The Aviation Orange
THE AVIATION ORANGE
Michael Nesci - Guitar, Vocals
Cherie Hannouche - Keys, Vocals
Alex Beninato - Guitar, Backing Vocals
Kate Rogers - Bass, Backing Vocals
Josh Harris - Drums
Over the last couple years THE AVIATION ORANGE have been perfecting their unique mix of guitar and synth rock. Adept song writing, sonic experimentation and dueling male and female vocals combine to make this band stand out. Only together a few years, THE AVIATION ORANGE has managed to garner positive accolades nationally.
THE AVIATION ORANGE blossomed from the childhood friendship of Michael Nesci and Alex Beninato. "I didn't really pick up an instrument until high school,” Nesci says reflecting back. “When my friends were looking for a bass player for their punk band, I went out and bought a bass so I wouldn't feel left out. I quickly realized that playing was really all I wanted to do.” Nesci decided that music was his passion and studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.
Upon graduation, Nesci moved to Brooklyn where he reconnected with Beninato and along with two other childhood friends came together as THE AVIATION ORANGE. Over time, the players and sound changed. In 2007 the group linked up with drummer Josh Harris and began evolving their sound, more closely to the bands they were influenced by, such as the New Order, The Smiths, The Psychedelic Furs and The Cure. They added a vintage Roland synth to their collection and sought after the perfect player. In 2009, Hana Mogulescu joined the group and added female vocals to the mix.
In July 2009 THE AVIATION ORANGE released their eponymous debut LP, featuring the first single “Radio.” The corresponding video--directed by Kacie Barton--premiered on MTV U's The Freshman and following its broadcast, "Radio" climbed the charts on MTVMusic.com peaking at #8 and leading to a spot on the website's Top 100 All-Time Videos.
"’Radio’ was a song that the band thought encapsulated the sound we were going for,” explains Nesci. “When our friend Kacie approached the band with a concept for a music video, it became obvious that that would be the song to lead with."
The debut brought further attention from various publications including: a “NYC Artist on the Rise” feature on The Deli NYC blog noting, “The Aviation Orange play alternative electro rock with a strong emotional element...The band brings danceable energy that...translate[s] into a fun live performance” (2/15/10) and this led to winning Deli Magazine's Artist of the Month for May 2010; being chosen for a spot in the June 2010 music sampler for Under the Radar Magazine; and becoming Filter Magazine's "Undiscovered Band of the Month" for July 2010, which praised THE AVIATION ORANGE for bringing “their own unique tone to the genre.”
Elsewhere, LP33.tv wrote that the band is “…very unique and oracularly pleasing…the combination of electric guitars and synthesizers give you an epic sound, akin to what you’d hear from bands like The Killers and MGMT – this is offset by a combination of male and female vocals that add an alluring and dreamy quality to the overall sound…While The Aviation Orange will surely draw in the masses with its infectious indie sound, what really impresses me about this band is their lyrics and song composition are very well thought out and portray a real sense of artistry.” (3/15/10)
They quickly began expanding their reach and touring the country, including performances at Cincinnati's Midpoint Music Festival, New York's own CMJ Music Marathon, and several showcases at the 2010 SXSW in Austin. THE AVIATION ORANGE also earned a spot on the main stage at the 2010 Kahbang! Music festival in Maine alongside OK GO and B.O.B.
Brian Baker of Cincinnati City Beat caught the band live and wrote "...The band hit the stage and got right to work. The Aviation Orange's sound hovers in the triangulation of Franz Ferdinand, Modest Mouse and Echo & the Bunnymen, with Berlin connecting the dots. The band built steadily from mid-tempo to pulsating crescendo pretty quickly and their engaging Indie Rock/Synth Pop found a lot of fans..." (9/2610)
Following the success of the first album, Mogulescu decided to leave the group on good terms, citing creative differences and the desire to purse a different career. Through an auditioning process, the band met Kate Rogers, a Pittsburgh native new to New York City. Originally brought into the band to fill the vocal/keys void, the group quickly learned that Rogers was a proficient bass player and she soon moved over to that role. Cherie Hannouche joined and it was clear that this group of five worked musically and personally and the current line up was set.
In 2011 the band is looking to build on their past success. THE AVIATION ORANGE finished up recording their follow-up EP EAST OF HERE (August 2011). Recorded at James Iha’s Manhattan studio Stratosphere Sound--where Nesci has established himself as an audio engineer on projects with The xx, Florence and the Machine and Iha--bandmates Nesci and Beninato took helm of engineering and producing duties, bringing the band a renewed sense of focus and a matured sound.
Musically THE AVIATION ORANGE wanted to challenge themselves to look for more interesting sounds with the new EP. "I like nothing more than really well-crafted pop song, but when you can make something that's catchy but also off-kilter that's a real accomplishment,” Nesci explains. “I think we were hoping to make a little of that happen with this EP."
Each member of the quintet contributed to the song writing process. Some tracks began from a guitar riff, or a drum machine pattern, or just a chord progression, but before completion each member left some kind of mark on the track. All songs were tested live, followed by six months of recording--and sometimes throwing away--several ideas until the six tracks that make up East Of Here were finished.
Highlights include the opening track “Trammels”--a term referring to the blinders used in horse training. The song moves from opening atmospherics to bouncey verse and back again. The infectious chorus finds Hannouche singing, “In a moment I will break/Before these knots will fray/But you know I won’t say no.” Another noteworthy track is the ethereal dancer “Ingenious Us,” of which Nesci says “We kept things ambiguous, but we wanted to instill a feeling of adolescent apathy. When you're a kid you’re free from restraint, you believe you can do anything, you don't really care about the outside world - that's where the title came from and the idea to use children's voices on the refrain in the outro."
With the six stellar songs on East Of Here, THE AVIATION ORANGE continue to push into exciting new territory.