When Orono Noguchi graduated from John Bapst High in Bangor two years ago, she pretty quickly headed out on tour with the pop band Superorganism.
To classmates and, heck, just about anyone from Maine, it seemed she was headed on a glamorous adventure. But after nearly two years of touring and doing countless media interviews, Noguchi has come to realize that singing in a pop band, while creative and fun, is still a job. Not like most jobs most people will ever get, but still a job.
“It can be stressful with the constant traveling and interviews,” said Noguchi, 19. “I’ve learned that this lifestyle is not glamorous, it’s definitely a job and you have to have a lot of patience. I’m glad I’ve learned that.”
Noguchi and her bandmates will be on the job Thursday night with a show at the Port City Music Hall in Portland. It will be the first time Noguchi and her band have played in Maine.
Noguchi became a member of Superorganism in early 2017 while still a boarding student at John Bapst. She met the members of the band – formerly called The Eversons – when they played her native Japan a few years earlier and she stayed in touch with them online. In early 2017 they sent her a demo of a song and asked her to write lyrics for it.
One Sunday morning, when she was supposed to be writing an essay for a class, she wrote the lyrics to what would become Superorganism’s first single and a YouTube hit, “Something for Your M.I.N.D.” The song is slow and trippy, with pulsating synth plus drums and electric guitar. Noguchi sings softly, understated, almost talking the lyrics. Most of the band’s songs and videos are spacey and vaguely psychedelic.
Here’s the video for “Something for Your M.I.N.D.”
By late 2017, the band, with Noguchi as lead singer, became nationally known. Rolling Stone labeled the group one of the 10 bands “you need to know.” In early 2018 the eight-member band, with most of them based in England, released its self-titled first album. Then they toured the U.S. and Europe, and appeared on the late night show “Conan” with Conan O’Brien.
Noguchi was raised in Japan with a father who loved American rock and pop music. She became enamored of American music and culture as well, and by the time she was 14 could speak perfect English and sing along to her favorite songs. Her parents both attended the University of Maine in Orono and named her after the town. She decided she’d like to go to high school in America and her father suggested Maine. So she became a boarding student at John Bapst.
Because of Superorganism’s hectic touring schedule, Noguchi said she probably won’t get up to Bangor for a visit while the band is in Maine. They play Portland on Thursday night and on Saturday have to be in Boston for the Boston Calling music festival. Noguchi said she and her bandmates are all getting used to the touring lifestyle, and are writing songs for their next album on bus and plane rides.
But touring also has its upside, too. Noguchi enjoys seeing as much of America as she can after growing up as a fan of American music and pop culture. She’s excited to play Nashville, Tennessee, for instance, because she appreciates old country music.
As for music, she said she gets irritated when people say things to her like, “Your job’s amazing because you get to travel and play music.” She said she doesn’t want to compare her job to anyone else’s, but also doesn’t want people thinking they can’t do something, like play music professionally, and that only certain people will ever be good enough or lucky enough to do it.
“I think everyone should be able to do whatever they want,” she said. “You have to put the work in and you have to try.”
WHEN: 8 p.m. May 23
WHERE: Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $17 in advance, $20 day of the show