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Oranj Son Discuss Their Debut Album

Oranj Son are a 4-piece band from Ellesmere Port. They consist of Kieran Linford (vocalist and lead guitar), Matthew Linford (keyboards), Harry Parr (bass), & Lewis Yii (drums). The band was the first feature we did on BabyStep after I bumped into Kieran Linford at a party in York. The party had been going for some 48 hours, with resources running low, I started eating a baguette I thought was up for grabs, finishing it in about 5 minutes. Upon finishing it a very polite Kieran came along asking if anyone had seen his food, which I'd just completely demolished. After a rather awkward cab journey back together to the station, I asked what Kieran did and he told me about Oranj Son. I suggested that perhaps they could be the first band we interviewed, I think initially it came across as something I was saying because I felt so bad. I got home feeling worse for wear and listened to the bands track 'Radio Wires' and just loved it, complimented by Ry Harding's wonderful artwork. We then went on to interview the band over email, where I asked the worst question I've ever asked in an interview. I asked them 'What's it like to be a band from the Wirral?'', their response was 'we aren't'. The most embarrassing part of the story is that we kept that answer without realising, we've improved since then we promise. We're delighted we still have Kieran and the band's respect and were able to interview them again!

Great to speak with you again, what have you been up to since we last spoke?

Yeah, it’s exciting to see how Babystep have grown since we last spoke. We’ve been mostly working on our live sound as well as writing and recording our first album. Lew Yii is back on the kit and we’re sounding great. It’s never over. You’ve got an album on the way, how long has it been in the works? The album has been in the works for a couple of years. In the past, we have either worked at Parr Street with Chris Taylor or at Attic Sounds with Luke Done. Both are brilliant producers. Although a handful of the tracks are from that time, the vast majority of them we have recorded and produced ourselves more recently. This is how we’re going to continue going forward. Talk us through what inspired the title of the album? it’s taken from a line in T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land. I wasn’t looking for a title at the time, but it exploded on me and I knew that I’d found it. Was there a difficult selection process of picking what songs fitted into the album, or were the songs specifically written for the album? The songs were written as singles, not specifically for the album. A number of them didn’t make the cut but they will see the light of day at some point. We’re already working on our 2nd album. The selection process wasn’t difficult, we didn’t overthink it. How different is running a label to being in a band? Well, we’re still waiting to fully experience the differences as the label is just starting out. Both can be creatively engaging if we have fun. The album was the first release through Mao Mao. The label is a collective platform for us and other artists to present work to the world, we’re excited to watch it blossom. Being in a band is still what takes up most of our head space though. Without that, there’s nothing.

The album is released on your own Mao Mao Records, what’s the story behind forming the label. Mao Mao Records is a temple. We’re going to release a lot of music through there. Sounds that sing the body electric. Anything we want. Freedom to dream. Are there any other artists on the label? What type of artists are you aiming to put out on the label? There will be a few artists on Mao Mao by the end of the year. It’s in the pipes. It’s all about releasing high quality original music, simple.

Above: The Kazomier Stockroom (Liverpool)

Where are your go to music places locally?

  • Kazimier Stockroom (Liverpool)

  • Defend Vinyl on Smithdown Road

  • Whitby Hall - Ellesmere Port’s new performance space opening in August 2022 and led by Action Transport Theatre

  • Bloom Building (Birkenhead)

  • Future Yard (Birkenhead)

  • Open Mic at Jimmy’s (Liverpool) - every Thursday evening (ran by Jamie Roberts and Libby Akerman, hit them up if you want a slot)

  • Cosmic Cape Festival 2023 (Ellesmere Port)

Elektroslujfuk is quite the song, definitely my favourite on the album. I’d certainly love to see a music video for that tune. Is any of it self-biographical, or settings you’ve actually been in? If so, I’d love to hear about soe of the stories that inspired the track? Ah we’re glad to hear you like it. We’re actually in the process of making a video for it and a couple of other tracks. We just hope people can make their own sense of Elektroslujfuk. It’s very real to us.

What local bands have caught your attention recently? Out of the Wirral, there’s Frog Boy. He recently dropped the tune ‘All I Know ft. Silky Smooth. It’s a belter. We’re also big fans of Harks in Liverpool. Their live shows are drilled and manic. Well worth checking out. Shoplifter are another great up-and-coming band in Merseyside… they’ve released some great songs this year. ‘Plastic Doll Head’ is a ripper. Sheffield has- some magnificent artists popping up (as usual). Ruby Luger is the real deal… an incredible songwriter who is releasing bangers all the time. We’re also big fans of Wet Man, the new project of Jack Clayton, former frontman of Mysteron. Were there any artists or tunes you pulled from when looking for inspiration on the album? Lyrically we’d say people like Mark E Smith, Scott Walker, Patti Smith, Albert Camus. Melodically, bands like Cocteau Twins and the Beach Boys. Movies by Andriej Tarkowski. Novels by Raymond Chandler. The first track on the album is a love song born from staring at a Hockney too long. We try to take inspiration from everything. No boundaries. Do you have a proudest moment as a band so far? Releasing our first album. Hands down.

What plans have you got in the works for the summer? Working on recording our 2nd album and playing live. We’re currently organising more live dates. We have the following confirmed:

  • 4th July - Washington (Sheffield)

  • 12th August - Whitby Hall (Ellesmere Port)

This article was written by Josh Crowe


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