not so striking

So ok, the isle of wight wasn’t so good. I’ve been lucky , so far with the first three gigs , starting over in my life after orbital.

Played on a nice big stage , the crew were great , the set up great , the sound system really good . Couldn’t have asked for more . Started 30 minutes before Fleetwood mac finished who had sucked up the entire population of the festival like a tsunami, taking all the water before it throws it back. So I knew the first part would be a bit of a warm up , no matter , we were expecting a flood of people when Fleetwood mac had finished. So half way in I could see the crowds beginning to come passed as the rest of the festival began to shut up shop for the night. I was hoping to bring them in for a last dance before bedtime with the nicely placed stage just back from the main drag. But alas, they came and kept coming and went and kept going ! No interest at all . I hurried through one of my new songs to get to Halcyon, surly that would bring in a few old ravers! But no . I had got some more folks in , it went from aground 20 people at the start to around 100 , if I’m being generous and accounting for the odd person spinning around by the speaker out of my line of sight but not a good turn out for a 3000 capacity stage. So I played to the crowd I had and was very appreciative of the 100 or so folks there especially the two guys right in front, around my age, and the two younger guys to my right who wooped and cheered thorough out, while one of them nudged, pointed and knowingly whispered to his friend throughout.

If your quick you may have noticed that I said whispered, well he was able to whisper too, as unknown to me , at 10:30 there was serious noise restriction put on to the stage( I came on at 10:35 ) When I finished I saw Chris , my manager, who looked white as a sheet, and not too happy, I thought he was going to commiserate me on the tiny crowd, but no , he just told me how quiet the whole thing was and how they had been battling with the council noise police to get it turned up . The sound man had done so at one point, only to be told off a couple of minutes later,and had to turn it back down again . apparently you could hear the 80’s disco tent over the other side of the drag louder than our stage at the front of house position. So I think that may have had something to do with not getting any of the passing trade in.

It’s a shame, as performance wise it felt like a good one, and Fable who had come along to sing cemetery did a great job too.

Now, don’t get me wrong , I do appreciate the lack of people isn’t all to do with the sound. They may not have come over even if it were blisteringly loud anyway. No one really knows what I’m up to at the moment , the old orbital fans have no real idea that 8:58 is my way of continuing with orbital. To be fair I went with that name as a creative/ artistic choice , to get some sort of new beginning and clean start with something that had a bit of meaning to me, but I’ve probably shot my self in the foot. It probably should have just been the album title. It’s really a bigger thing than I anticipated , loosing your brand. In seems like it means a lot more to people than I thought. Maybe I should have just stuck with Paul Hartnoll, but where’s the magic or smoke and mirrors in that? Maybe Paul Orbital like William Orbit or Jamie xx? How about 0rb1tal or Orbita11 like deadmau5? All be tall, ‘or beetle’, Orbit-all? I could go on…

I guess the brand name’s a seal of approval , a guarantee of quality , a no brainer. Where as starting again means proving yourself to your old customers that your still here doing your thing. I don’t blame them, we are a suspicious bunch us humans and I know I’ve done it too. Theres really not many people who’ve done better starting again after a successful band, Peter Gabriel maybe? Wings? It s a long haul for sure.

So four gigs in, it’s three to one for good v bad , I like those odds . But this hill, to win back the orbital fans ,might be a steeper climb than I first thought. I doubt it’s possible to get them all but hopefully I can get some new one’s along the way too.

After twenty five years of nearly guaranteed crowds, not always mind, orbital did some real shite ones in our day as well, I don’t think any one gets away with it totally. But after twenty five years, I’m ashamed to admit , it’s still a surprise when it happens , because you go in with the thoughts of full capacity ,loud sound and a cracking gig every time. Why wouldn’t you? You always hope for the best. And in the past,I’ve quite often got it.

18 thoughts on “not so striking

  1. Scott

    Paul, this Orbital fan is right with you on this new project – the album sounds fantastic and from the YouTube video on this post you are doing your thing as well as you always have! I run a podcast related to electronic music (I won’t mention what it is as I don’t want this to come across as self promotion!), I’ve mentioned Orbital on it several times as one your gigs I was at was easily the best gig I’ve been to (and that includes seeing Prince!), I don’t have many listeners but I’ll do my best to make sure they know about 8:58 as well! Keep up the great work!

    PS Loving the way you are doing things like this to connect with your followers!

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  2. Richard Hider

    Paul, I’m right behind you with your new project! The album sounds great and feels like Orbital MkII, you were always the main influence in the band anyway where as your brother was more the DJ. Maybe 8:58 was the wrong choice of name for your new project? Couldn’t you have kept the Orbital name for yourself? Maybe Paul Orbital would be better so that fans of the old music can connect better? If you are ever playing a gig near me(couldn’t get to the island although I’m near Portsmouth!!) I will get there in a flash. (Wedgewood rooms in Southsea is a good choice).

    Dreadzone are playing there in December and maybe you could organise and play as support for them? That would be a great night!!

    BTW I love how you’ve done your set up for live stuff, any chance of a video going through it all?

