Born Blonde - Interview
Posted by Hunter on Tue, 29 Nov 2011.
Joshua Lloyd-Watson - bass,
Tom McFarland - keyboards, guitar, vocals,
George Day - drums,
Fraser MacColl - guitar, vocals,
Arthur Delaney - guitar, lead vocals
London Britpop outfit "Born Blonde" are probably tiring of the comparisons to The Verve, The Stone Roses and The Charlatans, and rightfully so as there's enough in this band to make a name for themselves. There's a wonderful sublime quality to their songs that should see them getting regular airplay on the radio, and with them generating such a positive buzz on the Internet and music press, when given the chance to speak to the band, naturally we jumped at the chance!
Solar was released back in July, and was intended initially as a b side, what made you change your mind and release that as your first single?
I think we decided because of how well it had turned out. We had gone into the studio with ideas of what songs we wanted to record for the record and as that one got written while we were in there, it didn't have that pre-prescribed pressure on it. You can really hear in that song how quickly it came together. We liked the idea of it being our first single because it was quite blurry compared to other tracks, we wanted our released singles to have a narrative for people, like we were emerging from the fog or bringing the lens into focus. You will see this carry on in what we have planned next for everyone's enjoyment.
Radio Bliss is out, how happy are you with the press reaction to it and given Solar was quite a tough "act" to follow, how apprehensive were you before you released it?
Yeah we are really happy with the reaction to 'Radio Bliss'. We are not cool with releasing anything we do not have complete faith in and it felt like the right song to give people at the time. We are just trying to guide people into our way of seeing so there was no apprehension.
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We know that you like to spend a bit of time "tweaking your songs" just to make sure you're happy with them, but is there ever a danger of "over tweaking" your work?
Of course, but by the same merit all great art is never finished but abandoned so we are getting better at feeling the right time to let go. The way we make our songs tends to be about getting everything out onto them, being quite free with the parts and sounds that we put down and then editing and bringing them into shape. With how disposable music seems to be these days we wanted to make a record that keeps giving with more listens. I think that when people come to our record they will find the songs can be enjoyed at a surface level but if they want it, there is more in there to keep coming back for.
You've worked with Simon 'Barny' Barnicott and Owen Dylan Morris, how different were they in their approaches in working with you? Did they push you to try out new ideas, and was the final product with 'Barny' exactly what you expected?
Owen has made some great records that we all love but as a collaboration it didn't quite work out. Barny gave us a new way of seeing music and a new way of thinking about it. When we think about the original vision for the band, the ideas that we started the band on, the songs we have made for this record have really nailed that. I think the most important thing that Barny taught us was to allow the song to become what it 'should be' and not what you 'think it should be'. Usually it turns out just how you want it by the end and that is where we let go.
Has the amount of press interest surprised you at all?
We set out to bring our music to as many people as possible so all attention is rewarding for us. It would be easy to stop and enjoy but we like to keep looking forward, pressing on and working hard so we can reach as many ears as possible.
You've been quite busy with gigs, what have been the funniest moments for you whilst you've been out on the road?
There was a weekend involving a very funny van driver but were going to keep that story a secret for the time being!
There's been a lot of comparisons to the early 90'sManchesterscene, but you're a fairly new band yourselves. Do you think it's a lot tougher to get out there and reach new / potential audiences now as opposed to "back then"?
I think it's just different. The internet means that you can reach out to a broader range of people faster but it's also more diluted as a result because a lot of the filters that there used to be are no longer there. In many ways it's more democratic, we just figured that if we made great music, great songs that people enjoyed, then we would connect with people.
I was checking out your Tumblr, and you seem to have a genuine broad enjoyment of art and literature that you want others to see and experience. Do you think though, with the likes of Tumblr etc that people share these things, but no real thought has been put into it, or indeed there isn't a real appreciation of it?
Yeah again, it's pretty democratic. People tend to re-blog things they like and not things they don't, so I don't know if it is completely pointless. Perhaps, like a lot of things in the modern world, including music, things are more disposable and mean less to people. There is so much information out there available that to demand people's time is more difficult. Our idea for our blog was not just to use it as a promotional platform for our band but to use as a window into where we are at or what we are into at the moment, we thought that was really important in this climate. All the artwork we put up is done by ourselves, as are our videos and in many ways to us they are just as important as the music. Hopefully the fact that we are trying to create something original will draw people in and transcend that but we shall have to see.
Following on from that, with that instant kind of access to music and art, do you think that appreciation of music has maybe deteriorated, ending up with people downloading music illegally? Or do you think it's more to do with it just being a financially tougher time?
As I said before, I think that it is the nature of the internet that has created this. Obviously there is less money going around now but this is a problem that started about ten years ago before the recession. It is the natural progression of the system we live in: if the things we consume lose long term value and mean less, then people buy more of them on a short term basis then throw them away. We get really depressed listening to the radio because it seems like so much music being made today follows this mould. There is so much s***: cheap hook based songs that people devour and then throw away.
For us it makes the quality stand out: bands like Florence + Machine who have connected with the public are also filling their songs with soul and emotion. That is what makes music special, there is still a place for that. We hope that we can be that for people, give them something to believe in, be a part of their lives and hopefully avoid sitting in the graveyard of peoples iTunes.
What's the next step for Born Blonde?
We've got two more songs to record before our record is finished. Our next single 'What The Desert Taught You' is going to come out in the New Year, probably around the beginning of March and we should be on the road around then as well. On the 8th of December we are putting on our club night 'PURR' again, this time at Ginglik on Shepherd's Bush Green. We've got 'Jakwob' and 'Icona Pop' DJing and ourselves and 'Foe' doing sets. It's going to be a banging party so really looking forward to it.
A huge thank you to Born Blonde!
You can find out more about the awesome Born Blonde here: