Formed on a couch in inner city Dublin early 2011, O.R.B consists of three friends, Rob Burch, Sean ‘Neddy’ Arkins and Sean Walsh, who started out in the music world known as the Original Rude Boys.
A few short years later with a name change and a platinum album under their belt – not to mention an Australian and European arena tour with The Script – O.R.B return with their second studio album, ‘All We Are’.
We caught up with rapper ‘Ned’, guitar and vocalist Rob, and master of the ukelele, Walsh, ahead of their album launch in Dublin’s Grand Social this Saturday to chat about new music, life on the road, Miriam O’ Callaghan, and being a healthy mix between Tupac and Christy Moore. Oh, and we almost forgot – THAT Marley Park announcement that involves two men in music you may or may not have heard of.
Before we got down to brass tacts we had to congratulate the lads on the phenomenal success of the first single ‘Never Gonna Walk Away’ taken from the new record that bagged them ‘Song Of The Year’ at the Meteor Choice Music Prize.
“It was definitely a big surprise considering we were going up against the likes of Hozier, Kodaline, James Vincent McMorrow, all the bigger acts,” Walsh tells us, “I honestly thought Hozier would win.”
‘Never Gonna Walk Away’, the first track taken from the upcoming album.
The success of their debut album, ‘This Life’, has brought O.R.B to almost every corner of the world and only last year the lads sold out Dublin’s Olympia three times. With a growing army of fans, (they’re a hit with the ladies), the lads could have easily added to that Olympia record, however opted with a much more intimate venue for the album launch night.
“The management approached us you can do the launch night at the Olympia but we decided to do it at a smaller venue.
“The Grand Social only holds 350 people or something, so if we do make a mess of the new songs only a few people will know,” Ned jokes.
The friends first uploaded ‘Stars In My Eyes’ onto YouTube not knowing the reaction they were about to receive, less than a year later and they had an album charting in at No.3.
“This album is extremely different,” Walsh explain.
“The first album we went in and were complete novices. We’d been in the game about four months and we were recording a debut album. We didn’t really have that much experience and we were doing it off the cuff.
“With this album we’ve had two years travelling around the world and playing music everywhere. We’ve learnt a lot in that time. It’s a massive step up.”
The video it all began with, ‘Stars In My Eyes’
The message in O.R.B music is one of strength, empowerment and encouragement to pursue dreams, so when they got the opportunity to support infamous American rapper, Chris Brown, they politely declined.
“It was around the time that we had a song out called ‘Blue Eyes’ and it was about domestic violence. Many said that it was a massive missed opportunity to go out and promote our music to 12,000 people but for us it was about supporting it from the ground up and we stand by the decision.”
2013 was a massive year for the Dublin trio with one or two highlights along the way.
“The Olympia is always going to be awesome, there’s no Irish musician that doesn’t want to play the there,” Ned tells us before Walsh informs of his personal favourite moment.
“One of the funniest was waking up outside the O2 in London and I didn’t know where we were because we were on the bus.”
“I was in my bed and I went on to Google Maps and you know that bit in Eastenders when it is going into the Thames? I was zooming in and going like ‘we’re not at that thing are we? The Millennium Dome?’ I didn’t know that’s where the O2 was, unbelievable.”
After being approached by fellow Dubliners The Script to support their Irish shows, it wasn’t long before Rob, Ned and Walsh off around the globe.
“It was pretty surreal considering we’d gone from not being involved in music to a year and a half-two years later with a platinum album going on a world tour of arenas.”
The poignant track, ‘Blue Eyes’.
Hip-hop was prevalent in their teens and the lads can all agree on The Beatles as one of their favourite musical influence but the lads do have their own individual favourites. This week Christmas came early for Walsh with the incredible announcement that O.R.B will support Kanye West and Pharrell Williams in the biggest event of the summer.
“We found out the day before it was announced. It was a massive surprise, ” Rob admits. “Like they are two biggest juggernauts in the music industry. We didn’t think we’d ever be in with a chance to the same bill as them.”
“I mean O.R.B aren’t even needed on that bill but we’re over the moon about it. Particularly Walshy, he’s a big fan. It’s a dream come true for him.”
Does this incredible summer date add additional pressure to the three friends?
“At the end of the day this is what we do. We’ve always had the mentality that, although they’re the two biggest artists in the world, they are still two people. We’re all doing the same thing, going out and performing to the crowd.
“There are nerves before any gig; we’re just so excited to be there.”
With a pretty hectic schedule in coming weeks, not to mention a Late Late Show performance tomorrow night, the lads will leave the celebrations off for now.
“The diary is pretty full at the moment, we need straight, sober minds for the album campaign. The celebrations will come at a later date,” Rob assures us and we don’t doubt it for a second.
Other things to know about O.R.B…
Favourite lyric you’ve even penned?
“Aim high and succeed.” – Live Your Life.
Favourite song to perform?
“I’m already enjoying performing ‘Never Gonna Walk Away’ but ‘Live You Life’ will always be the song that lets us go a bit mad.” – Rob.
What song do you predict great success for from the new album?
“In terms of live shows, not necessary a radio single, there’s a song called ‘Get Out’ when we were doing it in rehearsal I really live it. The drums are insane, a lot of energy in. It’s been one of our favourite songs since the day we recorded it even though we knew it was never going to be anything more than an album song.” – Ned.
Do you enjoy a drink before taking to the stage?
“Just a couple of tipples. We are not that rock n’ roll.”
Irish upcoming acts that you’re listening to?
Gavin James. Fresh Ré. Daithí.
Is there any artist that you’d like to collaborate with?
“We know the artist that we’d love to collaborate with, Ed Sheeran.” – Rob.
“We done our first collaboration on the second album with a UK rapper called Mike Pain, we were fans before so that was sick. We’d love to collaborate with someone like Rudimental or Hozier – someone on a different side of the spectrum.” – Walsh.
Irish female personality you’d like to take to dinner?
“Miriam O’ Callaghan, she’s looks like she know a thing or two about a thing or two”. We’re sure that is a reference to her presenting skills. Walsh isn’t a home wrecker but he has his eye on a certain female model.
What should the woman of Ireland know about you that they don’t already?
Rob likes long walk on the beach but hates sand. After a few minutes of thought Walsh concluded that he just wants the women of Ireland to give him a chance.
Best comment under a YouTube video?
“It is like a mix between Tupac and Christy Moore.”
Sum up the band in three words.
“Bunch of eejits.”
Limited tickets are available for the O.R.B album launch night at The Grand Social, Dublin, May 3rd and can be purchased from Ticketmaster.
Fans will also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the band as they play special unplugged gigs and signings at various HMV stores across the country all of which are detailed above.
In just a few hours you’ll be able to download the brand new album, however it is available to preorder now on iTunes.
Before we go we’ll leave you with this live performance from The Voice of Ireland, followed by an image of a Her.ie team member with the lads, (because we had to).
‘Feel It In Your Soul’.
Ned, Rob and Walshy, the office door is always open for a sing-song!