Ahead of making their return to Salford this Sunday to play Sounds from the Other City for Heavenly Records, we asked writer Amelia Crombleholme to profile the band. The 24 months since their debut SFTOC have been enormous, and we can’t wait to have them back this Sunday.
The Orielles are from Halifax, made up of sisters Esme Dee (vocals, bass) and Sidonie B. (drums) Hand-Halford, Henry Carlyle Wade (guitar, vocals), and Alex Stephens (keys). The band met as children and have played together ever since. Several of the members were still in their teens and at university while recording the 2018 debut album, Silver Dollar Moment, at Manchester’s EVE studios.
The Orielles embrace a DIY aesthetic, inspired by 90s alternative bands such as Pixies and Sonic Youth. Silver Dollar Moment (a name for “anything that’s unexpectedly brilliant”) ranged from garage rock to disco-inspired pop and was widely acclaimed. They are also heavily inspired by film, particularly the works of Quentin Tarantino, and their single Let Your Dog Tooth Grow was named after an earlier work by The Favourite director Yorgos Lanthimos. Their videos are often shot as mini films with a narrative.
The band made their SFTOC debut in 2017, and this Sunday they will return to play Unit 3 alongside Heavenly Recordings label mates Working Mens Club. In the intervening 2 years between they’ve not been slacking, touring all over Europe and playing many festivals including Y Not and End of the Road.
They’ve also been recording their second album; and while they’ve yet to release any new material, they recently shared a playlist full of tracks that inspired them. Judging from the range of artists, including CAN, Wilko, and Brian Eno, we can expect the new album to be even more experimental and creative.
Sidonie has become a Mental Health First Aid Champion for the Mind Map. She says: “I meet and work with a lot of people on tour who struggle with their mental health. In the past I might have waited for them to approach me, but now I’d have more confidence to reach out.”
She has also co-started Boogie Bitches, a “female-led DJ collective in the North of England.”
The Orielles play Unit 3, 9.30pm
Toilets: we all need them, we all use them. A fact of life, much like the queue to use one at a festival being the most boring part of any day. Minutes spent waiting, while you could be off doing something else, something fun, something exciting. Naturally, spotting a section of SFTOC that was sub-optimal, we have taken decisive action for this Quindecennial year: and we’re happy that L.A.L (or, Life At Large) have accepted the roles of Portaloo attendants for this special edition of the festival.
As well as undertaking all the usual, not so glamorous tasks that you’d expect of the position, the L.A.L. team – artists Amy Pennington & Kevin Clarke – will be on hand to make sure that not a moment of the day is wasted, bringing fun and wonder to the obligation of waiting to have a wee. Expect Karaoke, make-overs, and a million other things beside: there’s every chance the bogs are going to be the most exciting spot at the entire festival. You can find out more over on Instagram, where we’ve given the L.A.L. team carte blanche to do whatever they’d like with our Stories for the day. Follow in full here: https://www.instagram.com/sftoc/
Life At Large have just come off the back of a hugely successful spell of running their own Health Spa Retreat at Islington Mill, which promised to “Take your mind of the woes of the world and come to our non for profit but for profit FEEL GOOD health spa. Here at FEELGOOD we do exactly that while you watch us. There is plenty of opportunity at Feel good to talk out any issues, get a makeover, dance, feel isolated, start a new hobby”. You can see their promo material for it below.
More about L.A.L.
L.A.L is a queer-led performance duo using satire & comedy to create performance, video & print. By subverting the language of wellness our work critiques mental health rhetoric under capitalism. We create interactive performance environments temporarily queering the galleries, institutions & community spaces we inhabit: challenging power structures & questioning who gets to feel good, when & how.
Our workshops and interactive performances are designed to be all inclusive for our participants and co-creators. Our aim is to create a safe space which encourages creativity and play to take place.
L.A.L is a long term collaboration between artists Amy Pennington & Kevin Clarke who have worked with Duckie Queer Fun 2017, Camberwell Arts Festival 2018, Islington Mill 2018, Strange Perfume South London Gallery 2018, Manchester Contemporary 2018, Planes & Perverts LGSMigrants fundraiser 2019.
Describing themselves as Andy Kaufman-esque pub pop, Grotbags are another band billed for a large crowd at this years Soundstown. They’re a bad Dad joke kind of ensemble pushing things back to the pop punk era of eyeliner clad poster boys and low rise bass playing. But fear not, they have sternly said that they’re ready to blow everyone away this May bank holiday. As anticipation for their set rises high, Emma Davidson chatted with the quirky quintet about what they have instore for us at this years SFTOC.
Who are Grotbags?
In alphabetical order. Beckie Davies, Benjamin John Pitman, Ian Dominic Breen, Morgan Lane and Nick Colman.
Tell me about yourselves and how you started as a band?
The true inception was the realisation that we all wanted to get into festivals without paying.
