The Orwells are made up of five seventeen year olds from Chicago, Ill, full of influences from Punk’s past and Nuggets Box sets. Charles Brownstein talked with Mario from the band. Their album Remember When was released last week.
CB: Some of your songs touch on some pretty serious issues, yet some writers think that younger people can’t write because they haven’t lived enough. What are your thoughts?
MC: If some writers think that, then man they have the wrong mindset. Writing doesn’t necessarily have to come from some adult struggle that comes with being a grown up or having responsibilities. In our case, rather, I’d say our creativity comes from what we make of what we’ve been through, not from how much we’ve been through. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t lived a long life; it just matters what you do with what you’ve had.
CB: Were you guys encouraged in school to keep playing music?
MC: Well yeah, I’ve never ran into a teacher or counsellor who wasn’t totally supportive of having music as a career. Though they totally try and push college on you, no one’s pissed if you don’t do it.
CB: You touch the fear of growing old, what’s the rush? You guys are living most younger and older people’s dreams.
MC: In the song “Never Ever,” there is that line “We got this fear of aging” and I think that came from the apprehension of being pushed into the real world and all that. In every adolescence, there’s that time where you realize that you’re going to have to grow up pretty soon and it’s a scary feeling. Who doesn’t like holding onto childhood innocence? Though it’s inevitable, there’s still that fear, and even when things are looking up for the band or for whatever, there’s always going to be that feeling like, “Fuck. Where am I going?”
CB: The band has actually been putting out records for a few years now. Did the songs come a little easier on the new album?
MC: Yeah we’ve all been making music for about four or five years now, and with every project, you learn more and more and your music gets better and better. I think personally that Remember When is the current peak of our abilities in music, but I’m very sure that it can only get better.
CB: Are you excited that you are getting get paid to play music, I mean life could be a bit worse. Many teens have to suffer through the agony of working at Subway or The Gap.
MC: It’s not so much that I’m happy to be getting paid to play music, but to play music at all. It would be dope if I never had to get a shit job, but right now I’m more focussed on making the music than making a living with it.
CB: You describe your music as being influenced mostly by the blues, more than Garage or Punk, were you exposed to lots of blues when you were younger?
MC: Well actually I think we started taking our early inspirations from old Nuggets box sets and Iggy Pop, so it is mostly garage and punk, but I can see some blues in some of our stuff. I’ve never been too into the blues myself, though. If anything, that’d be old Baby Chuck. He had a blues stint awhile back. Abner Jay, and Son House and all that.
CB: Which five albums could you not live without?
MC: My personal opinion on modern albums:
Goodbye Bread – Ty Segall
Yuck – Yuck
Sunken – Twin Peaks
Father, Son, Holy Ghost – Girls
Halcyon Digest – Deerhunter