In conversation with The Blinders
We got to interview the Doncaster born trio, The Blinders, who have taken the UK live circuit by storm in 2017. With a blend of proto punk politics and psychedelia laden lyricism the band are a force to be reckoned with.
Here is what went down:
Where does the name The Blinders come from?
Unfortunately it’s as trivial as deriving from that TV show people really like... Sorry.
Who are your musical influences and how do they influence you?
We all share a mutual love of what we might call the 'Classics'. Beatles, Stones, Doors... But we each very much have a musical identity of our own whilst appreciating one another's taste. We try to listen and absorb as much as we can from as wide a field possible. But our go to spark that often lights the fire is to go to the roots of what inspires those that inspire us, if that makes sense... Read the books that Dylan read or look at the poetry that Cave obsessed over. This allows you to be influenced by these people but not emulate them too far.
How would you define your genre?
It’s very difficult for us to do and I think a lot of bands attempt to not be defined by a singular genre. The secret is to steal from them all.
You’re heading off on your biggest headline tour soon, do you have any pre-show rituals to get you ready?
Not particularly, each show can be different. Some shows it’s nice to keep quiet backstage and give yourself time to have a good drink and a smoke before stage time. Other nights can have a particular feel in the air which lets you know it needs to be different that night and so then your 'pre-rituals' can occur... it happens around 30 minutes before stage time where suddenly everybody goes a little quite, not dissimilar to the moment when you run out of drink at a party and realise it's 8am. That's when we'll play something like Songs For The Deaf to break the tension, but that's a close as we get really. There's no blood sacrifices, not yet anyway.
Favourite aspect of a gig?
The reaction from a crowd may feel like the most go to and cliche thing, but it really is true what they say and a good crowd can often define a set and make a gig memorable.
What’s your favourite song to play to a live audience?
We play a section of music which is continuous for just under ten minutes. It's called Et Tu/Brutus/Berlin Wall and tends to form the climax of the show.
Is there a show that’s stood out to you?
There are many. The shows in Manchester and London on the last tour were certainly memorable and in particular the shows at Leeds festival last year were also stand out. To give you multiple and sit on the fence though, the SXSW is the US will not be forgotten anytime soon.
What does the black face paint on Columbia and you wear during shows symbolise?
At first it was nothing really. Just a spontaneous attempt at scaring people I suppose. Once it started to manifest into its own 'thing' we began to write songs around it, placing a character named Johnny Dream into our minds. But it's not something we've thought about a great deal.
What was the recording process for Columbia like, seeing as it was recorded in just a month?
It was a very intense experience which we learnt a lot from. The album sounds the way it does mainly due to both the place and circumstances it was recorded in. There is a certain frantic energy and desperation which we hear when listening back that we hope comes across for others too. Although we wouldn't repeat the process, it's not something we necessarily regret.
You’ve mentioned how current political events and dystopian ideals influenced Columbia, is that something we can expect to hear in new music?
The next album will be nowhere near as conceptually heavy or perhaps a better way to put it is that it won't lean on a crutch of dystopian literature as heavily. However, much of what we are writing owes relevance to the fact the dysopian literature is so relevant to the current times. There are many themes that we want to explore though, things that we didn't talk about whilst writing Columbia, or things that we couldn't talk about. We're always looking for inspiration and seeking things that we couldn't find before. As we mentioned before, one of the things we try to take from our heroes is their attitude to change, always looking for something new and always in the pursuit of progression. Any other way would feel incredibly stale to us.
Are you working on anything new?
So following from that, we are indeed. We've been writing album two from around last summer to the present day. We're currently plate spinning almost twenty songs. What shape it will end up taking we won't find out until we sit down with a heavy sigh and decide which songs to work on.