ORLANDO SEALE AND THE SWELL’S BIO
Orlando was living and working as an actor in LA when his girlfriend at the time lent him Elliot Smith’s old guitar. Then she left him. He made his way home to London and was struck by the rapidly changing city, its caffeinated highs and ‘Gin Street’ lows.
Thanks to a special collaboration with the Southbank Sinfonia, Orlando met viola players Becky Hopkin and Patricia Ramirez. Along with bassist Micky Turkington, they created the Swell, an attempt to capture the epic sweep of the unreal city.
Then the sky fell.
Life lurched left and steadily became more like wrestling than dancing.
So armed with new drummer Andrew Gallop the band holed up in a condemned rehearsal space behind Denmark Street and began to carve out a harsher, less lyrical sound that reflected the turbulent times. In December 2015 they released their latest single ‘Wrestling’.
Happily, critics and fans embraced the new direction and The Swell has since been playing sold-out shows around the country and performing at some of the UK’s leading festivals.
“Like Arcade Fire with better lyrics” – Serena Davies, Daily Telegraph
WHAT DID I DO WITH ORLANDO SEALE AND THE SWELL?
We were both at one of Richard’s events A Mighty Big If at The House of St. Barnabas, Soho. Afterwards, we were talking at the bar and Lilias mentioned that Orlando was looking for a drummer for his music project.
Some weeks later I met up with Orlando somewhere near Kensington Olympia in a small Lebanese Cafe. I’m not a fan of coffee or any kind of hot drink, so I opted for a strange milky drink, I think it was yoghurt-based and it contained green floating bits throughout the mixture. I remember not enjoying it very much and tried to drink as much of it as possible as Orlando had bought it for me.
After our chat, we arranged to meet for a rehearsal at Westbourne Rehearsal Studio, in West London. A rehearsal studio I had been using for a while with the lads from River Fury.
THE FIRST GIG – 2014
My first gig with The Swell was at someone’s birthday party just outside of London near Reading.
5 of us all crammed ourselves and ALL of our equipment into Orlando’s car (a Mercedes 4×4 donated to him by some fans of the band) and set off for our destination some way down the M4.
The party was being held in this magnificent house with what I can only describe as an epic garden. There was a huge birthday spread with endless amounts of food (including a hog roast), wine and craft ale.
It was also the first time that I met one of the super fans of the group, Leslie Baldock. Leslie had brought his PA and was doing the sound for the gig. He’s an amazing human who loves everything to do with music and musicians. He’s even helped ‘Fortnight In Florida‘ out with the fundraiser for the debut album.
The grounds of the house were quite substantial and seemed to be never-ending, there was a tennis court, an outhouse, a large pond, a football pitch and three greenhouses full of Lemons, Limes and other exotic fruits, it was a bit surreal.
To top it all off out the front of the house there was a steam fair on the village green. I presume it wasn’t related to the party and was only a happy coincidence, but you never know. Everyone at the party was given some small change to go out and enjoy the steam fair for the rest of the evening.
After the frolicking at the fair, we packed up and headed back down the M4 for London. With a packed car full to the brim with gear and now party bags of leftover food and drink. This was a glimpse of the musical adventures to come.
SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE, LONDON – 2014
We played at a fundraising event for The Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) which was raising money for a new blind centre for young people in London.
There were several well-known actors, musicians and politicians at the event. Actors such as Honeysuckle Weeks (Foyle’s War, The Wicker Tree, My Brother Tom) Keith Allen (Robin Hood, The Others, Trainspotting) Charles Dance (Game of Thrones, Alien 3, Last Action Hero, Underworld: Blood Wars). Musicians such as Gus Robertson (The Great Brain Robbery, Razorlight, Phil Manzanera, Paul Cook) Johnny Borrell (Razorlight).
Everyone was there contributing something creative to raise money and help promote the proposed new London site for the blind centre.
OPEN ARTS CAFE – THRILLER HALLOWEEN SPECIAL EVENT
The Open Arts Cafe took place in a synagogue, between Edgware Road and Marble Arch. It was a very beautiful synagogue, which had a school attached to it. It was also the kind of building you wouldn’t notice if you didn’t know it was there.
Open Arts Café is an evening of new work by up-and-coming artists. For this Halloween special event, each artist had to explore the theme of thrillers ranging from spine-tingling to side-splitting.
Please join us for blood-red wine, chilling cheese & crackers, and thrilling, killing art.
