I have always wanted to write a song where the message and the lyrics are kinda of sad but it sounds happy…longing for days of the past…
Amy Gabay 00:00
This podcast is brought to you by People’s Food Co Op, a community owned grocery store in downtown La Crosse, Wisconsin and Rochester, Minnesota that promotes local farmers and producers through an emphasis on fresh, healthy, sustainable food. Anyone can shop, everyone is welcome. For more information, visit them online at PFC.coop. This podcast is also brought to you by Trempealeau County Tourism. Whether your idea of fun is bicycling, hiking or canoeing, afterwards head into the heart of one of their welcoming communities to experience historic architecture, independent shops and locally owned dining establishments. Visit Trempealeau County Tourism online. We sat down with George Wilkinson aka Alligator Orange. We chatted about musical influences, the origins of the moniker, a new music video hitting YouTube, and Alligator Orange’s new EP called Stick Figure Songs. You can find more conversation, food reviews, live music and events on our website lacrosselocal.com. I’m Amy.
Brent Hanifl 01:04
Amy Gabay 01:05
And this is La Crosse Local.
George Wilkinson 01:31
All right, so my name is George Wilkinson. I’m originally from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. So not too far from La Crosse. The main thing that really led me to music is my dad’s been in a band for as long as I can remember, he just is in a cover band based out of Eau Claire. They’re called the Poor Boys. Just a little plug there. Yeah, so he’s been in a band all of his life. And I picked up the guitar because of him. So that kind of translated to why I wanted to start making music in the first place.
Brent Hanifl 02:02
So kind of got turned on to you through your new video The Recipe, which we’ll talk about in a little bit. But, you know, it kind of calls some influences to me, you know, I was thinking of stuff even locally, kind of like Sleeping Jesus, which is a band in Winona that I liked. It’s kind of similar, this kind of power flowery sort of pop music and in some sense like I think of like Brett Dennen. Who are some of your influences that kind of sent you down the path?
George Wilkinson 02:28
I would say, so my main influence, it’s kind of basic, but the Beatles obviously huge influence as artists, I just think they’re incredible. And the legacy they left in their music, because it’s really enjoyable. So that’s just my main influence. I’m also really into bands like The Strokes was a big influence on the EP and just sounds kind of like Mac DeMarco is another big influence, I would say, Vampire Weekend. So just kind of those indie rock bands that I’ve just really been into recently.
Brent Hanifl 03:02
So you know, and not to put this on you. But I mean, I instantly thought of Beach Boys in some sense, which may sound weird, but you know, I kind of thought of this sort of music kind of reminds you of this sort of California, sort of Sunpop sort of stuff.
George Wilkinson 03:16
Yeah I can totally see that.
Brent Hanifl 03:18
Yeah, it’s kind of fun, it’s enjoyable. So yeah, talking about it, Alligator Orange, where did that name come from?
George Wilkinson 03:25
So kind of a funny story. So I was struggling with coming up with a name for this project for quite a while. And I knew I didn’t want to use my own name. So I took inspiration from you Tame Impala or Car Seat Headrests, who kind of just use different aliases, even though it’s one like working under one person. So I knew I wanted a name and I was just struggling for the longest time. And I’ve always had these orange pair of crocs that I’ve just always had. And so the name kind of came from that I was thinking of just doing orange crocodile or something and I kept thinking of that until Alligator Orange just came up but I just thought it sounded cool, so I just went with it.
Brent Hanifl 04:08
I actually owned a pair of orange crocs.
George Wilkinson 04:11
Brent Hanifl 04:11
I don’t know if I feel embarrassed or not. Do you rock them?
George Wilkinson 04:15
Oh, of course. They’re so comfy, yeah.
Brent Hanifl 04:18
So you know, like a reference, so new video, The Recipe. How did that song come about? And then what led to the video?
