The Orielles talk silver dollar moments, and giving guitar music a good name

The Orielles (photo credit: Neelam Khan Vela)

The Orielles (photo credit: Neelam Khan Vela)

As The Orielles celebrate their Silver Dollar Moment, they explain to Getintothis’ Cath Bore how the album’s release is just the beginning.

From Halifax, three piece The Orielles comprise of Esme-Dee Hand-Halford (vocals, bass), Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar) and Sidonie B Hand-Halford (drums) released debut album Silver Dollar Moment earlier this month.

Siblings Esme and Sid met Henry at a party, gelled and soon after self released surf pop singles and EPs on vinyl and cassette.

The 7″ of 2015’s Space Doubt is now changing hands for an impressive £20.

The Orielles signed with Heavenly Recordings at the end of 2016, first single for the label, Sugar Tastes Like Salt, catching all by surprise. Produced by Marta Salogni (Bjork, TOY, The xx), the eight and a half minute epic, a trippy experimental psych-postpunk-indie-pop wander was and still is, a beautiful shock after the poppy pleasantries from earlier.

We chat to Sid from the band on the day of Silver Dollar Moment’s release. The Orielles are in a van en route to their first ever in-store signing and performance at Rough Trade in Nottingham.

Getintothis: This must be such a weird day for you.

It’s humbling and almost surreal when we got told we were releasing the album, we were almost a little bit scared at first and apprehensive but now it’s so worth it and it feels great to finally have it out. It’s so nice to see people really enjoying it, I guess.

I got a really nice message on Instagram this morning, like someone said I’ve been having a really bad few months and it had had changed her life, which made us feel so good.

Getintothis: Why did you call the album Silver Dollar Moment? Connected to Canadian Music Week somehow, I hear.

The album title is based on when we went to Toronto, about 2 years ago. We played a venue called the Silver Dollar Rooms, we basically played at two in the morning after playing another show earlier on that night, after landing and collecting our instruments. So we were pretty tired and jet lagged. But to this day it’s still probably one of the best shows we’ve ever played. And ever since then we’ve called every unexpected good moment a silver dollar moment.

Getintothis: You’d have a few good moments since then, I should imagine. The top one must be being with Heavenly, and getting the record out?

Yes, that’s definitely the top one! We’ve been planning this album for so long and to finally have it out feels so good.

Getintothis: Tell me about how you recorded the album. It was made at Eve Studios, in Stockport?

It’s a residential studio, so we can stay over. And it means we can have more freedom with recording, we can work through the night, that kind of thing.  We woke up at a casual time, and usually didn’t start recording until about midday onwards and then there’s no set time to finish so we’d record into the night. Sometimes sessions would go on until two or three in the morning, which is when a lot of the creative ideas tend to come out.

Getintothis: Silver Dollar Moment’s producer, Marta Saologni, has had such an influence on you and broadened your horizons significantly, that’s clear.

She contributed massively. She obviously is an amazing producer and had such great ideas and inspired us massively. But also as a friend. We became so close to her in the studio which meant every idea we had was easy to convey to her because she knew exactly what we meant by it. It was so easy to communicate our ideas to her.

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Getintothis: The final song on Silver Dollar Moment, Blue Suitcase, was written in the studio. It’s the first time you’ve done that?

We had the basis of the song written for a long time, but we knew that it needed more changes, so there was one day that Marta had to go back to London…so we took that day as an opportunity to completely rewrite Blue Suitcase. We were jamming it around for ages, and the night before we’d watched a film called Coherence (the 2013 sci-fi thriller directed by James Ward Byrkit, about the strange happenings after a comet sighting) which gave us a lot of inspiration lyrically and thematically. So that really helped us form the song and make it what it is.  

Getintothis: You self-released an early single, Space Doubt, three years ago. The recording, release and the approach to writing Silver Dollar Moment must be so different from back then.

I think when we wrote and recorded Space Doubt we were a bit naïve, not only just the industry but being a band, gigging and touring. We’d never really done a tour and we didn’t have much knowledge of the whole industry and how things work. We weren’t signed at that point, we released it ourselves, whereas now having a bigger team behind us it makes thing a little bit easier.