34 Upper Berkeley Street (gated entrance near Green Valley Shop)
Nearest tube Marble Arch
Pay what you can (£6 suggested donation)
Wine and bites available
With Music from Orlando Seale and The Swell, Dance from Ros Parker, Jade Aitchison and Company, Poetry from Ian Mclachlan, Comedy from Sam Quinn, Theatre from Mary Beth White, Visual Arts from Alan Perriman, Sugar Skills Illustration and plenty of spooky surprises…
THE EP RECORDING PART 1 – 2014
Me, Orlando and Micky had managed to write a few new songs whilst rehearsing for an upcoming album launch. Orlando had an old school friend who owned and ran a studio in Haggerston, called N0.1 Baltic Place.
We went down intending to record all three tracks but soon found out that it can be quite tricky to record several tracks in such a small amount of time, especially if they’re not fully formed ideas.
Looking back, we weren’t ready to even attempt the recordings of those songs. And to add even more pressure to the day another of Orlando’s friends was also trying to help us record a music video.
I’ve since learned the importance of making sure that everything has been talked about before you go into the studio. Make sure you have set out agreed goals and targets for each song. If you don’t have a target to work towards, everything can soon start falling apart very quickly.
THE HOUSE GIGS – 2014
We organised some house concerts to help raise awareness and some money for the RLSB | Royal London Society for Blind People. We promoted the idea through an advert on our band’s Facebook page looking for some house gigs in late October and November 2014.
The idea behind the house-gigs was to create a unique and intimate setting, whilst raising the charity’s profile. We asked potential hosts if they could provide an audience of around 25-30 people for each event. And if they would also cover the transport costs, whilst also inviting their guests to contribute in the form of a donation on the night.
The performances were to be an all-acoustic experience. We managed to fill all of the gig slots and raise quite a bit of money for the RLSB.
THE ALBUM LIVE LAUNCH – 2014
“What have you been up to? Falling or reaching? Wrestling or dancing?”
Orlando Seale – 4th November 2014
We started rehearsing at a run-down studio complex just off of Denmark street in central London called The Enterprise. This is where I first met the other members of the band; Pattie Ramirez Reinoso (Viola/BVs), Becky Hopkin (Viola/BVs), Robert Wilkes (Guitar), Dan Bull (Cello) and Sarah Bennington (Flute/BVs).
At a rehearsal, we were joined by Tom Robinson (Tom Robinson Band, BBC 6 Music). Orlando met Tom whilst taking part in a BBC Radio 6 Music songwriting retreat. The retreat was hosted by Tom and Orlando made several long-lasting friendships through the course that would later come back to help The Swell out in different forms of creativity. Tom sat in a watched our performances and during a break provided us with some insightful feedback and industry feedback.
We were rehearsing for a launch party for an album the band had crowdfunded through their fans the previous year. Orlando had booked a venue for the release called The Lexington, for the 14th of December 2014.
In the run-up to the album launch, we played several warm-up gigs at venues such as 12 bar and Nambucca. We also did a lot of online and radio promotions including; Fresh On The Net, BBC Introducing, BBC Radio 6, BBC London and Amazing Radio.
One of the promotional pieces took place halfway through a rehearsal and took place on the internet radio station FuBar with comedian and television presenter Mark Dolan.
You can listen to the show here:
Mark Dolan on FuBar Radio 10/12/14
I wasn’t a member during the recording of the album, so I wanted to contribute to the band in some way. I and Orlando created a special edition for the album.
The special edition was packed full of photos, stickers, lyric sheets, badges, an eye mask and of course the album. The eye mask came with instructions, with the idea being that you cover your eyes, sit down and listen to the entire album without distraction.
Here’s a fan-filmed video from the album launch of the final song of the gig, Aeroplanes.
The Lexington was a sell-out show and an enormous success, I think we even sold out of special edition albums on the night. This was, however, sadly to be Dan and Sarah’s last gig with us. Sarah had been offered an amazing opportunity to join the Scottish National Opera.
THE EP RECORDING – PART 2 – 2015
We didn’t use any of the takes we had recorded with James in London and started all the recordings from scratch. The live room wasn’t big enough for us all to perform a live take, so we did it in sections instead.
As a drummer, your experience of recording can be over pretty quickly as you are one of the first people to finish your parts in the whole process. There might be an odd overdub or rerecording but not very often.
Eating well can often be difficult in a studio environment and kitchen facilities can wildly vary in their standards. Take Squarehead, for example, It’s situated in a remote industrial estate in a village in Kent and at the time, only had a fridge, kettle, and microwave.