George Wilkinson 04:24
So the song came about, I started writing it at the beginning of quarantine so probably around April of 2020. And I’ve always wanted to write a song where the message and the lyrics are kind of sad but it sounds happy. So that was Always In My Mind. Basically the song is about, like longing for days in the past. And I was really thinking that in isolation, and yeah, so that’s how that kind of came about. Yeah. So, me and Dakota actually, we go to University of Wisconsin La Crosse, we’re roommates together. So we both are involved like with different creative aspects, obviously his videography, and we kind of both, like reach out to each other because I make music, he does the video. So we thought we just combined them together. And I know he really wanted to do a music video, because he’s never done one before. So he thought, might as well try it out. And I thought it would just be a fun thing to do. And it just kind of happened. And it was a really fun process. And it came out great I think, so.
Brent Hanifl 05:48
So you also have an EP that came out relatively recently Stick Figure Songs, what was the impetus for that collection of songs, you kind of referenced COVID, which I’m sure gave you a little bit of time to do some work or maybe creative impetus for that. So how did those collection of songs come together?
George Wilkinson 06:05
So they all started, like I said, back in quarantine in 2020. And that’s when I really started to pick up the recording aspect of the music. I’ve always loved playing guitar and that kind of stuff. But I’ve never actually recorded and sat down and like tried to mix and add other instruments and that kind of stuff. So I took the time out of quarantine to learn how to do that when I wasn’t really doing anything else. So that’s how it kind of started, I kept making the songs just in my dorm room and at home to just writing them and recording them. And I was really kind of debating whether or not to release them. Because I didn’t know what my friends would think or like my I kind of kept it a secret for my parents for the longest time, too, like they didn’t even know I was recording anything or doing anything. But I just decided it was probably no use just having them sit on my laptop forever. And if I really wanted to express my feelings or my thoughts or whatever, I should probably just release it. And that’s just kind of how it happened. And I looked up like how release it on all the streaming platforms. And that was a whole process. But yeah, that I would say that was basically my inspiration and how things kind of carried out from there.
Brent Hanifl 07:21
What’s next for you? Do you have any plans to do anything with this music play out, or have you or?
George Wilkinson 07:26
So the thing is, I really do want to play live, and I’m trying to look into some things to do maybe even just doing some open mics or whatever. My dream is to just have a band. And I’ve been jamming with some people in the La Crosse area, just some students and some of my friends even. And I’m trying to find maybe like a four or five piece that can help carry the songs out live, which I would love to do eventually. That’s all for that part. But as far as for what’s next for me as a release is trying to get this another EP out. And that’s kind of my main focus, has been for ever since I released Stick Figure Songs just to get this next EP rolling out. Again, it’ll be around four or five songs. I got a lot of them already recorded. Just got to finish mixing and mastering them. So hopefully soon, we’ll have that done and get it out. And I don’t really have an exact timeframe for that yet. But hopefully soon, we’ll see that come out, so.
Brent Hanifl 08:26
Nice. So if people want to find out more, you know, check out you, check out the album, check out the video, what’s the best spot for them to go to?
George Wilkinson 08:34
I would say, I’m probably most active on Instagram, I have a link in my bio there where you can go check out all my stuff. But as far as if you want to support me directly, or find out more information, you can go to my Bandcamp page, or my YouTube page is also a great resource and all my music you can find on any streaming platform you want to use, so.
Brent Hanifl 08:56
Yeah, and one more question. So you know, off this EP, is there any besides The Recipe which I just have been listening to the last couple of days, are there any other songs on there that you’re particularly proud of?
George Wilkinson 09:05
Oh, man, I want to say the one that I’m most proud of, musically, is probably Imaginary Home. That’s probably my favorite one, that’s my favorite song that I’ve made so far. It’s so hard because I made them so long ago and I feel like I’ve been like improving in every aspect but I don’t know. I think that one I’m probably the most proud of for sure.
Brent Hanifl 09:50
So it’s like you love them, but you’re kind of embarrassed by it in some ways?
George Wilkinson 09:53
I know, yeah, I totally feel that. Yeah.
Brent Hanifl 09:57
Amy Gabay 10:01
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About La Crosse Local
La Crosse Local is an arts, food, and entertainment podcast and publication for La Crosse County and its surrounding communities.
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