set."
Orange Coax are indeed all those things. All the band's members thrash about intensely during live performances, and you may even catch Lopez crawling around on the floor or caressing audience members as she is backed by careening, uptempo arpeggios from Taylor and fill-happy drum patterns from Cahoon.
And there's also the queer nature of Lopez's lyrics and between-song remarks.
"I like to gender-fuck," she says. "Gender is something that has to be pushed and questioned and taken out of the picture."
A proponent of gender-queer ideals, Lopez uses her lead-singer status as a platform to spread her views on gender roles and sexuality, and she sends messages to the audience about openness and acceptance.
"It's not so easily labeled as male or female or even queer music," Lopez says of her band's sound. "If one day you want to be a lady and one day you want to be a boy, then go for it."
On the songwriting side, the band's current musical style and even instrumental setup for newer material is different from what one would hear in a live performance or on their latest record, a 10-inch vinyl release that will come out officially in October via We Shot JR. When she first joined the band, Taylor and Cahoon would write the music and ask her to put words on it, but these days, she's more a part of the songwriting process. Naturally, the process itself for Orange Coax will continue to be as temperamental as it's always been, with band members meeting only when they feel like it, and where, according to Lopez, Taylor and Cahoon "have a language to where they don't even have to talk anymore."
Clearly, this is a band that likes leaving things up for interpretation—for now and for the band's future alike.
Explains Lopez: "We're in a total transition."