INTERVIEW / THE ORIELLES
On Saturday night The Orielles continued their Autumn tour by rocking a packed crowd in the Brudenell Social Club’s new community room. Before the gig Nathan Fogg talked to the band – which features sisters Sidonie B and Esmé Dee Hand Halford on drums and bass/vocals respectively, as well as Henry Carlyle Wade on guitar. They’re making waves ahead of the upcoming release of their debut album, Silver Dollar Moment.
Delinquent: You played the first night of the tour in Nottingham last night, how did it go?
Sid: It was good. It was really fun, we didn't expect it to be as heavy a night as it was.
D: You’re at the Brudenell tonight, where else have you played in Leeds?
Sid: Literally everywhere - Wharf Chambers, Nation of Shopkeepers, Belgrave [Music Hall], Headrow House, the Cockpit.
D: What's your favourite place to play?
Sid: Definitely here I'd say. Not only is it a great venue, good people come because it has good gigs on.
Esmé: I think Belgrave as well, when we played for This Must Be The Place festival, that had good sound.
D: This tour is slightly shorter for you guys
Henry: Yeah, unfortunately. We weren't even supposed to tour but we told everyone that we were, so they met in the middle and let us do a shorter one.
D: You'd just want to tour all the time?
Henry: Yeah, yeah. Fuck it, we've been well excited for this.
D: Sid you live in Liverpool, Henry in Halifax and Esmé you’re in Manchester, is it difficult getting together to play?
Sid: It's still pretty easy, Halifax is still dead close, Manchester as well is like the middle ground for all of us, it's an hour from Halifax and an hour from Liverpool.
D: You’re always given a different home town in every interview
Esmé: You can always tell when somebody is bullshitting, they're like 'these scousers!"
Henry: Yeah, it's like… you have no idea.
D: What should we write, Halifax band?
Henry: Northern band.
Esmé: Northern band, yeah.
D: It feels like you have a bit of a rep in Leeds now though
Henry: Yeah whenever we go further outside of Yorkshire we just say Leeds.
D: Is there anywhere good to play in Halifax?
Henry: There's a couple of venues but you may as well just go down the road to Hebden Bridge…we're gutted not to be playing the Trades Club this time around. Next time we play there we might get an Airbnb and just live there.
Esmé: So we're literally gonna holiday in Hebden, two minutes away from our house?
D: You could get a tent and camp on the river
Esmé: We could get a barge?
Sid: That would be sick.
Henry: To be fair, barges are pretty sick. I went on a barging holiday once.
Esmé: Didn't you fall off it?
Henry: Yeah, I fell off it and dropped my phone. This is funny, you’ll like this…it took a week to get from Sowerby to Todmorden.
Sid: For reference, that's like the distance between Brudenell and the city centre.
Henry: It was jokes, it wasn't even a holiday ‘cause we'd have to get out every ten feet to do the locks, so it was like slave labour.
D: This time last year you were on tour supporting The Parrots, and then a few months later got signed to their label Heavenly Recordings, was that tour big in getting you signed?
Henry: Partially, that was the first time that the head of Pieface saw us.
Henry: It's a Mighty Boosh reference.
Sid: We saw The Parrots play at Gold Sounds festival in Leeds, maybe like 2015 or something, I gave them a 7" ‘cause we really liked them, Diego just keep in touch with us on Facebook. He just messaged me one day and asked if we wanted to go on tour with them. It was sick.
D: So Heavenly spotted you on the tour?
Sid: They saw us in London at the Victoria.
Henry: It was like halfway through, after we had sent them some demos. It just kinda really nicely fell in to place over the space of that tour.
Esmé: Then we had a meeting with them, it was dead quick from them seeing us and then meeting us to the first time, and then we were signed.
Sid: Probably like a month.
D: So, you just finished recording your debut album?
Henry: Yeah man, sent off for pressing we believe.
D: It's called Silver Dollar Moment, what’s the meaning behind the name?
Esmé: The Silver Dollar is a venue in Canada we played, unfortunately now it's shut down to turn into student flats which we just heard about. We were playing at like, 2 in the morning, really jetlagged, we'd been up for like 30 hours or something, but it was one of the best shows we've played. So, we call it a silver dollar moment whenever we do stuff that's unintentionally, or unexpectedly good.
Henry: The album is a silver dollar moment in itself.
D: I don't know if it's unintentional, you worked with Marta Salogni who seems like an incredible producer
Henry: Yeah, she's fucking sick man. So good.
D: Did the ideas you went in with change over the course of working with her?
Sid: Not really, but I wasn't expecting “we're gonna go in and we're gonna have the Minimoog playing” you know what I mean?
