By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Self-classified as “math rock for people who don’t like math rock,” Chicago-based outfit Origami Button recently dropped their single “Nervous,” the first taste of their self-recorded/produced sophomore release set to drop in early 2021.
With a combined eclectic range of influences from Incubus and Dance Gavin Dance to Minus The Bear, the group has independently reached 900,000 Spotify plays since their self-released 2019 debut EP ‘Button Season.’
Origami Button are frontman Carter Jones, drummer Matt Kerner, bassist Taylor Ford and guitarists Rene Gutierrez and Brandon Amaloo, who all met while they studied at Columbia College Chicago.
The Music Bugle had the chance to talk with the band about “Nervous” and more.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Chicago to someone who has never been there before?
Matt Kerner – Very nice! Come by some time, when there’s not a pandemic.
Rene Gutierrez – Food’s great. What Matt said – lots of fun when there’s not a pandemic.
Brandon Amaloo – Folks get really heated about the deep dish pizza and ketchup on hot dogs, but it’s really not that big of a deal. Eat what you like.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about alt-rock?
Matt Kerner – We’ll unanimously agree – Deftones.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?
Matt Kerner – Being the young millennials that we are, it’s an obscure reference to one of the most important and inspirational cartoons of our childhood, “Spongebob Squarepants.”
Music Bugle – What inspired your single “Nervous”?
Carter Jones – Lyrically, “Nervous” was inspired by a particularly vivid string of encounters I had while at a music festival with this utterly breathtaking and phenomenal woman, who is now my partner. I tried to convey that feeling of hesitation and nervousness, or the “butterflies” feeling of those encounters through the song. Simultaneously, I tried to capture the feeling of the sheer elation of being able to share in the present moment, totally letting go, with someone that you feel innately connected to, despite maybe not really knowing anything about them at the moment.
Music Bugle – What do you attribute your streaming success to?
Rene Gutierrez – Finding our little niche. Supportive fan base – and lots of luck.
Music Bugle – How would you describe your newer music to that of your EP ‘Button Season’?
Taylor Ford – ‘Button Season,’ but more progressive, faster and with more edge.
Carter Jones – Definitely can be a bit more aggressive at times, though still capturing the essence of what was going on with ‘Button Season,’ but multiplied… a bit expanded and accentuated, pushing each edge a little further in all directions.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Brandon Amaloo – 100 gecs.
Matt Kerner – House music, anything Four On The Floor really. Also, our peers and friends, like Lobby Boxer, Narco Debut and Snooze, to name a few.
Taylor Ford – Vaporwave.
Carter Jones – A lot of drum and bass and inventive electronic things in general. Also, a lot of late ’00s/early ’10s rock and metal, to give some nostalgic energy to my younger self.
Rene Gutierrez – I’ll just give you my Spotify 2020 Wrapped – Dance Gavin Dance, Tame Impala, Danny Brown, Circa Survive and The Story So Far.
Music Bugle – What was your most memorable moment while at a show?
Carter Jones – It’s always hard to nail down favorites of any sort, but the times that we’ve played shows and I could walk away from the mic and still hear my lyrics being sung even louder by an energetic and appreciative crowd. That’s really something I don’t think I’ll ever get over.
Rene Gutierrez – Watching and hearing people sing back the lyrics to our songs at our first EP release show was a really cool feeling.
Brandon Amaloo – I gave away Chicken McNuggets to the crowd once.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Taylor Ford – I’ve had several friends and family members get COVID. A family friend died within a day of having symptoms. I thankfully thrive in isolation and have been able to get by financially.
Carter Jones – My whole livelihood has been tossed to the wayside. I’m a live sound engineer, so all of my work has dried up and whether it be work or pleasure, attending shows is what keeps me sane, so it’s been a struggle in many regards. As far as band-related things, we’ve had numerous setbacks because of the health climate around us, so it has definitely taken a toll on us as well.
Rene Gutierrez – My entire family was basically out of work. It’s been tough financially. Fortunately, some of us have jobs again. I obviously miss seeing friends, going out, going to shows and playing shows, going to movie theaters, all that stuff.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Matt Kerner – I like to think good music will be heard regardless of how often the artist posts on their Instagram story or whatever, but I do think some level of self-promotion is required to be successful. Social media is soul-sucking and if it were up to me, we wouldn’t have to do it, but we play the hand that we’re dealt.
Taylor Ford – Great for promotion, bad for mental health.
Brandon Amaloo – I wouldn’t be half the man I am today without memes.