Next month, UK act Blossoms will be making their debut Australian appearances at Splendour in the Grass and then in Melbourne and Sydney alongside Jake Bugg. Their brand of pop-rock has seen them already smash out festival sets at the likes of Reading and Leeds and T in the Park, not to mention at a slew of wildly received headline shows through the UK and in current single “Getaway”, we’ve been given a great look into what’s coming on the band’s debut album.
For me, my introduction to the five piece from Stockport in Greater Manchester has me sat in the back of their tour bus on a windy Thursday afternoon at The Great Escape. While their stage is being set up inside the venue their bus is parked alongside, the band takes five to prepare instruments, play video games, welcome journalists to their travelling abode.
“Beer?” They offer in unison, cracking some tins as I take a seat on the cushy lounge set up. For one of the hottest new names on the British scene at the moment, Blossoms were more like your mates who want to make sure you’re taken care of when you come to visit.
“I think we are completely overwhelmed by it all,” drummer Joe Donovan says as we talk about the amount of tour dates Blossoms are quickly accumulating for themselves. “It’s not normal, is it? It doesn’t happen every day, especially for us, we’re just five lads from Stockport. For us, it’s absolutely overwhelming but at the same time, we want it so much.”
Sitting opposite me, vocalist/guitarist Tom Ogden weighs in. “We see bands who we know and like do it and we’ve gone, ‘We want to do that sort of thing too’. You kind of know what to expect, in a way. The levels we want to get to, this is part of it. Going around the world is definitely part of it.”
There’s a type of concentration in Ogden’s voice as he talks about the growth of the band as a live act – it’s by no means too serious or self-conscious, but it’s clear that bringing Blossoms’ music to as many people around the world as possible and in the best way they can is of the highest importance to him (as it is his bandmates).
“We’ve got to sound massive.” He affirms. “We’ve got to sound really big so when you come [to a show], it blows your head off. Someone on tour said, ‘You sound like a machine’, which was nice. A well-oiled machine. We’re not over the top and too fancy; we don’t jump around, shaking our heads, that’s not really us. We’re just more about the songs, you know? It’s just about the songs that people can sing along to, that euphoric feeling.”
“When we initially started out, we wanted to be the biggest band we could possibly be.” Bassist Charlie Salt adds. “We’re always trying to achieve the best possible live performance we can put out there, you know?”
In the last 12 months, Blossoms have gone from enjoying success on a local level, to being thrust into the spotlight on stages at some of the biggest festivals in the world, including SXSW – where we first heard of their music. Having formed in late 2013, carving out this place for themselves in the eyes of the wider international music community has been a task the band has more than happily taken on, a journey they’ve eagerly embarked on.
“We have fun,” Ogden says. “We have a good time. It is what it is; it’s about that euphoric thing of getting people together and reminding them of it. People do jump up and down to the tunes now, now they’re getting more well known – when they sing the songs, that’s a big thing. When the crowd sings it back, that’s nice. It’s humbling.”
“We’ve been touring for nearly two and a half years,” he adds. “We’re constantly looking at ways to make ourselves better, you know? Whether it’s little things you’d find boring to do with the performance, we’re always looking to be better. We feel like we’re the best we’ve been live now and we’ve got a guy doing lights and stuff with us too – that helps too. It’s all the little things like that, that go towards the bigger performance.”
During the same week of our meeting, the band clocked an impressive performance on UK TV, filming Later…With Jools Holland alongside the legendary Iggy Pop, Graham Nash and fellow brilliant newcomer Margo Price, to name a few.
“To do Jools Holland was a huge milestone for us,” Salt says. “We’ve always wanted to play it. That was massive, it was like we were being initiated.”
Their excitement surrounding breaking into new territories and ticking boxes on the ultimate ‘must-dos’ for any touring band more than extends to their Australian tour, with Splendour being high up on the list.
“I was talking to that band from Australia, DMA’s,” Donovan says. “They were saying it was such a ‘stereotypical’ Australian festival as well. Everything you’d think Australia was going to be, was [in] that festival. He’s like, ‘You’ll have a great time’.”
“We have a few mates who live in Melbourne,” Salt says. “They said the music scene is quite like Manchester, in a way? Loads of little clubs. That’s pretty cool, I’m interested in seeing that.”
While on the road, taking in music by artists they’re sharing stages with and learning from an ever-evolving tour set up, the band discusses new music and striking the balance between establishing a formidable live presence, all the while working on new material.
“I try and write as much as I can.” Ogden says. “Every time we’ve been home since we’ve finished the album, I’ve been writing for what will become the second album. I hope to just keep going, so when it comes to that point and you have to go in and do it, you’ve got loads of songs to go on. It will be hard to balance, obviously, the busier we get – we’re used to just waking up at home and going in your back room and doing it on your own time frame, whereas this is different.”
“We’re just having fun and keeping on going, looking to new things to inspire us. Reading different things or listening to different bands that you’ve never listened to; there’s loads of time, when you’re on the road, that you can get stuff to go into you and then when you do get free time, it just all comes out. That’s the way I do it. I try and load up heaps of shit in my brain and then it can unload [later].”
For now though, Blossoms are just doing their own thing and trying not to let the nerves and overwhelming nature of it all completely seep in. Scrolling through Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ function, they laugh at haircuts they sported only a few years ago, before any type of rock and roll lifestyle took proper hold.
“It’s funny,” Donovan laughs, motioning to lead guitarist Josh Dewhurst, who is sat to my left, calmly enjoying a cup-a-soup. “Tom’s talking about being in a band and he’s got a bib on in a tour bus. That’s how rock and roll we are.”
“These are notorious for splashing back, you know?” Dewhurst comments.
As we sit around talking about how busy the next few months stand to be for Blossoms, it’s evident that these guys aren’t set on losing any elements of their genuinely grounded personalities as their profile continues to soar. With large scale shows including London’s Field Day, Glastonbury and Rock Werchter still to come before they come out to Australia, there are literally thousands and thousands of newcomers to the band in the wings, waiting to get their first taste.
“Even though it’s overwhelming,” Donovan says. “We want completely to take it on.”
“We enjoy it.” Ogden agrees. “It’s not overwhelming to the point where we freak out, it just makes us laugh. We look at each other and go, ‘Fucking hell – what’s happened? Remember what we were doing three years ago? Who would have thought this would happen?’ That’s the beauty of it.”
Blossoms play Splendour in the Grass on Sunday, July 24th. They hit Melbourne and Sydney with Jake Bugg at the below venues:
June 26th | State Theatre, SYDNEY
June 27th | Palais Theatre, MELBOURNE
Find out more about the band and their debut album HERE.