D: How did that Minimoog on the new single (Let Your Dogtooth Grow) come about?
Esmé: Marta just knows her way around a Minimoog.
D: She played it?
Henry: We got stoned and she played like a 20-minute synth set and we were just sat there watching it like 'whoah'.
Esmé: It was literally one of the best pieces of music I've ever witnessed live. There was a little drone piece that we recorded and there's like 30 seconds of that on one of the tracks.
D: Does she ever put her own stuff out?
Henry: She wants to, she's got some really good band names on her phone. She's got an iPhone full of album names. She has a favourites section and it's just a full screen’s worth of album names that all just have the word cunt in it. What was another one… Scottish Labia Party?
D: Is it tricky having to write new material for an album? You get bands who have put EPs out and then suddenly they get signed and have to do an album, but they've already released all their songs.
Henry: Well with most bands you see... you get to like the third EP and everyone pressures you into an album, we'd kind of exhausted all our single and EP tokens so we had nothing left other than to do an album.
D: Would you have been happy to keep doing EPs?
Henry: No, we really wanted to create an album for quite a while.
Sid: We were just waiting for the backing of a label, we never wanted to release an album just on our own, it would be a waste.
D: Has this been your most productive year for writing?
Esmé: Yeah I think so, we even wrote some of them in the recording studio. We completely wrote one song from scratch there on the album called Blue Suitcase.
D: I filmed you guys at a rehearsal for the previous tour and you were formulating a song which is now on the album, can you talk me through the process of that song specifically? Henry it seemed like you were actually showing Esmé the bass lines on that one.
Esmé: Yeah that one was kind of a different way that we usually write because it was a connection to one of the other songs, so we were working around the same notes.
Henry: And the same time signature. They’re both in the Waltz tempo.
At this point the band share a segment of the song, a very laid-back, jazzy piece
D: It sounds like old school hip-hop stuff
Henry: Yeah, it's like what they were sampling in the 90s.
Esmé: I'd love to get someone to rap over it.
Henry: That was one of the ones where it was mostly written in the studio, we had the chords and the pushes and the shoves which are like the gaps left, but the actual hook part came when we were recording it, so it changed in that aspect.
D: How do you write when you’re apart from each other?
Henry: We write together, but the ideas come separately when we're away, a chord pattern or something. It's good because you go away and have time to reflect and come up with more stuff so the next time we see each other we all have ideas.
D: It seems like your songs vary from one to the next - you have a pretty diverse music taste, are you just discovering something new every 3 months and that’s influencing you in a different way?
Sid: Pretty much haha.
Henry: Yeah, that's it.
D: Do you ever find you're trying to catch up to yourself almost, like 'shit, we like something new now'?
Esmé: No, for me personally I just hear songs and think 'oh I'd love to write a song like that’, and then the next day it’s 'oh, I'd love to write a song like that'. As you say, it's so many diverse things that I'm wanting to write influenced by all my favourite bands.
Henry: It's not like we get on to something new and get bored and dismiss the other stuff. We listen to something new and take it all for influence for when we create.
D: What would you call your sound now? It seemed like you started off pretty surfy but have moved away from that
Henry: We've been trying to distance ourselves.
Esmé: Post-dance punk.
Henry: Post-disco punk!
Esmé: Or post-disco punk.
Sid: Either or.
Henry: With the singles so far we've been trying to transition from that surf vibe... to still like mainly 90s, or 70s, but a bit more groovy.
Esmé: Someone called the new single shoegaze, that was pretty weird.
Henry: Yeah, are they even listening to it? What part of that was shoegaze?
D: I've never heard a shoegaze song with a Minimoog before
Henry: I've never heard shoegaze with a verse, chorus, verse format, like a pop song format.
D: Well it’s hard to fit all these adjectives in for your band intros though, it’s like ‘The Orielles: funk-punk-surf-jangle-poppers’
Henry: We just need to come up with a word.
Esmé: I just think post-dance, or post-disco punk. Cause that's kinda like not a genre, but that's ours.
Sid: Yeah, it's just a made-up thing, and it's good
D: Even the name ‘The Orielles’ is completely different, like some 60s soul singers group
Henry: Yeah, we've proper mismatched man! We've just gone through a lot of influences.
Esmé: I kinda wish we were called Orielles, not The Orielles.
Henry: Or just Oriel. Or just Orey.
Esmé: We've already changed our name once.
D: So, with all these different sounds how do you keep a single thread through an entire album?
Henry: That was interesting because I thought going in that it wasn't going to flow, or sound like a collection of songs together, cause they're all quite different. But when we listened to it back it did sound like a piece of music, not just a bunch of songs. They had our sound to it.
