- Tue, 2011-11-01 15:02
Born Blonde are five young hopefuls from London whose epic, spacey indie-rock has earned them many an appreciative nod over recent months, and is likely to see them appear on many ‘ones-to-watch’ lists for 2012. Their new single, Radio Bliss, has just been released to a very warm reception, and they are currently holed up in the studio working on their debut album.
I Like Music chatted down the line to lead singer Arthur Delaney, discussing their time in the studio, eclectic inspirations, entering the limelight, and comparisons to The Verve.
“I Like Music because… it blows my mind.” Arthur, Born Blonde
ILM: I understand you guys are working in the studio at the moment. How’s it all going?
Arthur: Yeah, very well thank you, we’re just putting down some new tracks. There’s a new one called I Just Wanna Be and then we’re just about to start a new one called 667.
ILM: What’s your working method like in the studio? Do you write while you’re in there, or do you go in with the songs complete?
Arthur: We come in with the songs written in their really raw form, usually written with an acoustic guitar or sometimes a piano, then we build them up. We play them live in the studio for quite a long time first, then record them and check them, and then layer them up.
ILM: You’re working with Simon 'Barny' Barnicott, hows that going? Is this the first time you’ve worked with a relatively big-name producer?
Arthur: Well we did a session with Owen Temple Morris who did Oasis, so that was pretty epic, but it didn’t come out sounding like we wanted. But yeah, Barny is brilliant. He encourages us to get into quite a subconscious space when we’re working so we’re not really thinking about what we’re putting down, just kind of reacting to music… Kind of letting the song take you somewhere and following where it should go.
ILM: Quite improvisational then?
Arthur: Definitely, yeah. It’s very much about finding a space and exploring it.
ILM: Is that going to be typical of the whole album?
Arthur: Yeah definitely, lots of big atmospheric tunes, but because they’ve got that song at the middle of them you can really take them somewhere.
ILM: So what artists have you been referring to as inspiration for that?
Arthur: I don’t know… just everything I’ve ever listened to!
ILM: Are you envisioning an album which is very much a whole from start to finish, very much a unified piece?
Arthur: Yeah, definitely. There are different personalities in each song, but they all tie together in that each song is its own environment or space. There are a lot of key sounds and quite a lot of shoegazey guitars on most of the record, and a lot of sweeping delays and stuff like that. We’re using a Memory Man pedal by Electro Harmonix, and that’s quite a defining sound of our record. It’s pretty much gone on everything. It’s so cool!
ILM: People consume music much more on a track-by-track basis these days, have you been taking that into account whilst writing and recording the album? Has that been a concern or have you tended to ignore that trend?
Arthur: I think it’s important for every song to stand up in its own right. We’ve got a record of ten or eleven songs that we’re delighted with. They should each be able to be listened to individually, but when you put them together they make an experience or journey.
ILM: Speaking of single tracks, your new single Radio Bliss is coming out next week. Could you tell us a little about that song in particular?
Arthur: It was written a while ago, around March time last year. I was reading a book by Olaf Stapledon called Star Maker. It’s about a guy who gets fired into space…! He finds himself flying through it and goes and explores the whole of our galaxy. He lands on this alien planet and instead of music being the predominant emotional communicator for all these creatures it’s taste. Some of them choose to get fed their whole existence through taste radio and that’s the concept for Radio Bliss.
ILM: Are you inspired by literature and non musical stuff quite a lot when you’re writing?
Arthur: Definitely. Inspiration comes in quite strange places so we are always exposing ourselves to as much stuff as we possibly can.
ILM: Radio Bliss has been getting quite a lot of coverage in the press and a comparison that is coming up a lot is with The Verve. Obviously it’s great to be compared to a band like that, but equally - as you’ve already said - you’re inspired by a hell of a lot more besides. What’s it been like to experience for the first time the way that the media pick up on one aspect of your sound and then define you by it?
Arthur: Yeah it’s alright… it’s not an albatross is it! There are worse things to be compared to I suppose! They are one of my favourite bands and we’ve all been listening to them for years. They’re definitely an influence, but if people want to pigeonhole us they can. There’s a lot more to give than just that flat comparison, you know. I think people will discover that when they listen to our record. It’s easy journalism isn’t it. You can’t change the way people perceive your music or what they label it, you’ve just got to get on with it.
ILM: The momentum is really building for you guys and people are really beginning to pay attention; are you ready for all of that? Are you nervous about the fact that the spotlight is being turned on you?
Arthur: Not at all, that’s the plan isn’t it! We’ve been working really hard to get ready so that when the eyes do turn on us we can take it. We just want to present something we are really proud of to people. We have all of our songs ready to go and we’re ready to take on the world.
ILM: Your album is coming out next year on a major label even though Radio Bliss is only your second single and you’re not yet a very well-known name. Could you fill us in on how you’ve got to this point?
Arthur: Our project was formed after I decided to call it a day on my solo project. I really wanted to have some interesting opinions around me and build something together with a group of people who had a collective idea of how they wanted to make music. And we’ve been putting on shows since then really… wrote some good songs I suppose!
ILM: Fair enough. When was the turning point? When did the guys in suits turn up from the major labels and start paying attention to you?
Arthur: I don’t know, about some point last year, but technically it hasn’t happened yet man! We’ve got to keep on finding the turning points, you know.
ILM: Looking to the future then, what have you got planned apart from finishing the album and getting that ready for release? Have you got any live tours planned?
Arthur: We haven’t got anything planned at the moment, but we’re keeping our eyes on getting the record finished. Then when that’s done and we’ve got all our songs ready then I’m sure we’ll be going out at the end of this year or the beginning of next year. Getting out there and getting it heard is really what we are concerned about at the moment. Just kind of reaching out and making a connection.
ILM: What’s the Born Blonde live experience like? How do you go about translating your music for the stage?
Arthur: We try and stick quite tightly to the way we record it because…the songs are a bit like paintings, you know. You’ve already painted them, and then you try to express that live. We quite like to work within pre-defined structures. It’s much more about feeling it as opposed to thinking about it. But we try and mix up the set, we try and add bits in and be a bit more experimental… add some long sections.
ILM: Is there anyone that you’ve seen live as a fan that has left with you with a lasting impression and made you think ‘that’s what I want to do with my band?’
Arthur: Yeah, lots of bands. We all went to see Arcade Fire together this year and that was pretty big, they’re a great band … lots of emotional power live, which is really important.
ILM: You come from the West London music scene, which is quite a bustling one; apart from yourselves who else should we be looking out for next year?
Arthur: Yeah, definitely, it’s a buzzing place at the moment man. Look out for a band called Get People. They’re not strictly from West London, but they’re really good friends of ours. Quite dance-y, lots of synth-based beats, up on stage using lots of laptops. Check ‘em out: Get People.