Again, the mixing stage was where the recording started to fall apart with the EP. We had failed once again to have a clear discussion or agreement on the direction of the recording process.
Structure and planning are key to creating a great record. If there is no goal or at least a rough plan to work towards, then ideas and varying opinions can quickly start diluting the process, which can be the most expensive part of creating a record.
There was, at least this time, one song that survived the process. Wrestling. It took a few more trips to the studio to finesse the track, but we had at least one track in the bag.
FILTHY HOPE AND ALL OF THE DOGS – SINGLE LAUNCH – 2015
After the storming success of our album launch, we set our sights on releasing two singles from the live album. Matt, our manager at the time, decided it would be a great idea to have a double single launch with a two-night residency at The Sebright Arms in London.
A live review from Discover Indie/Alternative Music – Hugely love this London-based band with their bruised, euphoric indie tunes! Their songs are unbelievably professional and dramatic, with vocals that sound exactly like Josef Salvat‘s; ‘Filthy Hope’, released last week, builds up to an amazing crescendo. Last week they also hosted two sold-out shows, which the photo below is from. Recommend these, especially if you like Jaymes Young, Laura Doggett or the aforementioned Josef Salvat.
At the gig, I and Micky started to explore the idea of using projection mapping software to create some 3D projections. At the time Micky was living with a company called Live In Guardians. The property he was a guardian of was in Vauxhall, right on the River Thames, next to the MI6 building.
The building was an ex-metropolitan police administration office. So most of the rooms in the building were quite large. Micky had two rooms, one was a small room, which was his bedroom, as it was easier to heat up. The second was a large living space. We used the second one for rehearsing (stripped back) from time to time.
The large space was big enough for us to map out the stage of The Sebright Arms on the floor. We built a full size set for the projections and try some ideas out. We tried several different projection mapping software and finally settled for a free software called VPT (Visual Projection Tool).
We built and created a smashed glass effect with a single HD projector, in hindsight it would have been better to have had the break facing inwards rather than outwards, as all of the audience would have been able to see all of the projections from everywhere.
Whilst rehearsing for the gigs we met a new creative friend through Brit (Oh Bones). A photographer called Joe Sarah. At the time Joe was Jamie Oliver‘s food photographer, but he was starting to broaden his photography portfolio. He spent one rehearsal with us taking photos whilst we played.
A short impromptu jam from the second night, whilst Orlando fixes his broken guitar.
SOFAR SOUNDS AND CABARET FUTURA – 2015
The typical Sofar sounds gig consists of three artists performing at a secret location. There are never any support acts or headliners. The line-up of each show is not revealed until the start of the show. The location isn’t revealed until 24 hours before the show.
Sofar Sounds say that highlighting headline acts encourages people to turn up late and not respect the other performers and this is why all the performers are treated equally.
“Here’s the Sofar Sounds session we did at Carousel London a few weeks ago with Orlando Seale, Andrew Gallop, Patricia Ramirez Reinoso, Mick but sadly missing Rebecca Hopkin.” – Orlando Seale and The Swell – facebook post
After playing Sofar sounds, the following Monday we performed at one of Richard Strange’s Cabaret Futura nights at The Paradise by Way of Kensal Rise. Cabaret Futura was originally hosted once a week in 1980 in Soho, Richard was now putting on a monthly show featuring an eclectic mix of creative disciplines.
FESTIVALS OF THE SUMMER OF 2015
We had a few festivals lined up for the summer of 2015, How The Light Gets In, Hay-on-Wye and The Curious Arts Festival and The Black Forest.
It was at How The Light Gets In we first met Liam Burgess and the guys from NomNom Chocolate from West Wales. I was with Micky doing some guerrilla marketing to promote our gig, when we came across their stall, selling some delicious chocolate with interesting flavours. There was Orange Marmalade, Welsh cake, Helen Môn Sea Salt, Dark Chocolate Honeycomb and some others I can’t quite remember, but my favourite was Waffle. It had a waffle, salt, and some other ingredients, and it was a bit chewy, it was amazing.
We quickly became friends with the NomNom Chocolate gang and they all came to watch us play that evening. Micky conjured up the idea of creating a musical chocolate bar. Liam Loved the idea, so the foundations were set for the creation of the world’s first musical chocolate bar.
How The Light Gets In was set up over 2 weeks, running in parallel to The Hay Festival of literature and arts, also in Hay-On-Wye. We spent most of the time at the festival, playing gigs in different venues and busking.