In terms of writing during Space Doubt we were just listening to a lot of surfy stuff and we wanted to almost follow a trend. We hadn’t found our feet yet and we wanted to get a solid fanbase, whereas now we just write songs that we like personally and we don’t really think too much about, “oh yeah this is going to be popular”. We write it because we want to write it.

Getintothis: What’s the best thing about being an Orielle?

I think personally the best thing is being with my two favourite people every single day. As soppy as that sounds, Henry and Es, the reason I do this, ha ha, they’re laughing at me now.

Getintothis: Take no notice!

To see their faces when we do something great like at gigs seeing them enjoy themselves makes me really happy and pushes me on.

Getintothis: Your sound has shifted to embrace more instrumentation, but you’re still an indie guitar band. Do you think guitar music gets a bad name, and why do you reckon that is?

Yeah. Perhaps a lot of it the main bands from the indie scene bans such as Blossoms or Catfish and the Bottlemen, people kind of hear that and think “oh it’s just like Oasis, things just being regurgitated back” but I think ultimately there’s so many great guitar bands out there who should be proud of what they’re doing. And more bands should do whatever they want to do and not be forced into a specific scene or anything because…guitar music is always going to be something that people enjoy, and listen to. Despite whether electronic music is in the charts, indie music will always be something that has such a massive, massive listenership.

Getintothis: Why didn’t you put Sugar Tastes Like Salt onto the album? Releasing it as a single last March was the first sign of how much of a leap you were due to take with your debut album. It’s a significant song for The Orielles.

We really wanted to. In short, (the reason is) really because it was too long. It would have meant we had to cut out two songs from the album, which we didn’t want to do. Hopefully it’s going to get a repressing in the future. I think we’re looking at doing something for Record Store Day maybe.

 (Sugar Tastes Like Salt) was the song that when we first got signed to Heavenly, Jeff (Barrett) said I want that one as a single we were like, what, why? But we feel so proud of it now and happy that we did decide to use that.

Getintothis:  Tell me about the video for Let Your Dogtooth Grow. It’s a heck of a surreal trip. I know you guys are into film in a big way.

We came up with the ideas. The director came up with more aesthetical input but we came up with the narrative. The theme of (the song) is based upon Dogtooth by Yorgos Lanthimos a Greek director and it’s about some children that are held captive in their own homes and they’re not allowed out until their dogtooth grows. But little do they know, there’s no such thing as a dogtooth.

So we thought that was a nice idea. It was apt for being in a band, especially us because being fairly young (Sid is 21, Esme and Henry in their late teens) we constantly got people saying to us, you’re never really going to get anywhere because of your age, that’s holding you back. But we wanted to prove with the song, that wasn’t the case.

Getintothis: Tell me about the cover for Silver Dollar Moment. It’s a joyful chaos of colour, very striking.

A guy called Tim Head designed it…we gave him a pretty basic brief which was, we wanted bold, colourful and playful. We wanted a mixture between the Screamadelica cover and a Pastels (album) cover and as soon as we saw it, we had nothing to add to it. It was definitely what we were picturing.

Getintothis: You’ve got UK festival dates this summer, including Sound City, with others yet to be announced. Can we look forward to a new single as well?

We’re talking about another single at the moment. We’re not sure if it’ll be off the album or a new one. We do have a couple of outtakes from the album, we’re in conversation about releasing them so perhaps that’ll happen. If not write a new track, but there’ll definitely be another single before probably summer, I think.

Getintothis: This time last year you’d only played Amsterdam and Canada, and this year you’ve got a European tour ahead of you.  How does that feel?

(We’re) so excited. We keep saying to each other in the van, just to paint the picture to you, we’re stuck in a traffic jam on the m62 and it’s pretty boring, whereas we keep saying to each other, in Europe this is gonna be so different cos we’ll be staring out the window and everything’s going to be interesting.

Getintothis: Will it, though?

We like to think so! It’s going to be a little bit different. But we’re all so excited to play different venues in Europe. We’ve heard from friends things are so different, in a good way. European promoters seem to treat bands super well, apparently, so…looking forward to that!

The Orielles tour/festival dates (with more to be annnounced):

 12 Apr The Garage, London
 13 Apr Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
 14 Apr Gorilla, Manchester
  5 – 6 May Handmade Festival, Leicester
  5 – 7 May Sound City, Liverpool