We also started because Morgan said to Ben that he wanted to start a pop rock band that sounded like They Might Be Giants, Nick was the only drummer we know that would do it, we didn’t want Mike singing, plus Morgan can’t sing and play guitar at the same time so we got Ian to do it. After a bit we realised we wanted to sound more like the Glitter Band so we got Beckie in.
Any reference to the 90’s TV show Grotbags?
Describe your sound and where you draw inspirations from?
We are a pub pop band.
Morgan: We draw our inspiration from whatever I’ve been listening to most when I decide to write a song, whether that’s George Ezra, Squeeze or more recently Steeleye Span and Slade.
Ben: Andy Kaufman, Frank Sidebottom, D-Generation X, Chas and Dave, Speedo (aka John Reis).
Ian: Jakobinarina are a big vocal influence.
What can we expect out of your live set?
Pretty much this but with one more person on stage. https://youtu.be/3zfVYdMvvPc
Also we’ve been listening to the shipping forecast a lot recently and there’s been some really weird reports of a lighthouse keeper that’s gone berserk and is currently tearing their way up the coast headed for Salford. I think it’s something related to this weird book of religious looking scribbles we found on a day trip to Fornby and there’s a sense that it’s all going to come to a head around 3ish at SFTOC.
Have you attended SFTOC before? How do you feel about playing it this year?
I think we’re pretty much the SFTOC house band now. Whether they like it or not.
Ben: As a visionary promoter (Bad Uncle) I’ve had the pleasure of booking acts for 10 years at Sounds. After going through the previous line ups I knew I had to pick the best band I ever booked for the Quindecennial, so without question I opted for the Greatest Band in the World™, Grotbags.
Morgan: I’ve been to lots of sounds but I can’t remember what I did at any of them apart from DJing at that Chatroulette disco where somebody with bitch written on their chest stuck something up their bum live on webcam.
Ian: This will be my 8th time being involved in Sounds in some form of another. I’ve played various times since 2006 with my old bands Day For Airstrikes, Well Wisher and Borland, plus I helped co-run two stages with This City Is Ours and Mind On Fire in 2011 (while also playing three sets that day). Myself and Beckie both fronted the Borland/Champion Lover Big Band for Bad Uncle one year and I also took part in Bad Uncle’s TV stage in 2014, where I triumphed in the Stars In Their Eyes segment with my absolutely killer rendition of Bowie’s Sound And Vision (complete with interpretive dance by Paul Hallows in a crab costume).
Beckie: I’ve still got that eyeball helmet thing I wore at Family Fortunes in 2014 when we lost because my serial killer picks were too obscure. I think I kept it on until 3/4am. Also, I didn’t see any bands at Sounds for at least two consecutive years in the early 2010s.
Who are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?
Nick: Morgan on pills.
Ben: The Uber driver at the end of the night, also Upset Stomach are killer, go see them straight after seeing us.
Do you think festivals like SFTOC are important for artists?
Morgan: Yeah definitely, as long as everything runs smoothly, people get paid and the organisers are on the ball, festivals like this need to be carefully planned.
What has been your favourite ever gig?
Ben: The Cure at Primavera Sound 2012, or Parts & Labor at The Klondyke in Levenshulme.
Beckie: I can’t think of any gigs. Maybe Kate Bush. If you can count festival sets then Pet Shop Boys at Glasto 2010.
Morgan: Legit mines either Kraftwerk at the velodrome or British Sea Power at Tan Hill Inn.
Nick: Favourite gig I’ve attended was Riot Fest in Chicago where Weezer did ‘Blue’ and Slayer did ‘Reign in Blood’. Fave Grotbags gig was the one at Wharf Chambers in Leeds where there was a kid so Breen changed the lyrics to be child friendly.
Ian: Grotbags played a gig at Maguires in Liverpool (RIP) and it was mint cause we got free booze and pizza. 10/10
Anything you’re listening to at the moment?
Ben: Charli XCX, Martha, Mike Krol, PUP, The Beths, The Smarthearts, Kermes.
Beckie: Haven’t listened to an album in ages. I think the last one was Broadcast, but Spotify says J Dilla and Earl Sweatshirt.
Morgan: Last thing I listened to was that Jakobinarina album. That plus Lizzo and Teenage Fanclub.
Nick: I’m at home off sick and Lynsey’s playing System of a Down.
Have you been working on some new material for the festival?
We’re in the studio the week before the festival recording an album, so who knows what treats we will have in store for all the lucky people attending.
If people haven’t heard your music before where should they start?
A strong start would be to come down to our stage at 3pm and have your day ruined by seeing the best thing first.
Best party trick?
We don’t like parties and tricks are for kids.
