High school friends growing up

The Orwells arriving for the 2014 NME Awards. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Photos
The Orwells arriving for the 2014 NME Awards. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Photos

The Orwells have known each other for a relatively long time. All aged between 18 and 20, there are twin brothers Grant and Henry Brinner, while Cuomo and Dominic Corso are cousins.

The line-up is completed by Matt O’Keefe, the most affable of the group and the member who does almost all of the talking in interviews.

The familial nature of the band, not to mention their brand of anthemic garage rock which calls to mind a young Kings of Leon, it’s easy to imagine them going on to much, much bigger things.

They hail from Chicago and started playing music together around 2009. In 2012, while still in high school, they released their debut Remember When on the small indie label run by the blogger who discovered them.

Since then they’ve graduated from high school – some of them ahead of schedule in order to fully commit to the band – and toured all over the world.

They are currently in Europe with festival dates ahead and they played Edinburgh last week. They also found time to write and record their second album, Disgraceland.

Some of the songs on Disgraceland were written when the band were still in school, and while they’re proud of those, it’s their newer songs, particularly the ones they’ve been playing live, that are exciting them most.

“I’ve heard them less so they’re fresher,” says Cuomo. “I don’t know if they’re better, they’re just newer.”

“The album’s kind of about our home town,” interjects O’Keefe. “Well, Remember When was us in that moment, living there, and Disgraceland is a reflection on that, while the future is going to be a whole new thing for us.

“The way it’s going, the way our lives are going to be in the future, it feels that these things we sing about on Disgraceland are already over. We’re not these high school kids from suburbia any more.”