Truls Mörck of Graveyard, Desertfest London 2018. By Ella Stormark

At this point in time, many of you might still be knees deep in post-Christmas depression and January blues while dreaming of better days, potentially made even worse by dry January (I caved on the 9th and had a glass of wine, it doesn’t count if it’s with food right?) which equals stone cold sobriety during what feels like three hour long days. It’s okay though, spring’s not actually that far away – just look at this as an excuse to be a record recluse for a bit, personally I’ve only socialised once in the entire month of January, and hell, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m not quite sure when I’ll emerge from my winter slumber, but, it will definitely be in time for Desertfest London.

Since the launch of Desertfest London back in 2012, the festival has grown and gets bigger and busier every year, with 2020 looking huge. Among this years lineup, we’ve got some of the headliners from the first ever Desertfest London returning; Orange Goblin, who’s celebrating their 25 year anniversary this year, and Corrosion of Conformity. Also returning to the Desertstage is the mighty Graveyard, who’ll be accompanied at the festival by fellow Swedish countrymen Witchcraft, Maidavale and Lowrider, the latter due to release the follow up to their iconic 2000 debut album ‘Ode to IO’ on February 21st, a mere two and a half months before the festival.

Isaiah Mitchell of Earthless at Desertfest London 2019. By Ella Stormark

Mixing things up a bit at this year’s festival with sunny, progressive psychedelia, is US bands Sacri Monti and Monarch, both hailing from Oceanside just outside San Diego. San Diego’s been on the frontline of modern psychedelia since the formation of Earthless in the early 2000s, and Sacri Monti and Monarch are just two of many bands who’s followed in their footsteps with a modern take on older influences – the rise of successful psychedelic bands from the area is so high that ‘San Diego Psych’ has sort of become a genre of it’s own.

Of course, as always, Desertfest is also a fantastic platform for up and coming bands, featuring some of the finest heavy acts in the UK underground scene, such as London’s very own Green Lung, who’s 2019 debut album ‘Woodland Rites’ received critical acclaim from the likes of The Guardian and Kerrang. Joining them on the bill is also Birmingham’s eerie doom band Alunah, and another London local in the form of The Brothers Keg, who despite having just released two songs, have caught the attention of The Obelisk who compared them to both King Buffalo and Sleep, eagerly anticipating for their debut album to drop.

We’re also excited to catch hard hitting and heavy two piece Big Business, the former rhythm section of the Melvins, and of course, doom connoisseurs Khemmis who will also be crossing the Atlantic for our listening pleasure, so there will be no lacking in the heavy riff department (okay dad…), not that that was ever a concern of ours anyway.

There are still some tickets left for the festival, so head over to Desertfest London’s website to get your hands on a pair and hopefully we’ll see you there! We’ll be catching up with some of the artists playing the festival in the next couple of months, so watch this space.

Ella Stormark browsing Jimi’s favourite records at Handel & Hendrix, 23 Brook Street

I’m not gonna lie, I do tend to get, uhm, how do I word this, carried away, while on DJ duties. I’m pretty sure (convinced…) this is a quality that’s been passed down in the DNA from my Dad, as controlling the music tends to be a never ending battle between us. Of course, he wins, every time! He’s got 30 years on music history on yours truly – clearly a winner. Anyway, back to me. I’d say music is definitely my passion, and as I’m not player per se (meaning I only play for my cat), I’m an incredibly good listener – If listening to music is a skill, I consider myself highly skilled – I could listen for days, and whenever I get the privilege of DJ duties, whether it’s in public or in private, I take my job, very, very seriously.

Most times I’m good at it, great, even! But, there has been a few instances where I’ve misread a room completely, and when I say misread I mean really, really misread – which also is short for ignore, as I’ve just ignored what absolutely everyone else wanted to listen to so I could get my fix. My best example of this, is making my guests sit through an entire Motorpsycho album (it was a double….) when they were craving Pink Floyd. Probably not my finest moment, but oh well, what can I say – if you don’t like me at my “Motorpsycho at midnight”, you don’t deserve me at my “Prince at parties”, and on the subject of parties, I’m pretty good at them.

