Orbital - Interview & Concert Tickets Giveaway
British electronic music legends Orbital released their tenth album today, with the "varied and bangin'" (The Arts Desk) Optical Delusion generating appropriately rave reviews across the music press. To celebrate, Townsend Music spoke about the record to brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll and are proud to offer two tickets for one lucky winner to an Orbital gig of your choice from the forthcoming UK & Eire Tour.
Optical Delusion is the Hartnoll brothers' first studio album since 2018’s Monster’s Exist. Recorded in their Brighton studio, the album includes contributions from Sleaford Mods, Penelope Isles, Anna B Savage, The Little Pest, Dina Ipavic, Coppe, and The Medieval Baebes.
TM: Optical Delusion emerges five years after Monsters Exist and a lot has happened in the world over that time. With titles and concepts like ‘Ringa Ringa (The Old Pandemic Folk Song)' is it fair to say that world events heavily influenced the writing of the record? Both together: Yes! (laughter)
Paul: There’s definitely a pandemic influence. 'Ringa Ringa' was a pandemic folk song from way back, with a darker meaning, and now with rave sensibilities. There’s 'Requiem For The Apocalypse'; I did wonder at the time and still wonder if this was going to be 'it'? Has the apocalypse begun? The "New Abnormal" was about this utterly bizarre life we were living at the time. It wasn’t normal, was it? Weird.
Phil: We both wrote our own tracks from an isolation point of view. None of my tracks were about the fucking pandemic may I just say; mine are all about hedonism.
TM: The album is notably heavy on guest appearances from Mediaeval Baebes to Sleaford Mods - certainly it's Orbital's most vocal album. Was this a conscious choice before writing the record or did this evolve during production in your Brighton studio?
Paul: It just evolved during production.
Phil: Nothing ever, ever, is ever a conscious decision.
Paul: Sometimes, but not that particular aspect, it just happened naturally.
TM: Following on the guest appearances, is there anyone - past or present - you have always wanted to collaborate with and why? Paul: Kate Bush. Do I need to give you an answer why!?
Phil: Prince Charles.
Paul: That’s left field!
Phil: No, I meant Prince!
Paul: I’d draw the line at Kate Bush. No, I’d throw in Dolly Parton.
Phil: Dolly Parton, yeah!
Paul: I’d possibly go Kenny Rodgers.
Phil: Debbie Harry.
Paul: I’d like to do one with Christine & The Queens!
"Optical Delusion is a poignant depiction of the most claustrophobic time of our lives. It’s an album that acknowledges the trepidation we all felt... whilst paving a way forward." - CLASH Magazine
TM: On the subject of songwriting, does the way that you imagine the listener interacts with Orbital inform the music you compose nowadays? Are you writing for the dancefloor or the living room in 2023?
Paul: No, I’m writing for me, because if you don’t then you’re not going to please anyone in the living room or the dancefloor.
Phil: I’m writing for myself, the living room is the dancefloor in my house!
Paul: According to Sophie Ellis-Bextor!
TM: The first single ‘Dirty Rat’ dropped like a bomb last year with the exceptional Jason Williamson’s (Sleaford Mods) characteristically caustic viewpoint expressed in no uncertain terms...
Paul: Dropped like a bomb?!
Phil: That doesn’t sound good does it?
TM: ...do you share Jason’s viewpoint of the current political malaise and, if you didn’t, would you still be willing to give someone the freedom of a message that opposes your own over your music?
Paul: Interesting! We do agree with him. I would hope I would.
Phil: Oh come on! It might go up the white supremacy route!
Paul: Well, I’d draw the line, I’d hope to be tolerant of someone’s difference of opinion.
Phil: No I wouldn’t, if it’s got a different political (viewpoint) - if it’s something we disagree with, no.
Paul: Ok yeah, keep it simple and I’ll go with him!
Optical Delusion is available now on physical and digital formats including Deluxe Download featuring three new bonus tracks.
Enter our exclusive giveaway to be in with a chance of winning two tickets to an Orbital gig of your choice from the forthcoming UK & Eire Tour 2023: 16.03 Limerick The Big Top
17.03 Dublin National Stadium
18.03 Belfast Mandela Hall
28.03 Glasgow SWG3
29.03 Newcastle NX
30.03 Manchester Albert Hall
31.03 Bristol 02 Academy
01.04 London Eventim Apollo
05.04 Leeds 02 Academy
06.04 Cambridge Corn Exchange
07.04 Nottingham Rock City
08.04 Brighton Centre
The winner will be chosen on Monday 27th February 2023.
N.B: If the competition entry module is inaccessible, enter the giveaway directly via the button below.