Legendary ambient house godfathers The Orb are celebrating their 25th year in the business with the release of a brand new reggae-infused album and tour.
‘More Tales From The Orbservatory’ is your twelfth studio album. How does it sound compared to your previous work?
Warmer, fatter, more 23rd century and less 20th century; an Orb take on the future sounds of dub.
What was working with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry on your last two albums like?
It was a real pleasure to work with the genius that is ‘Scratch’. The Upsetter was full of rhythm and sound. He was a constant source of vocal heaven. We completed 17 tracks in 3 days and that is a world record for The Orb.
How did the collaboration with Perry come about?
From my DJ connection with Lee. I had played on the same line-up in various countries around the world: Mexico, Finland and the UK.
Did you work with anybody else on the album?
We used a track from earlier sessions we had been working on in a side project called ‘Mad Orb' and placed Lee’s vocals over the top.
How aware were you of the fact you were inventing a new genre of music when you first started making ambient house?
We needed to get a name before the press labelled us something horrible. So we invented our own name and gave it to our music so people would remember us by that title. I have to say that was the idea; we never thought it would take off as well as it did!
What are your overriding memories of the early ‘90s, when ‘U.F.Orb’ reached number one in the UK?
Glastonbury headlining on the NME stage and recording in Jamaica .
What would it take for an album in that style to get that high in the charts today? Do you think it's possible?
No comment. No one actually buys music. Interesting thought. Will football end up free one day?
Where did the fascination with alien and space sounds in your music come from?
As a child, I grew up as the Americans landed on the moon (I was 9). The Russian space program was also of interest with my air fix kit.
How has your approach to making music changed since The Orb first started?
It's faster, fatter, warmer, more thought out and matted out in a true Swiss/ Scottish style .
You've worked with some big names, like David Gilmour. Who would be your ideal artist to make a track with?
Teebs or Kutmah
What can fans expect from your upcoming world tour?
Old tracks played in a new style for the first time in ages. ‘Toxygene’ and ‘Slug Dub’ are but two. Let it be a surprise, but I doubt it. People want to know these days what they're paying for in advance, but I promise you, this is the best sound we have ever had. So come along and be impressed.
Has the importance of playing live shows increased or decreased in the last 20 years?
The Orb Headline Rainbow Serpent, Lexton Victoria, January 24-27. rainbowserpent.net