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Up All Nite w/ The Orielles

The Orielles suggested we meet at Soho’s The Social, a venue which I’d never been to before. Might they be cooler than me? Not likely 😉 

 Inside, at the bar, we sat down on a booth seat. Talking Heads “Once In A Lifetime” was blaring. As I whipped out my tape recorder it dawned on us all that this interview was not going to work inside. Eek!!

We ended up awkwardly sitting on a plank of wood outside the venue.  I perched on the very end and threw my recorder at Henry, who was sitting in the middle of Esme, Alex and Sidonie. When life gives you lemons, babe.

The band was self assured, “goofy” and intimidatingly close. 

SEE for YOURself.

WORDS N PHOTOS: ANNA SAMPSON

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LEFT2RIGHT: ALEX, SID, ESME, HENRY

So, you’re all from Halifax. Nice.

H: All apart from Alex.

A: I live in Wales!

Alex, how did you meet everyone?

A: Well first Henry and I knew each other online. Ages ago though.

On Insta?

H: Yeah, then I saw him at a friend’s gig like three or four years ago.

A: Then I met Sidonie in Liverpool through the music scene there and then we just became good friends and-

H: The band came later! (laughs)

And did you three (Sid, Esme, Harry) go to the same school?

H: Yeah we went to the same high school. We met along time before that though, when we were nine at a birthday party. Sid and I saw Harry playing a piano in the corner of the room and decided to jump on either side of it. The next day we met and wrote our first song and that was nine years ago.

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E: That was the first time picking up an instrument. It was pretty tragic. 

What were you like in school?

H: Me and Esme didn’t talk. 

E: It was a separate thing, being in a band and being in school.

H: Two ships passing at night along the corridor.

E: School was something I didn’t hate, I didn’t love, I just sort of got on with it. It was a bit of a “Liminal Space”.

H: It’s just something that got in the way of getting to soundcheck on time.

E: There was one time where we had a show in Canada and I had an exam that day. I remember being in the exam and asking the invigilator “Can I leave? I have a flight to catch!”

H: We were so late for that flight.

What was the exam?

E: It was a Graphics A-level, RAS level exam.

S: I was waiting for them in the airport. I was so anxious.

What were the Canadian crowds like?

H: Sparse! (laughs)

E: To be fair they were the same size crowds as the shows we were playing in the UK. 30/40 people.

H: The first night we got there we rented gear to play our gig at 10, then we saw TOPS play and then we played another show at 2AM. That venue was called the Silver Dollar Rooms, which is what we named our album after. From that gig we met this woman who owned a boating company out on the lake She let us come down and have a free boat ride. We’d been awake since the start of the school day in the UK.

Esme, how did you end up doing in the exam?

S: I bet you ended up doing really well.

E: I think I got a B or a C.

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Best festival you played this summer?

Esme: Rock En Seine was good because it was our first European festival. Really good response we thought!

Harry: End Of The Road was a highlight for us.

Sid: I really enjoyed Latitude. We managed to get good weather whilst we were there and got to swim in the lake in the morning which peaceful. Helped with the hangover for sure.

Did you meet any idols backstage?

H:  Sister Sledge! They saw us dancing during their gig and then recognised us after.

Esme: We danced with them!

H: After their show to Aretha Franklin!

Were they nice?

H: They were lovely people!

Is there pressure to address current issues through music?

E: I think it depends which way you spin it. There are deffo elements in our lyrics that are based upon politics. Our approach has always been to distract from what’s happening in the world. That’s why we like to write about the surreal and stuff that doesn’t truly exist. It’s nice that music can take your mind off things.

H: I think there’s a pressure to put out a version of yourself that’s politically correct.

V: A lot of bands are doing well on it, like Shame. They’re obviously quite political but they come across as a bit jaded and pessimistic. We want to escape that.

There’s a biopic of The Orielles. What actors would play you?

S: Natalie Portman

E: Jennifer Connelly

H: Charlie Day

A: David Mitchell? (laughs)

What keeps you up at night?

H: What doesn’t keep us up at night? We’ve actually been writing a song about the insomnia going on within the band.

Medical insomnia?

E: No, for me it’s more of an anxious thing. Any little thought will keep me up.

A: Our fire alarm. In my and Sid’s flat we have a fire alarm and the batteries are on its way, so it’s constantly beeping.

E: Sid being a drummer always picks up on a beat and then it’s in her head.

Sounds like Glee club.

H: Yeah, or Stomp. (laughs)

S: First night I didn’t sleep at all.

How do you fight being awake?

H: Write or draw stuff.

E: The obvious thing would be to smoke a zoot.

S: Apparently the most creative hours of the day are from 3-6am. If I’m awake I take it as an opportunity to write or draw or read.

E: I have a book full of notes that I keep everything in. Sometimes when I’m thinking all these thoughts I just need to get them down and out the way.

H: “Sleep is my weakness, can’t reach an REM”. That’s the chorus to the new song.

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You’re all in playing in Iceland soon!

H: It’s actually on my birthday.

E: It’ll be a boujee birthday, if we pull that off. We’ll go to the Blue Lagoon.

H: We need to get some champagne and a natural spring. Fuck yeah!

The first scene in the video for ‘Blue Suitcase’ looks Icelandic.

H: That was filmed in the South of Yorkshire, near a road called “Snake Pass”.

E: It was the snowiest day.

H: The video wasn’t supposed to be how it turned out. The day of shooting we got that first scene but we were meant to shoot half of the video. We had to improvise the day after.

S: The car broke down too.

Yikes!

H: Yeah, we had to leave the car, with no central lock in, in a carpark in Sheffield ‘cause it broke .

E: It was sick though because the Northern Soul dancers ended up coming from Dudley or something. At first they would put a song on to warm up, then suddenly this banging Northern Soul tune came on and everyone started dancing. I nearly started crying because it was so beautiful to watch.

H: They came separately but all knew each other from different Northern Soul nights.

You essentially arranged a reunion.

E: Yeah, it was like we had this reunion of loads of Northern Soul dancers. (laughs)

H: We had the UK’s best Northern Soul dancer there as well. What was his name again?

S: Sammy.

Was he a bit smug?

E: He was a cocky guy but he was modest about his dancing. 

H: His record collection as well. He apparently had tens of thousands of pounds worth of records in his box. And he was saying that apparently if someone has two of the same rare 7″ Vinyl, they’d snap one, making the one that they have even rarer. I was against it really, because you just stopped someone else’s love of a tune. 

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Is there something that people wouldn’t expect you to like?

A: We’re Geo guessers!

E: That is a geeky pastime of ours. Guessing where we are on a map of the world when it drops down randomly. 

A: Rubix cubes .

H: There’s this Viking metal band Amon Amarth I like from Norway. 

E: I always think if you know me quite well, you’ll realise that there’s not a lot of music I don’t like.

Soundcloud rappers?

E: I like some rap.

H: Chill trap is good.

E: I used to listen to a lot of stuff like Lil Debbie and Kreayshawn.

What’s been the most ~spiritual~ gig you’ve been to?

H: Khraungbin. We saw him in our hometown playing to around 20 people.

E: And it also turned out that the bassist’s Mum was in the crowd and was originally from this town. 20 minutes from where we grew up!!

A: I went to see Sigur Ros like four five years ago and I was just bawling my eyes out. Really heavily. They were playing right by the sea and the sun was going down. 

S: The Pixies. It’s the first band we all properly liked. A lot of their songs inspired our writing and then when we saw them it was just incredible.

H: Wait, Esme why did you not go?

E: ‘Cause it was forty quid and I was skint. 

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