August 1, 2012 by Dan Swinhoe
This year’s Secret Garden Party was a mud bath. No such problems backstage, though, as I caught up with Orbital to talk festivals, comebacks, and Mad Max…
For those who weren’t at this year’s Secret Garden Party, Saturday was a mud pit. I’ve been at some muddy festivals, but the entirety of the festival could only be described as a swamp. There were moments when the mud-wrestling pit in the Collo-silly-um seemed like a good way to get clean, and at various points I was worried I was going to lose my girlfriend like in that scene from The Never Ending Story. And like a pleb I didn’t bring any wellies or shorts, so instead I had shitty trainers and rolled up jeans.
“Take your shoes off before you get in.” The trailer we’re about to get in looks untouched by dirt, I feel bad just standing near it, and even worse offering a brown hand out to shake. “We just got here a few hours ago, you want some juice?” It’s clear Orbital don’t slum it in the fields anymore; they’ve reached the point where they can have shiny trailers and tell people to take off their muddy shoes (nothing to be done about the rest of the dirt) before they get on.
“It’s been nice weather today. It’s nice to have a dry festival, this year has been full of bloody wet festivals and I’m bloody pissed off with it. You come somewhere like this, and the mud just destroys your soul sometimes.” Orbital’s souls look fine, as do their clean clothes. The two brothers Paul and Phil look relaxed and happy, and seem down-to-Earth and friendly. And genuinely glad to be here. “Yeah we’re really excited for tonight, we’ve been wanting to come here for a while,” says Paul. “It was always recommended by Eddy Temple-Morris, he interviewed us years ago and said you should really come up, and he’s not somebody who would recommend something lightly. A lot of our friends have been here too; they’ve really enjoyed it, People dressing up, being creative, and having lots of fun. It has a proper legacy as a kind of hippy festival where there’s more to do than just to listen to music. The line-up too; there is a kind of thread but it’s hard to spot, it’s all kind of eclectic but it all works.”
Originally this interview was set for Bloc festival, but its cancellation and subsequent administration put that idea to bed. But the Hartnoll brothers are more gutted about not getting on stage. “We were totally disappointed, we were looking forward to that. London always feels like a home gig to us, it was going to be massive; one of the pinnacles of our summer. A festival in London, that’s a nice idea, let’s get that going, and look what happened.” Bloc isn’t the only festival that’s been cancelled this year, with the likes of Cloud 9, Sonisphere UK, The Big Chill and GoGo Festival have all bitten the dust this year. “I think it’s been a trend of the last few years. There was a real glut of festivals a few years ago, then the recession started kicking in and the bankers started messing around and now there’s definitely a few festivals slowly shutting down.”
When the police first shut down Stonehenge festival they all came ploughing down to Glastonbury in their crazy missile-launcher vehicles that they made- they took the aesthetics of Mad Max and make it for real
Orbital have been going for a long time, playing hundreds of shows all over the world- you think they would’ve seen some things. You would be wrong. I ask what’s the craziest thing they’ve ever seen or done at a festival. “Errrrrrrr….” At this point I’m subjected to the longest pause in any interview ever. I panic. I thought this was an easy question…
To find out if I ever got answer, head to: