Interview: The Orielles

Backseat Mafia recently reviewed the new single “Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)” from the magnificent The Orielles, a band we have been following closely since 2015. In advance of a highly anticipated debut album, “Silver Dollar Moment”, due for release on 16 February, a UK tour in February and a European tour in April, we caught up with the band and asked a few hard questions.

It has been well documented that you were all childhood friends when you started the band. Why did you turn to music rather than doing what most teenagers do?

I think it was partially to do with the fact that we grew up in a town that was quite disassociated with music and so we knew we wanted to do something different. We’ve also always been kinda outsiders in the sense that growing up, people never really ‘got’ us or what we were about. At the time this kinda bummed us out, but looking back, it definitely heightened our tenacity and drive to create something that we loved.

How did you come up with the name of the band?

The name comes from a mixture of wanting it to sound like The Shirelles and also the word for ‘ear’ in French, which we thought would be an apt name for a band.

I imagine being siblings in a band has both its benefits and its drawbacks, and may be challenging for the one outsider – are there any issues?

I’d say more benefits than drawbacks! We rarely have any issues though. A few little disagreements on tour, mainly concerning what to eat for tea or who has had the most beer from the rider haha. They never last longer than about ten minutes though and then we’re all best mates again.

How do you write songs and who writes the lyrics?

When writing songs, we usually either play facing projections of a film that we love or are inspired by and this will shape the music, rhythm and tonality of a song. This is a fun way to write a tune as it helps to form a song in a slightly non-traditional way and makes it more interesting for us to write lyrics to. If we don’t have a projector to hand then we usually write songs by just jamming a riff or chord pattern around for a while, gradually changing the rhythm, tempo and dynamics of the track until we find something that we dig! Lyrics come last usually, and are written by Esme.

Do you think that growing up in Halifax has had any particle influence on you?

Inadvertently, yes. Being from a small town makes it way more difficult to gain any recognition and meant that we had to work way harder to build up any kind of fan base. At the time, we saw being from Halifax as a bad thing, as we were presented with fewer opportunities and we were never associated with a ‘scene’ that other bands from cities were. Despite this, we definitely see it as a good thing now. It has made us way more grateful of any success that comes our way as it feels as though we have worked hard for it. Furthermore, we are one of the only bands from Halifax to garner any kind of success, which feels pretty good and makes us proud to be somewhat representing the music scene in Halifax. There are some great people in Halifax that have supported us over the years and that we are massively grateful for. For example, Michael at Grayston Unity put on our first gig when we were starting out. We’re also excited to be signing our debut records at the venue on the 23rd February. That will be special.

Can you recall the point at which you realised you had a future as a band?
Ah, we’ve had many of those moments! One of the first being when our manager Damian came on board and we had some meetings with him, we were so naive and young at the time, around 15! Our trip to Canada was definitely another pinch yourself moment as we never thought we’d get the opportunity to play anywhere overseas. To be honest, the whole of 2017 was one massive example. The gigs, the recording, signing to Heavenly. It was all amazing and felt like a validation of our hard work over the years.

The themes of “Let Your Dog Tooth Grow”, referencing the movie by Yorgos Lanthimos, clearly reflect the idea of growing up blinded, maturing and eventually being set free: how much does this reflect your own circumstances as a relatively young band?

Yeah totally! These themes are what we based the song on and are completely reminiscent of our time growing up in the band. We struggled initially, both because of our age and also the fact that we had never experienced a lifestyle like this before, we had to pave our own way so to speak.

Is ‘I only Bought it for the Bottle” a reflection of the shallow nature of the world in general?

Yeah I guess so. We initially wrote it with the Refn film Neon Demon in mind but it can definitely be interpreted in that way. I guess particularly coming from a creative industry background that issue is definitely in the foreground. Bands are sometimes seen on face value and there is a strong correlation between success and appearance, which kinda sucks! Especially when bands are starting out and are on the support slot circuit, how a band look can definitely impact on how many gigs they get or whether people will show up early to a show to watch them. We had a few issues with this at the start, people would take one look at us and instantly undermine us because we looked young. We’re friends with a few bands who have had similar issues, which isn’t cool.

I’ve noticed a few references to movies and directors: how has this medium influenced your music?

Yeah films have definitely helped influence our music, particularly lyrically and thematically. We’ll often watch a film together and then spend ages discussing it afterwards, this will invariably turn into lyrical content at some point.

Playing live or recording – which do you prefer?

They’re both highly different experiences but I’d say that playing live tops it, just. Nothing will beat that buzz.

What would be your greatest musical influences or sources of inspiration?

Aside from film, we are also interested in and inspired by literature and philosophy. We chat about this kind of thing a lot and it helps to influence later song ideas. Musically, we are influenced by such a wide range of stuff, anything from 80s indie to world music to disco and dance!

What would be your top ten favourite bands?

Collectively, we have a handful of bands that always crop up on our tour playlists etc. These include Pixies, The Pastels, ESG, Happy Mondays, A Certain Ratio, Stereolab and Money Mark.

Are there any other local Halifax bands we should keep our eyes and ears open for?

I’m afraid we’re pretty unaware of anything cool happening in Halifax right now, which is a shame… There are a few interesting projects just down the road in Hebden Bridge though, most notably Goa Express and Charlie’s Girls who both supported us at our last Trades Club show and were ace! Some members of Hookworms are also based in Halifax which is cool to see them doing amazingly well. Their new album is all killer no filler!

‘Silver Dollar Moment” is due out on 16 February. The title is an in-house reference to special moments for the band after a great gig at a particular venue in the US: tell us what makes this album so special for you.

This album is so special to us for so many reasons! Obviously being our debut makes it even more exciting, we feel as though it’s been a long time coming and we’re so so proud of what we have produced. Secondly, we produced it with an amazing bunch of people, whom we’ll never forget and will forever be indebted to. The record also signifies an extremely exciting and formative period of our career as well as our lives, we hope that it signifies some small sense of a new scene or movement within the music industry, a progression towards a dancier direction in indie music. There are a bunch of bands doing a similar thing and making indie music fun again! We’re on the cusp of something very exciting with British music, we’ve heard whispers floating around of the third Summer of Love, join the revolution!

Watch out for an album review in the coming weeks. In the meantime, you can preorder ‘Silver Dollar Moments” here.

Here is the latest release from the forthcoming album, “Let Your Dogtooth Grow” – a brilliant indie pop melody-laden joy:

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