It’s only been a few months since we caught up with the exceptional band ‘The Blinders’. The band are quickly becoming one of the best bands on the Northern underground circuit. In those past few months, the band has been insanely busy: They’ve supported The View on their recent tour, and also Cabbage, as well as recently releasing new single ‘Brave New World’. They are currently smashing the festival circuit as part of the Jack Rocks, which is also made up of BANG BANG ROMEO, Trampolene, The Sundowners, The Wholls, Broken Witt Rebels and White Room. They’re also part of the This Feeling Alive tour in October, in an event that is undoubtedly going to uncover some of the best underground bands. We wanted to hear more about ‘Brave New World’, so we caught up with Tom (vocals), Matty (drums) and Charlie (bass) just ahead of their set at TRNSMT Festival on the #JackRocks This Feeling stage.
Since we last spoke there was talk of a new single and hurrah! It is finally here! Tell me all about ‘Brave New World’. It was written a few months ago, is that right?
Tom: Yeah, earlier this April. With ‘Brave New World’, we wanted to take something in the studio with just lyrics and what we wanted to do music-wise. We had no attachment to it, basically, and we allowed our producer to run away with it. And I think it really paid off, it was a new way of doing things for us, and I think we’re going to do it more often. We only recently brought it into the live set just before it came out, and I think it’s worked for us; our other songs, we’re far too attached to, so we get very scared in the studio, saying ‘we don’t like changing this’, whereas if we go into the studio, we’re open to ideas: You just do what music’s about, you work with the producer, get in the studio, translate it to the stage and if it works, it works.
Where’s the inspiration for ‘Brave New World’ come from? What’s behind your lyrics and what are you trying to get across?
Charlie: The first idea was the idiot king, this phrase I’d picked up somewhere. So, we had this idea of Trump being the idiot king, and we added the lyrics about the Trump administration. It was around the time of the election, and I went to Tom with a set of lyrics, and you sort of ripped them apart, really.
Tom: Yeah, I literally tore it up and put it all back together and turned into this sort of pop song. Not only this sort of pop song, as the title didn’t come until we’d wrote the chorus, and that was from Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; but not really, because it was more of an overall title for dystopian literature rather than directly from Brave New World itself. Therefore, you won’t find many references to the book in the song, but we feel that ‘Brave New World’ was such a great title that we couldn’t throw that away. So, then the chorus came in, and it’s more a perspective which looks at dystopian literature leaking into the modern world. It’s very fucking frightening how well it fits, and I think a lot of people see that.
Did you have any involvement in making the video?
Tom: We basically give Sam, from Nasty Man Creations, a list of what we want, and we tell him to go away and he’ll give us a take; we’ll go ‘right, change that, change that, change that’, and he’ll give us another take. And that goes on… Sam’s got a great eye, Nasty Man Creations have got a great eye, and it’s very nice to have an outside perspective of your music, because he saw the song very differently to what we saw it, and it sort of developed into that…
Charlie: I think we’ve always wanted every part of our releases to be a piece of art in their own right, so we do the song, and then go to a friend of ours who does the artwork, and say ‘here’s what the song’s about, this is what we’re trying to get at… go away and do something, give us a piece of art’.
Tom: We purposefully didn’t want ourselves in the video. We got one take back from Sam, and it had us in it and we were like, ‘it just doesn’t work with us in it’. It’s the imagery of it all, it’s very strong imagery, and to dilute it, it wouldn’t be fair to the tune, I don’t think. So that’s why we thought ‘take us out of it and make it a piece of fucking art’.
Going forward, is it important to you to try and keep that DIY involvement?
Tom: Yeah, I’d say so, definitely. I’d rather keep it as raw as possible, I don’t want to be this corporate billboard!
Last time we spoke, I asked you about your writing. Has anything been going on in that regard?
Charlie: Well I reckon me and Matty will be knocking on Toms door in the morning actually…..
Tom: We’ve got two weeks off, so we’ve got a bit of time now. Me and Charlie write very individually; it’s the time now when we need to come together and put it together. We’ve finally got a couple of weeks – this is the most time off we’ve had all year. Tom’s been in Doncaster. We’ve been here, there and everywhere.
Are you going to play Doncaster any time soon?
Matty: 1st of August. At the Social, as always. That’s our place to play. That’s where we’ve made ourselves, and we break ourselves every other weekend. It’s one of those places, it’s groovy. Doncaster’s always amazing to play.
Who’re the bands that are screaming out to you at the moment?
Tom: Definitely Strange Bones. There’s plenty. We’ve got so many guilty pleasures. People expect us to be into all the music we create, but it’s not really the case at all. There’s so many good bands about. Avalanche Party are one of my personal favourites, just because of the rawness; when they play, you want to get on stage after them and you wanna think, ‘I can fucking do that! I wanna do that!’.
The Blinders are on fire at the moment, does it seem like this has all this happened really quickly? When would you say was your break?
Charlie: It was only about a year ago, it’s been since we moved to Manchester. It opened our eyes to the whole thing. When we sold out Deaf Institute last year especially, in October, that was an eye opener to like ‘Shit, we’re actually onto something’.
Tom: I don’t think there’s been a break in a sense that, it’s been very organic, everything has come and grown. That’s what we’re about as a band, that organic growth and that development. I think we’ve matured this past year in song-writing and on stage. All that shite…
What’s coming up for The Blinders?
Charlie: We’re doing the Cabbage tour in October, the Alive tour, and then the Cabbage tour again from the end of October to mid-November. We’re trying to squeeze an EP into the Autumn, because we don’t want to move on from this moment we’ve captured; we want to get that into an EP, we want to document our music, and that’ll allow us to move on feeling much more comfortable, rather than thinking ‘we’ve ditched all these songs’. Like with ‘Brave New World’, if it was up to us, we’d have released that the moment Trump got elected, but we don’t have a studio… If it does come, we be eternally grateful, and that’d allow us to get our fucking heart out there.