It’s that time again, when are man on the ground Desh Kapur Editor/Photographer All Music Magazine UK/Europe spotlights a bands or artists he thinks are going to have a big 2021 ; bands and artists we think you should check out to stay ahead of the curve
BLONDES began three years ago at Nottingham University, meeting as freshers from widely disparate areas of the UK. The eureka moment for them came in the summer of 2019 whilst watching a set from The Vaccines at Glastonbury Festival, during which they heard an impassioned speech encouraging the audience to start a band and be fearless in chasing their dreams. The band are now signed with C3 Records, which was established in 2018 by Charlie Walker and Charles Attal, co-founders of C3 Management and C3 Presents, one of the world’s largest festival producers. BLONDES have since been back in the studio recording their highly anticipated debut EP for the label. BLONDES are: WILL POTTER | vocals ALEX DAVISON | guitar DANIEL STROUD | guitar and drums TOM HERBERT | bass
For Fan OF Two Door Cinema Club, Arcade Fire and The Coral
So we decided it was time to have a little chat with Alex Davison, guitarist, keyboard player and main songwriter to see where they came from, what they have been up to and what their plans for the future are.
What is the story behind your name?
We got drunk at my 21st birthday party and it just came out. I was walking through the kitchen and Stroud said, “What do you think of Blondes?”. I immediately thought of Frank Ocean’s Blond and I was sold. It was easy.
What first got you into music? Or who inspired you to make music?
I remember being 15 watching All Time Low’s live touring DVD and seeing them kicking holes in walls, getting bras thrown at them, and just having the wildest time. A young and hormonal Alex thought that looked like the greatest job in the world. Obviously, it’s a lot less cool in retrospect. I’m far more interested in the making-music-with-my-friends part now than the attention of teenage girls but, to tell you the truth, as a teenager they were the first band that made me feel like, “Wow, I wanna do that”.
How did you all meet?
We have not met. Everything has been conducted over zoom meetings. We were pioneers in that respect. (Not all of that is entirely true.)
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
We’re inspired by genres across the board and we pull influences from a range of artists. Our music is guitar based but we use a mixture of programmed and live drums to give it a bit more of a pop, almost dancey feel. We like to think it’s got a euphoric quality to it, but in a sort of indescribable way. I think that’s why Coming of Age resonated with so many young people, especially in the States. Euphoric, main-character-moment sort of thing.
What is your creative process like?
It will usually start with an idea from one of us on an acoustic guitar. We tend to have one lying around the living room all the time and then if we hear something catchy we’ll sit around throwing melodic or lyrical ideas around. I tend to do the bulk of the songwriting once we have a starting point but we’ve started working as more of a team to turn that into a finished product. Once I’ve got the skeleton of the song written we’ll lay it down on Stroud’s computer, grab instruments and start playing around over the top until we have a finished demo that works. Or we let Tom freestyle rap, with varying degrees of success.
If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
Arcade Fire. They put on a cracking show. And there’s bloody loads of them so the afterparty would be great.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Do what you love. If you don’t know what that is yet, then say yes to everything life throws at you and you’ll be surprised where it takes you. If you know what it is, then do it without fear and without reservation. If it feels big and scary, focus on the steps in front of you and commit yourself to it fully. What other people think of you or want you to do is of absolutely zero importance. It’s your life.
What is the most useless talent you have?
All of our talents are very useful, thanks very much. Stroud is superb at those arcade basketball free-throws, that’s probably as useless as it gets. Also, Tom won the Premier League with Havant & Waterlooville on Football Manager 2018.
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
I think honestly, you’re a bit weird if you don’t sing in the shower. Tom sings a lot. And very loudly. A lot of glam rock and Swedish alternative.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
Well, we’d all probably be doing something a lot more boring with our respective degrees. Will would be some sort of environmental engineer; Stroud would be some sort of software or computer engineer; Tom would be an international diplomat; and I did history so I’d be unemployed.
Where have you performed? What is your favourite and least favourite venue? Do you have any upcoming shows?
Funnily enough we’ve never played outside our hometown of Nottingham. There was a venue we played called The Maze that has closed down now, but they told us they had a house drum kit but parts were missing. We had to construct a snare stand out of an upturned stool, a fire extinguisher and a brick. It was a nightmare. Rough Trade and The Chameleon Cafe have been really great fun to play, there’s a real DIY feel to the shows there. We’ve got a few festivals lined up later in summer like Liverpool Sound City, Live at Leeds, and Dot to Dot in Nottingham and Bristol. Plus, there’ll be some more news on shows coming soon
What is your favourite song to perform?
One of our earlier releases, Low on The Comedown, is a setlist staple and a real favourite amongst our friends and the fans who’ve been with us since the early days. It’s a massive singalong and it’s always an amazing moment that we get to share with each other at shows.
Which famous musicians do you admire?
I love Loyle Carner, he’s all about good music, good food and good company. Stuff that’s good for the soul, you know?
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
Once I was suspended from my job working in a clothes shop because I mistakenly gave staff discount to someone who wasn’t staff. Good thing they didn’t catch me when I stole a box of Calvin Klein underwear in retaliation.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
No amount of regret will change the past, and no amount of worrying will affect the future. Things are what they are, and whatever will be will be. When you stop trying to control everything, it’s the most liberating experience in the world.
What’s next for you?
That’s a funny question, given the answer I just gave to the previous one. Our plan is to release an EP before the autumn, and then move to Liverpool to be closer to our team, and to try life in a new city. Then, hopefully, we can head out on the road and play some shows as soon as restrictions no longer impede that. But who really knows what’s next, right?
BLONDES have released MINIMUM WAGE, their highly anticipated second single following the extraordinary success of Coming of Age, which became a viral sensation on TikTok, reaching over 25 million streams and more than 350K video views to date on YouTube alone.
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