Watch Grotbags play SFTOC at 3:15, Unit 5.
it’s @sftoc on sunday. they’ve changed it this year and all the bands playing are now competing in an over the top battle royal. i hope you’re ready @seethruhands @TheOrielles @upsetstomachuk @we_are_ill @Tirikilatops @barneyartist @scalpingmusic @himHallows @IMPA_TV pic.twitter.com/utFyA2PX5X
— GROTBAGS (@GROTBAGSBAND) April 29, 2019
In our final Instagram takeover before the big day (3 days to go!), we’re handing the keys over to Frank N Hank – who were involved in creating the vision for our 2015 festival with their MICRO COSMIC DELIRIUM. Find out more about what to expect from them below, as well as reading an exclusive interview on their plans for the big day too! Follow the carnage over on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/sftoc/
Tickets are now SOLD OUT – however, resale is available through Skiddle. If you need to sell a ticket you can’t use any more, or buy a ticket, you can find out more via our post here: https://www.soundsfromtheothercity.com/2019/04/30/sounds-from-the-other-city-quindecennial-tickets-are-sold-out/
👑Drawing on and re interpreting traditional May Day celebrations, participating dancers will take part in a choreographed chaos dance to bless and celebrate the new site. A Queen Big Wig will be chosen and, garlanded in finery to become guardian of the good party vibes, holding court until the next festival.
Frances Heap and Hannah Bitowski really made their mark when they joined us as part of the 2015 art direction team. Under the name Costumologist x Faux Queens they created ‘Microcosmic Delirium’ ☄️- the party spirit in its most viral form, embodied by costume, installation and performance. Then they set it loose on our festival – letting it spread across venues to infect the audience something terrible. This year we’ve invited them back – and given them carte blanche to wreak havoc on on our Quindecennial.💥
You were part of our artistic director team for SFTOC 2015 – what have you been up to since then?
Since 2015,we’ve gone in different directions, Amy and Hannah’s highlight (Faux Queens) was supporting Peaches as their last show before Amy moved away to Japan, another big change to the group. Some of us have moved town, done residencies, started a family, live on a boat, but we’re all still creating in one form or another.
What are your memories of that day? Personally, I remember the colour and the energy that you brought to the festival: turning up outside the Mill and immediately being blown away by how vibrant everything was
Our memory from 2015 is a kind of manic energy, non-stop whirlwind, free roaming around Salford and all the unique interactions we had along the way, especially related to the gift giving cat bum handbag, which will be rekindled this year!
Top memories include randomly gate crashing a kids birthday party (non Sounds associated) just round the corner from the Mill in the housing estate. The big balloon disco dancing explosions in First Chop and the big pinata smashing procession with Barberos are all highlights for us. The general memory of the day was electric, colourful and excited, one we will never forget.
Could you give us an idea of what to expect from yourself this time out?
This year we are bringing a Maypole to sounds, and we invite the audience to dance and bless the new festival site with us, whilst crowning some queens with ‘big wigs’ in the process, so expect more colour from us and some loosely organised fun and dancing!
Finally – is there anything you’re particularly looking forward to on the day?
We’re both especially looking forward to seeing what all the other art directors are up to and generally seeing the magic of all the creations together in the new space, and of course, seeing the maypole in action!
As well as our Quindecennial at Regent’s Trading Estate, we’re sure that SFTOC goers will be heading round to some of their favourite Salford haunts for a couple of drinks. As previously mentioned, wristband holders can come and go as they please – and we’re certain that many will be making the small walk over to The Eagle Inn, where VAM are holding a Sounds Fringe Street Party.
Free entry for SFTOC ticket holders and the general public alike, the line-up features some Sounds legends and is certain to be a fine addition to the Quindecennial vibes.
Hesska b2b Clemency – DJ
Daniel Ruane (DJ)
LOW POWER STATE (DJ)
Address: Eagle Inn, 19 Collier St, Greengate, Salford M3 7DW
More about VAM
VAM is a collective group set up as a platform for visual artists, musicians, and audience to share and experience creative ideas. The collective encourages artist to perform and collaborate at events without promoter restriction such as a set genre. VAM events are opening up a space for live visuals and electronic music in Manchester. Whether you’re interested in performing or supporting, come join the vamily!
More about The Eagle Inn
Located in Salford just a stone’s throw from Deansgate and Victoria train station, The Eagle Inn is a friendly, relaxed and traditional local pub with a long history dating all the way back to 1848.
But there’s much more to The Eagle Inn than just the traditional bar. In 2014 a terraced house that stood empty next door to the pub was converted into a bespoke, fully functioning 80 capacity venue complete with raised stage and balcony, all the while retaining some of the house’s original features (look out for the fireplace – you’ll know it when you see it).
As well as working with established and longstanding promoters from Greater Manchester and beyond, The Eagle Inn prides itself on being a welcoming, supportive space and a creative hub for the area’s grassroots artistic communities; with many now successful bands, artists, performers and promoters cutting their teeth within its walls.
Thanks to this rare combination of space, attitude and approach, The Eagle Inn is able to accommodate a full calendar of live music, spoken word, comedy, theatre, film screenings, exhibitions and much more on almost every night of the week.