Kris Orlowski is a singer-songwriter from Seattle who recently graced us on the East Coast at the Outer Banks for Pat McGee’s Down the Hatch. I wasn’t familiar with Kris before this event, but one day I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time and heard Kris perform. I left a huge fan of his music. After the show, I chatted with him briefly and became a huge fan of him. He’s a genuinely great guy. I intend to feature him in a future article to share more of his music.
For now, take a listen to this:
I wanted to find out more about what makes this guy tick, so I asked him if he’d answer a few questions and he graciously accepted. Thank you, Kris! Here’s how it went down…
BWG: You currently live and work in Seattle, a city with a historically progressive music and cultural atmosphere. I’m curious about your relationship with this community. What draws you to Seattle and keeps you there?
Kris: I was talking with my best friend who actually just moved back to Washington from LA and we were joking about how Seattle is seen as this mysterious northern city with its fog, rain and consistent greenery. What makes it more mysterious is the consistently good music coming out of here. I love this city because there is a community of people here that support good, independent music and eco-system like this is hard to come by. It’s also close to my family so that provides a big draw for me.
BWG: You have said that you’ve been working as a musician for around 7 years. Is that right? How did you come to pursue music professionally?
Kris: Yes, 7 years. I’ve always been surrounded by music and one day after being away from a guitar for a number of years, in a foreign city, I found a guitar. Without any of the pressure of home and feeling very vulnerable in a distant land, music became a channel for expression and creativity that made me feel complete. It was a bit of an aha moment. It was very real and empowering to have music in my life again and while that feeling ebbs and flows, it’s stuck with me.
BWG: I’ve struggled to put your music into words. Like a kaleidoscope, I can hear many familiar elements throughout but it falls together as something completely unique and original. How do you like to describe your music?
Kris: I think from a mainstream view, I would classify the evolving sound as Mumford and Sons meets the National.
BWG: I found an article where you were compared with one of my favorite artists, Elliott Smith. Stylistically, I think you are very different, but you do both achieve an uncanny balance between light and dark. However, your music is almost the inverse of his. While your lyrics seem to offer hope, rather than sorrow, your melodies often veer into brooding and haunting. Are you conscioiusly creating this emotional conflict for your listener? What do you hope the audience experiences with your music?
Kris: I like that there is an inverse there. I think some of my lyrics are cheery, but not always. I think it’s a mix. I think the conflict keeps the songs interesting and also gets people to think a bit more.
BWG: Where do you continue to draw inspiration?
Kris: I draw my inspiration in moments and the dramas of my life. Sometimes things just pop into my head, sometimes it’s a saga that has lasted months or years.
BWG: I first saw you as an acoustic solo artist performing barefoot on the beach, but back home you have a full band, and presumably shoes.
Kris: I wear shoes for 95 out of 98 shoes, though I have some hippy tendencies, so shoes do come off at times.
BWG: How did you and your band mates find each other?
Kris: I found my bandmates through friends and other musicians mainly. Craigslist was my go to for the first few years.
BWG: What can we expect from you next?
Kris: The band is working a five song EP with some added instrumentation that has a very big, moody sound. I’m excited about the songs and collaborating with a composer on this record is going to bring new life and direction to the songs.
These are questions that we ask in all of our interviews:
BWG: 1. Pimp a musician. Tell us about a fellow up and coming artist you’d like everyone to get to know.
Kris: Allen Stone and Noah Gundersen, two artists with different sounds, but very real music. These guys are both blowing up. Allen has already blown up and there are rumblings all over about Noah. Good things to come from both of these gentlemen.
BWG: 2. In a word, what is the meaning of life?
BWG: 3. If someone made a bumper sticker about you, what would you want it to say*?
Kris: Real and Interesting
BWG: 4. If I wanted to buy you a drink at a show, what should I order?
Kris: Tequila if I’m looking to party, Whiskey 9 times out of 10.
BWG: 5. The 5th question in which you think up a question to ask yourself.
Kris: What’s your favorite song? Cripes, this question is very challenging. I would say “From the Woods by James Vincent McMorow” or quite a few songs by Simon & Garfunkel.
Thank you again, Kris. It was great finding out more about you and we are definitely looking forward to future music and hope to see you again very soon!
Oh! And here’s your bumper sticker, Kris!
If you want to find out more about Kris, his official website is krisorlowski.com. He has a facebook at: krisorlowskiband and his twitter handle is @krisorlowskiband. I know he’d love to hear from you. Also check out stageit.com where Kris has already performed one very successful show. Here’s hoping for more.
*Thanks to our friend Laurel for this question.