MIGHTY dance anthems Belfast, Satan and the fantastically trippy Chime took Orbital out of the underground clubs and into the charts and stadiums.

But when the Hartnoll brothers fell out five years ago, having created some of the most distinctive and beautiful dance tunes ever written, it looked like the end of an inter-galactic journey of sonic sound and vision.

But that’s all water under the bridge now says Paul, one half of the techno duo, who are charging up their head-torches ahead of Orbital’s headline show tomorrow at the start of this weekend’s Beat-Herder Festival.

“I was travelling around doing small DJ gigs and having to unload all my gear from the van like in the early days, when we went our separate ways,” he said.

“I enjoyed it, but one day I was sat at home in my dressing gown, stroking the cat, and I just had this moment.

“I was nearing 50 and I wanted my self-respect back.

“We’d not spoken for a long time, but all I had to do was make up with Phil and that’s what we did.”

Now there’s far more pressing matters, though, for Orbital to tackle.

A raw-edged new single, Please Help UK, features a promotional film showing the blackened shell of Grenfell Tower, billionaire flats being built at the old Battersea Power Station in London and people queuing at a food-bank.

Orbital have never been afraid to tackle political, social and environmental issues head on, and their latest album, Monsters Exist, out in September, delivers the state of the nation address Orbital style.

“Do you know, for the first time in my life, I feel Britain is a bitterly divided country and that makes me very sad and angry,” said Paul.

“We’ve always prided our ourselves, I think, on our tolerance but the madness of Brexit has pushed the country clean off its axis.

“I’ve always stood up to bullies – but who is going to stand up to the bullies who told the big lie that the National Health Service would get an extra £350 million when we leave Europe?

“Why can’t people accept that we are just a small island on the edge of Europe, forget that we are not ruling the empire, and be friendly and civil to each other.

“We all scrabble through life, just trying to make sense of the world. But surely we don’t have to leave Europe to be our own country.

“My wife is Irish and we are feeling this quite personally, but like the next man I love my country.

“I’m a part-time Morris Dancer in Sussex and love nothing more than going out to perform at a village pub.

“I’ve even got a George Cross on my Morris Dancer handkerchief, but you don’t take it too seriously do you?

“But suddenly Britain’s future is at stake. It is funny and tragic at the same time.”

It will be Orbital’s second appearance at Beat-Herder, and the festival holds a special place in their hearts.

“Beat-Herder is one of those rare festivals when it is about more than the music, because the lads who put it together have created a rare vibe, a bit like an early Glastonbury feel.

“They are great guys – the last time we played they gave us a barrel of Timothy Taylor Landlord beer and now it is my favourite tipple.

“It is not all doom and gloom, at least we’ve got incredible festivals like Beat-Herder and ours is the generation who decided never to hang up their dancing shoes and that’s fantastic.”

Beat-Herder, Dockber Farm, Sawley, begins tomorrow and runs until Sunday. A limited number of tickets are still available. Details from 0844 888 9991 or www.beatherder.co.uk