Taking their name from the M25 motorway that orbits London, Orbital started making electronic music in 1987. Since then they have gone onto release 8 albums and countless live shows. Their live show is really what it is about for the two brothers, Phil and Paul Hartnoll.
This Q+A comes from the Gearslutz forum, with users being able to submit questions to the forum to be answered by the artists.
Heres some highlights:
User Howling Terror asks "What is your approach to get the music to work when it's time to go onstage?"
Paul Hartnoll: "When I'm prepping a live set , which I'm doing now , i basically break the song back down to its loops and riffs . I don't use any arraignment for a gig, so it's free to be what ever it needs to be on the night. I farm out the midi to any synths i want to fiddle with and some times have to reinvent the sounds and patches if its a part i want to play with live but on a synth that We're not taking on the road. for really specific , non modulated stuff i'll make a loop of a particular synth , say a M5N or a euro rack patch, to retain the character of the synth in the song. It's a balance of playing it so its satisfyingly right for the song and satisfyingly free to modulate and improvise. but the basic process is breaking it back down into its core elements and putting them into abelton , programming or practicing making patches on synths and making sure all control elements , I use Lemur on 2 i pads , push 2 and 3-4 ( haven't decided yet ) novation xl's, are all programmed correctly."
James Lehman asks: "What gear do you still find inspiring after 30 years?"
Paul Hartnoll: "most of it ,to be fair. I tend to rotate my gear over the years. not get rid of , i mean i use groups of stuff then move on to another group. currently re-loving the roland system 100, last used on in-sides.
Im really enjoying the R8 drum machine too , but the biggest return for me recently has been the wavestation. can't get enough of it!
the arp 2600 was used a lot of the Clarke:Hartnoll album.
the thing i find when you go back to an old bit of kit is , while its the same , you change, so you see it with fresh eyes and do different things to it."
User Sir Ruff asks about the use of the classic Jupiter 6 vs the Oberheim Xpander.
Paul Hartnoll: "I tend not tho use the xpander much nowadays, silly really as its a fantastic instrument . I did use the odd filters on it , especially the phase ones, it may not be that obvious though. i got it at the time of snivilisation so its all over that album.
most synths on , crash and carry, science friction , philosophy by numbers and attached are the xpander. also detached and the drones that start petrol.
Never really had much use for the band pass or hi pass on the jupiter 6 , it was all about the bass back then!
i think the xpander for me was more about glistening harmony , pushing the resonance on some of those mad filters where as the jupiter was more beefy and solid."
User Ham says: "Safe to say you've inspired a generation or two... or three. Wondering if you are inspired by any of the newer kids around?"
Paul Hartnoll: "The first people that come to mind are Jon Hopkins ,Nathan Fake and Cristobal Tapia De Veer . Cristobal is the guy who did the score for Utopia and national treasure. But i also get inspiration from more unexpected places. i really like the new wave of British folk music . artists like , the Unthanks, Bella Hardy, Lisa Knapp , Lisa Hannigan, Sam lee , Emily Portman . I guess i just love the whole old/new thing that goes on with folk."
To read more of the Q+A visit Gearslutz
We also got a look at their prototype Eurorack formant filter
Super high end multiformat field recorder
The first one he plays is actually rather lovely....