Interview: Born Blonde

They’ve been compared to The Stone Roses in the past, fitting more in the pocket of folksy, psychedelic atmoSPheria. I made the mistake of thinking Born Blonde were stoner-rock stargazers; aloof and waggish. They’re not that at all. Instead, I found they were driven, hardworking and committed. Concept is big with Born Blonde. All of the artwork and videos are created within the band. It’s about the “soul”. They’re hands on, know what they want and are about to grab it. This is a serious band, you guys.

SP: Born Blonde have been on a bunch of ‘Ones To Watch’ lists, how do you deal with people’s expectations?

Arthur Delaney: I guess we try to keep it real. Obviously it’s nice to get some love but we don’t have any delusions of grandeur. It’s impossible to know what people expect from us, so we’re cool to make music that we enjoy. If you lose that then the whole thing becomes a bit empty and pointless.

SP: You mentioned that you “Want to present ourselves as a whole”. -Tell me about your creative vision and what we can expect to hear, see and experience?

AD: We set out to make a record that people could lose themselves in. It’s a strange time we’re in now, it feels like everything’s being thrown off kilter. It is important to preserve the simple pleasures like putting a record on and getting away from it all. We all grew up listing to albums like ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and the first Doors album – they both take you somewhere else and allow you to forget about the realities of what’s going on outside the headphones. I think that people will be able to get a bit of that from us: some pure escapism. We went to the places we are describing in those tunes, we saw them and lived them and hopefully we can give everyone else an impression of what it was like to be there. We are all human after all.

SP: Last year you mentioned you were trying to “build up our world before we presented to people.” –Are you ready now?

AD: Yeah definitely. Our album is our ‘world’ for the time being and that’s finished, our live show is really fizzing at the moment and we’ve found out what we’re about and why we’re doing it. I don’t think you would see us putting out anything from now on that isn’t sensitive to that. I guess when you start out it takes you a while find your feet and figure out what you want to achieve from the whole thing; a bit of nostalgia for better times and a foot thrust towards the uncertain future. When you’ve got a song up on the desk and you’re writing your parts in, we got into this way of making music where you could ‘see’ the song, like it was a house or a cave or something. It becomes easier to work that way: you write the parts that decorate the walls how you want them – the colours and the architecture.

SP: What kind of things were you doing to prepare for this rebirth of sorts?

AD: We made sure in the studio that we left every song in a place that we were happy with. I don’t think we could have done more than that. We are all still pretty young and I think this record was a bit about growing up, exploring and understanding ourselves a bit better. It’s like anything though, the more you look, the more questions you seem to find that need answering. It got pretty strange mid way through writing the album, we all started to lose the plot a bit, over-indulging, over-experiencing. There was quite a bit of an emotional fall out and we seemed to come round about half way through in a place that was pretty alien to all of us. A good half of the record is about trying to arrive back at some sort of normality from that. I think you can go a bit too far sometimes and I certainly found it hard returning from that place in your imagination where you find the songs, to what is real and normal. Christopher Nolan nailed the metaphor in Inception: if you spend too long out there it can be hard to find your way back and when you do find yourself again you see that everything has changed. Or maybe you’re just a little wiser, I’m not quite sure.

SP: Tell me about your new single I Just Wanna Be. It sounds a little more commercial than some of your other more atmospheric stuff, is that a deliberate deviation?

AD: I Just Wanna Be was one of the last tunes we wrote and recorded for the album. It is the summary of the whole experience or the conclusion to the journey we took. I think in many ways that song has the most emotional resonance to me. It is pretty honest. The fact that it is more commercial sounding is neither here nor there. Perhaps it’s just the boldness of the lyrics and message that makes it like that, it was just how I was feeling at the time. I was looking for some answers that I had been chasing for a while and I think I got them pretty loud and clear.

SP: Born Blonde also runs a club night called ‘Purr’, right?

AD: Yeah, we’ve done three of them so far. The first one we put on at The Balearic Shed in Kensal Rise. It ended up getting shut down by police for noise levels and general bureaucracy before it had reached its natural confusion but over all  I think it could be deemed a success. The next two we did at Ginglik in Shepherds Bush where we grew up. At the first one of those we filled the whole of the room with three thousand balloons. We wanted to give people an experience that was a little bit more than they usually got on a night out. We’re going to keep putting them on but I think in a different venue next time. We never wanted to run it as a monthly thing; we would much prefer to not do one for a while and make it special when we do.

SP: Your latest album is recorded, mastered and ready to go, what can we expect?

AD: It’s finished. I think people will enjoy how much detail there is. Most bands usually record their first record in about two weeks but we took us just under a year to record ours. We got obsessed about it being perfect so it’s one of those records that keeps giving the more you listen. Most of all though, people can expect ten top quality tunes that they will really enjoy banging out full blast. We wanted the album to have a real flow from start to finish and I think we achieved that but we were aware of how people listen to music these days so each song stands up on its own. Most of all it’s got loads of soul.

SP: Tell me about the preparation for your live performances.

AD: We’re put a lot of thought into our live show but over rehearsing can take the joy out of it a little so we try and get the balance right. It’s always a weigh up between being prepared and wanting to preserve the excitement for ourselves and the audience. There is no fun in losing that element of not knowing and you have to leave yourself some space to keep exploring. All our artwork and videos are done by Josh from the band. He’s a creative powerhouse so he will come up with about twenty or thirty ideas and then we choose the ones we love.

SP: How do you all agree on ideas or concepts during the creative process?

AD: We argue a lot but always reach the conclusion that feels right for all of us. I think that argument and tension are important parts of the creative process and you need to test ideas on each other. If we all love something then we know its right. It has got a bit easier as we have begun to understand more what we are about but how well we’re getting on usually relies on who has got out on the right or the left side of the bed that morning.

SP: You have a formulaic approach to producing music. With a clear vision from the beginning. How does that set you apart from the rest?

AD: I think we are driven to make music that is important to people and that is of the best quality we can put out. I’m not going to sit here and say how much better than anyone else we are as I don’t think that’s right. Everyone is trying to make the music that they think is the best expression of who they are. We’ve found that the more work you put in the closer you come to finding that. So if we are going to talk about how we are different, I would say that we’ve come pretty close to showing people exactly how we felt at the time of writing or recording those songs. I guess that now it comes down to how people respond to our ideas on life and music.

SP: Born Blonde are all over social networking. Tell me about your Tumblr; it’s kind of your scrapbook, right?

AD: Yeah, you could call it that. I think we wanted our Tumblr to be a place where we could keep people informed of where we are at. We’re actually using it as our website at the moment; it’s much more interesting for people to go on and see some sort of progression rather than just a holding page. We also didn’t want to just use it to promote ourselves, we are always drawing our influences from all over the place, books, films, music and its nice to be able to share that with people and maybe turn them on to some of the stuff we are enjoying so they can too.

Born Blonde’s forthcoming single I Just Wanna Be will be released July 16th. Catch the single launch at The Shacklewell Arms w/ Vices and SULK on July 4th.

You can stream it from Soundcloud HERE.

Words: Brent Randall