“Everyone seems to gravitate toward the song ‘Obsessed With You’,” relates Orion Simprini, lead vocalist and guitarist of the buzz band The Orion Experience, in reference to a track that has generated acclaim from some unexpected sources. “Perez Hilton blogged about this song, and many thousands of people got to hear it, which is of course a great thing for us. But even before that, kids were making their own videos to the song and putting them up on YouTube. I think because of the universal appeal, lyrically. But my personal favorite is ‘Sugar,’ which is on the Heartbreaker EP that we recorded with Jon Kaplan, who has worked with Maroon 5 and many others. Our music has been used on episodes of The Hills, Laguna Beach, and even on The Letterman Show. We have a hard time coming up with set lists for our shows, because everyone in the band has their own favorites. Needless to say, it’s a good problem to have.”
Joining Orion in the group is Linda Horwatt, who also sings lead and plays keyboards. Reef Roxx plays lead guitar, and comes from the popular band Evelyn Forever. Chris Lucas mans the bass, and was also a part of Evelyn Forever, as well as putting in time with Jersey favorite Val Emmich. And behind the skins is drummer extraordinaire Jon Weber, who can be seen nightly in the hit Broadway show Rock Of Ages.
“Linda and I were classmates in college and have been writing and performing together ever since,” says Orion. “I knew the rest of the guys from playing the same Lower East Side clubs all the time. So when I needed to put a band together, I knew who I wanted to call.” The name of the band actually has a hidden meaning. “It’s a self effacing take on the ‘70s super group/songwriter projects like the Alan Parsons Project, or The Steve Perry Project featuring Steve Perry.”
The band has already done extensive live performing, hitting venues such as the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, Maxwell’s in Hoboken, the Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, Santo’s Party House, and Pianos in New York City, and the Viper Room and Key Club in Los Angeles.
Musically, the group is able to incorporate a wide variety of styles into a cohesive sound. “The music is high energy pop rock,” Orion states. “Sometimes dance-y, sometimes ‘60s style garage rock, sometimes Japanese punk, sometimes it’s a romantic love song. It’s not all the same thing from song to song, but it’s all The Orion Experience. I think people know it’s us, no matter what mood we happen to be in at the moment.”
Their sound starts with an idea from Orion, but the final result is definitely a collaborative effort. “I usually come up with a melody on acoustic guitar and have a general concept about the lyrics and the feel of the song,” Orion explains. “Then I bring it to the band and we arrange it from there. This can sometimes take a rehearsal or two, or sometimes many weeks or months. It’s different for each song.”
The members bring a wide variety of influences into the group, which accounts for the diversity in the music. They include Blondie, the B-52s, ABBA, AC/DC, Fountains Of Wayne, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. “There are many different influences going on,” says Orion. “We all share a lot of the same tastes, but also have slightly different musical backgrounds as well. So it makes for some good fighting in the studio!”
Among the bands fans is TV diva Rachel Ray, who hosted the group at a pre-SXSW party at Europa in Brooklyn. They will also be appearing at her SXSW show in Austin, TX. They expect to be playing some shows in this area when they return from that trip.
As for the future, Orion isn’t modest about his goals. “I’d like to hear The Orion Experience played on every radio in every country of the world, play some sold out stadiums, sell lots of t-shirts, etc.,” he laughs. “I would also like to buy a new pair of shoes at some point! Right now we are working on a new record, all new stuff that we hope to put out very soon. You can hear our new song, ‘NYC Girl,’ online. Check our website or MySpace page.”
In the meantime, the band is gaining a lot of experience on the road, including learning about each other. “One time when we were playing a particularly bad club in Portland, Oregon, we arrived at the bar just in time to have a drunken concert goer vomit all over Jon Weber’s velvet jacket—yes, he loves velvet. Jon will never play in Portland ever again, for that reason. Well, maybe for a gas station burrito, we’ll see!”