We played several gigs in the Hendricks Gin bus. Where they were making delicious gin-based cocktails, it turned out the brand ambassador was one of the people running at the next festival we were going to play that summer at The Curious Arts Festival. Dorothy offered for us to play a set outside of the gin bus, which we did, we sold quite a bit of merchandise and got some free cocktails too!
This was a technique we used again at The Curious Arts Festival, we had a main stage slot on a Friday afternoon opening for Gus Robertson and The Great Brain Robbery, where we supported artists Phil Manzanera and Johnny Borrell among others. Again, we played a series of little guerilla gigs on top of our main performance slot. We befriended the Nyetimber promotional team on their double-decker bus and persuaded them to let us perform a concert from the top deck whilst being supplied with their English sparkling wine.
“El Dorado exists! It’s a place called The Curious Arts Festival. We’ve been there and here we present you with the photographic evidence to prove it. Thanks to our hosts, the creators and everyone involved for the unparalleled table talk, the delights of musical, literary, culinary and comedic from Singtank, Johnny Borrell, Phil Manzanera, The Great Brain Robbery, Amber Run, Flyte, George The-Poet, Seafret, John Illsley, Richard Herring, Mark Watson, Simon Evans” – Orlando Seale and The Swell – Facebook
At the end of the summer, we also played an evening of music to raise money for Wateraid Nepal. We played alongside some great artists on the bill such as Swami Baracus, Vincent Burke, Andrew Collins, Sarah Corrie, Melissa James, and Danni Nicholls. The evening was hosted by Melissa James and the gig took place at The Lexington, one of my favourite London venues.
SHACKLEWELL ARMS – 2015
We met our sometime manager Matt Harvey through Rob Wilkes and his band Story Books, Rob and the lead singer Kris set up Squarehead studios together. Where we had previously recorded some of our tracks for the band. Matt gave Orlando a last-minute call and asked us if we could fill in for Story Books and play at the Shacklewell Arms, Dalston.
“Sadly due to illness (not nappy rash), Story Books will be unable to perform the show tomorrow evening. But do not fret, Orlando Seale and the Swell AND Long Teeth will be stepping in… sorry for the late notice + hope it does not cause too much inconvenience. Timings stay the same, first act on at 8 pm & it’s a free entry show!” – Story Books, Facebook post.
It’s a funny little venue, it feels like you’re playing on a school stage or an amateur production of a low budget musical. Don’t get me wrong, the sound in there is great. The decorations could potentially do with some updating, but it’s all part of the character and charm I guess. I had to set up the drums inside a very colourfully painted archway, Micky also had his arch. It was a very isolating feeling, as my view of the stage and everyone on it was very limited…
OXJAM NEW CROSS – 2015
In October of 2015, we played an Oxjam festival in New Cross, London. Oxjam is an annual charity music festival in the United Kingdom that raises money for Oxfam, whose mission is to fight poverty worldwide.
Events are held in multiple cities across the United Kingdom every year in October. Since 2006, more than 50,000 musicians have played to an audience of more than 1.2 million people at over 4,000 Oxjam events since the festival’s inception.
My good friend Emma Beere was helping organise and run the New Cross Oxjam festival and invited The Swell to come down and play. We played a stripped back set at The Job Centre, as the name suggests, it’s a bar in an ex-job centre.
“We’ll be shaking apart the Amersham Arms, the New Cross Inn and the Job Centre all day and all night long with London’s buzziest, scuzziest bands and DJs” – Oxjam New Cross 2015, Social Media Post
// The Job Centre //
Pop-up market: The Gnocching Shop, Hop, Burns & Black, Screen Printing, Mariokart Tournament & Rum Bar.
14.00 – Steven Smith
14.45 – Tom Cox
15.30 – Jorja May
16.15 – Laura Guarch
17.15 – Orlando Seale & The Swell
18.00 – Doug Sure
18.45 – Emily McCormick
19.30 – Theo Bass
20.15 – Karenin
21.30 – Three Mile Island
22.15 – COJA Records DJs
THE WELSH TOUR
In October 2015 we booked and embarked on our mini-tour of the South West of the UK. We played 4 gigs in total Bristol, Cardiff, Hay-on-Wye, and Newport. A little mini (almost all) welsh tour.
