Well, next week sees the release of Orbital's first
new track since 'Beached' at the beginning of 2000. 'Funny Break
(One's Enough)' is out next Monday (April 16), and with the excellent
long-player 'The Altogether' to follow on April 30, we got together
with Phil Hartnoll for an exclusive run-through of the background
to all the tracks on their monstrous sixth album. Not only that,
but we've got the promo video for 'Funny Break (One's Enough)'
as well. Enjoy!
"I've been thinking about the whole LP in general, and to me it's
like a nice little day out at Thorpe Park. All the fun of the
fair - you go for a nice day out with a group of mates. It's to
be listened to with friends, and shared with friends, and you
get all the different rides. You start with 'Tension', and this
is like the biggest, fastest rollercoaster ride. It reminds me
of my old punk days - Paul calls it "techno psychobilly for the
21st century". It's a great laugh to me, it's just a release for
all your tension."
Funny Break (One's Enough)
"That's your love tunnel ride. I went to a house-warming party
for this girl called Naomi Bedford. It got late in the night,
everyone got pissed, and she went upstairs, got the guitar and
started singing - and we just thought, 'Jesus Christ, she's got
an excellent voice.' We were going to have this big orchestral
brass section, but instead we gave her a demo, one thing led to
another and we ended up with that vocal on it, which I think is
lovely." To watch the video for 'Funny Break (One's Enough)',
"It's a very funny LP. It's not heavy - this is what I mean about
the funfair. 'Oi!' is in that vein. It just started out from one
of those sessions when you're listening to old records and something
just leaps out at you. We just grabbed the Ian Dury loop off the
shelf, and Paul and our engineer Mickey Mann knocked it into shape
from there. Something that's quite spooky, though, is that we
found out he'd died when we were in the middle of recording it.
So, conceptually, it was born when he died. It's a strange little
connection - quite touching for us."
Pay For View
"Nick Waplington is a photographer, and the BBC gave him the budget
to produce a 40-minute art film. He's a mate of ours, and asked
us to do the music. He went around the world just filming things
that he saw - and one of the most striking things was of South
American prostitutes in G-strings with fat businessmen ogling
them. That gave us the theme - but we then turned it into something
quite beautiful. It's a tribute to prostitutes - because they
are just taking the piss out of men, really!"
"This is my brother's baby. We did the Lollopalooza with the rock
band Tool, which was fantastic. We got to know them, got to know
their music. When we got back, Paul bought loads of their stuff
- so this is just a montage of bits and pieces of Tool records,
"It's a bit more of a traditional Orbital song, I would say. Which
is just the way it turned out, really. It's got a bit of a two-steppy,
drum'n'bassy kind of vibe to it. It's just from playing with a
new synthesiser that I've got, and it all going ballistic. Me
dancing around the studio on my own, testing out me sub-bass."
"That started off just for a laugh, live. We normally try to chuck
something in live for a bit of fun - but obviously this a highly
respected, fantastic tune. It was so out there at the time, and
still is. Doing a cover of it is really difficult even now, with
all this technology. Delia Derbyshire was out there, that girl,
she really was! We did that live version and people loved it!
We weren't even going to do it on the LP, but people on the Internet
and our website made it obvious that they really, really wanted
a copy of it. So it's there through popular demand."
"This is the ghost train of the theme park! The mood of that came
about because we were working with Paul Anderson and Jeremy Bolt
- who we've done stuff like Event Horizon for. There was this
pilot episode he was working on which was called 'Shadows', and
was a bit of a 'Sixth Sense' supernatural thing, solving the mystery
as to why ghosts were in purgatory. We wrote the whole thing from
script, but then some person in LA flexed their muscles and thought
that our stuff was too weird, or whatever. This track was actually
written for a graveyard scene, and I'm actually quite pleased
that they didn't use our music, because we got some fantastic
tracks out of it."
Waving Not Drowning
"Ah, a lovely little track! This is another one to come from the
Nick Waplington thing - well, the guitar at the beginning comes
from that and we made it into a full-on piece. It's very naive,
very playschool, so I suppose it's the soft play area for the
under-threes! It's just so jolly - it's from looking forward to
summer. It could also be the dodgems or the waltzers, because
it breaks down into that carousel bit in the middle. It's kinda
"Yeah, this was a track that Paul wrote a couple of years ago.
David Gray is actually my brother-in-law, so it's keeping it all
well within the family! Anyway, Paul always felt that the track
needed a male vocal, and David came down at the time and did a
quick vocal on the top just to get how it would sound with that
on top. We were a bit unsure, so it went back on the shelf. It
wasn't right for the last one, but it came out of the vaults again
last year, and it really matured well on the shelf! It's the most
song song that we've ever done, so it's a bit of a departure for
us. People seem to really hate it, or really love it. Orbital
fans love a good moan, so it'll give them something to moan about!"
"It was a brilliant experience for us - we're a great fan of Scott
Walker's anyway. The theme was to collaborate with a contemporary
choreographer. We just connected with her when she was doing one
of her pieces. It's a bit like writing for a scene for a film,
because there's stuff to go with it. So Lea Anderson [the choreographer]
had a big part in the writing of the track, even though she didn't
actually write a note."