Interview // BLOSSOMS – “We want to be everywhere”
“We want to be everywhere” BLOSSOMS say ahead of their sold out London show.
I’ve considered many opening lines. I’ve started with a few different versions. I’ve probably crossed out half of them. And then it hit me. We’re not having a discussion here. I’m going for a clear statement.
Meet your new favourite band.
I mean, come on! A band who plays a sold out London show before even releasing an album must get your attention. I know they’ve got all mine. I am fully intrigued.
Josh Dewhurst (Lead Guitar), Charlie Salt (Bass, BV’s), Tom Ogden (Voice, Guitar), Joe Donovan (Drum), Myles Kellock (Keyboards, BV’s)
I get down to the Village Underground a little bit too early before my scheduled interview with Blossoms. The upside is that this gives me the opportunity to catch the band doing the soundcheck and get a small snippet of what is coming. And oh boy, I am very happy for what I’m hearing. But of course, I don’t want to experience too much at the time. It is my first Blossoms show after all. Let’s leave all the excitement and the surprise for the main performance, shall we?
So I start wandering around the venue. I see people scattered across the room getting ready for the event, the supporting bands curiously listening to the tonight’s headline act, some merchandise here and there.
After the rehearsal is finished I follow the group down to the dressing room. We exchange courtesies, a few How are you? and How’s it going? and we sit down. They emanate with a magnetic confidence and very strong charisma. So yes, the first impression is extremely good and (luckily) all the black on the outside thing from the Blow era is gone. The Stockport five-piece seems very comfortable. You sense straight away they must’ve known each other for a long time despite the fact they formed as Blossoms just two years ago. But there is something that bugs me and I feel like lacking an appropriate word for it. As if there was something intimidating about them that I’m yet to figure out.
Let’s go back to the beginning then. But only for a minute or so because there is no point of staying in the past, is there? This story, as many others before, involves the alcohol, the car and the bunch of lads. Sort of. Alright, mainly just a pub but let’s face it – all the greatest ideas are being born in a pub, aren’t they?
We are named after a pub in Stockport called The Blossoms Pub – Tom Ogden says, the frontman of the group. We just got rid of The and Pub and kept Blossoms.
Why did we get rid of Pub? – I hear from Joe Donovan, the drummer.
We should just be called Pub – Tom adds.
It’s strange how it all came together actually. Initially, Tom suggested it to Joe after driving past that pub. But two weeks later me and Joe were driving past and I suggested the same name. So yes, fate. – Charlie Salt, the bassist, sums up.
See, I told you. The pub, the car and the bunch of lads.
As all unveils, Joe is the binding force in the band. Tom has known him for ten years, Myles Kellock (keys) lives in his house, he and Charlie were earlier in a different band together and there’s some story including brothers and girlfriends and Josh Dewhurst (lead guitar). Or maybe it was all about sisters and boyfriends? Anyhow, Joe has known everyone the longest.
I catch up with Blossoms the day after the music video for the new single Charlemagne is released and to be honest I somehow try to hide my obsession with the song and the excitement about the upcoming EP.
The band have again teamed up with the producers James Skelly and Rich Turvey at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool to work on the title track. The new single was released just on October 5 and has already been stated as the band’s best track yet. With the distinctive opening bass line and catchy synths, how can it not be?
But who is this Charlemagne, you may ask?
It’s whoever you want it to be – the lead singer answers. Whatever person you’re infatuated with and you can’t have them or you shouldn’t have them for all the wrong reasons. You put them on the pedestal and because it’s a Charlemagne you refer to them as your King. But I’m talking about female not male. However, you don’t kiss and tell. That’s the vibe. It’s our new single and it has gone down really well.
Obviously, I want to know more about the forthcoming EP. Are the songs kept in the similar vibes? Can we expect something different? What’s new? And apparently, after Felicia and Madeleine it is now time for Evelyn.
Actually, the tracks are more the same. A bit of everything in it – Tom clarifies. Who’s Evelyn? I can’t tell. I don’t know. It’s just a name. I don’t know anyone called Evelyn. That word just rhymed with the right syllables and fitted to that part of the song. It was always “For Evelyn” though. Maybe I’ll meet someone called Evelyn.
It’s a figure of Tom’s imagination – Charlie marks.
