Orgone brings big sound—and group—to Whistler 

L.A. funk band performs in Whistler Olympic Plaza on Aug. 2

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROSIE COHEN/SUBMITTED - funk it up Orgone hits Whistler Olympic Plaza on Aug. 2.
  • PHOTO by rosie cohen/submitted
  • funk it up Orgone hits Whistler Olympic Plaza on Aug. 2.

Some people might fantasize about ditching their 9-to-5 job to become a touring musician—but it turns out, the seemingly glamorous gig is a lot more work than you might expect.

Take the L.A.-based funk and soul band Orgone, for instance.

In recent years the eight-piece group has played an upwards of 200 shows a year. "We hit the ground running and haven't stopped working hard for it," says founding member and guitarist Sergio Rios. "That's part of the game—getting out there and working to make new fans and keeping your fans satisfied."

On top of a busy tour schedule, that also means releasing records on a consistent basis. While Orgone put out its latest full-length record—a covers album called Undercover Mixtape—earlier this year in February, followed by a seven-inch release, Rios can't wait to finish up work on a forthcoming album.

"We produce our own records," he says. "Our headquarters is our recording facility. We're always in the studio; I'm a studio rat when I'm not on the road. It's a non-stop project of just always working on something and doing something new. I would like to put out another couple albums. There's a lot in the pipeline for release."

Perhaps it shouldn't be surprising for a group that's amassed a discography of nine releases since its founding in 1999. Rios and keyboardist Dan Hastie first started the group after bonding over their passion for funk acts like Booker T & The MGs and The Meters.

Since then, the band's numbers have ballooned to a consistent group of eight musicians—with some coming and going over the years. "We're lucky to be able to keep going eight strong," Rios says. "That's a big crew to roll with—there's a lot of family dynamics and patience. When we started touring, that was pretty much the size of the band for the sake of having a horn section and a rhythm section—keys, bass, guitar—with elements we wanted to have on stage to perform the arrangements we wanted to bring."

The result is a energetic, memorable live show designed to get the crowd dancing—although, adds Rios, it's all right if you just take in the music. "The music can still get heady and entertaining, even if you just stand there and close your eyes and listen. Visually and aurally, there's something there for everybody," he says.

That said, the musicians feed off the energy of the crowd, he adds. "We arrange to have a couple arcs of energy; there's sort of a big bang to start and suck you in. Then 20 minutes in is an energy arc slowly ramping up. People first start moving a little bit and then by that first quarter point, lose their shit. And that's definitely what's happening on stage as well."

Whistlerites will have a chance to experience that for themselves when the band plays Whistler Olympic Plaza as part of Wanderlust and the Whistler Presents Summer Concert Series on Thursday, Aug. 2.

"There will be a little bit of everything," Rios says. "There's a new record so we're excited to be playing a bunch of new stuff ... We're always throwing in some choice covers—rare soul and funk stuff we really love. With the cover album, this is what really sort of lights our fire and (we're sharing) it with people who might not be familiar with the source material."

All eight members will make the trek up to Whistler—including singer Adryon de León. "We've got a great show. Adryon, our singer, is a powerhouse," Rios says. "We're excited and ready to bring it."

Catch Orgone at Whistler Olympic Plaza on Aug. 2 at 7 p.m.

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