The Orwells on digging what they do and alternative careers
Chicago garage rockers, The Orwells are fronting Illinois’s punk revival alongside bands like Twin Peaks, and are in the unique position of releasing a third album whilst still in their early 20’s. The band caught the attention of many with a typically wild performance of ‘Who Needs You’ on the Late Show with David Letterman back in 2014, and have since been gigging relentlessly whist nailing down their new material in the studio.
Such rawness rarely has longevity, yet the band have formulated their most consistent record so far, and Terrible Human Beings confidently matches frenzied riffs with an astute commentary on drinking, debasement and short lived love.
The songs, unlike previous work, fluctuate been the compact and the meandering (‘Buddy’ thunders along for a mere 86 seconds whilst the labyrinthine ‘Double Feature’ extends seven) although they often strike a fine balance; clamorous album opener ‘They Put A Body In The Bayou’ is purposeful without feeling rushed, and encapsulates The Orwells’ rough charm.
The Badger caught up with them before they started the UK leg of their European tour.
It’s been two and a half years since your last record; what’s changed?
Lots of mundane stuff. We moved out of our parents homes. Got some haircuts. Voted. All that jazz.
‘Terrible Human Beings’ continues the sense of political frustration which drove parts of ‘Disgraceland’; what’s your prediction for the next four years?
£40 on impeachment. Also, anything that comes across as a reference to something political on this record is probably just a happy mistake, we never consciously tried to touch on that kinda stuff in our songs.
Apple (and GTA!) picked up ‘Who Needs You’, did this enable your music to reach a different audience?
Yeah, of course. That’s why it’s great to get those kinda opportunities because it does nothing but help expand what you made to many more people.
You should have been a doctor or lawyer, but which career would you prefer?
I wanted to be a professional baseball pitcher growing up. Still do. Drink beer in the dugout on the off days, and then smoke fools on the bump.
Banking never crossed your mind?
Your live performances are notoriously spectacular, how do you keep this energy up all tour?
Just dig what we do.
What have all you all been listening to this month?
Everyone has extremely different tastes. So I don’t know. I’ve been into Randy Newman and John Cale.