Nottingham based band, Blondes, burst onto the scene in 2017 after meeting at university. They started out like most new bands covering their favourites artists, before writing their own original material. The bands debut single ‘Coming of Age’ became viral on TikTok as thousands of videos featuring the song appeared across the platform, racking up millions of views. BLONDES were suddenly trending on the internet. In response, TikTok launched an official ‘Coming of Age’ trend on behalf of the band, resulting in millions of streams of the song as record labels across the world began to take notice! Now, with 5 singles under their belt – the latest being shimmering pop anthem ‘Street Fight’ – they had the pleasure of opening the Festival Republic Stage on the Friday of Leeds Festival to excited punters, who for many were seeing their first live festival show since the return of major events.
We caught up with them after their set:
You’ve just opened the Festival Republic stage how are you feeling?
Yeah, it was really good. I used to go to Reading Festival all the time when I as younger, so to come and open a stage at Leeds was such a great feeling.
And obviously it’s been such a long time for anyone to be able to do anything, so I think it’s particularly special all across the board.
So you’re based in Nottingham and you all met at uni. Can you tell me a little bit about how the idea of the band started.
I guess we’ve always been in bands, not proper ones. Just jokey ones. We all had stints in secondary school, in bands that weren’t really serious. And basically that’s how this started, as a covers band when we were freshers. That’s how we met each other. We rehearsed in a cupboard in the student union. It was awful. No disrespect to Nottingham! But yeah, that’s the kind of facilities that we were trying to form a band in.
There certainly wasn’t an immediate intention to kinda snowball into anything serious. We weren’t doing anything music related at uni, we were all doing different things, and it’s just transpired something much more serious.
It’s been quite a ride to go from that to this in three years.
So you’ve got five singles under your belt, with the latest being ‘Street Fighting’, what was the inspiration behind it?
Our guitarist started that off, we normally put down demos together in our guitarists bedroom on his computer. It’s quite funny, because we all play respective instruments in the band, but we kind of play whatever when we’re demoing. We all sort of muddle in. It’s quite a free for all.
Our guitarist is quite into lo-fi, dreamy indie. He wrote the basis of the song. We all did our bits and put it all together.
We had no drummer for a long time. So everything we were writing was kind based off of loops, because we had nobody who could play drums. The song itself is about most of us working in cocktail bars in Nottingham, and leaving the bar to walk home gone midnight fully sober, and seeing everyone drunk. You see people having arguments and fights, and it’s kinda funny to see from an outsiders perspective.
That’s kind of the lyrical theme.
It works quite well, because the song has got a cinematic, dreamy, night time feel to it.
Are you still living in Nottingham? It’s clearly had an influence on your music.
We recently got together in our final year to discuss the fact that the music ws getting a little more serious, and we thought that we would stay together in one city, get jobs and do everything we could to stay in that city while we had a crack at gigging and putting music out.
Then the entire world went into lockdown. So that was a very bizarre experience, but we still had the year in Nottingham. We then had a tremendous stroke of luck that we were able to capitalise on, in the second six months of that year through social media and Tik Tok. We’ve also been working hard on recording stuff.
We’ve got on a lot further than what we expected in that year, and seen as we were doing all of our recording in Liverpool, most of our team is now based there.
It’s funny though, because Nottingham will not alway be there. We have some shows lined up for Nottingham and it still feels like home.
Taking it right back to the beginning, who influenced you?
I think when we first started the covers that we did were always just an idea of the sound we were going for so we did some Arctic Monkeys covers, Catfish & the Bottlemen, The Killers, Black Keys and Circa Waves. We found quite a lot of common ground in those bands, like who doesn’t like The Arctic Monkeys. Alex was the first one to introduce song ideas which was still influenced by that sort of stuff but we’ve delved into much dancer and poppier stuff more recently. Generic but not in a bad way.
Tom our bassist is really into new wave stuff like Joy Division and New Order, you can gear some similarities there.
Whats the future hold now for Blondes now that things are going up a level?
I think our immediate future is this run of festivals coming up, Dot to Dot, Sound City and Live At Leeds and obviously Reading on Sunday. We’ve got music recorded and ready but the festivals will come before the music. We were lucky enough to play a few shows with Inhaler but with how things are they were sadly cut short.
I can’t go without asking the meaning of your name, as clearly nine of you are blonde!
I wish we had an exciting story to share with you but we was at a party and someone said it and it just stuck! I personally like it because it reminds my of Frank Oceans album ‘Blonde’.
Catch up with Blonde on their social media below and do not miss them at Reading on Sunday. All details via the Reading ap.
RACHEL BROWN – MATT DAGGER