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      1. Charlie Boxall

        I met one of the original members of Dreadzone in the pub prior to the Royal Albert Hall gig, he was an Orbital fan.

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  3. Ian Dickinson

    tall bloke talking to the Brighton crew.. guilty as charged Paul
    dont be too negative about the show it was really really good and we had a great time, and must have been a good test of the set, equipment and fundamentally getting back to first principles. the festival was as tame an event as i’ve ever worked and i think it was primarily attended by a whole bunch of fleetwood mac fans out for a jolly so they could say they’ve had their wellies out for a festival. boring boring boring
    8:58 will grow and the name/concept is perfect.. there would be much more criticism if it was just half of Orbital so stick to your guns and it will all work out well. underneath it all is a great ‘first’ album and that will always prevail
    there’s already a decent crew ready for 2am in the woods at BeatHerder (courtesy of younger whispering lad/son.. also guilty as charged), him being seriously impressed with the show.. you’ve got to take Fable though as that track is so so strong and is so visually different from the Orbital thing
    ever so strange just one pair of nodding headlamps, but dont stop that though! ever 🙂
    see you in the woods mate we just cant wait

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  4. michaeloglesby

    Hi Paul,
    Great read with regards to your latest gig and your thoughts and emotions about your 8:58 project. When you first announced your 8:58 album, I’ve always wondered why you didn’t release it under your own name, Paul Hartnoll, similar to your previous album The Ideal Condition. You say ‘…I should have just stuck with Paul Hartnoll, but where’s the magic or smoke and mirrors in that?’, indeed there might not been any ‘wow’, but at least your own name is more of a established brand than 8:58, especially with existing loyal Orbital fans. You have now, in affect started from square one… again, old and new fans alike learning who and what this 8:58 is all about.

    Maybe you should had gone with Paul Orbital, Paul/Orbital or Paul.Orbital; there would had been a better name association.

    I also suspect you are finding it increasing difficult to get the 8:58 name out there because people’s listening habits have change. Some say this is a good thing for the listener as it gives them the freedom to listen to a bigger library of music than they have once before. The disadvantage though is, it makes it more difficult for start up artists such as yourself to get recognised.

    When Orbital first started, it took them five years for them to become mainstream, thank Glastonbury for that. But as luck would have it, I hear that the Foo Fighters have cancelled their Glastonbury gig, so there’s a slot available now ;o)

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  5. kelvingreen

    Don’t lose heart. Even the Brighton-outside-a-pub gig was ace and the crowd you got for that looked quite healthy. To paraphrase something else, if you play it, they will come.

    As for the name, it’s a shame that Orbital is gone, but you chose 8:58 for a reason; if that reason is still valid, then stick with it. If not, then I’m not going to complain about the return of Orbital!

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  6. Paul Jones

    Hmm, sticking with the name would certainly have made a difference – I just went to see Leftfield on Friday night who is after all now only one of the two original members, but he kept the name and is still selling out decent venues, despite the fact that his new album is clearly different to those he wrote as part of a duo. Keep plugging dude, it’s all PR, folk will catch on…

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  7. craig saint

    Paul, your album is brilliant! I am a massive Orbital fan and I followed you to your new project like a proper fan! I think that the name has thrown some casual Orbital followers, especially since you have already released a solo record under your own name.the new music is a continuation of Orbital. I especially like Cemetery and Broken Up. I was disappointed to see Please on there. A great song, but I would rather see new material rather than recycled songs. It would be great to see some single realises with some extended mixes of the Clock etc. I am aching to see you live, but I live in Saudi Arabia so i don’t have much hope! Hurry up with your new album!

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  8. Lubo Braso

    Hi Paul,
    I admire your courage about using a totally new name for your new project.. Probably this name would say nothing to many people (even to Orbital listeners – I’ m not talking about the real Orbital fans), but believe me It only wants a time.. I’ve sent some emails to my friends (which also like Orbital music) about your new project, and the replies was “Oh really, this is ex-Orbital? it sounds great, like the old Orbital albums”.. So I think your new name will spread through the electronic scene very quickly, because there are not so many good projects on electronic scene as your project (I have to say that I’m also enjoying the new Leftfield music 🙂 ).. If you have chosen this new name for some reason, so stay with it..
    Lubo

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  9. Adam Kozany

    Hi Paul, I’m sure you shall get an appreciation. It is just a matter of time. The music is great, people just need time to get to know this new project. Maybe it’s the scotch talking, but I think that a big part of your problem is a lack of young fans. I remember when I was in Prague to see Orbital concert at Lucerna. I was struck with the fact the I was one of the youngest persons there and I was 22 back then. The show was fabulous by the way, I even forgave you that you didn’t bring Mcbeth on stage 😀 Several months later i went to fucking Parov Stelar concert, it was sold out and I was feeling really old there. And young people are key to success. Well, I’m affraid that Tim Minchin was right in his Dark side. “Clever never made no one rich
    It doesn’t appeal to the teenage market.”
    Also there was a really bad album promotion. Not even one review from some major server it seems to me that the album pass almost unnoticed, which is really shame…
    I’m looking forward to some new music and hopefully for some live show
    Adam

