Top image: The Orielles / Photography by Neelam Khan Vela
“The structure of the day was we’d roll out of bed about eleven or twelve, have a bit of breakfast. We didn’t really start doing much until about two. We mainly did the fun parts past tea time, y’know?” The Orielles drummer Sidonie Hand Halford tells us, explaining the laid-back recording schedule of the band’s debut record. “Like we’d have a few drinks and then start recording the vocals and the percussion and the fun parts from about nine in the evening onwards. We would work until about one in the morning.”
It’s an easy-going ethos that feeds directly into the band’s sound – bouncing somewhere between the dreamy chill of surf-pop and that 80s rhythmic jangle showcased in NME‘s iconic C86 compilation. Formed on the unassuming green hills of Halifax, West Yorkshire, the band – broken down into sisters Sidonie B and Esme Dee Hand Halford, and friend Henry Carlyle Wade – first met at a party a few years back and within 24 hours The Orielles were formed.
Aged only 21 (Sid), 18 (Esmé) and 17-years-old (Henry), their debut album, Silver Dollar Moment, roars with a youthful energy built on influences stretching further than their combined years – and beyond the boundaries of day-to-day mundanity. Signed to Heavenly Recordings, the label feels like a fitting home for these three cool kids that are adamant to keep their indie DIY heart beating.
Tanyel Gumushan: What do you think that the album says about you guys both as people and as a band?
Sidonie Hand Halford: I guess the album is full of our take on popular culture and things like that. We’ve got songs like obviously I Only Bought It For The Bottle, which is a tongue in cheek story about buying things for face value and the appearance of it. We kind of like to put these light-hearted little stories into all of our songs. It’s a theme that runs throughout the album.
Tanyel: The album references different trends of popular culture in past eras, but when you think about now and the last couple of years up to creating the album, what do you think about?
Sidonie: When we were writing the album we were in a place that was quite new and quite exciting. We were on the cusp of something, I guess. We’d been signed to Heavenly when we had these songs written and we were dead excited to share them with people. Going into the studio with them again was so exciting, and we recorded with Marta Solongi, who was like a massive inspiration for us. She definitely helped us to shape the album and make it what it is now. 2017 was great, to be fair. I know that a lot of shit things happened politically and shit like that but for us it was pretty alright!
Tanyel: What did you learn about both yourself and the others during the process?
Sidonie: I learnt that this is definitely something that I want to do for a long time. It was so much fun and we all really enjoyed it. I also learnt that Henry snores quite a lot. I think we all learnt that we work better at night time.
Tanyel: Are you all a bit nocturnal?
Sidonie: Definitely! The structure of the day was we’d roll out of bed about eleven or twelve and have a bit of breakfast. We didn’t really start doing much until about two. We mainly did the fun parts past tea time, y’know? Like we’d have a few drinks and then start recording the vocals and the percussion and the fun parts from about nine in the afternoon onwards and we would work until about one in the morning.
Tanyel: That sounds very much like the typical uni experience…
Sidonie: It pretty much was like university. We all stayed in a house together; us and the production team. We watched TV in the morning and lived a very student life.
Tanyel: Technically you are working from watching TV…
Sidonie: One of the songs on the album which we’ve just released is called Blue Suitcase, and that was actually written whilst we were in the studio. It was also the last song that we wrote on the album. It was inspired somewhat by a film that we watched whilst we were there called Coherence.
Tanyel: I’ve never seen it, what’s it about?
Sidonie: It’s kind of about parallel universes in a way and Schrodinger’s Cat Theory, which we looked up and got really deep into and absorbed. We spent a lot of our time in the studio discussing it, hence why we wrote a song about it. I guess we were influenced by a lot of things that we watched whilst we were there.
“So many songs are about the normal day-to-day subject topics, and we want to escape that a little bit and make something a little more surreal.”
Tanyel: I love that the album strays so much from the norm of love and heartbreak being the main themes.
Sidonie: So many songs are about the normal day-to-day subject topics, and we want to escape that a little bit and make something a little more surreal. We want the songs to follow the films and the books that we like to watch and read, making a piece of music that we would actually enjoy listening to ourselves as well.
Tanyel: So the record is named after the Silver Dollar Room venue where you had a “moment”, Do you think that there’s enough emphasis on live music today?
Sidonie: I think live music is something that should be treasured way more really. It’s kind of taken for granted. People don’t realise how difficult it is for a band to actually tour – I mean, it’s so expensive! A massive chunk of our money goes on paying for tour drivers and accommodation, so I think more people should put down the money for gig tickets and appreciate going out more. People ask for guest list or they just go for the headline act, which isn’t the full experience. We should be buying merchandise from the bands and buying drinks from the venue, it should be a whole night and an experience rather than going to see one band who you already know. Gigs are there for you to experience something new and discover something.
Tanyel: I once read an article saying that Tinder is closing down pubs because you don’t have to go out to get a date anymore or to meet people, and I guess venues are the same.
Sidonie: It’s so depressing. It’s like with Netflix and that becoming so popular, I also read an article saying that Netflix is killing live music. I guess it is, it’s just so easy nowadays to put on a film on TV at home, and it kind of means that nobody wants to go out anymore.
Tanyel: So finally, if you could have been a fly on the wall at any musical moment in history, what would you have liked to have seen?
Sidonie: I’d have really liked to have seen the emerging punk scene in the 70s. The start of the Buzzcocks and the Sex Pistols and the Damned, coming into popularity in New York. That would have been really cool.
The Orielles‘ Silver Dollar Moment is out on 16th February via Heavenly Recordings.