The Orwells | Full Interview

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I hope we never get too big to stop playing bar shows though because they’re pretty awesome.

The Orwells last visit to Bristol was a messy and heated affair. Now they’re back and due to take on a bigger, sold-out show at The Fleece this month. We had a quick chat with guitarist Dominic Corso to find out about the dates. 

Is exciting to be taking on another stint over here in the UK?

Oh yeah of course we all love coming to the UK, it’s a home away from home.

Having caught you aboard Thekla last year, your live show seems to be built around impulse?

Yeah Thekla was awesome. It’s been a long run of shows we’ve been playing over the last couple of years but we’ve really just got the live show down to a tee I think. We just get onstage and play as loud as we can with as much energy as we can. We don’t put too much thought into it, it’s just kind of what comes naturally onstage. As long as it’s loud and people can feel the energy, that’s all we really want. Mario used to drink wine onstage a lot, but he’s kind of grown out of it now.

The messy bar shows stay true to the roots of the garage genre, how do they contrast to sharing bigger stages with Arctic Monkeys for instance?

I guess they’re both very different things. We’re very used to bar shows, I guess we’re most comfortable with them. We still think it’s good to play real big shows like Arctic Monkeys in huge rooms, only because more people can see us and then when we come back more people will come to the bar shows. I would say the huge ones are more for promotion but we’re not too comfortable with them yet. We’ve only done a couple so we’re still getting used to those.

You keep getting bigger on every tour, especially here in Bristol, it’s almost a word of mouth thing, how does that feel?

Oh it feels great, I mean it is getting bigger on every tour I guess, in the UK especially. To hear that it’s word of mouth in Bristol is pretty awesome. It’s good that it’s getting bigger you know? We’re still going to just keep it the same, it’s still what we want to do and what the people want to do. I hope we never get too big to stop playing bar shows though because they’re pretty awesome.

You used to bulk up your live show with covers, I guess now it’s mainly ‘Disgraceland’?

For the last couple of years it’s always been a little bit of ‘Disgraceland’ and a lot of ‘Remember When’. We’re mostly playing ‘Disgraceland’ now though. We have cut back on covers but when we’re really drunk we’ll just play old covers because it’s really fun. On this tour we’ll mainly play ‘Disgraceland’, a few old ones and maybe a few covers; we want to learn some new ones though. Next year we want to start getting into some new stuff, it will be an entirely different show then.

To what extent does American life inspire the record itself?

I would say 97% of the record is about American life. Maybe the other 3% is just about being in a band and the things we’ve seen. The record itself is about living in America and growing up the way we grew up. It’s a good conglomeration of our experiences and our lives.

You met in high-school and began playing then, how would you say your sound has developed over the years?

It has differed. I think that it’s always been the same thing since we started, I wouldn’t say it’s getting smarter, but I’d say it’s more sophisticated with our abilities to be honest. It’s been years and we’re getting to be better musicians and we’re trying to make the music display that we’ve grown up in more ways than just getting older. The music is getting better and it’s showing more skill and thought, but we’re still the same band.

What I love about The Orwells is the big colourful guitars, how did you develop that style?

Well we’ve been playing guitar together for years now. We’re twenty now and I guess we’ve been playing together since we were thirteen. We were at middle-school, and we met and found that we liked the same music. We weren’t the best guitarists, just some sloppy kids that started playing together. I guess we learned guitar together and taught each other, our guitar work comes from that and developing our own style. There was many years and many phases we went through before we ended up like we are today. It started off when I showed Matt Radiohead and it blew his mind. Then he wanted to be in a band with me and we went through everything from classic rock to folk.

Standout moments for you were undoubtedly the Jools Holland and Letterman appearances…

We’d always felt like we were barely a band, but once we did Jools Holland and Letterman then it felt like we were a real band. I guess we did feel that in terms of bigger crowds and bigger venues, it really was a significant step in our career. Jools Holland was crazy because I’ve been a fan for years.

So many people play it safe on those shows, it was amazing to see you guys just rip it open…

Yeah we did just want to be ourselves. We didn’t want to think about it too hard and freak ourselves out. Thinking about the people who have played there, I mean the f**king Beatles were on there. It’s an insane stage, it did sound mind-blowing so we just went up and treated it as a normal show.

Lastly, are there any plans in the pipeline for 2015?

Once we finish this tour then we’ll be home for a few months writing as hard as we can. Then we’re coming back in the Spring and Summer to tour and hopefully it will be bigger than the last time.

The Orwells play The Fleece on Friday 21st November.

Check out ‘Who Needs You’ right here: