Terrible Orange Things – Interview

Terrible Orange Things – Interview

Interview with Donovan O’Rourke (on behalf of Terrible Orange Things) and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

PD: What type of artist are you?
TOT: I think to some degree every “artist” thinks of themselves as objectively “good” in one way or another, otherwise why pursue it? On the flipside,I also think that every person who creates things is also in a constant flip-flopping state of hating what they made and thinking it’s absolute junk and they are a complete joke. Or at least that’s just been my experience… haha.

Someone I respect a great deal once told me that when I write songs that I’m completely true to myself, and I think that was probably my favorite compliment I have ever received. So if I could describe our art in any way it would be that if nothing else, we are true to ourselves.


PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
TOT: The brief version – James and Donovan grew up together playing in garage bands through their teens and early 20’s, desperately trying to catch a break. Unfortunately (predictably) that did not pan out. James went on to focus on working in the production side of music as a live sound engineer and Donovan joined the (less exciting than original music, but infinitely more profitable) cover band industry- working in casinos & nightclubs full time as a singer and guitarist. This is where Donvoan first met Simon when auditioning for a band. Though the two never ended up working in the same band together,  the industry is quite small and they frequently worked in the same towns or clubs in the summer months. Fast forward 5 years or so, and Simon and Donovan both decided to move away from the cover scene to pursue other professional interests. Donovan text Simon and James one day and said, “Hey want to start an Internet band?” and Terrible Orange Things was born.


PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
TOT: Growing up my biggest musical influences were an unholy blend of Goo Goo Dolls and Blink-182, with a little bit of Switchfoot and the soundtracks to Tony Hawk Pro Skater 2 thrown in there for good measure. The (first) Blink-182 breakup of the early 2000’s was initially a huge bummer for me, but then Angels and Airwaves happened and I was pretty obsessed with their first two albums for a longgg time. Eventually I did discover other bands like 30 Seconds to Mars, Third Eye Blind (NOT JUST THE FIRST ALBUM!) Tokyo Police Club, Bloc Party, Longwave, Conditions, and The Dangerous Summer that have had a big impact on the music I’m making now, but I think it’s important to remember your roots.

Non-Musically – I really love bad movies. Double Dragon. The Super Mario Bros Movie, that Street Fighter movie with Jean-Claude Van Damme, Tank Girl, Water World, Equilibrium, most Nic Cage movies, that CGI World of Warcraft movie that came out a few years back?  sign me up. Also love most any sci-fi  book, especially if it involves some kind of dystopian or post apocalypse world – Don DeLillo, Aldous Huxley, William Gibson, Ray Bradburry, Kurt Vonnegut – I’m all about it.    


PD: What are your dreams and goals?

TOT: From the ages of 25-29 I was able to make a living playing other people’s music. It was a fun time in my life, but ultimately unfulfilling. I think the ultimate dream would be the chance to make a living again playing music, but this time have it be my own. As a band, right now our goal is to finishing release our first EP this spring and begin playing as many live shows as our schedule allows while working on a full length for a 2021 release.


PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?

TOT: So far, Donovan has been the primary author behind all of our songs, which then get more fleshed out/expounded upon by Simon, James and at times our friends at King Studios in Allentown, PA where we have recorded all our material thus far. The songs on our upcoming debut EP, “Lovely Sounds for Lonely Times” all have their own individual meanings, but to me (Donovan), this record has been my way of processing growth and change. When I started writing music for Terrible Orange Things my life was in complete flux. I was walking away from a successful professional band and full time music career to get an office job so I could support myself while working on original music, I was engaged to be married, my 20’s were coming to a close, and I was moving to a new town where I basically knew no one other than my soon-to-be wife and her family. Some people might think that writing a song about “growing-up” is reserved for teenage garage bands, but at least in my experience I don’t think it’s a feeling that ever really goes away, it just changes shape. To me, these songs are about that awkward process of moving from “young-adult” to just plain old “adult” and all the emotions, expectations, and implications that goes along with it.


PD: How do you promote your band and shows?

TOT: Currently, our primary method of promoting our band has been through the creation and distribution of music videos through social media. When we sat down to start creating videos we knew right away that the standard “band – performing – cool lighting – maybe a girl somewhere” formula was not going to fit our vibe at all.  So obviously we had to make our first video “Alien” into a cheesy monster movie, and the sequel “Stutter” an even more over-top sci fi adventure centered around a karate-master robot. Currently we are hard at work completing the first Terrible Orange Saga with our video for “Brighter” which will be released simultaneously with our debut EP this spring.


PD: What do you think about downloading music online?

TOT: As an artist with content currently out in the world I certainly wish it paid a little better, but at the end of the day I can’t say I really have a problem with it. Though I do miss the days of meticulously crafting my music library (be it with CD’s or in iTunes) ultimately I think the amount of music and the ease at which we can access it and discover new things is frankly amazing. I still think it is incredibly important to try and support your local or smaller artists when you can though. I am proud to say I still have about 5 cd’s in my car to this day and all of them are from local eastern Pennsylvania bands or artists.


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

TOT: “I Need You” by M83. Yes. The song from the “Divergent” soundtrack. I think it’s just about one of the most beautiful sounding and soothing songs ever written. It is my go to if I’m ever in a stressful situation and need to calm down. Top to bottom just a fantastic work in my opinion.


PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
TOT: People’s knees. People that don’t laugh at old SpongeBob references. Also I’m a hopeless neat-freak and I literally can’t function if I feel like things are out of place or cluttered, so that’s fun.


PD: What is your proudest moment in music?

TOT: Thus far, I think it was the day that we released our first single/video, “Alien”. I was incredibly nervous to put out original music after so many years of being away from writing, but the amount of support we received from our friends and former colleagues in the cover band world was incredibly humbling and encouraging. When you play pop music 4 nights a week in bars and casinos for a few years  it has a tendency to build up a certain level of cynicism, so to receive that kind of love and support for our first endeavor was just about the best feeling in the world.


PD: So what are you working on at the moment?

TOT: Right now we are primarily focused on completing our debut EP, “Lovely Sounds for Lonely Times”, our 3rd music video, and rehearsals for our upcoming live shows.


PD: Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.

TOT: Our next show is Saturday, April 4th in Atlantic City, New Jersey at the 2020 Atlantic City Beer and Music Festival. We will be opening for Goldfinger and The Suicide Machines. You should be there because we will be releasing our debut EP, it will be our first official show, and oh yeah FREAKING GOLDFINGER AND THE SUICIDE MACHINES ARE PLAYING AND THERE IS (lots of) BEER. But seriously, it’s going to be a great time and we are incredibly excited to be a part of the festival.
Link- Sounds- The 2020

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Band/Artist location – Doylestown Pennsylvania
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