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February 2021

The Orielles: "We didn't know what to expect"

New Heavenly Records signees The Orielles have just taken the UK by storm with a massive tour: and it's only up from here.
Published: 10:43 am, May 30, 2017
The Orielles: "We didn't know what to expect"
Teenage trio The Orielles are destined to become Halifax's greatest exports. Having met at a house party, they bonded over a shared love of US bands from the 90s. "Henry was wearing a Green Day t-shirt, and we thought it was really cool," remembers 18-year-old vocalist Esmé Dee Hand Halford. After striking up an instant friendship, Esme, her sister Sidonie B, 21, and guitarist Henry Carlyle Wade, 17, decided to meet up for a jam the next day. "Then we just started gigging," Sidonie recalls, adding that they were originally "doing covers" but decided to make their own tracks soon after.

"We did our first gig at a little place called The Doghouse, just down the road from our house," Esme says, before Henry chips in describing it as "a working men's club environment". As for the crowd at their debut show, the audience were all sat down "so it was a little bit weird", Henry considers. "We didn't know what to expect, but we soon realised it was so much better when the crowds are stood up, people are getting into it and dancing: it's good to see. And from there it just kept going."

Currently, they're in the middle of listening to Late Night Tales: ‘At The Movies' while travelling to London for a gig at The Social. Their tour bus soundtrack is telling of The Orielles' musical and creative influences; Esme and Sidonie are passionate about film, while Henry adores art; "we're all quite creative, I guess," Esme says. The show comes at the opening leg of a 19-date UK tour: not bad for a band with only a handful of released songs to their name. But The Orielles' productions are far from ordinary fare: debut single ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt' is an eight-minute-plus burst of sprawling spatial-funk that's full of confidence.

"We started writing it when we were projecting Quentin Tarantino's film Death Proof," Esme reveals of its cinematic inspiration. "It was a sort of soundtrack to the last chase scene at the end, and then we were adding lyrics and other stuff to it and extended it like mad. The lyrics are also a satire of celebrity culture and the media…"

Their meandering, expectation-defying debut was recorded with Marta Salogni, an equally exciting young producer. "She's really fucking good," Henry gushes. "She completely knows her stuff and lets us do anything." Working with Marta at their Manchester house-like studio wakes them up in the mornings, too.

"We all just bounce off each other with good ideas, and we have the energy to do shit early in the morning because we've got a good vibe going together," he adds. "We do long bursts of 14-plus hours," Sidonie continues: "It's always a long session with her, but I guess that makes it more fun because we'll work late into the night and that's when we come up with our most creative ideas."

It's unsurprising that they've been signed to the iconic Heavenly Recordings so quickly, having transformed from a hotly-tipped local band to one of the country's most exciting groups. The label's head honcho reportedly caught them supporting new label-mates The Parrots and signed them in autumn 2016 after being sent an album's worth of demo tracks.

Growing up in Halifax, the music scene is mainly made up of bands playing covers the group say. "There are a lot of younger people playing music, but not that many important bands," Henry considers. In terms of their individual influences, sisters Esme and Sidonie would listen to their parents' music: Grandaddy and The Beach Boys records among them; "One of our earliest memories is listening to ‘Pet Sounds' on a long journey in the car," Esme recalls.

Music's in their blood too; their dad is drummer who was in an 80s indie band. As a group, Henry cites Pixies and Sonic Youth as important influences, as well as The Pastels – who the trio recently met in Glasgow. "They're lovely people," Sidonie gushes; "they were dead nice, and they brought us all a gin and tonic."

They should get used to being treated like stars, because their next single, ‘I Only Bought It for the Bottle', is just as infectious (if not more so) and a perfect follow-up. "I guess we like people to consider and appreciate the lyrics - that's the hardest thing for us anyway," Sidonie suggests. "That's about narcissism, and we wrote it inspired by the Nicolas Winding Refn film The Neon Demon," they reveal.

"It's a really, really good film and we kind of based it around that; buying things for the look as apposed to what they actually do. We found it quite ironic as well because we'd printed up some ‘I Only Brought It for the Bottle' t-shirts but we'd never played the song live or recorded it at the time, and people were buying the t-shirt. So it proves the point of the lyrics, really."

Looking ahead to The Orielles busy calendar and an album's already in the works. "We're facing a little bit more pressure than we did before being signed to Heavenly because we've got a lot more going on," Sidonie says. "Obviously we're enjoying it so much, and a lot of the pressure's actually been lifted with being signed; being an unsigned band is a much harder situation to be in, but we've always carried on and persevered."

Taken from the June issue of Dork, out now.

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