Tag: ESG

Interview: A Q&A with The Orielles

I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering the rapidly rising and acclaimed Halifax, UK-based act The Orielles over the past couple of years. Founded by siblings Sidonie B. Hand-Halford (drums), Esmé Dee Hand-Halford (vocals, bass) and their best friend Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar, vocals), the JOVM mainstays built up a great deal of buzz, when Heavenly Recordings‘ head Jeff Barrett signed the band after catching them open for labelmates The Parrots in late 2016.

2017’s critically applauded, full-length debut Silver Dollar Moment found the band establishing a genre-defying sound that meshed elements of psych rock, pop and disco centered around surrealistic observations of everyday life. After the release of Silver Dollar Moment, the band’s founding trio recruited Alex Stephens (keys) as a full-time member of the band, expanding the band into a quartet. And with their newest member, they went into the studio to record material that included “Bobbi’s Second World” and a cover/rework of Peggy Gou’s “It Makes You Forget (itgehane).” Those two singles saw the band’s sound increasingly (and playfully) leaning towards Speaking in Tongues-era Talking HeadsESG and the like, while featuring rock-based instrumentation.

Released earlier this year, The Orielles’ sophomore album Disco Volador continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with producer Marta Salogni – and the album’s material finds the newly constituted quartet pushing their sound towards its outer limits. The end result is that the rapidly rising Halifax-based JOVM mainstays have sonically become astral travelers of sorts, creating mind-bending, trippy and progressive material that features elements of samba, ‘70s disco, boogie funk, 80s New Wave, dance floor grooves and ‘90s acid house. The material also draws from the work of Italian film score composers Sandro Brugnolini and Piero Umiliami, as well as contemporary acts like Khruangbin and Altin Gun. “All the influences we had when writing this record were present when we recorded it, so we completely understood what we wanted this album to feel like and could bring that to fruition,” the band’s Sidonie B. Hand-Halford says in press notes.

Deriving its name from a literal interpretation from Spanish that means flying disc, the band’s Esme Dee Halford says, “ . . . everyone experiences things differently. Disco Volador could be a frisbee, a UFO, an alien nightclub or how you feel when you fly; what happens when to your body physically or that euphoric buzz from a great party. But it’s an album of escape; if I went to space, I might not come back.”

The album also manages to capture the British indie quartet riding high off the success of their critically applauded debut, which included a lengthy and successful summer tour with festival stops Green Man and bluedot. Two official singles have been released off the album so far: the expansive, hook-driven and genre-defying “Come Down On Jupiter,” which features a slow-burning and brooding intro, before quickly morphing into a bit of breakneck guitar pop before ending with a psychedelic freakout – and “Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme),” a shimmering dance floor friendly boogie woogie with an lysergic air. And interestingly enough, the album’s first two singles are perfect examples of how versatile and dexterous the JOVM mainstays are – they’re pulling from a wild and eclectic array of sources, like a bunch of mad, crate-digging audiophiles and meshing them into something familiar yet completely novel.

The members of The Orielles are about to embark on their first North American tour. And as you may recall, the tour will include a handful of sets at the second annual  New Colossus Festival. Unfortunately, SXSW has been cancelled because of COVID 19 – but as of this writing, the band’s West Coast dates are still happening. You can check out those tour dates below.

For JOVM’s latest Q&A, I contacted the members of the British JOVM mainstay act. We discuss Halifax’s local sites of note, their impressive and expansive sophomore album, their cover/rework of Peggy Gou’s “It Makes You Forget (itgehane),” the gorgeous and cinematic video for “Come Down on Jupiter,” their upcoming Stateside debut and New Festival Colossus Festival sets and more.  Check it out, below.

