Interview with Nigel Rojas from Orange Sky

Port of Spain, Trinidad may not be the first city music fans think of when the discussion of ‘hot rockspots’ comes up, but that is exactly where the up-and-coming group, Orange Sky, call home. Comprised of singer/lead guitarist Nigel Rojas, rhythm guitarist Joel Beazer, bassist Nicholas Rojas, keyboardist Richard Hall, and drummer Obasi Springer, the group recently issued their sophomore album, ‘Dat Iz Voodoo,’ which runs the gamut from metal (the album opening “Yesterdays and Tomorrows”) to reggae (“Is There Anybody There?”) to funk (“Dark Room”). Nigel recently talked about Orange Sky and the joys of the six-string with Guitarsite.

Orange Sky

How and when did you start playing guitar?



I started to play at 12 years old when my aunt, a nun, taught me to play four open chords (D, G, A, and C), so that I could play for masses in our local church. Then I immediately showed Nicholas (Orange Sky's Bass) what I knew, he was 6 years old. I had a few friends locally that were amazing players – Joey NgWai, Steve Berreton. They were inspirational and showed me some stuff.

Who were your early influences?

My early influences were Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Randy Rhoads, Angus Young, Yngwie Malmsteen, Eddie Van Halen, Warren DiMartini, Matthias Jabs, Dave Murray, and a few more.

Some information about your ‘Dat Iz Voodoo.’

Our new release, ‘Dat Iz Voodoo,’ came together at home in Trinidad. We just got off on a 44-city tour opening for Yngwie Malmsteen, and I had written all the material for the album. So we jammed the songs for a few days and went into the studio and recorded independently what became ‘Dat Iz Voodoo.’ Jeff Glixman – a noted Rock producer who has worked with the some of the best Guitarists in Rock history, such as Tony Iommi, Malmsteen, Richard from Kansas and others, and is part owner of Star City Recording – heard the album, knew about us, and offered us a recording contract to release the album across the US. We did cartwheels all round our island! My favorite song…I love them all, but I have a weakness for “Roses” – track 6 on the CD.

‘Dat Iz Voodoo’ is like when Forrest Gump says “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.” By this I mean it is very diverse – it has its metal moments, a hard rock edge with some punk trimmings, some soft but definitely not tender ballads…all in a rootsy package that is undeniably “Orange Sky.” It is a semi-progressive effort with pop hooks and a thought-provoking vibe, that indulges a rainbow of emotions, leaving most listeners with a curiosity to see the band perform live, which of course, is our “proof in the pudding.” See Orange Sky on myspace.com.

Please describe your guitar set-up.

I am happy to say that I hold an endorsement with Dean Guitars USA, so I play Dean exclusively. The model that I play is the “Dimebag ML USA” and will be taking a Dean Cadillac USA on the road with me as well later this year. I use Mesa Amps, and on the road I use a Mesa Roadster (Triple Rectifier). The natural Analog distortion is exactly what I need for screaming leads and tubey rolling gainy rhythm. The cleans are deep, blue and bright – perfect for what I need. I use a wah (Dunlop cry baby) as well. I use DR electric strings – 11s (so I could bend the hell out of them, I like the challenge of the tension and the sustain of the heavy gauge).

Do you follow a practice routine?

I just jam every day. It is not a deliberate attempt to “practice” but more as a way of relaxing day or night. I always keep a guitar close – acoustic or electric – and am never too busy or tired to play. It is a big part of my life, for me; there is no other escape.

What do you think of modern day rock guitar, and who are some of your favorite guitarists?

In modern day rock? By that I assume you mean the bad asses of the last decade? Then apart from Dimebag and Zakk Wylde, there is Rusty Cooley, Doc Coyle (God Forbid), Corey and Matt (Trivium) and Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage). There are a few more I may have forgotten.

What advice would you give to other guitarists (to both newcomer and already established players)?

I am in no position to give advice to anyone as I am still learning and am very frustrated with myself everyday. But I would say to new players don’t stop jamming as much as you can. Your guitar is your best friend and would comfort you when your world is falling apart. Learn as much as you can – the blues is a gift from the masters that you could appreciate very early in your playing years, so check it out. And also, play with feeling – put all your emotions and feel into your bending and your vibrato, as these elements (to me) often show the difference between a guy playing with a guitar and a “guitar player.”

Please describe Orange Sky's live show to someone who has never seen the band perform.

Our live show is our main thing…that is when we could really connect with the people. It is like sex to us…it is the deepest connection – the most primal exchange between us and them. We in Orange Sky are all very spirited and emotional as individuals, so as a team when we get together to play there is nothing that we love to do more, and I know it shows. We don’t really want the $10 in your pocket, we want your SOUL! In short? We bust ass every time!!! Come check us out the first chance you get, you won’t be disappointed.

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