Bristol – The Square Club – 7th October 2015
Cardiff – Undertone – 8th October 2015
Hay-on-Wye – The Globe – 9th October 2015
Newport, West Wales – Llys Meddyg – 10th October 2015
The first gig of the mini-tour was in Bristol, at The Square Club in association with The Institute of Art and Ideas, who were starting a new series of talks at the club. It was my first time performing in Bristol. I had been to the city a few times before, my most recent visit was when I was looking for a music school. Brighton Institute of Modern Music (BIMM) was opening a new school in Bristol, and that was one of the places I checked out before I made my final decision before moving to London to study at the Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP).
“The festival season is almost over, so we have a special finale to help music lovers reminisce on all the music, camping and over-priced burgers before they hibernate for the miserable English winter.
We have much pleasure in welcoming Michael Eavis, founder of Glastonbury. He’s going to speak about the history of the uber-festival and the future of the event. Starting as a small festival on a dairy farm with free milk, Glastonbury has spawned dozens of imitators and become a flagship event for the entire music scene.
We have an entire evening of entertainment so there’s music too, from BBC 6 music favourite Orlando Seale and The Swell. Described by The Telegraph as “like Arcade Fire with better lyrics”, film star Orlando Seale struts the stage telling tales of the human condition and challenges of modern life.” – The Square Club – Social Media Post
Before our concert, we listened to the talk that Micheal Eavis upstairs where he talked about Glastonbury and answered peoples questions. We were given poker chips as a token to get food. But before we had finished playing they had stopped the food and cleared it all up. Luckily for us, the chef was still in the kitchen and managed to rustle something up for all of us before he left for the evening. We left our gear setup overnight and went and explored the city nightlife till the early morning.
Our second gig was in my hometown of Cardiff at a venue that I had never been to before, I had been upstairs to its sister venue, 10 feet tall, but we were downstairs at The Undertone. I organised a concert with my parents. Any profit made from the gig would go to a theatre company that my mum volunteers with called Hijinx Theatre. They are a theatre group that is inclusive of people with and without disabilities. Their mission statement is; ‘We are unashamedly ambitious for our Hijinx actors. We want to see a learning disabled and/or autistic actor win an Oscar by 2030.” They are based in The Wales Millennium Centre, in Cardiff Bay and put on several different shows throughout the year.
Lots of Cardiff has been pedestrianised and is quite difficult to get vehicles into. The Undertone is right in the centre of the pedestrian area, so it’s not the easiest of places to get heavy musical gear to. We had to lug the gear across a couple of streets and with the help of a trolley from the venue we managed to load-in quite quickly. There was no sound person there to greet us, which is usually a bad omen and a warning sign of things to come. We set up as much as we could before a young and flustered lady arrived. She told us she had come from Bristol and that she had never been to the venue before, the first of many excuses. It took her a while to get set up, eating into everyone’s soundcheck times. Micky eventually ended up sorting out most of the balancing and EQing himself, essentially becoming our sound technician for the evening.
The third gig of the tour was a bit of a disaster. We had organised the tour based around the promises that had been made to us by a promoter at the venue. When we arrived the organiser wasn’t there, no posters were advertising the gig, and nobody knew what was going on. We messaged Alex, the promoter who had arranged for us to be there, but we didn’t get a response. Eventually, he replied to Orlando with a message saying he had gone away on holiday to Spain and wasn’t back for a few more weeks, but he’d send someone down to do the sound. I and Micky tried to do some last-minute canvassing of the town centre and managed to get a couple of people to come to the venue but it was far from the promises of a well attended and promoted gig that we had been promised. We played to a handful of people, which included my parents, and played a very good show. It’s a shame that there weren’t many people there to see it!
The fourth and final gig was in Newport, West Wales at the beautiful Llys Meddyg. We had played there once before without Becky, and again this time she had to leave us because she was off on tour with an Abba tribute act in Germany. We met Ed and the Llys Meddyg gang through Liam from NomNom Chocolate. Both times we have played in the restaurant at the back of the property and we’ve had a great atmosphere and the amazing food both times now. There’s loads of little rooms, a bar, a stream and a large garden to explore. I would highly recommend visiting. This time there wasn’t enough space in the hotel for us to stay, so Ed put us up in his parent’s house.
His parents live on a farm not far from Newport. In the morning Ed took us out with Liam foraging and seal watching along the beautiful West Wales coastline. We couldn’t spend too long having fun along the coast as we had to embark on a long drive back to London.
KEROSCENE – WAREHOUSE SINGLE LAUNCH
Micky had met Lewis Donovan whilst he was working as a stage manager in Proud, Camden. Lewis was He’d always kept in touch with Lewis as he was a young and creative manager. One of the bands he was managing at the time was an indie-rock outfit called Keroscene.
