ORLANDO SEALE AND THE SWELL are an alt-folk orchestra who make songs for dancing, crying and laughing to at euphoric wakes.
Orlando was living and working as an actor in LA when his girlfriend lent him Elliot Smith’s old guitar. Then she left him. He spent a long time driving the freeways, listening to sad songs and singing along until eventually he started making up his own. But then Orlando began to yearn for Gin street and the hairy, wonky-toothed women of Europe so he came back to London. He was delighted by the beautiful morons of his home town, the lost and found on the underground and the clubcard redeemers seeking salvation in supermarkets. He gathered together a band, and started putting on eclectic nights of music at The Troubadour.
Then The Old Vic Tunnels asked Orlando to make a site-specific collaboration with a rope act and an orchestra. It sounded epic so he and the orchestral players decided they wanted to keeping playing together (sadly without the rope act). Together they became The Swell and have been playing across London (The Old Vic Tunnels, Kings Place, The Lexington, Barfly, The ICA, The Union Chapel, The Tabernacle) and at festivals (Sundance Film, Greenman, No Direction Home, Wilderness, Winterwell, How The Light Gets In, Hay). This summer they supported the legendary Supertramp.
They’ve done live sessions for BBC6 Music and BBC Introducing and been played on Absolute Radio, Amazing Radio, and local stations. Tom Robinson of BBC6 Music has been championing the band and invited them to support him at his annual London show on January 12th.
Recently The Swell have been recording with Kris Harris and Rob Wilks of Story Books.
“I saw Orlando Seale and The Swell at The Half Moon in Putney. And we’ve played them on the show before but I have to say it was the finest thing I’ve heard since Orphans and Vandals two years ago. It’s a ten piece, orchestral band with such freshness, and vigor, and power and newness about the writing and the delivery…It really swept us away. The crowd started out enthusiastic but by the end of it they were going absolutely ape crazy for the band. You must try and see Orlando Seale and The Swell if you possibly can.
Tom Robinson, BBC6 Music
“These guys are awesome. Brilliant songs that are even better live. Also helps that Orlando is easy on eye!”
Miranda Cooper, Xenomania/Girls Aloud
“Like a male Florence and The Machine”
Noel Fielding, The Mighty Boosh
“Brilliant British band Orlando Seale and The Swell -like Arcade Fire with better lyrics.”
Serena Davies, Daily Telegraph Arts Diary
“To hear them in full splendour makes me want to weep, absolutely unique…We have really good bands on the show, but that for me will be one of the most memorable ones…absolutely fantastic.”
Jo Goode, BBC London
”A ballsy, bohemian behemoth coming on like Jarvis Cocker fronting Arcade Fire with a petite orchestra of drum-beating and string-serenading beauties.”
Will Rees, London Folk Guild/Wilderness festival