TOUR DATES:

3/11/2020-3/15/2020 – New York, NY – New Colossus Festival

3/24/2020 – Los Angeles CA – Moroccan Lounge

3/25/2020 – San Francisco CA – Popscene at Rickshaw Stop

3/27/2020– Boise ID – Treefort Music Festival

3/28/2020 – Portland OR – Bunk Bar

3/29/2020 – Seattle WA – Vera Project

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Photo Credit: Holly Fernando

cover The Orielles - Disco Volador 

 

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WRH: If I’m traveling to Halifax and Northern England in general, what should I see and do that would give me a taste of local life? Why? 

The Orielles: In Halifax, we really recommend checking out Revo Records to stock up on some quality vinyl. Then head over to the Meandering Bear for a beer before finishing on a cocktail and The Lantern! Also, The Piece Hall is definitely worth a scoop!

WRH: Are there any bands from Halifax or from Northern England that should be getting love in the States that hasn’t yet – and should be? 

The Orielles: There are a few really sick bands coming out of Halifax and West Yorkshire right now. Most noteably The Lounge Society and Short Causeway. We have also just done a few shows with a great young band from the South of England called Drug Store Romeos. Well worth a listen, they’re gonna be biiiggg!

WRH: How did you get into music? 

 The Orielles:  We have all grown up listening to music and trawling through our parents record collections definitely helped influence our love and passion for music. We started playing music pretty much by chance. When we met each other, only Henry could actually play an instrument, but we decided to meet up and jam together the following day regardless. After that we realised our passion for playing music together was huge and we didn’t want to do anything else.

 WRH: Who are your influences? 

The Orielles: Our main influences include Stereolab, Air, ESG, The Pastels and YMO amongst others!

WRH: Who are you listening to right now? 

The Orielles: Right now, [we’ve] been listening to the new Jessica Pratt record a lot! Also, Big Thief and our faves, Altin Gün.

WRH: How would you describe your sound to someone completely unfamiliar to you? 

The Orielles: We like to describe our sound as post-punk funk.

 WRH: Before you went into the studio to your latest album Disco Volador, the band added keyboardist Alex Stephens. Has the addition of Stephens changed your creative process at all? And if so, how? 

The Orielles: He helped to develop our sound and his expanded knowledge on chords and harmony really worked well with our vision of what we wanted this record to be. The creative process stayed the same, we all still write together, and the recording process has always been very collective and shared. We never like it to be rigid in terms of what we play.

WRH: Sadly, it doesn’t appear on the new album, but I love your cover/rework of Peggy Gou’s “It Makes You Forget (itgehane).” How did that come about? 

The Orielles:  Thanks! We wanted to cover a song for a B-side and thought it’d be fun to rework something that wasn’t the genre of music that we make already.

We also love that song and listen to a lot of dance and electronic music so had the idea to try add our own personality to the cover.

WRH: Two of my favorite songs on the album are album opener “Come Down on Jupiter” and album closer “Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme).” Can you tell me a bit about what they’re about and what influenced them? 

The Orielles: “Jupiter” is about the idea of fate and being controlled by a potential higher force from outer space. “Space Samba” is a similar idea but more about boogie and having a disco in space!

We were influenced by bands such as Stereolab, Talking Heads, Arthur Russell, and John Coltrane.

WRH: I love Rose Hendry’s cinematic and hallucinogenic video treatment for “Come Down on Jupiter.” How did that collaboration come about? Can you talk a bit about how the treatment came about? 

The Orielles: We met Rose through a recommendation and as soon as we read her treatment we were in love with her creativity and her ability to be able to understand the lyrics and the ideas of the song on a deeper level.

We think she’s done a really great job of it and are very proud.

WRH: With the release of your debut, 2017’s Silver Dollar Moment, the band went from being one of the most exciting, emerging bands in Northern England to becoming an international blogosphere sensation, playing some of the biggest festivals of the UK touring circuit. How does it feel to be in the middle of that whirlwind of attention and activity?  

The Orielles: It’s really surreal! We definitely didn’t expect for our music to be so well received and for that we’re eternally grateful.

