Interview: Kris Orlowski and Andrew Joslyn

The story with Kris Orlowski’s upcoming EP, Kris Orlowski & the Passenger String Quartet at the Fremont Abbey, is less about him and more about about the process. A live/studio hybrid tracked in the Abbey’s great hall – mostly live but with limited overdubs – the EP strikes a balance between the loose, spontaneous feel of a concert and the attention to detail of a studio recording. Much like the Fremont Abbey’s nightly arts programming, this EP brings together some of Seattle’s best up-and-coming talent supporting Orlowski’s catchy new songs and radio-ready voice. The Passenger String quartet is a group of all-stars headed by Andrew Joslyn (Handful of Luvin’, Macklemore). The backing choir features familiar names like Matt Gervais (Curtains for You), Noah Gunderson, Tony Kevin Jr, Allen Stone, Zach Fluery (Hot Bodies in Motion), and it is striking to see all that talent – bridging multiple Seattle music sub-communities – of in one room. See for yourself, with this off-the-cuff outtake of “Your Move”:

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Kris Orlowski (and Andrew Joslyn via phone) to discuss the project within the context of my favorite themes: beginnings, transitions, and community. Enjoy the full interview in short mp3 clips below, or [download id=”5″ format=”1″].

“A shift has happened [for me] in the last year, year and a half.  It definitely centered around what everyone else is talking about: community.  Around support.  There was this revelation, almost, where I realized that it’s all about supporting music in general.  It’s not just about trying to make it as a musician – that’s really nice – but it’s also about, ‘Hey, how can I learn from other people?  How can I support what Hot Bodies in Motion is doing, or Allen Stone?”  It’s all about supporting what other people are doing because that just makes you better.  When you’re helping them, you’re like “Wow, this is really cool,” and you cherish what you are doing more.” – Kris Orlowski

“When you get started as a musician, get comfortable with the word ‘free.’  Nowadays, people are used to easy access to music, to anything, be comfortable with giving stuff away for free, and in large quantities.  For the first couple months to a year or so, your money is going to be fans.  Genuine fans . . .  people who are always hitting you up, calling you, who really wanting to know what your songs’ lyrics are about – those are the people you really need to cultivate.  The thing that’s scary – we’ve all been there – I’ll get into a band and then you’re like, ‘eh, I’m kinda over them.’  People are fickle, especially with new music, so you have to give something more for people to really connect with.” – Andrew Joslyn


MH: “What is the origin story of Kris Orlowski as a music act?”
MH: “What did your first 4 years in Seattle, before I met you, look like?”
MH: “How did the Passenger String Quartet collaboration come about?”
MH: “How would you characterize the Seattle music scene?”
MH: “What are some inhibitors to building good community around music, and how have you seen those inhibitors overcome?”
MH: “What has it been like touring regularly in the Northwest and West Coast?
MH: “What advice would you give a fledgling band in a brand new city?”

Photos by Rachel K. Sumner, Album Art by Moorea Ashley Seal

Kris Orlowski will celebrate the EP’s release with a big show at the intimately-majestic Columbia City Theater:

Kris Orlowski & the Passenger String Quartet
EP Release Party

with The Merry Way, Alesandra Rose
Thursday, May 12
Columbia City Theater
9pm · $10 · 21+
A few tickets still available here

Be sure to visit his website for a preview of the EP (free download of “Your Move” with email list sign-up), as well as connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.


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