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  10. Sword

    Dont know the finances behind it ( didnt Wonky make a packet? ) but I can’t believe if you go out to all the traditional hot spots Orbital played ( branded as 8:58 aka Orbital at Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, London but smaller venues of say 500 – student venues?) that you wouldnt get numbers turning up. Merch on the night would spread the word – the 8:58 imagery is just as immediate as the Orbital brand. I pledged for your signed cd and tshirt and loads of people have asked me how to get one. Cant you get the names from the old Orbital mailing list and bash that with promo emails and get the old Orbital/Loopz websites active but link to 8:58? Better still get your bro to Dj for you first for support! Fact is 8:58 is superb, your a legend and Orbital live forever. But you need to get out there to your own fans in some major cities to remind mournful Orbital fans and attract new ones to 8:58

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  11. Charlie Boxall

    Paul,

    I felt quite sad for you reading this latest blog!

    I find it bewildering in this age of instant connection with people via social media that most Orbital fans seem unaware that you have another album out, albeit under a different name!

    As has been mentioned before above, it seems to make sense to mail all the people on the database you undoubtedly have built up during the Orbital eras. Saying that, I feel sure I have received emails from ‘Orbital’ and seen ‘Orbital’ post both about your new project since the change. Surely if you continue to do this the message will get through.

    I find it odd that Orbital fans seem unaware: When you were building us up to the change on twitter (and I seem to recall ironically launching a minute too late), I was on tenterhooks waiting to find out what was going on. I remember being initially sad that after only 1 album Orbital had ceased to exist again, but reminded myself of the wonderful ‘BOGOF’ that occurred after the previous split, when both of you put out your own albums, (different, but equally wonderful), rather than one Orbital album. As soon as I heard 8:58 a few times, it was clear that the new album would be equally good as previous output. All those other Orbital Twitter followers would have been able to see what I saw as you switched to 8:58, so I don’t get why the take-up has been so poor!

    Due to my love of all the music you and Phil have made, I still keep searching hopefully for news of new works by Phil, and consequently discovered Sun Industries, the current guise of Phil’s Longrange partner Nick Smith. I don’t get why other fans have apparently lost interest!

    I would love to see you guys perform in any guise at a festival, I have been to quite a few and not been lucky yet, but now with a 6 and a 4 year old, festivals are not currently an option for me unfortunately, though if you could perform during the day so they could see you, that would be great. I have been indoctrinating them ever since they have had ears!

    It was great to meet you and chat at the ‘bowling alley gig’ and more than made up for the fact that there was a delay in you getting on stage, so I only managed to see about 5 minutes of your set.

    I hope you will be convinced to do more small venues like that if Orbital fans will no longer come out in numbers, as you enjoyed it so much, it would suit me better, even if I have to get a hotel room to overcome the rubbish early finishing of rail services!

    Regarding the name change, personally I think it is a great name and logo, possibly because the thought behind it is genuine, and the logo is something you have been doodling so long. I want a clock like that that, it looks so cool! Can you merchandise it please?

    The only issue for me with the feeling behind 8:58 being about deciding to remain trapped in the rat race, or make a change, is that this is the situation I am trapped in, although with a family to support, I cant just disappear off to art school.

    Keep up the good work, whatever the guise!

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  12. Paul Greenwood

    Paul
    Please persevere with the project, and the name, there are thousands of your fans out there – they just don’t yet know about 8:58. It’s a great concept, the music is superb and all will come good in the end I’m sure.we were absolutely devastated that you cancelled the tour, we had been looking forward to the mcr gig for months. Can’t get to beat herder so hoping that you might get brave and try again with the tour, maybe in some smaller venues. Keep going mate, word is spreading! 🙂
    Paul

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  13. David Campbell

    Thanks for starting the blog Paul, fascinating to get your take on things and understand the experience from your perspective, especially for someone (me) who loves music but doesn’t make music, can’t play anything, doesn’t / has never DJ’d, and has never had to ‘perform’ (in that way!)

    I don’t know what the answer is to the name / brand / visibility / getting the word out / old fans and new conundrum is. I have to admit I wondered about the whole branding everything ‘8:58’ thing. Paul Hartnoll is your name though, you can always go back to that. (Orbital were commonly referred to as ‘The Hartnoll brothers’, the Brothers Hartnoll’ etc. in the music press in the 90s / 00s, the name will always have traction amongst Orbital / electronic music fans, certainly of a certain age.

    Maybe the Beat Herder gig will be a turning point – I think that will be a belter. There are lots of Beat Herder ‘regulars’, and lots of them will remember (as I do) your cracker of a show there with Orbital a couple of years ago.

    And you should have no worries at all with the sound!

    I don’t think I’ll be able to make it, so I’m hoping for a Manchester gig when you reschedule the tour.

    I’ve certainly been telling people ‘Paul Hartnoll is still doing music etc’. I had a (small!) posse together for the Manchester gig, others must be doing this too.

    Keep going!

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