J and Megan first became a tag team in composing and performing under the name Desperado Orchestra in 2010. They have since traveled and performed in multiple cities from California to Shanghai, China. The duo only recently returned back from a two-year work stint in China, where they escaped a few years of the “Great Recession” that so badly hit their livelihood as educators and musicians in Los Angeles, CA. Since moving back home to Hawaii, they have taken their marriage vows in a small ceremony held at the Kauai Court House, and are anticipating planned time off for the birth of Ramses James Lawson.
In July 2014 this year, they released their first self-titled EP to the public. “It’s been a long time coming,” says J, “and we’re finally ready to share some of what we’ve been working on for the past five years.” There are four songs recorded on the EP: I’m Not Afraid, Outside My Window, Narcissus, and 5 In the Middle. These songs all explore different sides of the duo’s personalities and reflect different stories they might have shared, or experienced independently.
Each song tastefully weaves string orchestrations, soulful vocals, and rhythmic guitar with sometimes absent or minimal drums, creating a refined acoustic sound that can only be achieved through live instrumentation. The effects of the layers from the vocal melody, string harmonies and the driving pulse of the guitar create an upbeat modern sound, while the improvisational aspects of the violin add an element only found in American jazz influences.
These two musicians respectfully support and encourage each other’s skills and techniques to create their artistic perspectives, sharing messages that sometimes bear the role of social responsibilities; whether it’s a warning against certain life perspectives, or an uplifting message of man’s common struggle. Their art revolves around developing their talents to be able to relate to more than just the academic or the layman, to reach people across the globe that relate to and appreciate unique outlooks and creative interpretations. It makes sense that their slogan “Peace, Strength and Music!” would resonate so much with their musical productions. It is through their peace within, and their strength together that they create beautiful music.
Their album is only available through the website www.desperadoorchestra.com and at Kauai Sound and Music in Kapa’a, Kauai.
***Special Thanks to Kenneth Khou (album art work)***