Interview: Blossoms

Blossoms

blossomsWords: Gary Lambert

Photos: Gaz Jones

When you get a text message asking if you want to meet one of the brightest hopes in the British music scene, the answer is always yes. When you’re given the chance to interview and photograph them, the answer is YES (followed by a deep breath to stop you going all fanboy). The net result of these texts was Gaz Jones and I being sat in a beer garden in Liverpool city centre with Tom, Joe, Charlie, Josh and Miles of Blossoms having our latest Snap n Chat as well as us having a good pint.

The guys had been in Parr Street Studios recording something with James Skelly all day and we were invited to join Tom and Joe in the live room to conduct the interview. When we suggested a trip out of the studio though, everybody was more than happy to join us and get out. It was an opportunity to go through the looking glass because whilst the idea of sitting in a room all day jamming with your mates seems great, it was obvious that recording music is a far different beast. Blossoms walked out of there with the smiles of leaving work on a Friday night.

Once the photoshoot had finished, we got the beers in and sat down to speak with the quintet. As Steve Lamacq only that afternoon had the world’s first play of Blossoms’ new single, Blown Rose (available on iTunes from Friday 31 July), there was only one place to start. Considering Blown Rose is so Summer sounding I asked the band when they had recorded it thinking that it must have been done on one of the few nice days we have had this year, surprisingly that was not the case. “We’ve been sitting on it for ages as we recorded it last November when we did Cut Me And I Bleed”.

Every member of the team seemed enthused by the record and the confidence seemed justified. I had searched on Twitter to see what the reaction was to the single after it had been played and the angry trolls had been nowhere to be found. The band had also noticed this “it is usually full of people who don’t mind saying some horrible things, but it was all dead positive. Just what you want from the first play of the new single”. Given that the first time James Skelly, one of the finest writers of a pop tune in my lifetime, heard it said “everybody will love this” maybe the band should have been less surprised.

In the world of iTunes and purchasing single songs to propel them from nowhere up the charts (at the time of writing iTunes alternative singles chart included nineties classics such as Wonderwall and Zombie), it feels refreshing that a band is releasing a four track EP. The reason for the EP rather than just a one-off song is that Blossoms want to give people what they want. “Our fans have been asking for an album, but as we have been concentrating on our live work we didn’t want to just throw that out, so we have worked on this to give a bit more”.

blossoms The Blossoms attitude to playing live has seen them grow in stature and in venue size in a short space in time. Within twelve months they have gone from playing downstairs in The Shipping Forecast, to The Kazimier, to a gig in the O2 Academy, in Liverpool alone. The band are confident of selling the tickets though. With live performances this summer at Kendal Calling (where they are one of Popped’s hotly tipped acts to watch) followed by Y Not and the exciting double header of Reading and Leeds, there are plenty of people who are going to see Blossoms for the first time – and I know for certain for a good proportion of them it won’t be the last time. With no album on sale yet the best way to hear a good chunk of Blossoms is to go out and get a ticket to watch them. You will have the songs stuck in your head for days later so you get a hefty lot of band for your buck.

This momentum of live performances is comparable to two acts renowned on the live music circuit, Catfish and The Bottlemen; and the band Blossoms were lucky enough to support at their hometown mega-gig this summer, The Courteeners. The band, whilst not looking to copy anybody, must surely see the similarities in growth, but rather than put any undue pressure on themselves or diminish the achievements of friends and comrades wanted to take the opportunity to shower a bit of praise. “Catfish and The Bottlemen are blowing everybody’s mind with the rate they’re growing. If they continue like this then they will be putting on outdoor gigs of their own very soon. They did Night and Day Café in 2013 and then two years later they’re doing consecutive nights at Manchester Apollo”.

 

And as for Manchester’s leading lads at the moment, the working class ethos which runs through Blossoms came to the fore “The Courteeners have built up a loyalty in their fans so that they’re like a football team. The fans will live and die for that band, their band. And how they have done it is by grafting hard for ten years and for that they deserve everything they get and more. Their music is written for gigs like that, for grabbing your mates and singing along. They’ve not stepped into Oasis’ boots, who can?, but they are trying on their slippers and finding them comfy”.

 

The word graft comes up again quickly as the boys talk about their last tour in comparison to some of the other bands out there. “You see bands out there who aren’t willing to put the graft in. Our last tour we did twenty dates from Inverness to Brighton and everywhere in between. Some people don’t seem to be willing to do it, but we want to do it. We’re doing the hard things like having sleeping in your van or it breaking down on the M6 or sneaking people into the room at a Travelodge so you can afford to sleep somewhere. We’ve spoken to Catfish who have experienced all of that and it gives you hope that you can break through and do it”.

 

With the rise in so many acts around who have come through a private education background, be it stage schools or expensive public schools, speaking to these grounded working class lads from Stockport is an absolute inspiration. One of my fears is that football becomes pretty much the only way for working class kids to become wealthy, but there is still hope in rock n roll. “People think you are living the dream, but sitting at the side of the motorway with your van broken down is not a dream, we are working hard for this and showing that you don’t have to be from a privileged background or to have connections in order to make it. But to go to the tip of the country and see that people have bought tickets to come to see you that is so pleasing. Even if there’s only three people there, you know they are there for what you’ve done”.

 

blossomsBlossoms have been very lucky in the last few years in having a free rehearsal place in Charlie’s granddad’s scrapyard, but that is a debt they lovingly acknowledge and they’ve even played fundraisers for Stockport County at his behest. “There’s nothing we wouldn’t do for that man” they say. And I believe that.

You might notice through this article that the quotes are not attributed to any band member. This isn’t because their Stockport accents melt into one voice on tape, but rather the band merge into one when they are speaking. Every question receives an answer from say Tom which is then taken up by Charlie and then passed over to Josh who will include Miles and Joe in his answer and get their opinions. It is brilliant to see. Even in an interview they are a band working as a collective.

Blossoms are an inspirational band and I advise any young band who come across them on the circuit to listen to what they say as they have wisdom beyond their years. When talking about their loyalty to Charlie’s granddad, “if we sold out The Ritz and the next day he asked us to do another fundraiser, we’d be there. Whilst we would do anything for him, we are not the kind of band who would do just any gig when we were younger. You’ve got to realise that there are some gigs you just don’t want to do. Whilst you’re happy getting gigs, there are promoters around who will expect you to sell fifty tickets and they will let you play and they’ve got four bands doing that and they give you twenty five quid and they’re making a load from it. You shouldn’t sell tickets for your own gig”.

 

Before I finish, I would like to thank the staff, management and punters in The Grove in Liverpool for their assistance in helping the interview and photoshoot go as we had hoped that it would. As you can see from the photographs it is a characterful beer garden which we wanted to use from the first time we had visited and they were happy to turn the volume down on the speakers outside to allow us to record the interview.

But Blossoms were the real stars and a real band. The bond I have seen on stage with them isn’t for show and this band isn’t just for the here and now. Buy Blown Rose, get a ticket to see them live and set yourself up for being the latest fan of Blossoms. With the hard work they’re putting in, it’s inevitable. They’re coming to get you!

Watch the video for Blown Rose here:

Listen to Blown Rose here:
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