THIS WEEK: ORWELL
Orwell is a pop band from Nancy, France headed by Jérôme Didelot and I’ve been enjoying their music for a while now. I find it brilliant, interesting, warm, melodic and inspiring. It has the feel of movement, of journeys, of colour (Technicolor) and, yes, sweet blissful melody. And enjoyment should be shared :-).
They are label mates of mine on one of the UK best independent labels – the small but perfectly formed Folkwit Records. Alongside the friendly, commonsense approach of its owner Nick Butcher, the fact that Orwell were on the label was a massive part of me wanting to join them there as Snippet & Johnno Casson.
Despite being a massive fan of their work, I refrain from writing fan letters to Orwell or sending them photos of myself in the nude. But don’t think I haven’t been tempted…
Feeling such a strong comradeship with Jérôme and the music Orwell produce it’s only natural to want to write about them. This band has been constantly on the stereo at Snippet Towers in recent years: their music lifts my mood and brightens my day – try it for yourself. Despite not living a great big love bubble that demands 24 hour sunshine, I do live in a bubble that insists on great music – and lots of it.
Jérôme is an excellent songwriter and it’s quite some achievemnt that he sang Orwell‘s last album Continental in English rather than his beautiful mother tongue. It’s equally impressive that its predecessor Le Génie Humain attracted so much high praise over here – despite the album being sung almost exclusively in French.
Artists – have a think for a second. Just how easy would it be for YOU to sing your next album in another language and make it sound natural? For me, it would certainly be a struggle – so hats off to Jérôme, big time!
In addition to Orwell’s UK albums Le Génie Humain and Continental, the band has also released at least 2 others in their homeland to the best of my knowledge. Their next release will be a digital single and video called Summer Of ’82, written for a German compilation about football and due out in December.
They’ll be also be playing live shows in Spain in the New Year: Miscelanea in Barcelona on January 18th and Fotomaton Bar in Madrid the following night on the 19th. I can only suggest you find time to check out this very special band on record or onstage. Ladies & Gentlemen, I give you: The Prick and Ding Interview with Orwell. Merci.
1. What are you up to at the moment?
Wondering how I will find the courage to go to my little room in the attic – where my gear is and where the temperature must be near 3°C – and work on my new songs.
2. Favourite childhood memory?
I guess endless football matches on the playgrounds around my parents’s house. To me the saddest moments were when daylight went out or when the other kids had to go back home. I could have played all night long.
Many… As a kid, a fantastic Belgian comic book hero called Gaston Lagaffe. Totally useless to society but definitely essential! After that… well… Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man, 1982’s Brazilian national football team, David Bowie in the late 70’s, Theodore Sturgeon… And probably the cook who invented Banoffee Pie.
Villains don’t deserve a line, do they?
5. What/who makes you laugh?
I must confess many British! Not very original but The Monty Python’s Flying Circus of course. For the readers who can read French, I advise a French cartoonist called Goossens who is absolutely unique and hilarious. Recently I laughed a lot watching a TV show called Curb Your Enthusiasm.
6. Describe what you do?
Is it presumptuous to answer “music” to that question? I guess I’m trying to find a bridge between the English/American music I’ve always loved and my French identity. So I try to write in French songs I imagine in English, which is sometimes challenging.
7. Whose hair would you like to have for just one day?
On a cold winter day having ex football player Carlos Valderrama’s hair must be quite comfortable.
8. Best musical experience to date?
I have a particular memory of a show in a derelict train wagon in Stuttgart (Germany). It could not move but we really went somewhere that night… Couldn’t tell where precisely. Also a wonderful collaboration with James Warren from Stackridge/The Korgis, who has one of my favourite’s voices and who wrote one of my favourite ever songs, Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime.
9. What artist inspires you?
There are two kind of inspiring artists to me: the ones whose songs are really models for the humble songwriter I am (High Llamas, The Divine Comedy…) and the ones I’d never dream of approaching only (Bowie, Scott Walker, Talk Talk, Sakamoto…).
10. What does Fresh On The Net mean to you?
I discovered it thanks to a great English musician named Johnno Casson alias Snippet. Generosity and enthusiasm could summarize his music as well as the philosophy of Fresh On The Net.