Monday, October 26, 2015

Interview :: Blossoms

We have featured Stockport's fast-rising Blossoms quite a few times now on Little Indie. Indeed, as we like to boast, we were the first to write about them in February last year after a word in our ear from their rep at the time. Now we grab a few words with the men themselves.

This interview originally appeared in the music blog Denon Wing. For this and more music profiles, you can reach their site with a click here.

Words: Rosie Mulhern

New five-piece guitar-pop band Blossoms, have been on the rise recently. Having had their first EP 'Blown Rose' released this year, the band now embark on their headline tour.

With thanks to their very kind manager and the willingness of the band, I was lucky enough to be able to sit down and have a chat with them before their recent show in Birmingham.

If you haven't already heard of these guys then I highly recommend you go and listen to them. With the sound of the band consisting of upbeat yet at the same time rather deep and dark tones, along side lusty vibes and slicked back guitar riffs, Blossoms are definitely ones to watch with their new take on slightly older sounds. It was nice to see how down-to-earth and genuine the band seemed; they really are just normal guys and it truly was a pleasure to be able to talk to them.

Members: Tom Ogden - vocals/guitar; Charlie Salt - bass/backing vocals; Josh Dewhurst - lead guitar; Joe Donovan - drums; Myles Kellock - keyboards/backing vocals.

How did the name Blossoms come about?

Tom: Our band is named after a pub in Stockport called The Blossoms Pub. Basically I was in a car with Joe and we drove past the pub and I thought 'that's a good name for a band.' Two weeks after Joe was with Charlie not knowing I said that it'd be a good name for a band and Charlie also said that it was a good name so I guess it was fate.
Joe: It was a bit like a light bulb went off in my head.

How did you become a band?

Tom: We've been together for about two and a half years now; Joe was mutual friends with me and Charlie and we knew Josh as he used to be in a local band and after that we just got Myles in.
Myles: I learnt the keyboard with a broken wrist so I couldn't really play when I joined the band.
Tom: We used to go to a lot of parties and we were at one at Myles's flat above a curry house and us four (Tom, Josh, Charlie and Joe) were already a band and I was saying that we were looking for a keyboard player so Myles raised his hand.
Joe: A broken hand.
Tom: So yeah, he couldn't even play the keyboard at the time 'cos his wrist was broken but I just texted him one day like 'right we're coming round your house to do band practice' and so it made Myles just lock himself away for a month to teach himself how to play. It's been non stop since then really, we rehearsed four times a week and we had a gig every week which lead to two gigs a week which lead to a tour which takes us up to now.
Charlie: Before this band came around it was kind of strange really; Tom and Joe used to work at this hotel in Stockport and there was a band night on there and we were all on the same bill but in different bands which is kind of weird.

Did you know that you always wanted to be in a band since being younger?

Joe: Tom used to write songs in the bath when he was younger.
Tom: But I didn't realise it then I just used to make songs up in the bath when I was really young which sounds quite weird. But personally, I've always liked music from my mum and dad and they've always played me music that they're into. I remember from being really young The Stone Roses were played a lot and I always remember that song by Dodgy - 'Good Enough'. I started playing the keyboard when I was in year 8 at school but I only learnt things like the James Bond theme tune and I wasn't very good at it either. I started learning piano just so I could get out of class but then I started getting alright at it. When I was around 14 I started writing stuff and I started a band with my mate at school and that's how I started properly getting into music. Obviously, as you get older you experience more and go through more things so you start writing better songs and start finding more people who wanna do the sort of thing that you're into and it helps you out a bit with where you wanna go.
Joe: I was a bit of a late bloomer in music. I was always mates with Tom and me and Tom became mates through similar music taste such as Oasis and I used to follow his old band around. I had an old drum kit from my uncle but I could never play at all - I was terrible like really really bad.