Keroscene lived in a small warehouse 2-minutes from Westbourne Park tube station. They all lived, rehearsed and recorded in the warehouse complex. It was split over 2 levels and the whole of the bottom floor was open plan. This open space was where they held the gig.
In a very rock-n-roll twist, halfway through Keroscenes set the gig was shut down by the police.
NOMNOM ROAD TRIP, OHBONES DESIGN & JOE SARAH CHOCOLATE PHOTOSHOOT
For the launch of our upcoming single Wrestling, we wanted to get as much promotional material as
possible. We also decided to collaborate with as many of our creative friends as we could think of. We teamed up with Liam and the NomNom Chocolate gang to make a chocolate bar, Brit Bones of OhBones illustrations and photos from Joe Sarah Photography.
We took a mini Swell road trip (minus Becky) to West Wales to make some social media content at the
chocolate factory. Whilst we were there we finalised the design of the chocolate bars and even got to make some chocolate ourselves.
We met Brit through a friend, Brit has a very unique style and is an amazing illustrator so we asked her if she would like to collaborate with us on the design of the chocolate bar wrapper. She said yes. There was a lot of back-and-forth with NomNom, The Swell and Brit to get smaller details of the bar right. There were two bars made, one milk and one dark both with a dash of welsh Helen Môn sea salt.
“May we present The Synesthesia Sea-salt Chocolate Song-bar! We’ve collaborated with Welsh chocolate-makers, Nomnom Chocolate, and illustrator OhBones Illustration, to create a limited edition Chocolate Song-bar. Each one comes in a beautiful Oh Bones wrapper, along with a hand-drawn lyric sheet and a special download code for the new single, ‘Wrestling’. Obviously, you can’t download the bar but it will be on sale at our single launch in Oslo Hackney on Dec 11th. We do hope you can come to join us, The Graphite Set, and our other special guests for this epic celebration.” – Orlando Seale and The Swell, 23rd Nov 2015
Putting our thinking hats on for different ways to promote the single, we asked Joe Sarah to help us take some shots of the chocolate bar. At the time he specialised in food and drink photography and had just finished working with Jamie Oliver. Joe had just set up his studio in a warehouse he had just moved into, near Dalston Kingsland, London.
I and Micky went along with a few of the chocolate bars to get a bit creative with different ideas. I learned a lot about photography that day, especially the importance of good lighting. Here are a couple of photos from the day.
WRESTLING SINGLE LAUNCH – DECEMBER 2015
Wrestling was one of the first songs that me, Micky and Orlando wrote together back in The Enterprise rehearsal studio. It was a lot simpler and stripped back compared to Orlando’s previous compositions. It was a new process, for a restructured band.
Penned in a condemned Denmark Street rehearsal room and with a brooding atmosphere reflecting the collapsing personal life of Seale himself, Orlando Seale & The Swell‘s latest release, Wrestling, is a deeply personal track.
The music thunders along to the remorseless rhythm of a life that never gives you time to breathe, and the Tom Kingsley-directed video sees Seale scrambling through a dark and joyless house party, struggling to find a way through and escape.
As he scrabbles along the floor and over the shoulders of guests, the song builds to a crescendo as the instruments detune and the video reaches its disturbing and energetic climax.
We self-released the single and it premiered on the very popular music blog Clash (UK) and the video premiered on The Blue Walrus (UK) and was featured in a number of other online blogs. Niorola (DE), Fresh On The Net (UK), Write.Click.Cook.Listen (UK), XS Noise (UK), Under The Radar (UK), That Indie Thing with Rob (UK), Fresh Beats 365 (UK), Fame Magazine (UK), Your Hands Music (UK), BBC Introducing London (UK)
Orlando being an actor and a very likeable person has many creative, intellectual and interesting friends. Tom Kingsley is an established director and long time friend of Orlando. He has made music videos for the band in the past such as the video for Hyde.
We recorded this video for Wrestling in Orlando’s flat over one evening. It required getting a lot of friends along and plying them with free food and booze.
Oslo Hackney/Chocolate Bar Music
Adam Beattie and Brooke Sharkey – 7.20 pm
The Graphite Set – 7.50 pm
Richard Strange – 8.30 pm
Orlando Seale and The Swell – 9 pm
Wrestling Single Launch Gig Reviews
The mix isn’t the best as the hard drive failed to record during the gig, but here’s a live video from the gig, shot by our friend Roddy Walker from RWP.Media.
