So, how are you guys today and what have you all been up to?
''Howdy! We're going well thanks, Spring seems to have finally sprung (although it is Manchester and we don't wanna jinx it) so we're mostly just lapping the sun up in Ez's makeshift front porch and doing a bit of people watching. The passersbys probably know that secretly we're very chilly but I think our sunglasses and collective ambition will be making us glow at least.''
How long have you guys been together and how did it all happen?
''We've been playing together for easily over 10 years now! It's a bit crazy really, we were weans back then, but our friendship/ musical bond has been one of the most consistent and familiar things throughout each of our lives. There's no real way to explain how we all decided to play music together but somehow we were just in harmony with each other the second we came together as a three. We all took a section of one piano and started jamming, so we were writing songs together before we had even had a conversation together. Over time this shared energy became a passion to want to actually play shows and make records, which again was natural and unspoken rather than something discussed like 'should we start a band?', it kind of had already started.''
In my head you all live together in one big house like a 1970s sitcom, am I right?
''Haha, on paper that's the dream, a big house with tonnes of music gear and a built-in studio! The reality is that we all have separate abodes in South Manchester and will probably continue living apart so as to sustain the equilibrium we currently have- imagine bringing washing up politics into a practice or something, could be a disaster.''
Your (blistering) gig at the Ritz was the last one I attended before lockdown, when was the last time you performed and how has not performing affected you?
''Shortly after the Ritz show we went on to New York to begin a month-long tour we had booked in America which got cut short by the meltdown of 2020! That was a fucking weird time, being in a post-apocalyptic New York, coming back to a completely locked down Manchester and then not being able to see eachother (or anyone of course) for a solid few months. It was probably the most time we had spent apart since we'd first started playing music together, but on reflection it was a great period for reassessing what we wanted to do as artists, and it birthed all of the projects and ideas that we've been working on since. We were actually lucky enough to play some seated and socially-distant shows in late Summer/ Autumn 2020 during that small window of time when that was a thing, at The Jazz Cafe in London and Belgrave in Leeds. We used them as a little trial performance of most of the soundtrack for our short film La Vita Olistica!''
Have you been working on any new stuff and/or found yourself going in any interesting new directions?
''We've been back in the studio more recently and have been slowly bringing to life all of the ideas we have discussed and jammed for the past 6 months or so, which is very exciting! Although we've always tried to experiment a lot in the studio we have started tapping into that a lot more lately, creating sounds differently with analogue gear, for example using modular synths for the first time. Our song writing has also naturally become a lot more contemplative, we're thinking about the formal elements of composing music and writing lyrics a lot more, getting into a headspace that is much more in keeping with the cinematic/ soundtrack direction that we have always gravitated towards.''
How else have you been filling the time, are you still well into ‘gong baths’? What even are they?
''Gong baths were something we got into during the recording of Disco Volador. Marta Salogni who produced the record created an improvised drone synth piece to go along with engineer Joel's intermittent hitting of a huge gong that we found hidden away in the studio, all we had to do was close our eyes and meditate for the duration of it. It all sounds a bit whacky but we did some extremely zen takes post gong bath haha. Gong baths, yoga, meditation and exercise have been pretty essential through this past year of lockdown to melt the stress away.''
When do you think we’ll be able to come and see you play next, any gigs booked?
''We have been optimistically starting to fill in our calendars with gig dates again over the past few weeks! Not sure if there is much announced yet but it looks as though some festivals are planning to go ahead, so hopefully we'll get our fix of muddy fields again soon. Our main focus is the film that we've spent almost the entire year working on, so screening that in some cinemas and unconventional spaces is our plan for Summer, and we're keen to do some live performances/ expanded cinema kind of exhibitions of it once we're able to.''
The Orielles have now announced a Gig Tomorrow at Studio 9294 ,East London, playing at the Big Bank Holiday Weekender.
Part of the intention behind this series of interviews is to find out some stuff that you do or are into that might surprise, so please tell us all about this film you're making....
''The idea for La Vita Olistica began with the idea that we wanted to rework our album Disco Volador into a live, continuous soundtrack piece, adapting and expanding on the cinematic themes and ideas that were already present in the album to begin with and turning it into this film score for an imagined film. It seemed like DV's life was cut a bit short due to the pandemic (and really just the throwaway nature of culture/ news cycles today), but we're all fascinated by the idea that art is continuous and living, it doesn't become final even once it is released but it continues to diversify and grow.
The lockdown also brought huge pressures to adapt to a new climate of live culture, with zooms and livestreams, which we all felt increasingly disconnected from due to how easy and immediate it had become, and reading a lot about live events in the 1960's such as the moon landing, when live media was first introduced, we realised we wanted to do a 'live session' that was kind of a rethinking of this whole concept and an exploration of the thematic soundtrack.
We were really inspired by expanded cinema, artists like Stan VanDerBeek who created huge multi-screen installations that involved a much more sensory experience of watching compared to viewing something behind a computer screen. We finished editing the film just the other week and can't wait for everyone to see it, but experiencing it properly is important to us and so we'll have to wait a little bit longer until venues and cinemas can reopen.''
Speaking of films is it true you’ve done some soundtracks for other people too? Which soundtracks have been an influence on The Orielles?
That is true! We were asked, by wonderful directors Rose Hendry and Isla Badenoch, to compose an original song for a short film called The Dead are Jewels to Me which just had it's BBC premiere the other week (and is available on catch-up I believe). You can hear us doing our best 'I Only Have Eyes For You' impression! One of our standout iconic soundtracks that we always turn to for inspiration is Miles Davis' score for the film Elevator to the Gallows, Louis Malle's directorial debut.
If anyone was ever able to capture the energy of Jeanne Moreau looking cool as fuck walking through a nocturnal 1950’s Paris in search of her partner in crime, of course it’d be Miles Davis. Miles Davis and his ensemble improvised the soundtrack whilst performing to a projection of the film, creating the aptly woozy score using a sensory and immediate approach, resulting in such a sparse, tense and noir-ish piece, the holy grail of all soundtracks.''
I also believe that there’s been some serious culinary skills being honed in the Orielles camp at the moment, so what’s been cooking?
''Between us I'd say that we're covering a few different culinary bases, but when we come together we usually whip up a pretty mean Lebanese spread. It's all about grains, fresh herby salads with lemon (lots of lemon), and our signature riff on the Muhammara dip phwooaaar. Also there's never a wrong time to talk about Halifax's most iconic dish, the Scollop Speziál; chips, scraps, potato scollop, curry sauce all inside a bread butty, get to your local chippy and ask them to make this, TRUST US.''
What plans do you have next? Your own chain of restaurants/gong baths?
''we are gonna be cooking up some treats in the studio over the next few months, so yes more gong baths and culinary creations inbound I imagine. Also thinking Orielles aprons could be a hit, maybe a full kitchenware range, keep yer eyes peeled!''