WRH: From what I understand, as you were touring to support Silver Dollar Moment, the members of the band wound up absorbing a wider and more eclectic array of music and sounds – in particular the film scores of Sandro Brugnolini and Piero Umilani, as well as the work of Khruangbin and Altin Gun (who I really dig, by the way). And sonically, the album does manage to reflect getting into a wider variety of things, throwing them into a big old pot and mixing them into something that’s sort of recognizable and sort of alien. So as a result, the material on Disco Volador seems like a bold and self-assured expansion of your sound. Was this intentional? And how much did Altin Gun influence the overall sound and aesthetic? 

The Orielles: I guess it was sorta intentional. We don’t really listen to a lot of western music and prefer exploring other styles and eras.  I think just expanding our musical palette meant that this progression came naturally.

We have been listening to Altin Gun for a while now after first seeing them play in Utrecht. We love the way that they can make traditional Turkish folk songs very danceable and fun and wanted to replicate that idea with guitar music.

WRH: There are brief hints at 80s New Wave – there’s a brief 30 second or so sequence on “Rapid I” that reminds me of Stop Making Sense-era Talking Heads before closing out with a house music-influenced freakout coda. How much did house music and New Wave influence the material? 

 The Orielles: Those genres inspire us a lot. We feel that they are often a lot more interesting than straight up guitar indie etc. We also really wanted to have a go at creating guitar music that people can have a boogie to.

WRH: Disco Volador finds the band returning to the same studio you recorded Silver Dollar Moment and continuing an ongoing collaboration with Marta Salogni. How has it been to work with her? 

The Orielles: Working with Marta is incredible! She’s such a great energy and has a really special and inspiring knowledge of musical production. She’s also a great storyteller and really hilarious!

WRH: You’re about to embark on a handful of sets at this year’s New Colossus Festival here in NYC, before heading down to Austin for SXSW. If I’m not mistaken, these sets will be your first Stateside shows. Are you excited? Nervous? What should Stateside audiences expect from your live show? 

The Orielles:  That’s right! It’ll be our first time playing there. We’re very excited! We are hugely inspired by the NYC late 70s/80s art and music scene and so playing out there will feel special to us.

WRH: Is there anything you’re looking forward to on your first Stateside tour? 

The Orielles:  We’re looking forward to living up to our collective nickname and being proper ‘thrift shop cowboys’. Also excited for hopefully a bit of Vitamin D in California lol.

WRH: Provided that you’ll have the chance to do so: Is there anyone you’re looking forward to catching at New Colossus? 

The Orielles: Looking forward to catching label mates, Stealing Sheep as well as a band from Bilbao, Belako.

WRH: After you play New Colossus and SXSW what’s next for you? Will there be more Stateside tour dates? 

The Orielles: Yes! After the festivals we do a short headline tour of the West Coast. Doing LA, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Treefort Festival in Boise.

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The Orielles Release a Trippy Visual for Psych Freak Out “Down On Jupiter”

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the rapidly rising Halifax, UK-based act The Orielles. And as you may recall, theca which was founded by Sidonie B. Hand-Halford (drums) her younger sister, Esmé Dee Hand-Halford and their best friend Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar, vocals) built up a great deal of buzz surrounding them, when Heavenly Recordings‘ head Jeff Barrett signed the band after catching them open for labelmates The Parrots in late 2016.

2017’s full-length debut Silver Dollar Moment found the band further establishing a genre-defying sound that meshed elements of psych rock, pop and disco centered around  surrealistic observations of every day life. After the release of their critically applauded full-length debut, the band expanded into a quartet when they recruited Alex Stephens (keys) — and with their newest member, they went into the studio to record  “Bobbi’s Second World” and a cover/rework of Peggy Gou’s “It Makes You Forget (itgehane)” that found the band’s sound playfully (and increasingly) leaning in the direction of early 80s Talking Heads, ESG and others while still being centered around rock-based instrumentation.

