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The Orielles are Bringing Post-Dance Funk to Rescue Rooms

15 February 19 interview: Becky Timmins

Hailing from Halifax, The Orielles have caused quite a stir over the past year, scoring in at number 16 on Rough Trade’s Top 100 Albums of the Year list in 2018 for their debut album Silver Dollar Moment. Ahead of their show at Rescue Rooms, we grabbed singer and bass player Esmé for a chat...

Sisters Sidonie and Esmé Dee, Henry and Alex

We hear you and Sidonie met Henry at a family party when you were younger, and things kind of snowballed from there over a period of almost ten years. But can you pinpoint the moment when you realised being a band was something you all wanted to seriously pursue?
“It’s kind of hard to say, but probably when the label got involved – signing to Heavenly Records was a big moment for us. We realised then that it was something bigger than we expected or thought it ever could be. They came to a show – we were playing on tour with The Parrots, who are also on Heavenly Records, and they became interested after that.”

We reckon your sound is seriously multi-faceted and infectious; you’ve previously dubbed it post-dance funk. Who brings what to the table during the process of writing music?
“It’s all pretty equal to be honest. One of us will come up with an initial idea, and then we just jam it out in practise, with each of us building our own piece. It all comes together quite naturally. Usually whilst we’re practising, the foundations of songs will come together quite quickly – obviously we add a lot of stuff to it later, but when we’re actually writing it all happens pretty quickly and it’s all really equal.”

Is there a particular song which you have maybe agonised over a little more, or which hasn’t come together as naturally?
“Actually our latest single, Bobbi’s Second World, was quite a funny one because we had loads of ideas for it, and lots of separate elements, but for quite a while we struggled to piece it all together into a coherent song. We had times with that one where we were like ‘f**k it, we’re just going to scrap this’. When it finally all came together we were still unsure about it; it felt quite weird, but once we had played it a few times we were actually all into it.”

You’ve previously cited Pixies, Sonic Youth and The Beach Boys as sources of early influence, but which bands are you loving and being inspired by right now?
“I’d say at the moment we’re all listening to a lot of dance music – a lot of DJs and stuff, playing tunes. We’re also taking a lot of inspiration from old Turkish music; bands that do reworking of old Turkish folk songs. It’s just so groovy. We take a lot of inspiration from that and the emotion that they play with live – we’ve always wanted to replicate that.”

You released your debut album Silver Dollar Moment last year, to critical acclaim. How did that feel?
“It was really really surreal. Throughout every step of the process; writing, making the album, putting it out there – we never thought it was going to be received as well as it was. It was sort of a project we did for ourselves, and the fact that other people were so into it blew us away – it was really nice.”

The album’s title draws from a show you played at 2am in Canada, at a venue called Silver Dollar Room, and is a term you’ve coined for something that’s unexpectedly brilliant. Can you tell us about your most recent Silver Dollar Moment? And is it something you refer to as a group?
“Yeah kind of, we do. We’ll have occasional shows where afterwards we’re like ‘yeah, that was a bit of a silver dollar set!’ I guess the last one would be End of the Road Festival in 2018. It was probably the biggest crowd we’ve played to at a festival, ever, and it was really overwhelming - in a good way.”

We loved how one review of Let Your Dogtooth Grow called out the song’s “evil edge”, and we’re a bit obsessed with the sinister twinges at play in your songs. Who is the most evil one of the group?
“Honestly I think people would probably say me…for writing the lyrics as well, that adds a good dynamic to it. I like to be quite subversive of the lyrics and stray away from what is conventional, so having a bit of an evil edge is pretty handy for that!”

We also spied a snap on Instagram of Louis Theroux clutching your album. Is he a mega fan?
“I honestly don’t know! He does own the album – I’m not sure what he thinks of it or anything but yeah….maybe we can get him to do a documentary about it.”

You guys were down at Abbey Road Studios last week recording. Was that as amazing as you’d expect?
“God yeah, it was a very surreal experience being there. We were playing live, and when we got shown round the studio, there were so many moments, like ‘this is the piano on which the Harry Potter songs were written’ – it was so weird.”

Are you moving towards your second album any time soon?
“We’ve been writing stuff for the second album this year, between playing a few shows. We’re focusing on getting it written and recorded over summer. We’re really excited for that, it should be fun.”

In a previous interview you talked about the importance of being nice to people, in an industry which can sometimes overlook it. Why do you think that’s the case?
“It seems like such a simple statement, but a lot of bands do overlook it. In my opinion if you don’t stick to that fundamental idea of being nice to everyone you’re working with, there is always going to be someone down the line who has a bad perception of you. And I would like to think that people wouldn’t think of us that way. It makes stuff all the more sentimental when you do achieve things, because you have a big team of people and you’ve all been on board together and done it as a team.”

You played Rock City last year along with The Magic Gang and Sports Team, and The Angel Microbrewery back in 2017. What did you reckon to the Nottingham crowd?
“It has been really good in Nottingham - always a great city for us to play in. The crowd has always been pretty big to be honest – we’ve really loved it.”

And you’re back next week to headline Rescue Rooms. What can we expect from you on this tour?
“It 's our last run of doing the Silver Dollar Moment songs and playing them out. It’s been about a year since the album came out, so we’re just going to have a party with it and a good time. All of our songs now, when we play them live, we make them way dancier; we drag them out and jam with them – it’s a laugh really. So the tour is going to be Silver Dollar Moment - but in its final form.”

What’s next for The Orielles?
“We’re going to be writing a lot I reckon. And playing a few festivals over the summer as well.”

Catch The Orielles at Rescue Rooms on Thursday 21 February.

Rescue Rooms website

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