May we present The Synesthesia Sea-salt Chocolate Song-bar!
We’ve collaborated with Welsh chocolate-makers, Nomnom Chocolate, and illustrator OhBones Illustration, to create a limited edition Chocolate Song-bar. Each one comes in a beautiful Oh Bones wrapper, along with a hand-drawn lyric sheet and a special download code for the new single, ‘Wrestling’.
Obviously, you can’t download the bar but it will be on sale at our single launch in Oslo Hackney on Dec 11th. We do hope you can come to join us, The Graphite Set, and our other special guests for this epic celebration.
You can hear ‘Wrestling’ on our SoundCloud:
SCALA – SUPPORTING LUX LISBON – APRIL 2016
On April 21st we were invited to play at Scala, Kings Cross, to support Lux Lisbon. As a band, we like to come up with themes for each of our gigs. For Scala, the theme was ‘What if everything you thought you knew was wrong?‘.
Orlando befriended the lead singer Stu at a BBC 6 music song-writing weekend a few years before. Stu runs the band independently and was consistently selling out larger venues and organising his own tours of the country.
Micky and I attended an event in London for independent artists run by Pledge Music. It was speed dating for music industry contacts. There were lots of different disciplines of the industry there from lawyers, accountants, publishers, labels and PR. We met with a lot of them but someone we really connected with was Sacha Taylor-Cox who runs her own PR company called HUSH PR. We showed her our chocolate bar single, and she loved the idea and we forged a relationship.
One of the first things she helped us book in was an appearance on BBC Radio London with Tim Arthur. We played a couple of acoustic songs live on the show and there were a couple of other guests. This is where we met Vikki Stone a composer and comedian.
Vikki has appeared on many TV and Radio shows, including The John Bishop Show, The Now Show, BBC Radio 4, This Morning, That Sunday Night Show and I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here…Now. She also ran a choir at the offices of Global, which includes radio stations Classic FM, LBC, Capital, Heart, Smooth and Radio X.
“Thanks to BBC London and Tim Arthur for having us on the show this morning! Here’s the link to the interview and our first recording of a brand new song ‘Now What?!’ Listen here BBC London. It was also a lovely surprise to hear the amazing, multi-talented Vikki Stone on the show. X” – Orlando Seale, Facebook Post
The radio appearance inspired Orlando to ask Vikki if her choir would like to perform with us at our upcoming show for a few songs. She, of course, said yes. We rehearsed a few times with them at the Global headquarters in Leicester Square.
We helped Lux Lisbon to sell out the 900 capacity venue. The concert was great, we split the cost of our friend Adam, who has done our lighting design for the last couple of concerts.
“Dear friends, The Scala show is now SOLD OUT! But we’ll be announcing some more shows very soon…If you are coming down to Scala make sure to get there early. Doors are at 7.30 and we’ll be on from 8. And after us, you can look forward to a set from the unstoppable Lux Lisbon.” – Orlando Seale and The Swell, Facebook post
FESTIVALS OF THE SUMMER OF SUMMER 2016
HOW THE LIGHT GETS IN
I quickly came to learn that a Swell staple and a personal favourite gig of Orlando’s was performing at and attending How The Light Gets In, mostly, every year. June 2016 was no different.
We once again were offered a slot to play at the festival, this time we would be performing in the main room The Globe. However, we didn’t end up staying for the whole week.
CORNBURY MUSIC FESTIVAL
Through Sacha, we were offered a last-minute slot at Cornbury Music Festival. On our way to the festival she had organised for us to do some PR on BBC Oxford. Cornbury has the nickname of ‘Poshstock‘ and is probably one of the most family-friendly festivals I’ve ever been to. There was a pretty stellar line-up of bands from the 80s and 90s. Artists there included Jamie Cullum, The Hummingbirds, All Saints, Soul II Soul, Lemar, Wilko Johnson, Bryan Ferry and Seal.
Before our set, Micky and I walked around the festival site. And it was really living up to its ‘Poshstock’ name, the height of poshness was probably the Waitrose (it’s a fancy supermarket in the UK) tent. In their tent, you could purchase a freshly stone-baked pizza and a glass of prosecco. On
our festival site meandering, we came across a clothes stall directly opposite our stage selling various hats and accessories.
We made a promise to the guy that if he gave me a fez, we’d give him a shoutout from the stage when we were playing. There was one flaw in this plan. I
don’t have a microphone and Micky forgot to give him a shoutout. I felt pretty bad afterwards.
