For Orono Noguchi, the 17-year-old frontwoman of the frenetic noise-pop collective Superorganism, knowing when she wanted to devote her life to making music came young. “I remember being about 3 or 4 years old, sitting in the backseat of my parent’s car heading to preschool with my mom,” she said recently via a phone interview. “It took an hour to get there and on the drive, I would watch Weezer videos, some live videos and School of Rock on repeat. I would just stare at Rivers Cuomo and Jack Black fucking rocking out on stage with their guitars — and I was like that’s what I want to do when I grow up.”
Last week Orono, along with her seven bandmates, experienced the thrill of releasing their debut album into the world via Domino Records. But since our convo came before the release date, we talked about her recent move to London, performing on Jools Holland in front of Noel Gallagher (“he actually said some nice thing about us”) and of course, music.
Orono, Emily, Harry, Tucan, Robert Strange, Ruby, B, and Soul have only been touring for a few months playing to sold out-industry packed crowds and are already receiving comparisons to MGMT, Vampire Weekend and Gorillaz.
I was curious about how Orono is balancing everything that’s going on while staying creative and energized. The answer was simple — more art; in addition to her songwriting skills, Orono is also a painter and works closely with bandmate Robert Strange creating videos and artwork for the album.
“Everyone on the band is on a very similar creative wavelength and we all hope for the same outcome,” she explained. “We have discussions about how things should look and talk about cool stuff we’re watching, or a cool GIF we found. With the abstract songs, we talk about potential ideas for the visuals. Doing all of the artwork for the band I work closely with Robert and together, we work in a way that’s kinda hard to explain.”
And it works.
Robert Strange’s direction for the video of their first single, “Everybody Wants To Be Famous” playfully recreates how the band met, via Youtube’s Recommends before meeting up in Tokyo and deciding to create a record together. The video follows an unseen viewer googling “Orono Superorganism” which is hilarious since there were some early rumors about whether or not Orono was a real person. Their two videos are examples of the current cultural climate where having an “influential” social account can make you famous overnight.
This could easily make someone jaded, but it hasn’t seemed to have that effect Orono who instead seems to be relishing the whole experience. Like any musician, she is excited to have her band mentioned in Rolling Stone magazine, a publication she grew up idolizing while living in Toyko.
“In my tweens, I was really obsessed with the Disney Channel, Glee and stuff like that, and would ask my Dad to get me TigerBeat or some teen magazine… and those were my favorite things,” she remembered. “Then I moved on to like Rolling Stone when I was obsessed with indie music like Vampire Weekend and MGMT. We did the photo shoot and the interview last week. I am going to tell Domino US to send me a copy because, yeah… I need that shit.”