Voted number four in BBC’s Sound of 2016, and featured on numerous top new artists playlists over the past month or so (including Spotify, MTV and iTunes). To say this year has been kind to psychedelic indie quintet Blossoms would be a bit of an understatement. BN1 sat down for a chat with the flavour of the month to see what they had to say about their influences, background, and what we can expect from the band over the coming year. Read on as we uncover the secrets (and struggles) of their success, and learn very quickly not to tell them they’re too young to talk about heartbreak…
Comprising vocalist Tom Ogden, bassist Charlie Salt, guitarist Josh Dewhurst, drummer Joe Donovan and Myles Kellock on keyboard, Blossoms are a mosaic five piece from Stockport swiftly outgrowing their hometown on the back of a handful of singles and two EPs. Their newest single ‘At Most A Kiss’ was released to rave reviews last month, its catchy synth and ringing bassline dominating Radio 1 since being voted Track of the Day at the beginning of January. “It’s been amazing,” says Ogden. “People are really starting to take notice, which is great. We want to be massive – there’s no fun in being underground. We want to take over the world.”
It may seem a tall order for a band that started out three years ago playing tiny indie bars to friends in their native Stockport. But then, they’ve already come so far – outgrowing their hometown in record timing. Though they’re quick to cut any ties with the ‘Capital of the North’, Ogden cites Manchester’s greats amongst the band’s influences, both in their music and approach. “The bands I’ve been brought up on, such as The Smiths, Oasis, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, ABBA… They taught us to dream big and aim to be as big as we can, so that’s what we’ll do”.
Differentiating themselves from the current Manchester psych revival, last year’s ‘Blown Rose’ and ‘Charlemagne’ EPs reek of the 80s New Romantics, proving the band manages to remain unconstrained by their influences. Their revival of the genre, with Ogden’s unmistakably fresh vocals and smart lyrics, earned them the attention of The Coral’s James Skelly. “He heard the first track we ever recorded via a demo and got in touch. We met up with him for a drink and then decided to start working with him a couple of months later. It just worked from the off, and now he’s producing the album.”
It may seem luck has been on Blossoms’ side since the beginning, but no band with this level of success off the back of just a handful of singles could be accused of lacking ambition. “We never wanted to be an overnight success, because you might go away again just as quickly. So we did it the old-fashioned way, and started gigging as much as we could from 2013 onwards. It’s nice now we’re getting more people hearing about us, but we won’t stop until we break through,” says the singer. “There hasn’t been a day since we started the band that we haven’t done something to do with it or thought about it.” It’s this relentless attitude that has seen the band share stages with the likes of Reverend And The Makers and The Libertines, who they’re supporting later this month. However, where some bands can grow too big for their boots, Blossoms have managed to keep relatively humble. “We don’t take it too seriously, we just try to embrace it all and focus on being the best band we can be. We really appreciate all of the things that come our way – like supporting The Libertines – but it won’t change us. We’re still just the same.”
Though cut with the same rock-inspired edge as The Makers, and with a songwriting talent that walks steadily in the trail of Pete Doherty’s footsteps, Ogden is right. While the bands they’ve played with may continue to inspire Blossoms, they’re still undeterred from making their own music – and their own mark. While their sound refuses to be typecast, the themes remain the same; Ogden writes his songs poetically, weaving intricate stories and metaphorical tales of love, loss and longing. For those doubting whether the band have enough experience to talk about such topics in depth, Blossoms argue back with each track of their new EP, thoughtfully constructed by their front man (not that it’s been particularly easy for him). “I write most of the best tunes I’ve ever written miserable. If you want it to be real, true, and heartfelt, you’re going to write about what you’re experiencing.” While their ‘Charlemagne’ EP in particular was, in Ogden’s words, “a bit more cryptic – it was me disguising it a bit,” he promises the new release (due Thurs 18 Feb) is more direct lyrically, drawing inspiration from the late Amy Winehouse. “She just lays it all bare. I was really inspired by it… I was like ‘do you know what? I might try that.’ And it just came out a bit more honest. There are always different ways about going about songwriting. You never want it to be the same. And even with the same subject matter – you always try to wrap it up differently.”
Asked where he’d like the band to be this time next year, Ogden remains as ambitious as ever. “We just want to keep looking forward. We’ll have had a debut album out somewhere in the next six months or so, and hopefully that will have taken us around the world. We want to be massive. We want the album to go down well. And we want to still be enjoying it – that’s the main thing. But something’s always different with us at the moment: I don’t see us getting bored anytime soon.”
Tipped by the media as the band to watch out for in 2016 (and without even an album release under their belts just yet), we’d certainly say they’re on the right track.
Blossoms come to Concorde 2 on Fri 19 Feb.