Interview What’s Going On With… Orlando Weeks

A new album is incoming!

Hi Orlando! You’ve still not been able to play last year’s ‘A Quickening’ live yet - what can people expect when you finally give it an outing in October?
When we do the shows, it’ll all have changed because there’ll be another album. [The new] record’s finished and music’s gonna start coming out in the next few months, so that’ll get introduced to the set and it’ll be a balancing act, but a nice one.

Last year you said you weren’t sure what sort of musical project you’d do next - what form does the new album take?
It started as a continuation of ‘A Quickening’; I felt like I’d missed some crucial elements of that experience [becoming a parent] so that was the beginning of writing this record. The last one had a thematic routing, and this doesn’t so much. It has much more of an atmosphere, and I hope what it has is an overall feeling and a lightness to it and a sort of joy - that’s what I’ve been trying to get to.

What did you think you’d missed?
I’m very proud of the last record, but I think what it missed or didn’t exhibit enough was how much pleasure and joy and excitement I felt. It got stuck in the mud of apprehension and anxiety, and all these things I definitely was feeling but it wasn’t the complete picture. So that was the start of this new record, but then it became about taking a huge amount of pleasure from thinking, ‘How can I make this sound more uplifting or lighter?’.

I’d got stuck believing that the way to justify the amount of time a song takes is to focus on something complicated or difficult and try and make something positive out of that experience by making something new out of it - catharsis of sorts. But [this] is sort of the opposite; I refined kernels of good vibrations and would then think how I can cultivate that. And it’s been a real eye opener. The pleasure of making it, and how quickly it’s come together - I feel bowled over by how idiotic I must have been for so long to not enjoy that aspect of making music. This has been the most fun I’ve ever had making a record.

“I don’t think it’s a pop record, but I want it to be really satisfying and joyful.”

Have you made a pop record, Orlando?!
Maybe I have?! No, I don’t think it’s a pop record, but I wanted it to be really satisfying and joyful and a pleasure. I don’t think it’s even just brighter, I think it’s bright.

Have you been working with anyone to hone these new tricks?
I worked with a guy called Nathan [Jenkins] who makes music as Bullion, and I’ve got some fun people to sing on it but I’ll save that [information] for later…

Anything else in the works?
I’ve written music for a play at the National Theatre that’s coming out soon. It’s an adaptation of a film called Afterlife, and I think it’s quite an appropriate story for this time. I guess the music could be released as an EP - I’d really like for more people than can go and see a socially-distanced show to hear it.

More like this

Albums of 2022: Orlando Weeks

Albums of 2022: Orlando Weeks

‘A Quickening’ found the former Maccabee ruminating on the more pensive aspects of parenthood. ‘Hop Up’ follows to show the more joyful side of the coin with a record rooted in lightness and pleasure.

Orlando Weeks - Hop Up

Orlando Weeks - Hop Up

An irresistibly likeable album, very much in the mould of its creator’s affable, mellow personality.