A year has passed since I’ve last written about the JOVM mainstays and as it turns out they were busy working on their highly-anticipated, forthcoming sophomore album Disco Volador. “Its literal interpretation from Spanish means flying disc but everyone experiences things differently. Disco Volador could be a frisbee, a UFO, an alien nightclub or how you feel when you fly; what happens to your body physically or that euphoric buzz from a great party,” the band’s Esme Dee Halford suggests in press notes. “But it is an album of escape; if I went to space, I might not come back.” Slated for a February 28, 2019 release, Disco Volador continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with producer Marta Salogni while reportedly finding the quartet pushing their sonic horizon to its outer limits, as astral travelers of sort, crating progressive and trippy tunes that sonically draws from and meshes cinematic samba, 70s disco, boogie funk, dance floor grooves and 90s acid house — and expanding the influences further to including the work of Italian film score composers Sandro Brugnolini and Piero Umiliami, as well as contemporary acts like Khruangbin and Altin Gun. “All the influences we had when writing this record were present when we recorded it, so we completely understood what we wanted this album to feel like and could bring that to fruition,” the band’s Sidonie B. Hand-Halford explains in press notes. 

The band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album also manages to capture the rapidly rising act in the moment of their post debut album success, which included a lengthy and successful summer tour that included festival stops at Green Man and bluedot. Interestingly, the album’s first single “Come Down On Jupiter” will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting seamless and expansive, genre-defying songs — in this case, you have a slow-burning and brooding intro that quickly morphs into breakneck guitar pop with a psychedelic disco freak out. And while retaining the razor sharp and infectious hooks that won the band attention nationally and internationally, the song is a further example of an insanely versatile band with incredibly dexterous musicianship. 

Directed by Rose Hendry, the recently and incredibly cinematic and hallucinogenic video for “Come Down On Jupiter” was filmed — yes, that’s right it was shot on Kodak film — at Arments Pie and Mash shop in Kensington, London. “When I first heard the track I was immediately transported into some sort of mystery melodrama from another era, with a strong dose of something psychedelic,” Rose Hendry says of the video. “This was my starting point, alongside an image by photographer, Ralph Gibson, of a cup of tea sitting on a beige table, bathed in warm sunlight with a plastic spoon resting against the lip. I enjoyed the idea of centering the video around an incident with a cup of tea — that felt dramatic to me — something “mundane” becoming something dramatic. I wanted to encapsulate the playful psychedelia in a psychological and structural way as opposed to the ‘pastiched to death’ VW campervan kind of way. Add to that toast and the rest developed from there.”

New Video: The Dark and Moody Visuals for Sink Ya Teeth’s “Glass”

Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford are grizzled vets of Norwich, UK’s music scene, performing and recording in a number of projects before deciding to collaborate roughly two years ago in their latest recording project Sink Ya Teeth. And within a short period of time after their formation the duo of Uzor and Cullingford received national attention for a slick yet lovingly DIY electro pop that draws from 80s synth pop and early house music, as well as a broader range of influences — including Grace Jones, ESG, Nina Simone and Howlin’ Wolf. 

Earlier this year, I wrote about the duo’s incredibly dance floor friendly single “If You See Me,” a single that featured Uzor and Cullingford’s coquettish crooning over a sultry and percussive synth pop production — and while on a superficial level, the song is about having way too much but as the duo explained in press notes, the song was written “the day after one of those really good nights that you probably shouldn’t have! It’s a song about feeling sorry for yourself but knowing that you can’t blame anyone else either.” 
“Glass,” the Norwich duo’s latest single sonically speaking manages to nod at Giorgio Moroder’s production work with Donna Summer, in particular, “I Feel Love” and “Love to Love You Baby,” and The Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me,” as the song features a slick and propulsive production featuring layers of arpeggio synths and mathematically precise drum programming. And while arguably being among the chilliest singles they’ve released, the duo explains that the song “is about that moment when you realise you want to break from the routine and turn a corner in life.” 

