The Orielles: the Halifax trio taking over the world (and the universe)

Words by Janelle Borg

The Orielles are a British indie-rock band that is going from strength to strength. Their latest release, the shimmery, space-infused Disco Volador, blends disco-funk, electronica, dream pop and 70s influences, resulting in a truly innovative sound that makes them stand out from the crowd. I caught up with drummer Sidonie amid the coronavirus crisis (virtually, of course) to talk about the current state of the world and band. 

First off, how are you guys doing amid this crisis, and how are you spending your time?

Hey, we’re doing okay thank you. Admittedly, it’s a very bizarre time for everybody right now, and us creative people have suddenly been thrown into a place in which we have to really think about ways to keep busy and stay inspired. We’ve been trying to keep fans engaged and busy by doing little competitions and live chats/Q&As etc. More personally, just been catching up on all the reading I’ve wanted to get through, watching great films, I’ve started doing daily yoga too.

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Photographer: Neelam Khan Vela

What are some of the pros and cons of starting a band when you’re super young?

Pros are that we had a lot of time to grow and learn together and we had nothing to get in our what when we were younger. It allowed us to be extremely dedicated to what we wanted to achieve. I guess the cons would be that we initially got criticised for our age. There were a few shows that we did when we were starting, where Henry (guitarist) was still 17, and we’d get turned away from venues when we had driven all the way there for. That was a bummer. 

If you had to go back in time to when you first started the band, are there any things that you would deal with differently?

Don’t wanna sound boring, but probably not! The way that we did things was probably very unconventional, but I would never want to change that. It was a very formative time for us as musicians trying to find our feet within a ‘scene’ or a collective that we knew nothing about! This made us pretty respectful and appreciative of the things we get nowadays. I think it shaped us to be pretty humble and just grateful. 

If you had to choose three artists who inspire you and your work, who would they be?

Stereolab; each and every album of theirs is inspiring to us, and we appreciate them a lot. Pablo Picasso; after watching a film about him and the way he works, I realised that we are pretty similar as creatives. The way in which his art evolves and changes is pretty similar and reminiscent to the ways we write together—Krzysztof Kieslowski; A hugely inspiring filmmaker.

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Photographer: Neelam Khan Vela

Your second album has already proved to be a success! Did you notice anything different when you compare the tour and promotional run of the first album to this one?

First record promo is always approached from a different angle to later albums. This is something that people have never heard before and potentially a ‘new’ band altogether, so the promo has to be bang on and sell the band/product. It can be more lenient with future albums as people already know the image and what the artist is trying to represent, so it’s more artistic and personal I feel.

Which equipment (can be pedals, brands etc.) do you deem as being absolutely key to creating your unique sound?

We use Moog a lot in the studio. They have made some great synths, and the Model D Mini-Moog is a particular favourite. We also use the Mutron Phaser pedal on both bass and guitar on quite a lot of songs. Heavy on the percussion is a big vibe too!

What are some of the challenges that you encounter as professional musicians?

It can be pretty challenging mentally. The extreme highs are often followed by extreme lows. Going from touring and socialising heavily to suddenly being alone again in your bedroom is a weird feeling and takes some getting used to for sure. It can be tough financially and of course right now, while we have an uncertain summer ahead that was supposed to be filled with playing festivals all over the world, it’s particularly tough letting that sink in. 

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Photographer: Neelam Khan Vela

How important have grassroots venues been in establishing your music career?

Pretty important, yeah! Getting support slots in small independent venues is absolutely fundamental in kickstarting your career as a musician. Also, as mentioned earlier, playing a fair amount of these smaller gigs really makes you appreciative of every opportunity that gets thrown your way. 

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians and artists? 

To take as many opportunities as you can, big or small, they’re all worth it, and you learn something new from every single experience. Talk to as many people as you can. People you meet at shows, staff or punters, they’re all important, and you should treat everybody with the same amount of respect. It’s easy to be nice to people, and it’s so important, people remember kindness and friendliness. 

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