Oresteia Oresteia… Earned their stripes/On a slippery slope

Interview: Oresteia

Published on June 1st, 2012 | Jonny Abrams

Imagine Cardiacs combining forces with The Pogues and getting the Robot Devil from Futurama in as front man – JDs and lentil men, we give you the delightfully confounding sounds of Southampton group Oresteia. If you like your music brassy and berserk, prepare to be quite dazzled…

How did you all meet, how long has the band been going for? Who does what in the band?

Jed: We all met in legendary fashion, many years ago, in a waterfront land called Hythe. The details are sketchy, but the results have been most triumphant. Darrell sings and strums; Jed strums and plucks; Pip hoots and toots; Paul keys the ambience; Adam rumbles-out the grooves; Jamie bops and bashes the beats.

How would you describe your music, if pushed?

Jed: We like to describe our music as ‘melodramatic vignettes of pride, desperation, lust, yearning and more, between and beyond; fuelled by a theatrical, eclectic sound’… because we are arch little drama-queens.

Where are you based, and what do you use to record with?

Jed: Our home is beautiful Southampton. For our forthcoming EP, we have been fortunate enough to record under the aegis of the production skills of one Neil Kennedy at ‘The Ranch’; he kindly produced an EP that we are happy and proud to release.

Are you signed to a label? If so, how did you come to their attention?

Paul: We’re delighted to be releasing our debut EP, Romancing The Damned, on a local label called Sotones Records on 11th June 2012.

I like to see them as a modern day Motown (when they set up at Hitsville) where you had Berry Gordy & Smokey Robinson in the studio writing songs & trying their hand and producing (that would be Andy Harris aka Calico Cat) with Martha Reeves taking phone calls (that would be Anja McCloskey), etc…

Sotones are a group of very talented musicians and artists who help eachother release their music, often guesting on each other’s recordings

We caught the eye of David Miatt (aka Jackie Paper) when we played a show with his band Thomas Tantrum. He asked if we’d be interested in releasing music on Sotones and the rest, as they say, is history! They’re a lovely bunch.

Is there a full album in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it? (Feel free to be as abstract as you like!)

Jed: We have enough material written to record a very promising debut album, if given the opportunity… Although we are currently working with top scientists about the prospect of recording an album in olfactory-only format – so far we’ve written a beef wellington and a lasagne.

Paul: At the moment we’re just happy to get our debut EP out there! We’ve been keeping it under wraps for some time.

Where can we hear your music online?

Paul: You can hear us on Soundcloud (soundcloud.com/oresteiaband) and we regularly update our Facebook (facebook.com/oresteia.band) and Twitter (twitter.com/oresteia_band) accounts for news on upcoming shows and links to new music. As of Monday 11th June our EP will also be on iTunes, Amazon and Spotify.

Which have been your most exciting gigs and/or overall moments so far?

Jed: Blissfields was a delightful experience, as Oresteia lost its festival virginity; we look forward to playing that again this year, and hopefully many more festivals in the future. Also, local heroes The Delays very kindly allowed us to perform in front of their fans at a sold-out show in our hometown, which was a marvellous eve; many thanks to The Delays for that.

Darrell: Endorse It In Dorset festival was also a highlight. We played two sets that weekend but the strummerville campfire set on the sunday night sticks in my memory, despite how much I had to drink that day. Was a great vibe. Jed wore a dress. I wore an exuberant gurn.

Got any more coming up? (Gigs, that is…)

Paul: We have some exciting dates coming up this summer…

15th June we have our EP launch at The Cellar in Southampton.

29th June – 1st July we play the wonderful Blissfields Festival (we can’t speak highly enough about this Festival!)

3rd – 4th August we are playing a great new festival called Frolic Fest

31st August we headline a free show for some great local promoters called Psychedelia for their B’day, also at The Cellar.

15th September we’re fortunate to playing another of our faves Southsea Fest. Played it once before and was one of our best gigs so very much looking forward to that again!

Are there any obscure and/or up-and-coming acts that you’d like to recommend or give a shout-out to?

Paul: Locally speaking, we’re very lucky to have so many bands that we really like.

Sotones have some great obscure acts at the moment including Anja McCloskey, Calico Cat, Etao Shin, Johnny 5th Wheel, and Mr David Miatt.

Aside from our label mates… We love and cannot speak any more highly of Dead Rabbits. Also Silver Spirits, Spectral Park, Electra Complex, Maths & The Moon, Ten Letters, Suicide Party, a young gent called Sean McGowan, Stone Them Crows…

The list really is endless. Anyone who lives near Southampton should definitely get involved with the local scene. It’s great and, to be fair, has been for years now! For a larger selection, I recommend looking through our Facebook likes. Hours of fun right there!

Darrell: I think more people should check out the weirdo prog punk band Cardiacs, if they haven’t already. I’m very much looking forward to Beth Jeans Houghton’s stop-off in southampton soon.

Jed: I really enjoy the new Grimes album, Visions.

Finally, if you were forced to spend the rest of your days in solitary confinement, but were allowed to bring the entire works of five different artists along to tide you over, whose would you choose?

Jed: I would be more than content with the works of The Pogues, Sly & The Family Stone, The Smiths and Orchestra Baobab; if I’m being given the entire works of the artists of my choice then it would be good value for my fifth choice to be a classical composer, for the sheer quantity of work on offer – of the small assemblage I’m familiar with, I’d go for Mr Mozart.

Darrell: I’d choose Brian Eno on the hope that a nifty loophole would allow me the music he’s produced as well as his own works. Let’s go with Nick Cave, Beatles, Kraftwerk and The Flaming Lips.

Paul: The thought of the six of us in solitary confinement with the music of only five artists is terrifying. We have such a diverse taste in music throughout the band that it would no doubt end in at least one band member in tears!

Oresteia, thank you.


About the Author

Editor of Rocksucker and the website's founder, Jonny is passionate about the music he listens to, both good and bad, as well as interviewing his favourite musicians.