The Orielles have never been a band to play by the rules. Their new record ‘Disco Volador’ cements exactly that through even more peculiar sounds than on their debut record ‘Silver Dollar Moment’. The scope of music has shifted from shoegazey post-punk with psychedelic tinges, to full-on experimental disco and space rock funk.
“It was more so just in keeping with what we have been listening to as a collective for a while now,” explains the band’s drummer Sid Dee Hand Halford on the new soundscape. “We’ve just tried to replicate something more in line with our tastes essentially, and listening to a wider taste of music has meant that the music we write ourselves has been more experimental than the last one for sure.
“We’ve been listening to a lot of jazz, a lot more disco and dancey stuff. We want to verge away from being a typical indie guitar band, and we thought it was cooler to replicate a DJ set when we play live, in the sense that we want people to dance, we don’t want people to mosh necessarily or you to be stood still. The whole atmosphere of people dancing as a collective of people is something we’ve been more inspired by lately.”
This hive-mind the band seek out in their shows is also reflected in their working environment too, returning to work with engineer Joel Patchett and producer Marta Salogni.
“They impacted [the sound] massively, we’re so close to the two of them now that we’ve worked with them a few times, to the point where they understand the vibe and direction without us even having to say it. Particular Marta, she’s very on it with the vibe and sound, she’s got very similar interests to us, not just musically but politically, and with other creative stuff like film and literature. We share a lot when we are in the studio together, we tell each other to watch certain films or read certain books, and we bounce off each other in that way, and it helps to create this inspiring atmosphere.
“Joel too, he lives in Manchester as well. We see him quite often, and we’ve stayed really good friends with him. At this point, he’s dead easy to work with and makes the whole atmosphere in the studio really pleasant, it doesn’t even feel like we’re working. It feels like we’re living in a weird student house together, cooking together after a session or watching weird stuff on TV at 3am after we’ve finished tracking.”
Film has always been an integral part of The Orielles creative process – not only do they write music, but they have written screenplays, and reference directors like David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino as inspirations, and translating themes from movies into their music and lyrics.
“We’ve all been into eastern European cinema recently, [specifically] this Russian director called Andrei Tarkovsky. He did a series of films which inspired a lot of lyrics on this most recent record, and his films are quite poetic and slow and quite mundane almost. We quite like that idea of making lyrics that are quite mundane with music that’s upbeat, [it’s this] weird juxtaposition that we’ve really enjoyed and been inspired by.”
The Orielles have built a reputation being a weird and wonderful band, who conjure up colourful narratives with their off-the-wall music. The themes themselves come from entertaining, abstract and fictitious places, but have they ever thought about writing music that comes from a more sensitive and autobiographical place?
“It’s a rare thing for us to do,” Sid admits, “We veer more towards writing fictional things, and Esme quite likes to almost take on a character when she writes a song.”
Despite this, hints of the personal creep up on their new record, particularly on the sensitive and dreamy ‘Memoirs of Miso’, Miso being vocalist and bassist (and Sid’s sister) Esme’s stray cat her and her housemates looked after while she was at university. “[Esme] wrote it about her time living at university in this quite hectic house, and living with what were at the time strangers, and getting on in that weird atmosphere, but then also having the band there as a constant entity that she could go back to.”
With music that sounds simultaneously retro and futuristic, and thematic references to a cat named after a Japanese soy seasoning and Soviet film directors – it’s safe to say that The Orielles are a band that embrace unconventionality with open arms.
“Ultimately our aim is the please ourselves,” Sid laughs when discussing how different her band are to her peers in the alternative UK music scene. “We don’t step out saying, oh let’s write a song that’s going to get played on Radio 1 or one that’s going to make kids at shows go crazy. It’s definitely more of a personal thing, if we can make music that makes us feels good, we roll with that and hope other people like it too.”
“More recently, we’ve been apprehensive about putting out some stuff because we’ve felt [it’s] totally going to throw people off or make them confused. It’s got to the point where we’re more concerned with writing music that we enjoy, so it’s not really a conscious thing to worry about what other people are thinking. So many bands nowadays have this mentality where they worry about writing songs that are over three minutes long, which means it’s not going to be played on the radio, fuck the radio!”
As a band who stay well and truly to themselves, it’s interesting to reflect on what differences there are between their two albums. “I don’t want to sound cliche, but we’ve definitely we’ve matured [since the debut album]. When we wrote ‘Silver Dollar Moment’, it was a collective of songs where we had been writing from day one. ‘Disco Volador’ comes across as more of a thematic album, because [the songs] were all written at the same time.”
She continues, “[The new album] is way more something that I’d listen to. It’s just way more in line with our tastes, like we’ve all come off as way better musicians, we’ve taken it way more seriously. There was less pressure in a sense too as the first time around is the first thing you’re showing to the world. There’s this pressure that people are always going to think of you as an indie band if you release an indie album, [but with] the second one there are fewer boundaries and more scope for experimentation.”
And experimentation is exactly what the band have done on this new record, and what could provide the grounds of experimental sounds more than an album heavily inspired by space. But why were they so influenced by the stars?
“I’ve got a few answers for this, one being we kind of had this mantra where we wanted the theme for the record to be, a-side: bass to boogie, so a dancey a-side, and then the b-side: boogie to space, so more ambient and electronic stuff. When we were in the studio, loads of references came up. The first day happened to be a lunar eclipse, and then it was the anniversary of the moon landing, and then the anniversary of Brian Enos Apollo record coming out. So there were all these signs pointing to a spacey reference, so we rolled with it.”
With ‘Disco Volador’ The Orielles prove that nothing is too far out of reach, not even worlds beyond this universe and galaxy. And as a relentless touring band, it’s only natural that a tour of space isn’t out of the question, but who would they bring with them? “We’d love to play with Stereolab, and I think aliens would really enjoy them, it would definitely go down well in space. There’s a band called Altın Gün who we all listen to quite a lot, they’re a band from The Netherlands, but they’re a Turkish folk psych inspired band, we love them so much we’re seeing them in Vienna! They’ve never played the UK before so we have to travel, but it would be fun to take them with us on a tour of space.”
Taken from the March issue of Dork. The Orielles’ album ‘Disco Volador’ is out 28th February.
Words: Jasleen Dhindsa