Photo by LORENZO BULFONE via NO SHADES PHOTOGRAPHY
BY DYLAN LONG Known for their raucous, no-fucks-given rock & roll and their absolutely iconic TV debut on Letterman, The Orwells are 5-piece rock band from Elmhurst, IL with soon-to-be 3 studio albums under their belt. Formed in 2009, The Orwells are comprised of cousins Mario Cuomo and Dominic Corso on lead vox and guitar respectively, and twin brothers Grant and Henry Brinner and Matt O’Keefe on bass, drums and guitar respectively. As they prepare to embark on tour to support their new album Terrible Human Beings, guitarist Dominic Corso took the time to talk with us about haters, True Detective, Hillary or Trump, Sia, the Cubs in the World Series and George Orwell.
PHAWKER: Hey man, how’s it going?
DOMINIC CORSO: Going well!
PHAWKER: Let’s start with some history. Why is the band called “The Orwells”?
DOMINIC CORSO: Uhhh.. well there’s a lot of difference answers to that.. I’m not supposed to tell anyone the truth.. It’s the name of the author of a book that was on the spine of a bookshelf we had when we were younger. It’s a very shitty, boring, not exciting origin story.
PHAWKER: So it was a book from your childhood?
DOMINIC CORSO: Yeah, sort of, it was George Orwell obviously, and we had to read some of his books in high school. We weren’t super into it or anything, I mean some of us have read his stuff and he’s a good author, but it’s just a name we grabbed off a book.
PHAWKER: Where did the new album title come from?
DOMINIC CORSO: That’s funny, you’re probably the first person to ask us that in an interview. It’s kind of like a reflection on ourselves, because I think a lot of people think we’re horrible douches. Mainly because of the very bold, straightforward attitude that Mario has (SEE: Mario getting into a fistfight with sound guy on-stage.) But we’re actually all just chill normal dudes, so the title’s kind of a “fuck the haters” type thing. It’s like, “Haha, we’re terrible human beings, right” but we’re actually not. We also wanted it to have a negative and unsettling feel to it, so after a few hours of brainstorming we eventually molded it into Terrible Human Beings.
PHAWKER: Who’s the naked blonde on the cover [pictured, above]? Looks like Lady Gaga.
DOMINIC CORSO: It kinda looks like Sia too, doesn’t it? I didn’t really realize that until later. Basically, we found this photographer and we really liked her work, so we asked her to set up a little photoshoot with a model and that’s what came out of it. So I don’t know who the model is, but I know the photographer is Kelly Puleio.
PHAWKER: What’s the new single “They Put A Body In The Bayou” about? Sounds creepy.
DOMINIC CORSO: That song was the second song we wrote for the album; I’d say it’s a very heavy, straightforward Orwells song. The title was heavily influenced by the first season of True Detective. It’s not about anything in particular, but it kind of started the overall theme of the album. The characters that are mentioned who are involved in most of the songs are terrible people; if you really listen to the lyrics there’s absolutely nothing good about them, and that’s what kinda started this theme.
PHAWKER: What’s going on in the music video, are The Orwells Secret Service agents for a Donald Trump-like candidate?
DOMINIC CORSO: Sort of, it’s not explicitly a statement on anything, it’s just a cool concept video that had to do loosely with modern events, I suppose. It wasn’t us trying to make a big political statement or anything. The presidency and candidacy and speeches are a lot of very important things that are going on right now. But it was mainly a really cool concept video that was executed very well by everyone behind it, we had a really legit team.
PHAWKER: That begs the question, Trump or Clinton?
DOMINIC CORSO: Umm, I wanna say neither… you kind of have to say neither these days. I’d definitely be for Clinton if the things I’ve seen about her in the media weren’t so horrible; I’ve been convinced that she’s also shitty. They’re both pretty shitty. Pretty much anyone that wants to be President has to be kind of shitty though… it’s a tough question. But I’d have to say neither.
PHAWKER: You guys are from outside Chicago, how stoked are you guys on the Cubs being in the World Series?
DOMINIC CORSO: Everyone’s pretty stoked. I never really gave a shit about sports, but I’m pretty stoked about it, ‘cause you know, it’s historic. To be living in this time where the Cubs are in the World Series and it’s tied now, it’s pretty intense.
PHAWKER: You’re probably used to hearing that you guys are “good for your age.” How have you dealt with critics who shit on you for how young you are?
DOMINIC CORSO: I haven’t really seen anything about people shitting on us for how young we are, but it is annoying when people go, “How are they so good, they’re so young?” That’s the worst part for me, cause it’s shitty and condescending. Like dude, if they’re music’s good, why would you bring in qualities about who they are. It’s like saying “Oh they’re so good for being white people.” It’s dividing. If you enjoy their skill, who gives a fuck about how old they are, or what they do with their time or what they look like. So that’s annoying, but it’s also nice that at that time when we were pretty young, people thought we were good. I still appreciate the sentiment.
PHAWKER: You guys toured with FIDLAR, tell me about that experience.
DOMINIC CORSO: FIDLAR, oh my god that was great. It was our longest tour I think, around 35-38 shows over 42 days. We became so close with them, cause they’re just the nicest dudes, and every night their shows were just fucking awesome. To see them every night and be in the crowd for like 40 days straight, it was a very awesome experience. I’ve been a huge fan since the “Max Can’t Surf” video came out, we were like “no way, these are the coolest dudes.” We were all big fans, all the way up until when they offered us to open for them. Definitely one of the best experiences of my band life.