Jimi Jammin’ at 23 Brook Street

Next time I’ll be serving up a healthy dose of bangers and mash to the public is on the 14th of February at Jimi Hendrix’s old Brook Street flat, and let’s be honest, there’s not really any other guy I’d spend my Valentine’s day with, so it’s pretty perfect. With 22 days to go, I’ll be rummaging through my record collection like crazy, cradling and canoodling my precious gems, while trying to figure out who gets their five minutes of fame on holy ground. I’ve been a Hendrix fan for longer than I haven’t, and the fact that I get to spin my choice of records where he once lived, is kind of a pinch me sort of situation – would Jimi approve of my record collection, and agree with my selection?

For those of you who aren’t aware of the ‘Jimi’s old flat situation’ – during his time in London from 1968 to 1969, Jimi resided at 23 Brook Street, where funnily enough, composer Handel lived 200 years prior. In recent year, the property has been refurbished and opened to the public as a museum, paying homage to both Handel and Hendrix. Hendrix’s flat has been re-made by the help of Jimi’s then girlfriend Kathy Etchingham to pretty much exactly how it was during his stay there, allowing you to step back in time and get an actual insight of how Hendrix lived, trippy time travel!

14th of February marks the four year anniversary of the opening of the flat, and it’s celebrated with one of their ‘Friday Late’ events, which is a regular thing – meaning you can actually attend a house party at Hendrix’s house – what?! When discovering Hendrix at 14, I never thought in a million years that I’d ever be able to set foot in his house, let alone be invited to share some of my own favourite music with fellow Hendrix fans, and I truly feel honoured to have been asked to do so. 23 Brook Street is an important part of music history, and well worth a visit if ever in London, as part of one’s psychedelic pilgrimage.

Now, back to rummaging records.

The scale of the Australian bush fires is truly unprecedented.

Unless you’ve been on holiday on Mars for the last couple of months, the news that Australia is suffering from the largest scale bush fires on record will be something you’re only too aware of.

It’s very hard to grasp exactly how big a problem this actually is, particularly in countries like the UK where wildfires aren’t something that affects us, so a bit of research and the following details begin to emerge:

As of 7th January, 25.5 million acres or 10.5 million hectares of land has been affected by the fires. That’s 32,000 square miles. For those of us in the UK, that’s an area that runs from Portsmouth in the South, as far North as Coventry and from Bath in the West all the way across to London in the East. Another way of putting it, is the whole of Belgium – burned and still ablaze with little end in sight. To try to visualise the fire-front itself is to imagine a picture of Hell… Imagine an unbroken line of fire, stretching from The East Coast of the USA to the West Coast, then back again, then heading back yet again, to the West Coast and getting at least as far as Indiana. That’s the fire-front in a single state alone! More than 1,000 homes have been destroyed, 24 people have lost their lives and estimates are that somewhere between 500 million and 1 billion animals have been burned to death a figure that beggars belief.

We at Orange would like to ask a favour of you guys – Please share the following links with as many people as you can. You don’t have to share our posts, take any mention of us out if you prefer – this isn’t a PR exercise as this message is too important. If you’re able to donate a small amount to one of these charities that’s wonderful but that’s your business. This is just our way of helping ensure that any donations you do make actually go to where they will make a difference. There are many other organisations out there and all are just as worthy but here’s some selected by us:

The NSW Rural Fire Service
These guys are volunteers! Donations made to the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS), or your local Rural Fire Brigade, directly benefit volunteer firefighters and are always gratefully received. These proceeds directly assist brigades in conducting their community activities.

The Salvation Army Australia
Feeding and supporting the firefighters and evacuees is a major military exercise but fortunately, there is an army ready and willing to help. The Salvos are right there at the front line.

The Australian Red Cross
Supporting thousands of people in evacuation centres and recovery hubs across Australia.

WIRES Australia
WIRES (NSW Wildlife Information, Rescue and Education Service Inc.) is Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation. WIRES has been rescuing and caring for wildlife for over 30 years and WIRES mission is to actively rehabilitate and preserve Australian wildlife and inspire others to do the same.

Who’s Awesome? You Are!

As you’re all aware, we said goodbye to the Orange Forum at the end of November after more than 15 years.

This post is perhaps a little different from others you may have seen from Orange over the years – this post is specifically addressed to you, the forum community.
The success of the forum was all down to you guys, our contributors who took the time out of their days to give us both their knowledge and their love of this wonderful thing we all share – Music.
We weren’t precious about the forum, we never really thought of it as ours – it was yours and we as employees of Orange rarely had anything to do with moderating – we didn’t need to, it was a place where respect was shown to users of all sorts of amps and discussions were largely carried out with courtesy for the opinions of others. Not that you lot were a bunch of angels but you get the point. It made our lives easy as we could let you guys get on with the business of enjoying talking with each other.

