Born Blonde are a band that, just like their promo shots, could easily dwell in the shadows - indistinguishable from all that surrounds them. The band are part of a blossoming sun-kissed, nostalgia-tinted music scene that harks back to 60s psychedelia as well as mid-90s shoegaze. Such is the overly saturated nature of this regenerated genre, it would be quite easy for Born Blonde to be quietly dismissed. But speaking to singer Arthur, it's the intelligence behind their music, as well as the delightfully melodic aspect to their first handful of singles that truly sets them apart from the crowd.
Luke Britton speaks to Born Blonde frontman Arthur Delaney about their sound, their musical heritage and how to make a band about more than just the music.
Could you tell us a bit about the history of the band to date?
We formed a couple of years ago. At the time I was doing some solo stuff and wanted to be surrounded by inspiring people, I supposed. It felt good to heard some other opinions – and then we just grew from there really.
I read an article – I think it was the Guardian 'New Band of the Day' piece – where they called you 'Cosmic Lad Rock of the Stone Roses at their trippiest' - How would you yourself describe your music?
Oh, I don't know. Maybe something to do with layers of atmosphere. We like to build songs up into a cave of colour (laughs).
Well, are you a Stone Roses fan at all? What other influences do you bring to the group?
Yeah, of course we like the Stone Roses – but we're also inspired by a whole host of different things. When people come to hear our record, they'll probably pick up on some of our influences. But music is about everything you've absorbed over your whole lifetime and if you're creating art properly then it should all come out sub-consciously, with very little thought involved.
In terms of direct music influences, I guess you tend to regenerate everything you've ever listened to. So the Stone Roses are just one band of many that we like. We're really into Talk Talk; I like the way they work in the studio. There's a particular record by them that we're all massive fans of, and that kind of brought us together.
Have there been any bands you've toured or played alongside recently that have changed the way you work then?
Yeah, we're the kind of band that likes to play with people close to us – groups that we have an affinity with anyway. We supported Cloud Control a couple of weeks back, they're an Australian band, and that was really good. We also like a group called Get People, although they're a little bit more dancier than we are – they're really good.
Your first single 'Solar' came out back in July. It seems the perfect track to introduce Born Blonde to listeners. Would you agree with this?
Yeah, definitely. That track was one of the few that were actually written in a studio, actually. It was intended as a b-side but just turned out really well. I agree that it's a good introduction as it's all really blurry. I think we then wanted to bring the lense into focus a bit more for everyone afterwards. And I'm sure you'll see that happening.
You say that you think 'Solar' sounded quite “blurry”. Well I noticed that your new release 'Radio Bliss' seems more full-frontal - your vocals in particular come to the fore a bit more.
Totally, and I think that comes even more apparent with the other tracks we have in store.
Was this reflective of your growing confidence as an entity?
Not particularly, I think we just liked to introduce ourselves progressively with the way we've put out our singles.
You're the frontman of the band – have you always been a singer or is it a new thing you've tried out for this group?
I've been singing since I was about fourteen but it was never so much of a project for me. I guess I didn't really become a proper lead singer until the start of this band. I'm still working on the frontman aspect a bit, but it's definitely a platform for having something to say - isn't it?
Your band has been lumped in with the whole shoegaze comeback scene. What do you think of the reason for this kind of influx of nostalgia and harking to the past in modern music?
I'd say we were more 'stargaze' than 'shoegaze' (laughs), but yeah I agree. I guess it's just the culmination of all your former influences, but it's also much more than just a 2D comparison.
Do you think music being more instantly available, especially music from past generations influences this? Music from, say, the 70s is even more accessible to us now than it was for the music fans that actually lived during the time.
Oh yeah, I would say that was true. If you look at the music from the 60s, they were sticking pretty tightly to influences from the blues, for example. Now bands are more aware of what has come before them, but you have take from the past and regenerate it to make it relevant for the current era.
You use a lot of visuals in your band – your videos are very colourful and your blog includes photos taken on the road, as well as paintings and the like - is this to make the whole experience more than just the audible aspect?
Yeah, we want to present ourselves as a whole. Music isn't just about what you hear, but everything that surrounds that. We make all our own videos, do all the artwork to our releases and stuff. We just want to stick doing this and really form what we're truly about as a group before collaborating with other people.
What are you currently up to as a band?
We've been in the studio for the most part of the last year, writing a lot and recording material for our album – generally being very creative really. We've been keeping a low profile lately, just trying to gear ourselves up for next year. We want things to be tight and seems finished. There's loads of band out there at the moment that don't seem to know what they're totally about – we don't want to be one of those. We'd rather build our own world before we presented to people.
We didn't do any festivals this summer or anything like that. We did play SWN festival in Cardiff last week, though. That was really fun, we had a big discussion with some locals about the politics of speaking Welsh!
Can you tell us a little bit about the direction of the album? Will it still have the same sun-kissed feel of your first few singles?
Well, the world is not just a world of sunshine, right? The album's got a lot of different moods and colours – we're exploring a whole lot of different things with the record. I think people will see a lot of different sides to us next year when the record is released.
Can you tell us a few interesting stories from the band?
Hmm – we run this club night in London called 'Purr' and we got shut down by the police one night earlier in the year! We were having a bit of a raucous one in this weird little lock-up. It was just as we were getting ready to go on stage too. We just about managed to blag another hour out of them but then they came back and the whole thing got shut down. It was a bit of a wild one, people were spilling out onto the streets! I guess we were misbehaving a bit.
What does the next few months, and even next year, hold for the band?
We're just taking things day by day actually. Obviously there's the record that should be out early in 2012. But we have a new single before that, in January if all goes to plan.
What's your personal resolution for 2012 then?
Probably to have more fun, to be honest. We've been recording a lot lately and obviously that's fun in it's own right but we're just really eager to get out there, release this album and tour again.
Born Blonde play Notting Hill Arts Club and The Shacklewell Arms in London on November 8 and 14 respectively.