Alligator Orange: Making Music and Enjoying the Ride

Alligator Orange: Making Music and Enjoying the Ride

Alligator Orange joins us on our podcast to chat about his Stick Figures EP and making music while in Uni.
PHOTO CREDIT:

Talking to me on Zoom from his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the man behind Alligator Orange smiles sheepishly while telling the story behind his recent EP, Stick Figure Songs.

 

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“I would say a majority of it is how I was feeling,” George Wilkinson said. “Because I kind of just used that experience of, you know, entering your adulthood in a way, moving away from your parents and figuring out stuff on your own.”

The five track EP of serene, contemplative college rock is Alligator Orange’s first release. Wilkinson began working on it in mid-2020, when he was a senior in high school, and continued through the pandemic.

Now a sophomore student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, he’s making music all the time.

“I wasn’t really thinking of releasing it or anything,” he said. “I really started recording the songs in October 2020. The EP probably took a good nine or ten months.”

Alligator Orange’s songs are about a moment in life that we all go through. “Sleep Deprived” is a fast-paced ode to the value of a good night’s sleep in the middle of hectic classes and parties. “Winter,” the third track is a wistful guitar-riff filled song about love in hard times and features beautiful, harmonized vocals throughout.

The whole EP and project overall is infused with the easygoing spirit of its creator. Wilkinson got his stage name from a bright orange pair of sandals that he wears constantly.

“I just have this orange pair of crocs, it’s kind of my picture on everything,” he said laughing. “I’ve had them for a while and we’ve been through thick and thin together. I was like ‘you know what, that sounds good together. Crocodile orange, orange crocs, then alligator.”

You can tell Wilkinson is having fun and wants listeners to as well.

 

The songs on this project are reflections on the uncertainty and changes people go through in their early college days, the types of feelings we’ve maybe all been feeling over the past two years.

 

“Bags go dark around my eyes as the days go by” – Sleep Deprived

 

Dreamy guitars and doubled crooning vocals fill the EP’s short 17-minute span. 

“I listen to a lot of stuff,” Wilkinson said, discussing his influences. “I would say for the EP I was definitely inspired by the indie rock bands. The Strokes, Vampire Weekend for sure. I use some of the guitar tones and took inspiration from Mac DeMarco.”

Wilkinson takes his band name from a remarkable pair of shoes.

You can hear shades of these artists in his songs, but Stick Figure Songs is a piece of art of its own. It’s not surprising as George, a DIY artist, has complete creative control over every aspect of the EP. Every voice, every chord, every note you hear is created by him. A self-taught producer, he learned to polish his songs through the internet and a lot of trial and error.

“I usually just kind of start off with writing it on my guitar,” he said. “I started with guitar and lyrics first, I’m a firm believer that if it sounds good with just you and your guitar, then that’s what makes it.”

Some highlights include the EP’s finale, “Summer’s Gone'', a snappy ballad about the end of a young relationship, and “Imaginary Home,” which Wilkinson says is his favourite.

 

 “…I’ve been travelling somewhere far away, where nobody knows, where it is or what goes on, I’m the only one who sees…” – Imaginary Home

 

“I was so unsure about releasing it,” he said. “But I think that really best encapsulates what I was feeling at the time. I was playing with different sounds and really tried to push myself to be creative.”

“Imaginary Home” is Alligator Orange dealing with his mental world, how it affects his personality, and how he can share it with people.

Although he’s the master of the music, he doesn’t work completely alone. He and his friend recently collaborated on his first music video. He comes from a musical family, his dad’s in a band and Wilkinson says that’s what inspired him to pick up a guitar in the first place. 

Eau Claire is home to legendary Wisconsin artist, Justin Vernon, Bon Iver who Wilkinson says he loves and is proud to be from the same town.

“He’s definitely one of my inspirations for sure, just coming from the same area and all the amazing things he’s been able to accomplish,” he said. “It’s just a small town in Wisconsin, but I think it’s really nice here.”

Iver once famously told Rolling Stone that he makes songs purely for the joy it brings him. This kind of laid-back feeling pervades Alligator's Orange songs, as well as his attitude towards making them. He says he’s working on new music right now and considering doing some live mic events now that the world has opened up a bit. Mostly though, he just wants to keep expressing himself, experimenting and enjoying the experience.

“I’m trying to release as quickly as possible, just get my feelings down in an artistic way and play with different styles,” he said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, I don’t want it to like turn into a job. The reason I started it… was to have fun.”

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Talking to me on Zoom from his hometown of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, the man behind Alligator Orange smiles sheepishly while telling the story behind his recent EP, Stick Figure Songs.