This would be a very long and excruciatingly boring post if we were to list every person who has given their time to the forum over the years and we wouldn’t like to single any people out as every contribution was equally valuable and appreciated but there was a hardcore of regular contributors who really made things come alive. You know who you are and so do we! You guys are awesome!

The forum will stay where it is as a resource for now and we do encourage all of you to join in on our social media channels. Your expertise is always valued.
All that remains to say is, to all you Tiny Terrors, Rockers, Experts, Masters and Dukes of Orange – Thank you. Genuinely – Thank you.

As the year is coming to an end, it’s time to reflect on my musical highlights of 2019, before venturing on into the next decade; the twenties – how did we get here so soon?! Musically speaking, 2019’s been good to me, great, even! I’ve attended more gigs than I can even remember, and despite having been doing this work for years now, I’ve at times had to pinch myself in excitement about all these opportunities I’ve been given, and I just wish I could go back in time and tell my 15 year old self.

In 2019, we unfortunately lost the good Dr. John, but were also blessed with the news of the return of Rage, and with where the western world is heading now politically, we need them now more than ever. Preferably in the UK – perhaps in Hyde Park, please? Rage Against the Machine is the final band on my bucket list and I would pretty much walk through fire to be able to attend one of their shows, although I’m hoping I wont have to go to such extreme lengths. Anyway, as I’m bracing myself for the next decade, it’s time to get nostalgic about all the good times I’ve had this year.

Favourite Gig of 2019
This is such a tough one as I’ve seen so many incredible acts this year, however, taking my friend Holly to have her Sleep cherry popped at the Kentish Town Forum in October was pretty awesome – you just can’t beat a shirtless Matt Pike.

Favourite Album of 2019
My mates in Sacri Monti released their second album ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ and it’s just fantastic, a beautiful mix of the current San Diego psych sound, mixed with elements of 70s prog and twin guitars along the likes of Wishbone Ash. I love it, and so does my dad, which, let’s be honest, is the ultimate seal of approval. Dads know their stuff.

Favourite Festival Experience of 2019
I’ve enjoyed every single festival I’ve been to this year, but as the majority of them were for work (Desertfest London, Download & Black Deer Festival), I have to say the one that allowed me to kick back and relax, and more importantly, turn off my phone: Portugal’s Sonic Blast Moledo – from being drenched to the bone watching Earthless in the torrential rain, to be poolside for Giöbia while drinking Super Bock in the sun while surrounded by some of my best friends, it’s a pretty hard one to beat.

Sampo from Kaleidobolt crowdsurfing during Sacri Monti’s set at Sonic Blast Moledo

Favourite non-musical Music Event of 2019
I’m a sucker for a music exhibition and cried my way through both the Bowie and Pink Floyd exhibits in London a couple of years back, so of course – when Home of Metal announced their ’50 years of Black Sabbath’ exhibition I was hell bound on a train. A day out spent in Birmingham educating myself on the purveyors of doom – I had a blast.

Favourite Song of 2019
Hardly a new song, but Neil Merryweather’s cover of Donovan’s ‘Sunshine Superman’ is my most played song of 2019, which came as no surprise at all. Who doesn’t love some funky rock ‘n’ roll you can dance to? You can view and listen to my full Top 100 here.

With that done and dusted, I just want to say a massive thank you to everyone who’s read and commented in 2019, and I look forward to sharing more musical musings with you all in the new year. Happy holidaze!

Orange amps has often been associated with heavy slow riffs, the type that knock the filings from your teeth and would blow the speakers in your car. This has always been something we have been very proud of, we make loud amps and we think they sound great. Our amps are perfect for a genre that spans from classic metal such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath all the way through to the new boys of djent and progressive metal. But which amp works for each sub genre of metal? Well we are here to help!

Classic Metal

It feels a bit wrong to call bands like Sabbath and Zeppelin ‘classic metal’ but this is a way to show their older statesmen role in the genre. Basically if these guys had chosen another calling we all wouldn’t have a job or a record collection. So if you want to play like Jimmy Page, Orange has the amp for you, in fact he uses an Orange… see what we did!

