An odyssey into jazz, samba and disco
Lorenzo Ottone
11:00 26th February 2020

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From Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane’s jazz to Italian Eastern Riviera cosmic disco, space has often been a pivotal and recurring inspiration for generations of artists and music fans. The Orielles are a rare example of both. Inspired by genres as varied as Turkish funk, Italian soundtracks, cosmic jazz, French pop, Brazilian samba and disco, but also acid house and experimental electronica, the Halifax trio – whose members include sisters Esme (bass, vocals) and Sidonie (drums and percussions) Hand-Halford and Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar) – have challenged themselves and pushed their boundaries as far as space to record an impressive follow-up to their acclaimed debut LP Silver Dollar Moment. 

Out on Friday (28 February) on Heavenly Recordings, Disco Volador is the portrait of a mature band taking off into the cosmos to boogie in an intergalactic disco.  The Orielles’ space odyssey into samba is a kaleidoscopic jam where band members explored studio potential in the style of Piero Umiliani’s Sound Workshop alongside producer Marta Salogni. Bravely bridging the gap between indie pop and jazz, The Orielles prove to be an exception in British music. A spaced-out and groovy U.F.O. simultaneously keeping Stereolab and Broadcast heritage alive and providing a much-needed alternative to the current post punk inflation. Lorenzo Ottone chats to the band about the album’s creative process, partying with Altın Gün and why space is the place. 

Gigwise: Was it hard, coming from pop music, to embrace jazz writing?

Sidonie Hand-Halford: It was a natural progression for us, I guess. We wanted to sound more mature and have more than just indie pop. We’ve been listening to loads of new stuff.

GW: Did it come naturally to blend the new influences with your trademark indie sound?

Henry Carlyle Wade: For me it was also based on some of the critiques we received from our first album. I wanted to expand. It was mostly to do with song structures. This time we came up with new, jazzy chords. We had to write them down for our keys player to read, that tells how complex some were.

GW: Did you feel some sort of loyalty pressure towards your fans that made you opt out from recording a purely jazz album?

SHH: It was more a pressure from ourselves rather than from the critiques. We wanted to challenge ourselves and come up with something different from our previous album.

GW: Have you been tempted throughout the creative process to put out a purely cosmic jazz album?

Esme Hand-Halford: The outtakes are pretty much like that. However, jazz is only one of the many influences of the record. When we put the album together, we realised that some songs happened to be more disco, other more pop. 

SHH: I like the idea of doing something with the outtakes. Sometimes I listen back to them and I find bits I really like. 

GW: Stereolab have been a constant inspiration of yours, in your Spotify playlist, though, there’s loads of French pop. How did it come to shape your album?

EHH: I think we’ve always been into that. Especially for me, as a vocalist, it’s a big inspiration. It’s not just the sound, the whole image is brilliant. 

GW: Although you come from indie pop, you’ve been blending it with genres as different as jazz or disco. Do you think that this will bring your younger audience to discover retro sounds?

SHH: I think that ultimately is one of our aims. It’s good of we can get younger people into like Stereolab, A Certain Ratio and those sort of acts.

EHH: We do see that interest especially when we DJ in London at The Social, there’s a real party vibe.

GW: What sort of things are you mostly into at the moment when you DJ?

EHH: I’m quite into Soviet disco at the moment. Recently we went to see Altın Gün playing in Vienna. They were so good we joined them in Budapest too and we DJed at their afterparty. They bring such a party vibe.

GW: Have the new tracks been thought-out to make the audience dance?

SHH: We definitely aim for an emotional engagement from the crowd, so hopefully they will make people dance. We like to improvise on stage with extended jams, which is something we’ve already been doing in the past. 

EHH: I like the idea that the gig becomes a collective ritual, like a dancefloor, although the music isn’t necessarily club music. 

GW: Is there a conceptual theme behind the album?

EHH: There’s definitely an existentialistic theme throughout the album and an attention to climatic issues. While we were in the studio the moon landing anniversary happened too and that lead to an idea of coincidence itself. A recurring theme is temporality and how inspiration is taken from the past and turned into liminal spaces. 

GW: Is the track ‘Euro Borealis’ to be intended as a reference to the ongoing Brexit debate? 

EHH: It could be interpreted that way, but it’s actually a song about constantly touring and being on the road. 

GW: You picked Raissa Pardini for the album artwork. How did the collaboration come to life?

EHH: I think she was the only person who could do the job. We’d been working with her before and she perfectly nailed it. It was a process of sending ideas and cover inspirations back and forth, especially a lot of library music albums and a few Stereolab ones. 

Disco Volador is out on Friday 28 February 2020 on Heavenly Recordings.

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Photo: Press