Esmé: That came through the ordering of the album too, we really thought about which songs were gonna go where, together. It flows through and feels like a piece.
Henry: Often we feel like with the order, you can blow the load on the A side, then the B side is a little bit boring. We thought about the dynamics, the speed of songs, separating them all out so it had ups and downs.
D: Yeah, you can get it where the first few tracks are more poppy and energetic, then they slow in the second half.
Henry: I don't get why you'd do that. If it's a whole thing, why skip the second half?
Sid: I think it's ‘cause people consider the A side to be better for some reason, ‘cause with singles you have A sides and B sides and the A side is the actual single, people probably put that onto the album as well.
D: Was it hard working out the new songs for the tour?
Henry: Yeah haha.
Esmé: There's loads of songs we've not put in [the set].
Henry: We've never played them together live, we've only tracked them.
Esmé: There's so many where the vocals and the bass were me...I didn't really think about how hard it was going to be playing the bass and singing that melody at the same time so I'm trying to wrap my head around that. But it should be in time for whenever we next tour.
D: Back to this tour, you've got Brighton next, is it as cool a place as you hear?
Esmé: Yeah, Brighton's always pretty sick.
Henry: Always get good scranning in Brighton.
D: How is eating on tour, you're all vegetarian/vegan… you introduced me to a code for touring bands falling off the wagon and getting a KFC - Shaking Hands with the Colonel - any of that?
Sid: Haha no, we eat really well don't we. I probably eat better on tour than I do at home.
Henry: You're restricted by not eating meat so you don't eat shit.
Esmé: I always think when bands eat like cheap, fast food on tour...how do they actually survive? Because for me that's what gets me through the day when you feel like shit, if you're hungover or something, having something actually nice to eat.
Henry: And fresh.
D: What’s it like playing hungover? That must be pretty tough.
Henry: I'm gonna be playing hungover tonight.
Esmé: We've only played where I was really hungover by the time to go on like once or twice, usually it wears off by then.
Henry: In Southampton last time we played at 11 and I was still hungover, I didn't even drink before we went on.
D: Do you usually drink before going on to warm up?
Henry: All of the beers! We learnt that if you drink loads before you go on, you play when you're still pretty much sober but when you come off you're really pissed.
D: That must be the adrenaline.
Sid: It's definitely the adrenaline, I've found that so much, you go on feeling relatively tipsy or whatever, but then the minute you come off you're like 'whoah'.
D: Do you get over to Leeds much for nights out?
Sid: I don't come that much anymore being in Liverpool but I do really miss it, I think it's a sick city that's got such good stuff going on. When I was living in Halifax I came here loads for nights out.
D: It seems to have a changed a lot as a city, just in the last few years even.
Esmé: Yeah, I think it's changed like mad. I don't know why, I can't put my finger on it.
Sid: In a really, really good way though. It's progressed so much. I was saying earlier to these guys when we were in Hyde Park Book Club, it looks really European, I felt like I was in Berlin or something.
At this point talk turns to hitting up the Pizza Bus outside Brudenell.
Henry: Do you remember when we got the pizza from the van outside?
Esmé: Why did we eat it behind the thing, I really can't remember. We ate it behind the building…
Henry: No that wasn't even the funniest part, I paid with a tenner....
Esmé: Oh shit, were we stoned?
Henry: Yeah that was it, I paid with a tenner and we got some change…
Esmé: We couldn't work out the change.
Henry: I had it in my hand and was like 'whose is this?'
Esmé: Do you know what, I genuinely think we ate it behind the building because when we got it we saw our parents and we didn't want them to ask for a slice, so we went behind the building and ate it.
Henry: Haha, for fuck's sake. We're not good with money
D: That’s a good question, what is it like financially doing a tour?
Henry: Shit. We make a loss. Most bands make a loss at this stage. On the last one we made a massive loss.
Esmé: Touring bands don't really expect to make money these days unless you're really massive.
D: Shit, so there’s no money to be made touring?
Sid: The only way you make the money is from merch, ‘cause that goes straight back in.
Henry: But it's fun though, it's not about the money.
D: Does the label cover the losses?
Henry: Yeah, well it all comes out of what they gave us to produce the album.
D: What was it like before, when you were on your own?
Sid: Just our parents driving us around, or mates. I would drive a lot as well.
Esmé: We didn't necessarily lose money because our parents wouldn't charge us.
D: Do you get a good slice of the profits from the venues?
Henry: It's just a fixed fee.
Sid: You'll get like a 70/30 split [70 to the band] if it goes above a certain number.
Henry: If it sells out. We did it for Hebden but we didn't even make that much off of it, we thought we were gonna get loads.
