Orbital Take Center Stage In ‘XXX,’ Horse Around With Diesel

Electronic duo spin their lastest work in top-grossing film.

English electronic duo Orbital will probably never have a #1 single or a top 10 album in America, but they can take pride in knowing they appeared in the Hollywood blockbuster “XXX,” currently the top-grossing film in the country.

In the film (see “Given Choice Between Bikinis And ‘XXX,’ People Want ‘XXX’ “ ) Orbital play DJs at a rave, and the song they spin, “Technologicque Park,” is their first new piece of music since their last album, The Altogether, was released in May 2001. The track was specifically written for “XXX” after a chance encounter hooked up Orbital with the musical team for the movie.

“Last October we were doing a tour in America and we ended up in L.A.,” Phil Hartnoll explained. “We took that opportunity to go around and meet some music supervisors, and it just so happened we went to meet one particular music supervisor and they were just in the process of putting the film together and getting the ideas and thinking about the music.”

Intrigued at the prospect of being in a motion picture, Orbital, whose best-of compilation, Work 89-02, hit stores Tuesday (August 20), went into self-promotion mode. The music supervisors liked what they heard, so they sent a scout to check out one of the group’s galactic shows.

“They went for it straight away after they saw us live,” Hartnoll said.

“Technologicque Park” isn’t much of a stretch from anything off Orbital’s six albums, yet the track was created with specific musical direction from director Rob Cohen.

“He was very good at describing what he wanted because he used to be an A&R man for Motown Records,” said Hartnoll’s musicmate and brother Paul. “He wanted that European sound, so we took a lot of influence from underground English groups. The scene is set in winter, so we made the song cold and icy sounding. And the song comes in a rave put on by the bad guys, so we kept it a bit moody, with a little bit of James Bond in there for that big swelling string spy vibe. We just sort of seemed to hit the right buttons straight off.”

During filming, Orbital enjoyed being in front of a camera doing what they do best, but the highlight for them was dragging Vin Diesel onstage for a little horseplay.

“The only thing we failed to do is put a pair of torch glasses (eyeglass frames equipped with mini-lights) on him and get a picture taken,” Paul said. “With that bald head, he fit in perfectly. He looked like the third Orbital member.”

Although the action hero didn’t have much time to hang with Orbital, he complimented them on their song and even engaged in a bit of small talk.

“He was very polite,” Paul said. “We talked about British gangster movies, which was his favorite kind of film at the time. He both talked about how much we liked ‘Get Carter.’ He’s a really nice bloke.”

For more on Vin Diesel and “XXX,” check out “Vin Diesel: Not Your Father’s Action Hero.”