Animalistic. Fevered. Debauched.
The Orwells are all that and more. Well, onstage at least. Offstage, the Illinois teenagers are relatively sedate, doing things that most bands do, like focussing on their songcraft, swapping lyric ideas and recording their new album.
“Right now we’re at a studio called SOMA in Chicago” explains frontman Mario Cuomo. “It’s on the West Side of Chicago, it’s got a nice studio. A good size, not too big. I’m pretty sure we might be the last band to record there. I think they’re shutting down after us.“
Debut album ‘Remember When’ – derided as “a piece of shit” by the singer – now languishes on the shelves, with The Orwells busy building a new identity. They’re not working alone, though, with the group recruiting Chris Coady on production duties.
“Definitely what caught our eye about him was this album by Smith Westerns called ‘Dye It Blonde’. It’s probably one of my favourite albums of all time” the singer announces. “Definitely one of the albums that I listened to the most growing up.”
What binds The Orwells and Smith Westerns together is their age, their adolescent fury. “Seeing them do it at such a young age – they were probably our age when they started, when they recorded their first album” enthuses Cuomo. “So it was kind of inspiring to be in high school and think: I want to do this, I want to try to do this. They did it, so we could try to do it because it’s working out for Smith Westerns. They made this amazing album that’s helped us all in so many ways just by listening to it. It was almost like.. they paved the way for young, suburban Mid-West kids. I just thought: oh, it’s totally possible.”
The recording process has been remarkably simple, with The Orwells focussing on capturing the energy, the spit, blood and sweat of their live shows. “Chris (Coady) was a very down to Earth person so is super chill to work with. Just a good guy” the singer explains. “Right now, usually we’ve just been doing it live a bunch of times first and then just doing that to get the drum and the bass tracks. The foundation of it. Then we’ll come back in a lay down the guitar tracks separately and then I’ll come in last and lay down the final vocals.”
“It’ll sound as big as it might on a stage” he warns. “It’s not going to be toned down or anything.”
Currently on tour, The Orwells have one final date left in the UK:
1 Bristol Thekla