Directed by Doug Merton, the recently released music video featured the duo in a darkened car driving around. “We wanted to convey a feeling of a journey from light to dark,” the Norwich-based synth pop duo explains. Merton “transferred our idea into a literal journey, complete with light show to maintain that disco vibe that runs through the track. And I guess the twist at the end questions how easy it is or how willing we really are to change things.” 

New Audio: Mute Records to Re-issue Series of Albums by Influential Cult Favorited Genre Bending British Post-Punk Band

Featuring a core lineup of Jeremy Kerr, Martin Moscrop and Donald Johnson with a rotating cast of members to full out the band, the Manchester-based post-punk band A Certain Ratio formed in 1978 — and naturally, while embracing the ethics and culture of the post-punk era, they had developed a reputation for being uncompromisingly difficult to pigeonhole, as their sound incorporated elements of funk, jazz, punk and rock while employing electronics, tape loops and early technology.

With the release of the critically applauded and commercially successful single “Shack Up,” on both sides of the Atlantic, the Manchester-based band became hailed as pioneers of a sound dubbed “punk funk,” and as a result that single and the rest of the work they’ve released together has managed to influence an incredible and impressive array of acts including Talking Heads, LCD Soundsystem, Happy Mondays, Franz Ferdinand, ESG, Factory Floor and Andrew Weatherall among others — all of which has led to an increased interest in the British post-punk act and their catalog; in fact, the members of A Certain Ratio and renowned indie label Mute Records announced the launch of a long-awaited series of re-issues, featuring a selection of the influential Manchester band’s albums and will continue into 2018 with a compilation, a rarities box set and further re-issues.

Starting on November 24, 2017 the Mute Records-A Certain Ratio re-issue series will begin with the re-issue of the Manchester band’s debut, The Graveyard and The Ballroom, which was originally released through Factory Records in December 1979. The album will be available on limited edition vinyl with colored PVC sleeve, CD (and echoing its original release 38 years ago), cassette. Mute will also be re-issuing 1981’s To Each and 1986’s Force on colored vinyl and CD. While being superficially reminiscent of Entertainment! and Solid Gold-era Gang of Four, thanks in part to the angular guitar attack, The Graveyard and The Ballroom’s re-issue single “Do the Du,” possesses a disco-like bass line paired with vocalist, who sounds anxious and distracted in an all too post-modern fashion — and with a deeper, more attentive ear, you’l hear echoes of Talking Heads 77 and Fear of Music-era Talking Heads (think of “Psycho Killer,” and “I Zimbra”) with a hint of mod-era rock. 

New Video: The Playful Sounds and Visuals of Sink Ya Teeth’s “If You See Me”

Maria Uzor and Gemma Cullingford are grizzled vets of Norwich, UK’s music scene, performing and recording in a number of projects before deciding to collaborate together 18 months ago in their latest project Sink Ya Teeth. And in a short period of time, the duo have received attention both in their hometown and nationally for a sound that draws from a board range of influences including Grace Jones, ESG, Nina Simone and Howlin’ Wolf among others in a lovingly DIY yet slick electro pop that clearly draws from early 80s synth pop and house music — all while being reminiscent of Las Kellies’ Total Exposure, Blondie, and others. In fact, the duo’s latest dance floor-friendly single “If You See Me” features Uzor and Cullingford coquettish crooning over a sultry and percussive synth pop production consisting of off-kilter percussion, electronic bleeps and bloops and a sinuous bass line — and although on a superficial level, the song is about having a bit too much fun on night out, as the duo explain “‘If You See Me’ was written the day after one of those really good nights that you probably shouldn’t have! It’s a song about feeling sorry for yourself but knowing that you can’t really blame anyone else either.”

As Maria Uzor says of the recently released video for “If You See Me,” “We shot the video in my flat one Saturday morning and got all of our friends to pile ‘rond ready to party on the promise of free booze. We had a loose idea after sitting down with director Jo Millington a few days before, and really just ended up rolling the camera and seeing what happened.” And the end result is a free-flowing, goofy energy of a bunch of friends hanging out, playing records and fooling around together.