Pearlpalooza kicks off Saturday, and with it comes Superorganism.
The band, formed about a year ago, has a DIY pop sound that’s put it on the “must-listen” lists of music industry professionals around the world.
Superorganism is part band, part collective and what lead singer Orono Noguchi describes as, “Getting all your talented friends together and working on something cool.”
The eight multinational (New Zealand, Australia, South Korea, United Kingdom and Japan) band members came together through a smattering of connections, most made on the internet.
“We all met in different circumstances over a 10-year period. I found some of the other members’ band [The Eversons] when I was like 14 or 15 on YouTube. They were doing a tour in Japan, so I went to one of their shows during my summer break and we became friends, and we stayed in touch ever since,” Noguchi said in an interview with The Gazette.
Then a little over a year ago, a few members of The Eversons asked if Noguchi might be interested in collaborating on a project. Noguchi, who is from Japan, was working through her senior year at a high school in Maine at the time.
Their first collaboration, “Something for Your M.I.N.D.” went viral, and within months they had a record deal. The only glitch was that Noguchi was living in the U.S. while everyone else was living in London, but that was fine when they were sending files back and forth and working songs through until they sounded right.
“I wouldn’t have moved to the U.K. if it weren’t for the band. It’s a pretty good spot because we’re always on the road, so it’s a good midpoint between the U.S. and Europe, so it’s pretty cool,” Noguchi said.
She moved into the band’s house in London during the summer of 2017. Their first record, “Superorganism,” came out this year and they’ve been touring the world for the majority of 2018, with more dates slated through November.
But Noguchi’s heart is still in the states -- even if the band’s tour bus isn’t.
“I’ve always loved America. That’s why I moved. America has always been my happy place growing up because I like hated Japan and (almost) everyone at school. I would come back home and watch 'School of Rock' and listen to Weezer, and be like ‘Yeah, that’s where I’m going,’” Noguchi said.
It’s also where she got back into art. While she had taken art classes in Japan, she always felt a disconnect from what her teachers were telling her to do.
“Then when I moved to the United States, my art teacher was the best art teacher ever. She really helped me reignite my passion for art. But she didn’t do it in an annoying way. She would just teach me cool tricks and I would just take it in. She wouldn’t really tell me what to do with it,” Noguchi said.
She’s using those tricks to design the album artwork for the band.
While much has changed for Noguchi and for band itself, their internet-based songwriting process has not.
“To be honest, it hasn’t really changed because we used to work online and we still do, because it’s what we know and what we feel comfortable doing. We’re always on the road and don’t really have time to sit down and work on stuff together, so we just send files to get each other still,” Noguchi said.
Their process is paying off. “Something for Your M.I.N.D.” is irresistibly catchy (it’s guaranteed to get stuck in one’s head after a listen or two), but it doesn’t fall into the formula that pop music typically relies on: a strong hook and a loud chorus. Their sound is chaotic in the way that The Avalanches’ sound is, mixing the sounds of a cash register with that of a champagne cork popping. Noguchi’s steady voice draws everything together.
During live performances they’ve been known to bring the usual guitars, amps and mics, along with an anvil, some apples and a mostly empty cup of soda. All are used in the performance.
Though the band’s online popularity is clear -- as well as its popularity with the likes of Rolling Stone, NPR and Pitchfork -- it wasn’t until it performed at Primavera Sound in Barcelona that the band understood just how popular it is in the physical realm.
“There were like 10,000 people in the crowd at Primavera Sound in Barcelona. We weren’t really expecting that because we saw a band right before us and they didn’t really have a big crowd,” Noguchi said. “We were just shocked the whole time. We still played well. I just kept saying 'Whoa, what the f**k?' the whole time.”
In an industry where artists sometimes have to work and rework until something clicks, Superorganism found a sound that sticks right from the get-go.
“People connect to it because we don’t know why it’s good. I mean, I know why it’s good. It’s catchy, blah, blah, blah. But we never sit down in a room together and say ‘This is going to be a hit. People are going to love this because of this, this and this. These are the secret ingredients to hit songs.’ We don’t know how to do that and we won’t do that because it’s f***ing weird. I think that’s the magic of it, I guess,” Noguchi said.
Though she’s working full time as a musician, Noguchi still hopes to go to college. She vehemently opposes going to art school -- “I would never want to go to art school because I hate it when people tell me what to do creatively” -- she wants to study English or major in American studies.
But for now, there are shows to be played throughout the rest of the year and a new album in the works.
Here’s a glimpse at the schedule:
11 a.m. to 12 p.m. -- #Yogapalooza. Preregister at thehotyogaspot.com
12 to 1 p.m. -- Cornhole tournament. Register at nycornhole.com
1 to 2 p.m. – El Modernist
2 to 3 p.m. – Good Fiction
3 to 4 p.m. – Kitten
4 to 5 p.m. – The Greeting Committee
5 to 6 p.m. – Caroline Rose
6 to 7 p.m. – Superorganism
WHEN: Starting at 11 a.m. Sat.
WHERE: 79-39 N. Pearl St., Albany
MORE INFO: weqx.com