Orbital Talk Plans for 30th Anniversary & Where They Go From Here


Some special remixes and a residency in Ibiza are part of what Orbital's Phil and Paul Hartnoll hope will be a memorable 30th anniversary year for the British electronic duo.

"We were like, 'We've got this 30-year anniversary. What should we do?'" Phil Hartnoll told Billboard during Orbital's recent visit to Detroit for its first appearance at the Movement Electronic Music Festival. One answer was, "Let's have a load of remixes!" according to Hartnoll, for which the duo recruited David Holmes, Jon Hopkins, Tomas Dvorak (aka Floex) and others to take a stab at some of its favorite tracks.

"We've done about eight of our top tracks, sent them out to people and see what we get back. And they've been great," Hartnoll revealed. "We'll start putting them out, and that's quite exciting" — although no firm schedule has been announced for all of those releases.

Meanwhile, Orbital is getting ready to launch its residency at Eden in Ibiza on June 3 as part of the club's Idol series. Hartnoll said creating mixes has been quite a challenge for him and his brother, who consider themselves more electronic composers than EDM DJs and definitely more of a heritage presence on the cutting-edge scene. "DJing is a very different beast to what we do (as Orbital)," he said. "I feel like we might be a bit obscure for Ibiza, so the guys that are doing the club are really trying something out there with this. They're trying to turn Ibiza into something else rather than the lowest common denominator for the dance floor. I came up with idea of kind of journey music for the dance floor — it takes you on a journey throughout the night, not just one track into another. It's going to be interesting. I sent the last mix of what we're going to do and (Eden's principals) were all over it. So we'll see how it goes and we can tweak and change it as we go along and read the audience."

All of this makes the Hartnolls even more excited for what Phil called "Orbital version three" — a third regrouping of the group after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus before last year's Monsters Exist. He's hoping Orbital will go on without another significant break and feels like something is different from the duo's previous splits.

"Me and my brother, we're chalk and cheese, really," Hartnoll noted. "I think that works with making music, but it does clash a lot and gets very intense. I think my brother gets to a point where he can't handle it anymore and just has to go away and do something else, on his own. Eventually he comes around and admits that he misses me — he hasn't actually said that, but I try to get it out of him. (laughs) But we thought we'd give it a go a couple of years ago, and it's been fantastic. It reminds me of when we first started."