D: Yeah, ‘cause that was a packed gig.
Sid: I'd say there was a good 250 in there.
Esmé: It's just not something you expect, that going on tour is going to be like a big profit thing.
Sid: Put it this way, we don't make any money personally. We might make a little bit back towards the band fund, but we don't make anything personally.
D: Obviously it would be nice to make money, but does that force creativity out of you to do the other stuff in a DIY aspect, videos and merch and stuff?
Sid: The good thing about Heavenly is now we're in the position we can pay a little bit more for stuff like videos and art.
D: Will you be able to make much money off an album then?
Esmé: I actually genuinely don't have a clue.
Henry: We don't really know statistics for album sales, so we can't really make an educated guess on how it will do.
Esmé: Someone was telling me that when Blossoms were at number 1 they sold 3,000 or so copies, and that's so low for the music industry.
Henry: Fucking hell
The Orielles’ Tour Manager, James, chips in that it was the lowest selling number 1 in UK history
Henry: Jesus fucking Christ.
D: 3,000 physical?
D: How many are you getting?
Henry: We're getting 10,000.
Esmé: Are we?
Henry: Yeah, that’s what it said on the contract. Have you ever seen the Hard Times page on Instagram? It's like satirical headlines about the music industry. The most recent one was 'band down to the last 9,994 copies of their debut album’. I was like, ‘that's going to be us!’
D: Your vinyl for 'Sugar Tastes Like Salt' sold out quickly though!
Henry: Yeah it sold out well quick, that was mad. Do you know they sell for like 50 quid on eBay now? Loads of people are selling our fucking records, like 30 quid for Space Doubt as well.
D: When you're touring, is it the further away from Halifax you get the tougher it is?
Henry: No, not really.
Esmé: Nah, there's places that surprise you. Glasgow's always good and obviously London.
D: You played a few festivals over festival season, what was the best? Your Green Man set made some noise.
Esmé: Yeah, Green Man was definitely the best for our performance.
Henry: Just seeing the variations in bands was sick.
D: Who was the best you hadn't seen before?
Henry: Kikagaku Moyo.
Esmé: And The Comet Is Coming as well, we saw them like three times
Henry: They were like a dark horse. And Flamingods, they were sick.
At this point the band take a toilet break
D: So, is tour as good as it sounds, pretty rock and roll?
Henry: It's pretty rock and roll but it's definitely more of the roll side.
Esmé: Haha, that's so true.
Henry: What does that even mean, you said true like it even meant something.
Esmé: I relate to that, we're only on stage for 45 minutes.
Henry: The rolling is like going on the road isn't it. Oh, that's sick!
Sid: The roll is so many other things as well. The roll is the... you're getting eye rolls, you're getting…
Esmé starts to rap
Esmé: The rolls is rolling the cigs. The roll is rolling out of bed
Henry: Oh, this morning Ez woke up…what did you say?
Sid: I went into the room where Ez was sleeping this morning, it was about 1 o’clock and we'd all been up for a good hour and a half just chatting downstairs. I was like, ‘I'm gonna go see where Ez is’, everyone was asking 'is Ez…alright?'. I went up and said, ‘are you getting up Ez?’ And then she just looked around the room and was like 'where the fuck am I?'
Henry: She'd forgot that she was on tour.
Esmé: Today I've just been piecing together everything, I just don't remember so many things.
Henry: It was weird last night, I remember everything and then when we got to Kieran’s, I don't remember a fucking thing!
Esmé: I have a picture of you on my phone I don't remember taking.
Sid: How long has this interview been going now, like 20 minutes?
D: 45 minutes
Sid: 45 minutes? For real?
D: My interviews are way long, my record is 3 and a half hours, it took like 10 hours to transcribe.
Esmé: That's sick.
D: It'll be a long read
Esmé: Louis Theroux in the making
D: There's a Louis Theroux night on at Belgrave next month
Henry: Oh, sick.
Esmé: Yeah I saw that, I wanted to go. They're playing the three episodes everyone watches constantly, three of the best.
Sid: Which ones?
Esmé: Louis does porn, Louis does swinging, and wrestling.
D: When he does the 24-hour shopping channel, that’s a good one
Esmé: Oh yeah, I only saw that for the first time literally like last week.
Henry: It's good that one.
Esmé: So good, he's like proper nervous and concerned about everyone thinking whether he's good or not.
Henry: I prefer old Louis, I mean his new stuff is really interesting, it makes me cry.
Esmé: Well his old stuff makes me laugh, his new stuff makes me cry. I think I've cried at like every single one.
Henry: He's matured.
D: This feels like a good place to end it. Thanks guys