They’re young, they’re wised-up, and they’re turning up the indie-pop scene with teenage dreams in baggy jeans. We caught up with drummer, Sid Hand-Halford, ahead of filming a live session at The Greystones.
Made up by Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar, vocals), Sidonie B Hand-Halford (drums) and Esmé Dee Hand-Halford (bass, vocals), The Orielles draw influence from an eclectic fusion of sounds which span music’s most pivotal decades. It throws me simultaneously back to the acid-dance ‘Haçienda’ pulses that drove the rave culture of 90s Manchester, the electric pop-funk of 80s new-wave music and various other flavours which take the listener even further beyond. One thing’s clear, though, the flavourful indie rhythms of the West Yorkshire group spit in the face of anyone dumb enough to say that girls can’t rock.
So, what’s the story behind ‘The Orielles’?
Well, Esmé and I are sisters and we met Henry at a house party. We got on really well because we all had similar tastes in music, and ended up jamming together the next day. It wasn’t until a couple of years down the line that we properly formed The Orielles.
You and your sister come from quite a musical family. Your Dad was in a band, The Train Set. Did he inspire or encourage you both to pursue music?
He didn’t encourage us before we developed an interest in music ourselves, it was quite natural, but he really encourages us now that we’re in a band. Because he used to be in a band, he wants to make sure that we get everything we can from the experience. He’s got this saying, “sew your boots”, which basically means try to make the most of the situation.
Who are your broader musical influences? Are there any clashes of taste between you all?
We all have quite similar tastes in music, and haven’t yet experienced any clashes because our musical influences are really broad. We like the Pixies and that kind of 90s alternative sound. There’s also 70s dance music and post-punk 80s from the New York underground scene like ESG and Talking Heads. Henry’s really into jazz and hip-hop. We listen to more international music from places like Africa, too. Yeah, it’s really broad.
Biggups on signing to Heavenly Records. Was the label already on your radar?
It was definitely already on our radar. We’re big fans of a lot of bands that they’ve worked with. It wasn’t just about the bands that they signed, though, but the way Heavenly Records worked with them, which we really admired. They’re so respectful of the artists’ music, it feels really authentic.
There’s a bit of an influx of girl-fronted bands at the moment, like Girl Ray and Manchester’s Pale Waves, which is great to see. But do you think that being a predominately female group has caused issues for you in the industry so far, especially since the indie genre is notoriously male-dominated?
It’s definitely got better in the last year or so; there are loads of girl bands out there now – like you said, Girl Ray. But, particularly when we first started out, I’d say that yes, being a girl band together with being so young made it really difficult to be taken seriously. I remember this one time really clearly when I was sound checking and I went out into the bar after. A group of men approached me and told me that they were expecting a man to walk out of the door after hearing drums played like that. They asked to be guestlisted later, which obviously I said no to. HA!
What message do you want to put across to girls who want to be in bands?
Basically not to give a shit about what other people might say about you. There’s absolutely no reason why being a girl should have any effect on what you can do. Music shouldn’t be about gender, and don’t let it hold you back from what you’re doing. Don’t be afraid. There’s loads of support out there now, so don’t be disheartened.
The title of your latest single, ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’, is a line from Quentin Tarantino’s slasher film ‘Death Proof’. What’s the significance of that?
The scene of the film is Stuntman Mike saying to Pam: “Well, damn, if you ain’t so sweet you make sugar taste just like salt”. It’s picking up these themes of deception, basically saying that things aren’t so face-value. That’s what we wanted to draw on for the song.
You worked on the single with Marta Salogni, who’s recently worked with names like Bjork, M.I.A, and White Lies. How was that?!
It was absolutely amazing; I think she’s a genius. She literally turns everything into gold. We would go in to the studio and just do our thing and then listen to her mix it afterwards, it was incredible. We got to spend two weeks with her so we were really lucky, she’s so much fun. It was an amazing opportunity.
Your EP ‘Jobin’, which you released last year with Art is Hard Records, has its own namesake in quite a peculiar source, the hilariously awkward scene in I Love You Man when Paul Rudd’s character says ‘See you later jobin’. Where does this strange love for Paul Rudd stem from?
Actually just from that film! He’s a really funny guy, we just love Paul Rudd!
When you’re not writing music and gigging, what do you like to get up to?
Esme and Henry are still students so they’re mostly distracted with that. I just graduated this year so I’m sort of floating about. I do things most people my age get up to, I see friends, and go out. I like reading and writing. Henry is really into art, and creating it too, so he spends a lot of time on that. Also, as you can probably tell from earlier, we’re all mega into films. We like getting together, watching a strange or funny film and then talking about it for ages afterward.
Musically, where do you want ‘The Orielles’ to be next year?
Our album is debuting in February next year so we hope that goes really well and gets some good attention. We love playing festivals and so we would like to do as many as possible. We actually already have a few lined-up already for next summer which is really exciting! In terms of the back-end of next year, we would love to take advantage of any chances to do more shows abroad to see what opportunities there are out there for our music.
The Orielles play Yellow Arch Studios on February 17th. Head ‘ere for tickets.