The Orielles on “Disco Volador” | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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The Orielles on “Disco Volador”

Always Evolving

Jan 09, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

The Orielles are one of the most innovative bands on the UK music scene right now. Having formed in the West Yorkshire town of Halifax back in 2012, the core trio—sisters Sidonie B (vocals, bass) and Esmé Dee Hand-Halford (drums) plus guitarist Henry Carlyle Wade (as well as keyboardist Alex Stephens)—have firmly established themselves as one of the most forward thinking acts on the circuit.

They initially garnered attention by way of a string of seven-inch singles that saw a deluge of interest from record labels culminating in the band signing to Heavenly Recordings who put out their breakthrough 45, “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” at the tail end of 2017. The band’s debut album, Silver Dollar Moment, followed in 2018 to a wealth of critical acclaim backed by a year of continuous touring and festival slots, which saw the band’s profile raise significantly.

Having been away for a large part of 2019 writing and recording the follow-up, they’re back with the new singles “Come Down On Jupiter” and “Space Samba (Disco Volador Theme)” which precede the eagerly anticipated second album Disco Volador, due out February 28 via Heavenly.

Under the Radar caught up with the band recently and found carefully planned, rather than difficult, second albums are the way forward.

Dom Gourlay (Under the Radar): When did Disco Volador start coming together?

Henry Carlyle Wade: We started demoing it last November [in 2018].

Sidonie B Hand-Halford: The first time round, then it really started coming together over the summer.

Henry: We did “Bobbi’s Second World!,” “Whilst the Flowers Look,” and “Rapid i” last year. Then we continued writing and demoing throughout the summer, and realised those three stood out, so we kept them for the album.

Having heard Disco Volador in full, “Bobbi’s Second World” does sound like a bridge between the first album and the new one, whereas releasing a song like “Rapid I,” which reminds me of spacey jazz like The Comet Is Coming, may have been too much of a sudden change.

Henry: It’s funny you say The Comet Is Coming because we saw them a few times at festivals over the summer, and every time they completely blew us away. It was one of those summers where we got to see a few artists that were a massive inspiration to us. We saw Mogwai followed by Kim Deal with The Breeders consecutively on the same stage. We went into those first demo sessions inspired by people we’d seen, so it’s fair to say The Comet Is Coming definitely had an impact on our sound for the new record.

Were there any other songs written and demoed that didn’t make it onto Disco Volador?

Sidonie: It feels like every bit we wrote that didn’t make it into a stand-alone song is within another song somewhere on the album. We managed to fit everything in that we wanted.

Henry: “7th Dynamic Goo” actually stems from a jam we used to play about two years ago that we recorded in Amsterdam. We wrote a lot of music within those jams until eventually it came together structurally as a song.

“7th Dynamic Goo” is one of the most radio friendly, pop moments on the record. Was that how you intended it to end up?

Sidonie: I found it quite jarring! It’s very odd.

Henry: It’s a panic to play.

Sidonie: It feels like you’re forever chasing after it.

Elsewhere on the record, I can hear northern soul influences on “A Material Mistake” and “Euro Borealis.” Is that something you were listening to a lot of at the time?

Henry: In the basslines there’s a very specific northern soul sound. We are very inspired by northern soul. All of our collective music libraries.

Sidonie: I think this album is a melting pot of everything we’ve ever listened to.

Did Disco Volador end up becoming a concept album?

Sidonie: Initially we worked it around the idea of move to space/space to move, which is in the lyrics to “7th Dynamic Goo.” So we had songs for lift off to space, which were the dancier ones, then for outer space, which were more atmospheric.

Henry: We definitely thought a bit more about what we wanted to make and how we wanted it to sound. We had a clear direction when we went into the studio. Even when we were making the first record we had an idea where we wanted to go with the second, so it’s been a long time coming, this one.

Has it been a challenge incorporating the new songs into your live set? Do you intend to play every song off Disco Volador live at some point?

Sidonie: We’re hoping to have most of them in the set by the time we tour the UK in February. For the American shows they’ll still probably be heavily focused on the first album but we’ll definitely be playing some of the newer ones there too. It makes it more refreshing for us too because we can play one set one night then mix it up quite a bit the next.

Something that’s always stood out with The Orielles for me is how your sound has progressed and developed over the years, particularly when I listen to your entire back catalogue in chronological order. You mentioned earlier that you were already planning album number two while recording your debut Silver Dollar Moment so are there any thoughts as to where the next one might go?

Sidonie: There are lots of thoughts but nothing specific just yet. I think we will follow a path where each album ends up being quite set in its mood and tone. That’s definitely something I’d like to stick with. But what mood that is I’m not sure yet?

Henry: We get a lot of inspiration from travelling around and seeing live music wherever we go. For example, when we were playing European festivals it influenced “Euro Borealis.” I reckon we’ll have more of an idea this time next year where we’re going with the third album.

Sidonie: We’re always evolving. Even an older song like “Sugar Tastes Like Salt” has evolved again.

Henry: That song has always evolved so we’ve changed the ending again. It changes with our musical tastes as well so the new ending matches album number two.

Sidonie: It’s like “...Salt” is alive and keeps growing every time.

You’re touring the UK in February then heading to the States in March. Is the rest of 2020 starting to take shape, particularly the festival circuit?

Sidonie: It’s starting to fill up. We’re just doing as many as we can. Hopefully some more European festivals as well.

There’s been a lot of disappointment expressed recently about the lack of diversity in UK festival bills for next year, yet European events always seem to get it right. Why do you think that is?

Sidonie: I don’t know why the UK is so far behind because it really isn’t that difficult.

Henry: The thing that disappointed me the most was the statement made by TRNSMT’s booker that there aren’t enough girls picking up guitars and forming bands. What an appalling and totally inaccurate thing to say.

Sidonie: They’re just totally uninspired. How is it so difficult to put equality into practice? I can’t really see their side of it at all.

Henry: I think a lot of UK festival bookings seem quite half arsed these days. Still booking the same headliners that headlined 20 years ago, like Foo Fighters one year on, one year off. There’s nowhere near as much effort as there is in Europe. We went to a festival in Utrecht called Footprints and the line up was insane. Full of international bands from all over the world. It was totally inspired.

Sidonie: The UK music scene relies too much on people being the hottest thing for 24 hours then thinking they’re going to be a big sell for their festival even if they don’t have a dedicated fanbase. UK bookers don’t tend to think about that.

Heavenly Recordings celebrates its 30th anniversary in April 2020 with four days of shows at Hebden Bridge Trades Club. Will The Orielles be getting involved at all?

Henry: We have something pencilled in but I don’t think we’re going to play.

Esmé Dee Hand-Halford: I don’t think we’re playing but we might be DJing.

You’ve also recently remixed “Ponytail” by Manchester band PINS. How did that come about?

Esmé: Henry and I did a remix for International Teachers of Pop and PINS heard that so asked whether we’d like to do one for them. So we did! We’ve been doing a few more remixes of other bands songs lately.

Sidonie: We’ve been doing them in the same place where we recorded the album so it’s just like a normal day in the studio for us. It helps us get to know the gear and production side of things so hopefully we can bring that to the next album.

If you could have someone remix The Orielles who would it be?

Sidonie: My dream would be Money Mark. Andy Votel as well. We had 2 Lone Swordsmen do one before.

Esmé: There was talk of Tim Gane from Stereolab doing one as well but they’re so busy at the moment so whether that will happen I don’t know.

The Orielles North American Tour Dates:

3/11/2020-3/15/2020 - New York, NY - New Colossus Festival
3/16/2020 - 3/22/2020 - Austin, TX - SXSW
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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January 11th 2020

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