Tom: Joe's got the work ethic whereas I could write tunes but I was more laid back like I could never really be arsed. Joe was always really proactive and trying to make things happen even though he couldn't play the drums at first but eventually he got to a point where he could play and
 he started his own band; so then when he wanted to start a band with me it was like 'yeah come on then let's do it.'
Charlie: I was probably about eight or nine and I was on holiday in Llandudno in Wales in the back of a car and my mum stuck 'Rumours' on - (Fleetwood Mac) and I remember hearing the opening lines of Dreams which made me really wanna be in the industry. After that I started to walk to school with a Walkman and I always used to play 'Somebody Told Me' by The Killers and it got me into other stuff like that. Also, my dad used to play bass in a band and he taught me my first bass line - 'Smoke on the Water' by Deep Purple and I was in quite a few bands before I joined this one.
Myles: I started listening to Nirvana which got me into Muse and Radiohead. I was in a few bands but they were all pretty naff. I was in one called Moving Traffic but funnily enough that wasn't going anywhere. I did a few gigs but I got kicked out cos I didn't turn up to band practice. I can pick up things really easily though so when I started playing I moved on to synths pretty quickly. I'm quite a perfectionist with the way things should sound and i'm good at making sounds.
Josh: I was born into music as my dad is a jazz pianist so music was always around the family. I've got early memories of him sitting me on his knee and playing me the piano. Then I saw someone playing the drums on the TV and I thought it was cool so I started of with a drum kit and then I just picked up a bass after that when I was like eight or nine but never really did much with it until I joined a band at 14.
Joe: Josh taught me how to play guitar.
Tom: Yeah, Josh's dad is a genius he played piano on one of our songs , 'Stormy', and he plays on a track off our new EP as well.
Joe: It's almost as if it was all meant to be because I think everyone's talents tie in quite nicely. Tom writes really good lyrics and Charlie just holds everything together with the backing vocals and they all compliment each other. Also Josh does these amazing riffs and knows exactly when to play the right thing and with Myles he adds a bit of a mad edge to it all.

Is there anyone you tend to get compared to a lot? Does this fit in with your own musical influences?

Tom: Not really. I think when you're a band and you hopefully get your own sound and you become successful; you become a band and people say that other people sound like Blossoms. Obviously, you can hear the influences but some people are just quick to write 'you sound like so and so' without really thinking about it but luckily we haven't really had one main person we're compared to. In the past when we were more older sounding and we used to wear turtlenecks we got compared to more 60s music but we've evolved out of that now naturally. I think with the new single 'Charlemagne' that just sounds like Blossoms definitely. In terms of influences there's the obvious ones like The Beatles, ABBA, The Doors, The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Oasis and Arctic Monkeys.

Pop music is pop. It's popular for a reason, do you know what I mean? We're not ashamed or shying away from the fact we want to be as catchy as we can be. Our aim is to make people put their arms round each other and sing and be able to dance at the same time. I've seen that happening on the tour so far so I think we're succeeding - we just wanna grow and get bigger and bigger. There's bands like Catfish and the Bottlemen setting the benchmark and we wanna follow in their footsteps.

Is new single 'Charlemagne' a representation of what the album will be like due to your new sound?

Tom: Kind of, 'cos the ones we've already released are gonna be on the album too, but to be honest I think they're all in the same wave as 'Charlemagne' but 'Charlemagne' is a bit of a crossover; one of those that just has the X factor -  and there's plenty more of those songs on the album. Tonight we're playing a song called 'At Most A Kiss'; it's like 'Charlemagne' but with more balls. (The Stone Roses' 'Waterfall' comes on in the background at this point) This is what got me into music actually.
Charlie: Have you ever heard of the film 'There's Only One Jimmy Grimble?'
Tom: The soundtrack for that is great I really got into it, this song is on it, actually.

Has there been any obvious highlights of the tour so far?

Tom: Yeah, definitely London. We played two nights ago and that completely sold out. That was the biggest headline gig we've had anyway and that's just mad for us. We came from Stockport, you know, so having that many people know your songs without even having an album out is dead nice. We've got The Ritz in Manchester too which is sold out. We've come from the Deaf Institute last year which holds two hundred people to this which is like fifteen hundred so to do that in a year we're all dead proud. It's the best thing in the world.

What are your plans after you've finished this tour?

Tom: We've got a couple of dates with Paul Weller in Dublin in November, we're going to Paris and then we're doing a few other festival things.
Charlie: We've got a gig with The Charlatans in December - we've got a pretty good relationship with Tim Burgess, and we might be doing a tour earlier at the beginning of next year too.

If there's anywhere you could tour where would it be?

Charlie: We were fortunate enough to go to Japan and that was one of the best experiences we've had collectively as a band.
Tom: A full tour of America and Australia would be cool. We'll go anywhere. The moon, maybe? Yeah, that's where we wanna tour.

What would you like to achieve in the next ten years?

Joe: Global domination.
Charlie: The whole world will just be Blossoms by then.
Tom: I think to just keep writing good songs. We wanna reach out to as many people as possible and get as many people on board as we can and mean something to people. We don't wanna be that band that gets on the cover of NME once and then no one gives a shit about them two years later. We've done it the old fashioned way: we've gone up and down the country without a record deal, knocked on everyone's door to the point where it's like 'fucking hell - we better give them a record deal'. Now that we have a record deal it's like right, put us out to everyone and we won't disappoint. I think also to stay in touch with the fans whilst trying to get yourselves as big as possible is also really important.
Charlie: You've just gotta enjoy yourself too. As soon as it becomes a chore it's time to give up."l

I see you've been doing a few live videos on Facebook, what made you want to do them?

Tom: We saw Ricky Gervais doing them so we were like, why don't we do that? We're big fans of his. Maybe one day when your blog goes massive you can do one! No other band does it, so why not?  It's like a tour diary as it's happening. Growing up, I used to spend hours in bed watching tour diaries of people like the Arctic Monkeys, Oasis and more recently Catfish and the Bottlemen - anything I can get my hands on. You get a real insight. If people can watch us just eating pizza I think that's good in a weird way; it shows we're just normal.

On the topic of social media, do you think it's a big part of being successful these days?

Tom: It's undeniable: it's just the way the world is, you can't get big without it now.
Joe: You can't really hide away from it.
Tom: It's a great platform. We've gone up and down the country and utilised social media. Then again, a fucking chicken being thrown out the window would go viral and it's just like, that's no talent is it? They've not worked for that. In that sense it's annoying sometimes, but it's 2015 and you've just gotta deal with it and accept change. We've gotta step up now that we're started to get played on the radio more. We have used social media a lot and it has helped but radio does definitely help and it's still important.
Joe: People are a lot harsher on the internet.
Tom: You can't take it too seriously, you can't take the highs too seriously cos you'll just become a dick and you can't take the lows too seriously either. It's like someone saying 'If you step foot in Manchester I'll kill you,' and someone actually said that to us when we supported the Courteeners. If someone said that to you normally you'd freak out, but you just take it with a pinch of salt on the internet.

And finally, what's your opinion on free music streaming such as Spotify?

Tom: I'm sound with it. Like Noel Gallagher said the other day, it's £5.99 for an album but £50 for a gig ticket, so you're not bothered are you? It's a lot more to go and watch someone live. As long as you get to that level where a load of people wanna see you, then rock'n'roll will still live on.
Charlie: I have Spotify and I think it's great.
Tom: It's all there for you to listen to so more people are gonna hear your stuff if it's free and then more people will come to your shows. As long as you're successful and you're a good live band then more people will pay to come and see you and support you at your shows, which means a lot more so it doesn't bother me.

Blossoms have just completed a headline UK tour. They play a further one-off London date this year at The Victoria, Dalston on December 18.

On November 25 the band will take part in a masterclass at Band On The Wall in Manchester. Presented in partnership with Generator as part of their Take Note programme and is supported by Youth Music, the masterclass is completely free and open to young people aged 13-25. The session will give young songwriters and producers the opportunity to learn about techniques, views and influences of experienced artists as they demonstrate to attendees how they write and record their music. To register, click here.

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