The AD30 was used at the Led Zeppelin reunion show in 2007 (they were the single channel versions.) The current AD30 has two channels, channel one is cleaner, with channel two being the heavier channel, use this one for Page riffs!

Sludge Metal

Heavily influenced by Black Sabbath, sludge metal came about through bands mixing elements of doom metal and hardcore punk. What came from these two joining forces was heavily detuned guitars, lots of distortion and tempos switching from slow grooves to punk styled riffs. If this sounds like your thing then the Crush Pro 120 would be the perfect amp for you, none other than Kirk from Sludge Metal legends Crowbar uses it to create a wall of sound.

Taking inspiration from the Rockerverb 100, the Crush Pro 120 head is a solid state amplifier which delivers warm, rich analogue tone. Kirk started using one on the road and it has taken the place of an amplifier metal great Dimebag Darrell gave him. If this doesn’t make it the perfect amplifier for all those low tuned riffs, then we don’t know what will!

Nu Metal

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s this was the genre in rock, behemoths like Slipknot, Linkin Park, Korn and Limp Bizkit all came to the forefront of the music scene. Mixing rap, rock and metal elements they forged their own path, recently these bands have established themselves as some of the biggest rock acts in the world. Headlining every major festival Slipknot have become giants of the genre and Jim Root uses a Rockerverb to achieve his distinct, signature sound.

The Rockerverb was designed to be an amp for all genres and has been used by so many different players across its over ten year history. With two channels and four stages of gain it has become perfect for this genre. Not only does Jim Root trust the Rockerverb every night on stage but legendary guitarist Head from Korn calls the clean channel ‘buttery’.

Progressive Metal

Finally if you want to sound like a rock behemoth, then progressive metal is where it is all going off. Titans of the genre are Tool, Opeth, Rush and Mastodon and Orange has so many amplifiers that are perfect. The Brent Hinds Terror was built by men in mountains with googles (as told by Mastodon’s Brent Hinds) so it is the perfect fit for this genre.

The Brent Hinds Terror is a two channel, all valve, lunch box amplifier which was designed specifically to play Mastodon riffs loud. The bedroom/headroom switch makes bedroom practice a simple click of a switch, so nothing will get in the way of thundering riffs!

Does your goldfish enjoy Mastodon? Is the answer to controlling a fire, more fire? And how can we be everywhere at once, yet still on the tour bus?

Orange may have the answer.

The OMEC Teleport USB Audio Interface

From within the Deep

Along the murky journey of discovery, music, especially amplified music developed through necessity. Just as humans evolved ears from gills, the universal language of music has continued to change faster than you can say ‘amphibian’.

That evolution began in the Deep South as musicians innovated through necessity, converting wartime radios into rip-roaring filthy beasts of amplifiers that warded away the competition with a harrowing banshee-like wail of the Delta and Chicago Blues.

The Beast from the East

Innovation like that of the blues explosion provided the inspiration for amps like the Orange Rocker 32. All valve monster tone within a 2×10” stereo combo designed for experimentation, offering a 15W per channel stereo power amp with a mono FX send and stereo return (left and right).

John from Orange giving some real life examples of how you could set up your Orange Rockerverb 32

Within one box you have an array of tonal weaponry to rival even the monster rig superpowers. Imagine the footprint of a self-contained amplifier, but with the option to run stereo or mono outboard rigs or even A/B split to create two separate tones, helping to build a complex sound that would envy the genius of professional amp techs.

It’s that kind of flexibility that has put musicians like Kelby Ray of The Cadillac Three on the map of modern music innovators.

Beyond the Southern Limits

The Cadillac Three (signed to Big Machine Records) are quite an incredible band who push the envelope of the Southern Rock genre, occupying a space in country music that goes beyond their stomping ground of Nashville.

Part of their appeal is their straight-talking, no-nonsense songwriting alongside a unique band setup that features Kelby playing a lap steel guitar, bi-amped to produce the full spectrum of tones.

“People watch us play live and they think there are six people in the band when it’s all coming from two guys and a drummer,” said Kelby in a recent interview with Orange. 

On what makes Orange Amplifiers ideal for building a mountain of tone Kelby goes on to say “If you play through any of the Orange amps over their competitor (products) you’ll notice the difference is this cool overdrive sound that gives a little bit of grit on the bass of the AD200-MK3, and the crunch and full-bodied mid-range of the AD30HTC and OR15H”.

