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INTERVIEW: The Blinders. Fresh From SXSW And About To Embark On Their Own Headline Tour We Had A Chat With The Blinders.

Since hitting the live circuit a couple of years ago The Blinders haven’t left the attention of the music press and their ever growing fanbase. Finally last year we were rewarded with their debut album which captured their electric live energy on one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. Having just got back from playing showcases at SXSW and then off to their own headline tour soon we were lucky enough to manage to chat to band behind it all. The Blinders are Thomas (guitar/vocals), Charlie (bass), Matt (drums)

Hi, how are you? Where are you right now?
M: Hi we’re very good thanks. I’m currently sat in a coffee shop, it seems we are still recouping post SXSW.

SXSW, a small break and then another UK headline tour, exciting times for The Blinders; Tell us all about The Blinders at SXSW?
T: SX seemed to simultaneously deliver and contradict our expectations. In many ways it’s very daunting. You’re one of what seems a million bands all being talked up so it’s easy to get lost in the noise. We went with the intention to enjoy theopportunity and what comes of it, if anything, would come of it. In true fashion of our overseas experiences so far we encountered everything from malfunctioning pedal boards to being cut off for climbing on speakers. It’s a week we won’t be forgetting anytime soon and has given us both the appetite and confidence to play more shows outside of the UK.

You’ve created a specific styling to your presentation with your makeup, something that you’ve taken onto your album sleeve; how does this characterise The Blinders? And how do you envisage this look evolving?
T: The makeup, like most things we do, was really quite spontaneous and not something we’ve discussed as a band. I think it was at first applied in a war paint-esque manner but suddenly took a character of it’s own. It’s amazing some of the things you’re prepared to do when your identity is concealed. In reference to how we envisage it evolving, I don’t think we do.

‘I think [the make-up] was at first applied in a war paint-esque manner but suddenly took a character of it’s own. It’s amazing some of the things you’re prepared to do when your identity is concealed.’

The Blinders songs seem like they are written for live performance and from the explosive live sets it certainly presents that way; how do capture that live spirit on record? What key factors went into putting your songs on record?
C: From the band’s creation we have focused very much on live orientated music simply because we never possessed the capacity to record. We went out and played any show that we were given. The songs we wrote therefore tended to be focused around remaining in that domain. When it came to recording Columbia then, we wanted to capture and document this live atmosphere. It seemed to be what defined us and therefore had to define the album to a certain degree. In that sense the album may be seen as a stop marker for the ‘journey’ so far.
The way we consume music has changed dramatically and touring is becoming a vital source of income for bands; how do you think this is affecting the way bands write music and the songs they produce?
C/T: It’s difficult to comment on other bands and the way they work obviously but from our point of view, as we say, we’ve always written with the performance side very much in mind. However, I think there is still a reliance on radio or still a will for bands to get their songs played on the radio so maybe this makes people more inclined to attempt to write a stereotypical three minute single. It seems this is what people crave. It also seems that this suits the way people tend to be streaming music and consuming more playlists as opposed to albums. Guitar bands, for want of a better phrase, may be less inclined to write a thirteen minute tune but that is not to say that a three minute song can’t be just as powerful or impressive. The reliance on touring may result in the studio technique being lost as there is less time awarded to being in a recording environment which would be a shame.

How does such a young band approach future releases after your debut made it on many top 10 lists of 2018? We would assume this is humbling but empowering too?
C: We’re already well on the way with album two. We’re writing what comes naturally as always but are trying to progress things and move our sound and style in alternate directions. The support for Columbia is obviously incredibly empowering and encouraging. It provides a confidence in ones abilities and when one is confident in what they are creating this can only lead to a better end result.

‘We’re already well on the way with album two. We’re writing what comes naturally as always but are trying to progress things and move our sound and style in alternate directions.’

Can you us one album or a handful of albums that would have made your top 10 of the year list for 2018?
M: It seems so long ago it’s almost difficult to remember what came out now. The David Byrne album was a stand out and I think we all collectively united being Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino.

‘I think we all collectively united being Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino.’

You’ve been described as having ‘dystopian anthems’, we could assume that the difficult soci-political climate influenced this style? With society still very much in turmoil how much are you writing at the moment and what style is it taking?
C: With the world in such turmoil as you say, it’s difficult to pick out specific issues and talk about those issues in one song. As with Columbia then and the use of dystopian language, we tend to write more broadly. It seems that with our new songs we are being led more by characters, characters who are certainly from this society and are being influenced, distorted or exist as the products of what is going on around them.

‘It seems that with our new songs we are being led more by characters, characters who are certainly from this society and are being influenced, distorted or exist as the products of what is going on around them.’

We see a smattering of festival dates so far, how much of a festival season are you doing and what festivals do you want to talk about today?
M: We’re hoping to do as many as possible, of course, so we’ll be wherever people have us. We’ve recently announced Benicassim which will certainly be a highlight.

What upcoming acts are most catching your eye at the moment, what highlights of SXSW as punter were there?
T: We spent a lot of time with our friends Avalanche Party. It was a real honour to go over there together and they absolutely nailed it as did the Ninth Wave who will join us on our April Tour. We also caught the Ezra Collective who had us beaming.

https://en-gb.facebook.com/theblindersband/

Questions: James Wadsworth

Photos: Used with kind thanks to The Blinders.



Underscore Part 3

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