There’s something different about The Orielles. Sisters Esme Dee and Sidonie B Hand-Halford, along with their childhood friend Henry Carlyle Wade, are barely out of their teens. As a young indie band, they look the part, for sure. But there’s something about their refreshingly boisterous, carefree attitude that sets them apart from the rest.
Esme (bass, vocals) and Henry (guitar, vocals) came skipping into the tent for our interview after their set at Y Not festival in Derbyshire – Sid (drums) was running late. They each held a can of Budweiser in one hand, and between them they were carrying the rest of the crate. They’d certainly earned the beers, having drawn in a decent sized crowd for an early afternoon slot on the festival’s main stage.
“Yeah, it was alright,” Esme humbly concedes. “We were missing a member because he’s currently shaking hands with Paul McCartney at his graduation.”
The three-piece, hailing from Halifax, West Yorkshire, have indeed recently become four, with the addition of a new keyboard player. “We got a new keys player and we played lots of shows with him,” explains Henry. “We played this one without him and there’s just something missing.”
Despite missing a man, and Henry’s on-stage admission that the band were quite small for such a big stage, The Orielles still smashed their set, which was far higher in profile than their last gig at the same festival in 2016.
“We played at like half eleven on the squid stage,” recalls Henry. “We were more there for the festival. I mean, we had to wake up at like half eight to get there.”
The Orielles were formed, albeit under a different name (“We had a bad name,” admits Esme. “We don’t say the old name”), not long after the Hand-Halford sisters met Henry at a family friend’s party.
“Sid and Es actually met in a hospital,” jokes Henry. “Picture this, Es was a newborn baby, Sid was a three-year-old baby, and by chance they just met in the hospital. Es was actually born with a bass pick in her right hand.”
Although Esme and Sid did technically meet in a hospital, the idea of forming a band properly came about a few years later.
“Me and Sid just picked up our instruments and started playing,” says Esme. “And a few years down the line we thought, maybe we should try to start a band properly, and that’s how it went.”
“We played together for quite a while before we actually started being a band,” adds Henry. “Which I think helped with playing together as a unit, we were a bit more tight.”
The Orielles signed to Heavenly Recordings in late 2016, joining the likes of Baxter Drury, Gwenno and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, and soon got to work on releasing their debut album.
Silver Dollar Moment came out in February, and is a joyful package of summery indie pop that fits the members’ personalities to a tee. Just as we get about discussing the record, Sid comes bounding in to join us, to cheers from her bandmates.
“Quick, join in,” Henry tells her. “What did you think of the album?”
“No, fucking The Beatles.”
“Yeah it was good.”
“You’ve just arrived and that’s all you can bring to the table?” Esme asks her sister. “You can go back!”
Henry admits that the band didn’t expect to be putting an album out, and that all news is good news as far as they are concerned.
The Orielles are certainly a creative bunch. In their formative years they created all their own artwork, and have even made a number of their own videos, including one for the eight-and-a-half minute ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’ which could probably pass as a short film.
“I guess it makes it more personal,” explains Sid. “We always like to get on with everything ourselves, because we enjoy doing artwork as well. Henry does art at college and it’s something that we like and are really specific about.”
“Sid and Es are both massive film buffs, so the videos are all our own,” adds Henry.
In their tour van, the band play a game which is a spin on the television show ‘Would I Lie To You’. “It passes the time,” says Henry. “Sid’s good, because she has stories that are slightly out of character. Like one where she stopped a guy robbing an egg and cress sandwich because it was the last one and she wanted it. Sid’s not really the type of person to stop a robbery, but also she loves egg and cress sandwiches.”
There will be plenty of time for these games for the band in the coming months. As well as a plenty more festival gigs, including Electric Fields and End of the Road, The Orielles have a UK tour coming up.
“We’re actually going to space,” adds Esme. Henry elaborates. “Elon Musk asked us a while ago, he was like ‘I want to send your record to space in the Tesla’, so we’re actually going to space next week. We’re also doing a load of festivals and we’ve started writing the next album. One of those is false, try and guess which one.”
The band laugh, as they always seem to be doing, and go off to enjoy the festival for a short while before hopping back on the bus to their next adventure. The Orielles are keeping busy, but there’s certainly no danger of that getting in the way of their sense of humour.
See where you can catch The Orielles here.