It covers all the spectrum and is badass! –
Kelby Ray of The Cadillac Three on his Orange Amplifier Rig

However, Kelby’s mad skill though is mastering the art of bass playing and transferring that skill onto the lap steel while simultaneously covering the treble side of the instrument, something that he partially attributes to the advice of legendary producer Bob Rock. These days Kelby is nailing it all on his own!

And into the Realm of Possibility

Another Big Machine Records artist who’s been pushing the limits of the bass guitar for some time now is Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick.

Petersson dons a mindboggling 12-string bass which is pretty innovative in itself, but he also runs a monstrous rig of all valve gear combining guitar and bass amps with a huge speaker array pushing a hell of a lot of air. He likes to push his amps to their limits, producing natural overtones that you can only get from all analogue gear.

By his own admission, Tom is looking for that sound when the amp is ‘about ready to blow up’. That’s why at Orange Amplifiers we build our amps to be taken one step beyond the expected, gear that can handle anything you throw at it.

“It’s at this point you can dig in and it breaks up; back off and the amp is clean”, said Petersson. “Orange Amplifiers give you the headroom to create your own sound, allowing for techniques like muting where the subtly comes out in your playing”.

You can’t match the sound of tube amps, and with Orange Amps, the sound is unbeatable –
Tom Petersson, Cheap Trick

Petersson’s sound is a combination of the AD200 bass head with an 8×10” cabinet, that’s 200 Watts of pure creamy, dynamic low-end with focused mid-range, engulphing you in a barrage of harmonics across the whole frequency spectrum.

In contrast, Geddy Lee uses the same AD200 bass amp as one-quarter of his mega rig opting to max out the treble and gain to produce the overdrive part of his tone, highlighting how universal that classic all-valve bass amp can be. 

But for Tom Petersson, his Cerberus-like monster rig features two Orange guitar amplifiers for the top end which includes a Custom Shop 50 head, crafted to produce exquisite blues-rock tones. This amp includes a switchable output stage to offer the chimey purity of Class A or a more opened mid-range Class A/B which adds plenty of full-bodied kick. Petersson’s Customer Shop 50 is partnered with two 4×12” cabinets.

Tom also boasts a venomous Rockerverb mkii alongside two 2×12” cabinets, adding the filth and the fury to his already mighty setup.

Innovating with Solid (State) Logic

After recording and touring 12 studio albums Ty Tabor knows a lot about tone and as an Orange representative with experience using solid-state gear in the studio and on the road since the beginning of the technology, he’s an authority on the subject.

Tabor’s amp of choice way back was the Lab Series L5, also a favourite of the late great BB King. It’s one of those fabled amplifiers that many people have been striving to recreate. The fact that Tabor was the first endorsee to use the Orange Crush Pro 120 is a testament to the tone of that solid-state amp.

When Orange took our foray into solid-state amp build of the Crush series, we put all the attention to detail you get from an Orange tube amp, giving that lively feel and responsiveness with a rich tonal characteristic, the hallmark British sound. If you imagine how those early solid-state engineers would have been producing their amplifiers, they were probably taking the same approach as Orange, although those pioneering engineers didn’t have the luxury of using tried and proved on the road, sourced from reliable partners. They were in at the deep end!

What you get with the Orange Crush Pro is two channels built into the ruggedness of a solid-state amp. One channel is a classic vintage-inspired channel with sparkle at the top end and when pushed it embodies the bluesy crunch of Keith Richards. Channel two is more matched to the Rockerverb’s high gain, all-out attack.

Masters of Flexibility

Brent Hinds of Mastodon is a beastmaster; those who venture the deep enough into the bowels of the underworld will discover his truly monstrous creation. Ler LaLonde of Primus knows the deal; he’s also one of the dark souls of willing to adventure into the depths of musical creativity where mere mortals dare to tread.

It’s diversity where the Brent Hinds Terror comes up trumps with two channels and a unique Terror gain structure that works beautifully for funk, world music and metal alike.

The natural channel has more bottom end staying fat and full, oozing with warm valve compression from the EL84 output section. On the dirty channel, there’s three different gain structure, brighter at lower gain levels which fattens up the more you dial the gain in. The new gain structure also means that the gain comes in more quickly.

I tried the potato plugged into an avacado, and that didn’t work at all. So when I tried the Orange, that was a massive improvement in the sound –
Ler LaLonde

Into Another Dimension

Sometimes big rigs come in surprisingly little boxes, take for instance the OMEC Teleport interface. For a start, this piece of kit fits in your pocket or snugly on your pedalboard.

What the OMEC Teleport does best is give you total flexibility transferring from the analogue realm through to digital or vice versa.

Use it as a high-quality AD converter to:

  • Track straight into a DAW or audio editing software from your instrument
  • Connect to a virtual rack straight from your instrument

Use it as a high-quality DA converter to:

  • Switch a digital signal back to analogue into whatever outboard gear you’re using (like a mixing desk, DI box, amplifier)
Since the OMEC Teleport has such low latency, you can plug into the teleport and from there connect into an app like Guitar MIDI 2

The OMEC Teleport is roadworthy, and that is noteworthy. Just like all Orange products, it’s designed to take the brunt of the road, it’s a rock-solid design in a stompbox casing; pretty tough to break. If you’re nodding your head at this point, you’ve experienced the joy of your latest recording gadget falling apart mid-tour.

Second, on the horror shit show of modern technology is latency issues, the OMEC Teleport, doesn’t have this issue, here’s what Rudy Sarzo of Whitesnake/Ozzy Osbourne had to say:

 “As a recording and touring musician with the Teleport I’m now able to bring my favorite audio plugins on my laptop, iPad or iPhone and play them on stage, in my hotel room or recording studio. I now have a consistent tone and quality anywhere I go with minimal amount of gear. In addition, the low latency and high-end AD/DA makes the Teleport my to go audio interface. All of this in a lightweight mini pedal. A total game-changer!!!”

There’s more, you can convert audio to MIDI, meaning you can control synths and MIDI libraries, Nalle Colt of Vintage Trouble adds:

“What an amazing little pedal! Big thanks to Danny Gomez at Orange Amplifiers for setting me up with this little genius box. With the major advancements of digital plugins, this is the gateway to marry new and old together in a super simple way.”

The Ever-Evolving Sphere

At Orange Amplifiers we keep close to players, from bedroom guitarist to the worldwide touring artist. You never know when or where the next great idea will come from, but it will always have: a tough skin, be simple on the outside, but complex enough on the inside keep doing what it needs to, and most of all bear fruit for the future innovators.

Everybody makes mistakes. For years that was the Orange motto (not really). We’ve been known for building some of the most innovative products in the whole of the music industry. But like everyone else, we’ve experienced a few missteps along the way. We nailed the Tiny Terror. We totally screwed up Orange Airlines (lots of people died) and the Orange parachute (several more people died).

Here’s a list of what we believe are our most innovative products throughout our 52 year history. A lot of them aren’t real (but people skimming this article won’t realize that!).

Tiny Terror

In 2005 we unleashed the Tiny Terror upon the world. Amp design has never been the same since. It was the world’s first lunchbox amp, and in addition to spawning a whole line of Terror amps from Orange, it also created a rush by other amp manufacturers to “downsize” their products. At 15 watts with a footprint the size of an A4 sheet of paper, the Tiny Terror was a Brit-rock tone machine and a true innovation.

Bull Horn Cab Add-On

Worried about being heard “in the mix” when playing live with your 5 piece doom metal band? Is your band not exactly big enough they can afford a PA? The “Bullhorn Cab Add-On” from Orange is just the thing for you. We were the first in the industry to amplify an amplifier. We called the technology DOUBLE AMPLIFYING ™. However, considering the “technology” consisted of just a simple leather strap, and the fact the strap cost $500, and the fact the bullhorn was not included, the product did not last long.

VT1000 Valve Tester

Most valve testers are as big as a suitcase and weigh more than a 50-watt amp. That’s why guitar techs around the world rejoiced when we introduced the world’s smallest portable valve tester, the VT1000. It’s simple to use and tests a wide range of the most common amp valves. Techs for guitarists such as Brian May and Slipknot’s Jim Root use the VT1000 every day on the road. It has become a “must have” piece of kit!

Chocolate Fountain Mini Stack

Over the years, many bands have requested special Orange merch items they can sell at shows. Our response made sense in theory. We created a special Orange chocolate fountain mini stack so bands could sell chocolate-covered treats. What could go wrong? Turns out the bands were not good at cleaning the fountain after each use. That led to a number of salmonella claims. In addition, when sales were good, bands were forced to order up to 50 pounds of chocolate PER SHOW to satisfy the demand. We quickly discontinued the chocolate fountain mini stack and replaced them with t-shirts.

