New York indie rocker Blonder joined Day Wave on tour this Spring. At their Montreal gig, before Blonder and the Lonesome Cowboys (his band) sound checked, we had a chat about his debut EP, touring and The 1975.
(Photo by Robert)
Why did you decide to name yourself blonder?
I had written and recorded all the music, mixed and mastered it, it was all done. I still didn’t have a band name cause I came to this project from an old band I was in where I was writing stuff. I decided I would stop being in that band and try to do something new. Even though that band is doing good stuff in New York I just wanted something new anyway, maybe not that smart but I did it anyway. So, I didn’t have a name and all these songs are about this relationship I was in at that time. She basically called me in the middle of the night and we were basically breaking up, and she knew I had all these songs done and she was like “I’m with my friends”… and they’re all blond, “I have your band name, I know what you have to name your band” and that was really it. I was like ‘this is insane I gotta go back to sleep’, but then I realized that was the perfect name for the collection of songs I had. It was kind of about something that wasn’t definitive, it was more than, so blond, blonder than, you know what I mean? This weird more than thing.
You’re EP is coming out this week, how are you feeling about that?
I’m supposed to be excited, I mean I don’t want to be fatalistic or anything but I think it’s just going to come out. People are going to slowly gravitate towards it on their own time. I think we have a pretty cool premiere with a blog but besides that there’s no real anticipation, it’s just a debut record, it’s just the beginning of something.
And what can people expect from it?
It borrows from a lot of 80’s arena rock bands like Duran Duran and Tears For Fears. Then it also does this New York thing that is more contemporary and might borrow from The Strokes. So, yeah I’m excited for it just to come out and for people to hear it as a body of work cause that’s how its intended to be listened to. These singles have been out for of a long time, the first single has been out since last June. So, really you’re only getting 2 new recordings but that’s okay because I think its important to see it as a package and understand the story of the relationship
The EP is called 5$, why that name?
It was originally going to be called EP 1 and basically we started playing these shows in New York and they were 5$. We kind of kept doing those shows and I liked how it was a little throwback to the old days, not that I was around for that but like cheap rock shows you could go see. I think it just referenced that. And there’s something I’m doing with this project where the design aspect of it, like the single art and the titles are separate from the music for me. Its another opportunity to create. That 5$ thing really matter of fact, I feel like that name is a lot like how my single art has been coming out, kind of harsh, straight up, this is it.
What’s your favourite track on your EP?
Probably a song called What We Want. It’s my favourite one because it has the most house music influence and it’s a bit of a harsher song. It mixes punk music and house music. The vocals are really funk but the beat and stuff are really house-y. I made that song with my friend Aaron who’s in this band called Porches and he does a lot of house music stuff so I kinda let that influence seep in. Its the most innovative song sonically, the least indie rock sounding tune.
I feel like Just Because is really more electronic also, we’re definitely not getting one genre in your music
Definitely yeah. The EP, each song is very different because, once again its not boring, its not like a band doing the same thing for every song, I tried to make every song its own world almost.
I was gonna ask, for Just Because, how did that electronic vibe come in?
I think its just about thinking about how each sound has its own provenance, like its own history to it and I didn’t wanna make just an indie rock record with just guitars and drums you know, I didn’t want it to be live feeling. I still wrote rock songs, I wish I wrote R&B songs and so I didn’t want to just stick to one thing. Also, bands like Depeche Mode and like Scritti Politti, they’re these 80’s bands that wrote essentially really amazing rock songs but put them in a different
Was there any artists that inspired the making of the EP?
No. I tried not have that be the case. They were written a really long time ago, like 2015. The whole next EP is already written, not recorded but yeah.
Do you get tired of playing these songs?
Honestly, I think they’re good songs so they last. I think what’s cool is that the more exciting the band makes them the better we play them. It actually surprises me about the whole record; that I actually don’t hate it cause its still lasted for me.
I asked you about artists because in Just Because there’s a subtle The 1975 and Two Door Cinema Club vibe in it and its just funny how you tweeted about the Arcade Fire song…
Yeah, I could not believe that, it’s ridiculous. It’s so weird because Arcade Fire is so good, they’re so incredibly good so that was a weird left turn. Why would you rip the current biggest rock band whole aesthetic for your record. It’s just so strange to me and just so bizarre. But yeah, that was crazy and bad, bad luck. But I feel like the fans don’t really cross over, like do the true The 1975 fans like Arcade Fire, their ethos aren’t that compatible.
I think they still saw it though and were like ‘ what the fuck’
Yeah I saw a lot of people tweeting at Matty and stuff like ‘what do you think’. But they wouldn’t respond, I don’t think they can. It would be funny if they did
Yeah, I think Matty would just go off
Exactly! That’s so crazy that you hear that in that song Just Because though. I feel like I have loved that band for a very long time, like ages. Way before they were a big arena rock band-it’s nuts, a few people say we look kind of similar because of our curly hair which is horrible cause I’ve had this hair my whole life and that just happened to happen. But yeah, I would love to like make a song with them, with George and Matty. And I don’t know, I like that whole dirty hit crew you know, I like that world a lot. Its good music.
I’m more of a fan of their debut EP’s, the more ambient stuff like that song Haunt//Bed, that shit’s what’s up. That’s what I like from them a lot, the singles are good and the big songs also-I don’t know I’d love to go on a tour with them. But at the same time my friends went on a tour with them. The band Wet, they actually did a remix of my song which is a drugged out remix. But yeah, they went on tour with them and you know it was a good pair and maybe my rock band would be too similar.
Well that went off ahaha, so touring! You’ve been touring a lot, what’s one thing you’ve learned while being on the road?
I don’t know. I like it, it’s tiring but I like it a lot. I like to play every night. I actually kind of feel that I’m the same person touring or not touring.
You’re just a person in a van travelling and playing shows
Yup, pretty much! Its very arcane and feels crazy. Like the idea of just driving 5 hours to play a show then drive again to
play another show.
What’s one thing you want to accomplish as Blonder?
Uh I mean, for people to come out to the shows and do that kind of ceremonial thing where you go. Like last night in Toronto it was crazy cause we had kids going pretty crazy to the songs and it was nice to see kids really participating so that’s really what its about. And I really want to record more, release a debut studio album, a full length. And tour, play Radio City. I want Blonder to be on the marquee at Radio City.
What’s your favourite song at the moment?
Björk – Like Someone In Love
Best concert you’ve ever been to?
Okay, one really good one was when I was invited to this private party that was hosted by this corporate event in this small club and they actually just hired LCD Soundsystem to play a full set to like 200 people and it was the full set up. It was genuinely so fucking crazy.
If anyone could cover one of your songs, what song and what artist?
Lana Del Rey – Talk To Me
Check out Blonder‘s Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0AhjcWvgOYE0lPpuTMh1i9