 

<iframe style="border-radius:12px" src="https://open.spotify.com/embed/episode/5a9js6zLehAGHsWb7EkbGC?utm_source=generator" width="100%" height="232" frameBorder="0" allowfullscreen="" allow="autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; fullscreen; picture-in-picture"></iframe>

<iframe allow="autoplay *; encrypted-media *; fullscreen *" frameborder="0" height="175" style="width:100%;max-width:660px;overflow:hidden;background:transparent;" sandbox="allow-forms allow-popups allow-same-origin allow-scripts allow-storage-access-by-user-activation allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation" src="https://embed.podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/bonus-breaking-band-with-alligator-orange/id1611424558?i=1000557158918"></iframe>

“I would say a majority of it is how I was feeling,” George Wilkinson said. “Because I kind of just used that experience of, you know, entering your adulthood in a way, moving away from your parents and figuring out stuff on your own.”

The five track EP of serene, contemplative college rock is Alligator Orange’s first release. Wilkinson began working on it in mid-2020, when he was a senior in high school, and continued through the pandemic.

Now a sophomore student at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, he’s making music all the time.

“I wasn’t really thinking of releasing it or anything,” he said. “I really started recording the songs in October 2020. The EP probably took a good nine or ten months.”

Alligator Orange’s songs are about a moment in life that we all go through. “Sleep Deprived” is a fast-paced ode to the value of a good night’s sleep in the middle of hectic classes and parties. “Winter,” the third track is a wistful guitar-riff filled song about love in hard times and features beautiful, harmonized vocals throughout.

The whole EP and project overall is infused with the easygoing spirit of its creator. Wilkinson got his stage name from a bright orange pair of sandals that he wears constantly.

“I just have this orange pair of crocs, it’s kind of my picture on everything,” he said laughing. “I’ve had them for a while and we’ve been through thick and thin together. I was like ‘you know what, that sounds good together. Crocodile orange, orange crocs, then alligator.”

You can tell Wilkinson is having fun and wants listeners to as well.

 

The songs on this project are reflections on the uncertainty and changes people go through in their early college days, the types of feelings we’ve maybe all been feeling over the past two years.

 

“Bags go dark around my eyes as the days go by” – Sleep Deprived

 

Dreamy guitars and doubled crooning vocals fill the EP’s short 17-minute span. 

“I listen to a lot of stuff,” Wilkinson said, discussing his influences. “I would say for the EP I was definitely inspired by the indie rock bands. The Strokes, Vampire Weekend for sure. I use some of the guitar tones and took inspiration from Mac DeMarco.”

Wilkinson takes his band name from a remarkable pair of shoes.

You can hear shades of these artists in his songs, but Stick Figure Songs is a piece of art of its own. It’s not surprising as George, a DIY artist, has complete creative control over every aspect of the EP. Every voice, every chord, every note you hear is created by him. A self-taught producer, he learned to polish his songs through the internet and a lot of trial and error.

“I usually just kind of start off with writing it on my guitar,” he said. “I started with guitar and lyrics first, I’m a firm believer that if it sounds good with just you and your guitar, then that’s what makes it.”

Some highlights include the EP’s finale, “Summer’s Gone'', a snappy ballad about the end of a young relationship, and “Imaginary Home,” which Wilkinson says is his favourite.

 

 “…I’ve been travelling somewhere far away, where nobody knows, where it is or what goes on, I’m the only one who sees…” – Imaginary Home

 

“I was so unsure about releasing it,” he said. “But I think that really best encapsulates what I was feeling at the time. I was playing with different sounds and really tried to push myself to be creative.”

“Imaginary Home” is Alligator Orange dealing with his mental world, how it affects his personality, and how he can share it with people.

Although he’s the master of the music, he doesn’t work completely alone. He and his friend recently collaborated on his first music video. He comes from a musical family, his dad’s in a band and Wilkinson says that’s what inspired him to pick up a guitar in the first place. 

Eau Claire is home to legendary Wisconsin artist, Justin Vernon, Bon Iver who Wilkinson says he loves and is proud to be from the same town.

“He’s definitely one of my inspirations for sure, just coming from the same area and all the amazing things he’s been able to accomplish,” he said. “It’s just a small town in Wisconsin, but I think it’s really nice here.”

Iver once famously told Rolling Stone that he makes songs purely for the joy it brings him. This kind of laid-back feeling pervades Alligator's Orange songs, as well as his attitude towards making them. He says he’s working on new music right now and considering doing some live mic events now that the world has opened up a bit. Mostly though, he just wants to keep expressing himself, experimenting and enjoying the experience.

“I’m trying to release as quickly as possible, just get my feelings down in an artistic way and play with different styles,” he said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing, I don’t want it to like turn into a job. The reason I started it… was to have fun.”

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