Taser Guitar

We will admit that the Taser Guitar (AKA “Electric Electric Guitar”) was, quite simply, a bad idea. Security was all the rave in the early 2000’s and we so jumped on the band wagon with the Taser Guitar add-on. By connecting it to your guitar, anyone who tried to steal it would receive a 200-watt shock. Unfortunately, we had a 95% malfunction rate and anyone who even tried to PLAY the guitar, including the owner, would get shocked. The governments of many countries came down hard on us.

Twister Cable

While other companies focus on innovations around digital and wireless technology, you can always trust Orange to innovate in a different direction (not backwards, more like “sideways”). The Twister Cable is a prime example. Some guitarists are analog purists. They will never be caught using wireless systems on stage. The Twister Cable rotates 360 degrees, allowing guitarists to concentrate on their playing instead of how wrapped up they are in their cable. Have no fear of pulling the plug while rocking out!

Cassette Player Amp

It was the 80’s and drug culture was at its peak.

OMEC Teleport

This one is super innovative. The OMEC Teleport interface is a universal connection device (IOS, Android, Mac, PC) without any specific drivers or software requirements. It features high quality ADC/DAC converters – through a USB B connector – housed in a small effect pedal enclosure. The Teleport allows you to convert both analog audio signals (an instrument for example) to digital to be processed with the many applications available. Additionally, the Teleport gives you the ability to convert digital audio signals to analogue (through mixers, D.I. boxes, amplifiers, etc.).

Helicopter Amp

It was the 90’s and drug culture was at its peak.

Transformers

From day one, Orange’s Founder and CEO, Cliff Cooper, has been receiving bribes from the chiropractic industry in exchange for making amps that weigh so much they’re destined to cause back pain. Just kidding! The bulk of the weight in our amps comes from the transformers. Orange doesn’t fool around when it comes to transformers. We overwind and, in general, just overbuild them. They’re a proprietary blend of metal, power, and awesome. No other amp manufacturers engineer to the same spec and that’s what makes our transformers innovative.

The Orange Chimeramp

A chimera is usually a human that has been crossbred with another animal. However, in 1996 our amp designers teamed up with researchers from the Slovakian Institute of Animal Husbandry and created the first-ever “Chimeramp.” It was part amp, part barn owl. Although we had some initial success in hunting circles, by 1998 the Chimeramp was discontinued after an accident occurred while attempting to crossbreed an amp with Velociraptor DNA.

Photo via the ‘Hendrix live at Woodstock’ documentary.

First of all, let me start by saying that I’ve sat down to write this article three times now, the first two times getting too stoned (sorry Mum & Dad, I did it for the art!) to do anything but eat fistfuls of granola and play with my cat while listening to Santana’s Woodstock set on repeat. This time, my mind is clear – fuelled by coffee to the point of explosion, the western way. Now, let’s get to it.

If there’s one historical event in music I would have loved to be a part of it’s Woodstock, three days of peace, love and music – although the reality of it would probably be getting lost in a crowd of half a million people in a time before phones, while tripping balls on acid – which would be either fantastic or incredibly stressful – it’s a double-edged sword, rabbit-hole roulette.

Either way, there’s no denying the mark it made in music history, and even with all political views aside, that spectacular line up is worthy of headlines on it’s own: Hendrix, Creedence, Santana, Ten Years After, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Johnny Winter, Sly and the Family Stone, Ravi Shankar, Canned Heat, Grateful Dead, Mountain, Joe Cocker, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young – I mean are you fucking for real…? Last week marked the 50 year anniversary of the festival, which is why it’s been on mine, and oh-so many other people’s minds.

Being born about 40 years too late to attend and experience the festival in it’s messy and beautiful glory, I’ve done my best in the past couple of weeks to live out the Woodstock experience as well as I could fifty years down the line; I spent three days at Sonic Blast Festival in Portugal with a group of friends, dancing in the apocalyptic rain to Earthless at midnight, before partying at Jimi Hendrix’s London flat during the Woodstock weekend anniversary, drinking his favourite rosé which was handed out for free. Needless to say I felt like an absolute piece of shit the next day as we obviously managed to get our hands on more than the allocated bottle per person.

