Code Orange’s Reba Meyers Opens Up About New Song + What It Was Like Working With Billy Corgan – ‘He Understood Us and Cared’
When Code Orange released "Mirror," a song that many fans will consider one of the biggest departures of their career, co-vocalist, guitarist and founding member Reba Meyers admitted it's much more a return to a style she's long been comfortable with.
"It's like coming full circle for the way that I write," Meyers admitted to Chuck Armstrong on Friday night's Loudwire Nights (Sept. 8). "It feels more like a better version of the kind of writing style that I had when I was a lot younger. It somehow came around in this band, which is not what I was expecting."
As Meyers explained, she wrote "Mirror" on her own and didn't really expect it to fit in with what Code Orange were working on. She didn't even think anyone in the band would connect with it.
"I was planning on holding onto it, just putting it in a folder and letting it sit, but then me and Jami [Morgan] were talking and he was encouraging me to bring stuff that I wouldn't think would fit because we were trying to kind of expand what the idea for this next album would be. We weren't really sure how it was going to turn out."
Code Orange's next album, The Above, is set for release on Sept. 29, and based on the first two tracks released from it—"Take Shape" and now "Mirror"—it is clear that they are succeeding at expanding their sound.
When Meyers sent Morgan "Mirror," he wasn't immediately sure it would fit on The Above, but they committed to working on it. Even though it was already pretty much completed, Morgan and Eric [Balderose] added a trip-hop beat to it, which Meyers said "elevated it a lot."
As for "Mirror" ending up on The Above, Meyers explained it was a pretty simple, but significant, process.
"It was important to us to try to pick what we felt were the strongest songs and go with that as opposed to trying to mold our music into some sort of lane. I think that's always how it's best to do it, just pick the best songs wherever they're coming from. Our band is defined by who we are and what we create naturally. It doesn't need to be heavy. It doesn't need to be rock. It doesn't matter."
What It Was Like Working With Billy Corgan and Steve Albini
Fans who have been paying attention to Code Orange this year may not have been as surprised by the direction of "Mirror" since the first single released from The Above, "Take Shape," was a bit of a surprise, too.
"The way Corgan thought about writing, there was a lot of detailed stuff that I wasn't necessarily thinking about in the way he was able to kind of break it down technically," Meyers said. "It was really interesting the way he heard our songs and the way he thought about melodies."
Whereas some special guests may show up to a band's recording session and contribute their feature and then leave, it sounded like Corgan took a deeper interest in Code Orange outside of his appearance on "Take Shape."
"We had been talking to him a lot and kind of just sending him some things and getting his opinions and whatnot," she recalled. "And for the most part, we were just doing our own thing and getting someone that we felt like we could trust to bounce it off of. He was extremely helpful with that and that kind of led to, I guess, a closeness. We felt like he understood us and cared, and that's where we were able to be a little more vulnerable."
In addition to working with Corgan, Code Orange also worked closely with another legend from a similar world, engineer Steve Albini. Meyers said Albini helped create the perfect relationship between them.
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"It was just the kind of reinforcement of stepping back a little bit," she said.
"The way that we recorded in the studio was much more to the true nature of what I feel our band is. We prepared the stuff and went in there and basically recorded the stuff live ... [Albini's] a non-opinionated engineer. He'll help you get things to sound the way you want them to sound, but he's not going to tell you if something is good or bad or right or wrong. He just wants you to be you."
What Else Did Code Orange's Reba Meyers Discuss on Loudwire Nights?
- What it was like sitting in front of Corgan and playing songs on her acoustic guitar
- Why she thinks Code Orange have been able to evolve over the years
- How a typical Code Orange song is written and how "Mirror" came together differently
Listen to the Full Interview in the Podcast Player Below
Reba Meyers joined Loudwire Nights on Friday, Sept. 8; the show replays online here, and you can tune in live every weeknight at 7PM ET or on the Loudwire app; you can also see if the show is available on your local radio station and listen to interviews on-demand. Stream "Mirror" at this location and then check out Code Orange's full tour schedule.