“I pressed this button and it went ‘ding ding’, and then this button made it go ‘whoosh’. I didn’t really know what I was doing.” Orbital discuss the days before Orbital


Today (29 July) sees the release of ’30 Something’, a new album by Orbital that features series of reworks, remakes, rarities and re-imaginings of landmark hits, as well as a couple of new tracks that have already received a fair few airings during the Hartnoll brothers’ summer tour.

Check out new single Smiley, for example, which has served as an exhilirating set opener at recent gigs. 🙂


The album covers three decades (and then some) of Orbital’s back catalogue, but well before they donned the torch glasses for the first time, both were ‘involved’ in music to some degree – apprentice bricklayer Phil enjoying the rave scene around his native Sevenoaks, and Paul involved in a number of bands, such as Penal Code and Noddy and the Satellites.

A couple of years back, for our ‘Postcards from 88’ series of features, we chatted to Phil and Paul about what they were doing when acid house hit Britain for the first time, and how that influenced their future career path.

As Phil told us, when it came to early music productions, “I was more interested in pressing buttons and seeing what they did. It was like a child’s activity centre to me, I pressed this button and it went ‘ding ding’, and then this button made it go ‘whoosh’. I didn’t really know what I was doing.”

Elsewhere, Paul recalls that the nightclub scene of the time wasn’t so much ‘free love’; rather it was about making sure you didn’t get your head kicked in. Commenting on a local club night, he told us “we used to leave early, because you’d end up running the gauntlet after a while – all these kids having fights and ‘are you looking at my girlfriend’ and all of that. People getting glassed in the face.”

It’s a fascinating snapshot of the Hartnoll brothers in their formative years – including dealing with the dilemma of whether to bring a newborn baby to a local rave. No, seriously.

You can read the interview with Phil here, and the interview with Paul here. 🙂

Also check out Orbital at the incredible Hacienda 40 night at The Warehouse Project on 12 November, alongside 808 State, Happy Mondays, K-Klass and more. Tickets available here.

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