The group’s first Blown Rose EP, released on July 31 this year, has gone down big. Just imagine, only one EP, with the second on the horizon, no album out yet and Blossoms still managed to perform at SXSW for BBC Introducing, played at Latitude Festival, Reading and Leeds, T in The Park if I’m to mention just a few. Plus, they’ve just done a session at BBC Maida Vale studios. How awesome is that? I’m telling you, keep your eyes on these guys.
But has anything changed since the start? How have they evolved? Or is it more of a same old, same old thing?
There is a big difference between 2013 and the present day – Charlie comments. When we first got together Tom wasn’t satisfied with the direction his band was going to. Any of us really. But Tom did choose not to give up insisting that we were more substantial. And I think everyone knew that. At that time it was something really big.
But also it was all probably more old-fashioned even then, more 60s – Tom continues. But no one else was doing that at the time. It got us noticed. But we’ve grown as a band as you would anyway. So two years later we’ve grown out of that and we’re something different. And in another two years we’ll probably be something different again. But at the moment it’s not like it was two years ago. It’s been a natural grow.
Even the approach to the recording as well – Charlie puts in. Originally, we used a lot of vintage equipment whilst working on the demos. Now the key is to be on the radio. You need that modern stamp on it.
You can have your influences from the 60s and the 70s but you don’t want to sound like you’re from the 70s – Tom states. Ultimately, it’s 2015 and we want to sound like we’re 2017.
The thing is that people in the 60s and 70s didn’t want to sound like the 50s and 40s – Joe indicates. They wanted to sound modern as they could. We’re trying to sound as modern as we can. And we’re not a side band. We get labeled all the time but we’re not a side band.
We want to be everywhere
Hearing that I realise that contemporary world loves labels. People can’t simply leave things as they are, can they? They just need to name them straight away. The same with the new bands and their sounds. Just leave them for a while, let them experiment with the music, let them decide what they are. What they want to be.
I’ve encountered many descriptions about Blossoms from “lighter take on psychedelia” through “80s synth pop” to “hybrid of psych pop rock ‘n’ roll”. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying they’re not accurate but do you really have to?
And I totally agree with what the group have to say on that matter.
No, I don’t like describing the sound because I think you shouldn’t have to – Tom begins. I mean with all the best bands you just say like The Beatles sound like The Beatles, Oasis sound like Oasis, The Doors like The Doors. We sound like Blossoms. That what is happening right now.
Saying that Charlie gets a recollection of some past event – Someone came up to us and said if we were going out to a club that had, let’s say four floors and every floor was a different era, we could fit in and be played on every floor. Which is what you really want to hear.
And how’s the headline tour so far?
Amazing. The best tour we’ve ever done – Tom concludes. And we’re playing a hometown show in Manchester next week which has sold out.
No fights then? – I ask.
Only fist fights now and then – Charlie says.
Charlie was attacked in Liverpool the other day but not from us – Tom mentions.
Well, sounds like fun! And since I’m going to Manchester this month for the first time ever I even get a few recommendations of things to do and places to visit. Cheers lads! I might really consider that subterranean drinking tour.
As I leave I realise there’s still plenty of things I wanted to ask them. Well, maybe next time when they’ll be playing an arena show or something. Because sooner or later that will happen. As I see it, there is no other way. Blossoms are just getting started.
As for the show, it is a pure delight for the fans. Opening with powerful guitar riffs of Cut Me And I’ll Bleed through darker and characteristic keys in You Pulled A Gun On Me to already crowd’s favourite Charlemagne, Blossoms are definitely meeting all the expectations. The singer gives a few shout outs to the homies from Manchester between low tempo Smoke and my personal fave – Favourite Room (I listen to this song so often that there is a huge possibility of destroying it). The audience is hyped and restless, there also appears to be the security intervention when some bloke gets too excited in the first row. Before I even realise the time the group goes straight to the distinguishing melodies and versatile vocals of Blown Rose. Already?! Why so soon?! And that’s when the crowd goes mental. Finishing with Blow the band leaves the fans with some sort of a hunger and emptiness. Only one question unravels on all faces Is this the end?
Just for tonight. Let’s hope it never ends.
And remember that intimidating part? Yes, I’ve figured that out. But I might share it the next time.
The Charlemagne EP is set to be released on November 6.
Now see some pictures of Blossoms sold out show at Village Underground in London. I took so many that it was really hard to pick just a few.
Photo: Kasia Osowiecka