Anyway, I’m rambling, back to the festival.

Woodstock happened at a crucial moment in time; The Vietnam war was raging and brothers and sisters dying, Martin Luther King Jr had been tragically killed a year before and people were fighting for equality, whether it be due to gender, race or sexual orientation. Then all of a sudden, an angel of a farmer under the name of Max Yasgur kindly leased one of his farm fields to the festival promoters, which then attracted nearly half a million people who celebrating peace, love and music. The festival, did not go down well with the locals, fearing what these scruffy looking longhaired youngsters would get up to in their town. Luckily, Max Yasgur came to their defence:

“I hear you are considering changing the zoning law to prevent the festival. I hear you don’t like the look of the kids who are working at the site. I hear you don’t like their lifestyle. I hear you don’t like they are against the war and that they say so very loudly. . . I don’t particularly like the looks of some of those kids either. I don’t particularly like their lifestyle, especially the drugs and free love. And I don’t like what some of them are saying about our government. However, if I know my American history, tens of thousands of Americans in uniform gave their lives in war after war just so those kids would have the freedom to do exactly what they are doing. That’s what this country is all about and I am not going to let you throw them out of our town just because you don’t like their dress or their hair or the way they live or what they believe. This is America and they are going to have their festival.”
Max Yasgur to the Bethel town board.

If you take away the musicians actually performing and only focus on the logistics of it all, Woodstock wasn’t far from being the Fyre Festival of 1969; they had initially pre-sold 100 000 tickets to the festival, but as attendees started to show up, fences weren’t ready and the amount of people were so high that they were unable to stop the massive stream of hippies pouring into the area – hadn’t it been for traffic being so bad, they estimated numbers would have been higher. With nearly half a million attendees, they were also running severely low on everything; food, water, medical supplies, you name it. Still, despite the sporadic rain, lack of, well, everything, protests from the locals and just general chaos of it all, Woodstock was a peaceful celebration uniting hundreds of thousands of people through to their love of music and acceptance. Today, we might just need a Woodstock more than ever, the rainforest is on fire, and the world is ruled by mad men – we all definitely need to take the edge off a little bit.

As the summer rolls on and we get perilously close to the end of festival season, Orange Amps seems to be sending me to a varied and diverse lineup of festivals. This week was the Cambridge Folk Festival, which has been on the same site since 1965! Being from this part of the world, it is amazing in my 31 years of existence I have never set foot onto these fabled grounds. So I thought I would dive right in and see what the Folk Festival had to offer.

Nick Mulvey on the Second Stage

So many activities!

Whether it was the diverse lineup or the mixture of workshops and talks, you would find it very difficult to run out of things to do at the Cambridge Folk Festival. When I arrived on site on Friday the second stage was in the middle of a Yoga session and I had just missed the morning T’ai Chi session in the well-being area, I had forgotten my yoga mat anyway. And when you feel like some music the 4 music stages give you everything from bluegrass through to folk and country.

Site to see

The festival is set in Cherry Hinton Hall Park which is 15 mins away from the famous city centre. It was really strange to walk through the suburbs of Cambridge and then for the rows of tents to appear to announce the entrance to the festival. It felt like finding an undiscovered part of the city, with smaller stages dotted around the campsite, attendees have a wide array of choice. The well-being area is surrounded by a lake and duck pond to add to the positive vibes. The music stages are close enough to be within a short walk from each other but not too close to create noise issues.

Jack Broadbent on the second stage

Relaxed and friendly

Most festivals I end up at through work there are people tearing round the site trying to see every band on the bill and drink their weight in beer (just like to say there is nothing wrong with this, drink safely guys!) But it was nice to see people relaxing while the bands were playing and having a dance and generally having a lovely time. People were in early to set up their camping chairs and then spent the rest of the day enjoying the acts. This doesn’t mean to say no one was moving, far from it, the ceilidh dancing was in full flow throughout the festival, don’t worry I didn’t have a dance.

The Bands

Lucinda Williams on the main stage

Having never been to this festival I was overwhelmed by the talent of the performers and how diverse the acts were. One moment you could see blues slide player Jack Broadbent shredding and then the next, Jose Gonzalez multi-layered nylon string guitar playing. There were so many highlights, Graham Nash’s set on Friday, Lucinda Williams show on Saturday and Imarhan’s desert blues on the Sunday. I could name another 10-20 acts, it really was that good!