After our set we whisked off to the press area to meet Sasha, she had arranged a number of press interviews with some local newspapers and blogs. After the interviews, we were again swiftly guided to the BBC Oxford cabin for a quick interview before playing in the tiny BBC introducing tent, next to the main stage before All Saints were about to play. So if we push the boundaries of truth slightly, you can say we opened for the All Saints at Conrbury Music Festival.
THE EUROPEAN SHORT TOUR
In July 2016 we were invited to play at the Mandrea Festival in the North of Italy, near Lake Garda. We organised a small tour of our Italian adventure.
We set off from a rather desolate Dover. Union Jack bunting and boarded up shops. Everything must go. At 10 pm we boarded an enormous ferry and Micky raided the make-up counter for bright red lippy and coal-black eye-liner. He stepped off the boat in Calais a new man.
Mandrea Festival – 28th July 2016
Le Pop In – 30th July 2016
When we arrived at Mandrea festival we had just driven through some of the most stunning landscapes I’ve ever seen. We drove past lake Garda and up a steep mountain road to the festival. The weather had been consistently sweltering that day with never-ending clear blue skies and a blistering sun beaming down on us. That was until we reached the festival entrance. The sky darkened and heavy rain swept in from nowhere. We were stuck in the van whilst we were pelted with rain and thunder and lightning forked through the clouds. After about 10 minutes I decided to brave a short run across a garden to reach the festival office and ask for directions. I was blindsided by a warm hug from Pattie’s sister and her boyfriend Hector who had been travelling around northern Italy and had come to see us play at the festival and hang out for a few days.
Once I had organised and collected all of the passes and documents we need we set up our tents and got some food and enjoyed the festival. There was no need for an alarm clock as the next morning we were awoken by a familiar friend, the blistering Italian sun, slowly cooking us inside of our tent at around 08:30 am. We weren’t playing until late in the evening so we took a lunchtime picnic excursion to a nearby beauty spot, there is another lake slightly higher up from Lake Garda called Lake Tenno.
Lake Tenno has crystal clear water with a mystical aura, you can even swim in it, which we did. After our lunch, we went back to the festival to catch some music before we supported Will and The People on the forest stage.
The next day we set off on our journey to Paris. I can’t remember exactly how long the journey took (I actually fell asleep for most of it) but it was something like 16 hours of no stop driving. We were being put up in one of Orlando’s friend’s flats not far from Notre-Dame de Paris. We arrived late in the evening and it was very difficult to park. The van was too tall for many of the car parks and google maps kept sending us to garages that had height restrictions.
It was getting later and later and frustrations started to boil over. We eventually found a space near the flat but only for a few hours before the sun came up and we would have to move it to a long stay car park for the day. We wandered around Paris for the day before it was time to head to the venue for soundcheck. Orlando had met some other friends for a picnic in the afternoon so we met him back at the van.
Driving through Paris was a life experience all on its own. We got to one roundabout and there were no lanes and the traffic was about 6 or 7 cars deep. It was a vehicle free-for-all. We eventually arrive at Le Pop-in. The venue was a small pub with a venue at the rear. It was their last day before closing for the summer, so they had a drink the bar dry deal on and we were getting 10% of the takings for the night, and as much booze as we wanted!
Micky enjoyed the offer to the max but I had to drive the van back to the flat that evening.
The next morning Orlando was flying off to do a shoot for a movie, so we had to drop him off at the airport. We then headed straight for Calais where we caught the ferry back to the white cliffs of Dover.
THE BOG CWTCH – SEPTEMBER 2016
“We are ecstatic to announce that the amazing ORLANDO SEALE AND THE SWELL will be headlining the Lakeside Stage at this year’s Big Cwtch Summer Party 2016! – The Big Cwtch – 2016
CABARET FUTURA – MARGATE ART FAIR – 2016
One of the last gigs we officially played as Orlando Seale and the Swell before we reshuffled and renamed Harpo Smith was at an art fair inMargate outside of the Turner Contemporary. There were many disciplines of art represented at the fair and at one point in the day Tracey Emin (famous for her work My Bed) was there selling and signing her own works of art out the back of a hire van.
We were invited to play there by Richard Strange as he was running a stage under the flag of Cabaret Futura. The line-up included: The Band of Holy Joy!, The Kunst Clown and KRÍA. During our set, the stage was invaded by a troupe of dancers wearing knitted swimwear. We finished the day off with some fish and chips on the seafront.
The Swell hasn’t completely stopped making music! They went on to become Harpo Smith which you can read more about by clicking the link below.