Blossoms: 'We made music because it was something to do in Stockport'

We spoke to the latest indie act to take the country by storm ahead of their debut album release

Jacob Stolworthy@Jacob_Stol
Monday 01 August 2016 15:01

After a year of fervent acclaim, EPs bursting with crowd pleasers and a shed load of sell-out shows - whether on their home turf of Greater Manchester or the far-flung reaches of Tokyo - Blossoms have built up a crucial few years of anticipation since they flickered onto the scene in 2014.

Ahead of their self-titled debut, released 5 August, Blossoms look poised to join the likes of recent guitar-band successes Catfish and the Bottlemen and The 1975 as new arrivals that defied the odds at a time so crowded with chart-friendly DJ collaborations. Not that you'd know it from meeting the five laid-back young professionals, all grown-out hair, leather jackets and denim.

“I don’t think you can explain it,” lead singer Tom Ogden, 23, tells me. “It comes around in a cycle every couple of years. All my favourite bands - they’ve all been mates and now that’s what we’re doing."

Watch an exclusive performance of album track "Honey Sweet" below


His bandmates include lead guitarist Josh Dewhurst, 19, bassist Charlie Salt, 25, keyboardist Myles Kellock, 22, and drummer Joe Donovan, 23, all of whom lived within a two-mile radius of one another as teenagers in Stockport.

"We didn’t get a band together to make music," the affable yet straight-talking Donovan states. "Stockport’s a little working class town - we made music because it’s something to do; we didn’t do it because we wanted to get to this festival."

The festival he speaks of is Field Day, the weekend-long event based in East London's Victoria Park, at which we're currently sat huddled in a draughty press tent. Later that afternoon, Blossoms will take to the stage, heralded by an end-of-the-world style downpour that draws flocks of the uninitiated - running for cover - to their set. By the end, the sun will beam down as latest single “Charlemagne” plays out, new fans undoubtedly acquired - job complete.

Just three days later, they’ll support Manchester legends The Stone Roses at the first of their three homecoming shows at Etihad Stadium, home to Ogden and Donovan’s football team of choice.

"[We're] Man City fans so to support [Stone Roses] at the Etihad is a dream come true," Ogden says, somehow keeping his awe at bay.

Thankfully, Blossoms have the repertoire to back up these appointments. Kick-starting their bigger sets with Kanye West track "Black Skinhead" before unleashing their snaking retro-sounding riffs on audiences, the band's songs - written by Ogden - are the aces up their sleeve. Refusing to sing along to those choruses is a venture doomed to failure.

"I was brought up on that euphoric chorus thing, and we have that," Ogden explains. "I just love catchy pop music so I'm gonna write what I think 1,000 people in a field are gonna sing along to."

Blossoms' influences are cast as wide as their ambition. As well as icons from past eras - The Beatles and Swedish pop masters ABBA are unsurprising inspirations - they cite post-millennial indie bands Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian as bands they respect. Select members of the band even admit to being "starstruck" when they recently met the former's lead singer Alex Turner, whose on-stage persona has drastically evolved since record-breaking debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not was released a decade ago.

Awe still contained, Ogden begins: “We met him the other week. It's half tongue-in-cheek. He’s nice, normal and older than he was then - he’s grown into performing."

Ogden's sanguine lyrics, delivered in a recognisable northern drawl, make that Turner comparison easy. Can he see himself becoming such a figure of adulation for future musicians or do the pressures of intense fame fill him with dread?

He suppresses a smirk.

"I might freak out and hate it. But I don’t think I will. I think my Mum will just ring me and ask if I'm alright."

As it stands, Blossoms' following is already the right side of feverish. They can even count Ian Brown and Johnny Marr as fans, not to mention The Coral's James Skelly who produced the album and gifted Ogden with a guitar on which he later wrote standout track "Blown Rose" (the songwriter's personal favourite).

"We've got that thing which is dead broad: the young girls who all wear your t-shirts; the lads who’ll jump around; and the muso older men who’ve been into Oasis and Paul Weller," he explains.

"Our last single was on Radio 1 [the station that placed them fourth in its annual BBC Sound of 2016 poll earlier this year], Radio 2 and 6 music - we're made up with that; that’s where we want to be."

So, what's the agenda post-album? Seven months into their whirlwind year, Blossoms characteristically show no signs of relenting.

"We want to be number one," states Donovan. "Why would you want to be number three?"

Bassist Charlie Salt, 24 wades in: "Success and longevity are the top prizes on the Blossoms tombola."

But what about Ogden? The ever-enthused frontman likens their rise to the aforementioned Sound of 2016 poll that transposed them onto an entirely new plane of recognition.

"Once you're on that list..." he finally allows the awe and smirk to skirt his cheeks " just want Champions League."

Blossoms' self-titled debut is released 5 August.

The performance of "Honey Sweet" was shot in Blackheath Working Mens Club as part of the Vevo LIFT series and is available as a free download for anyone who pre-orders the record.

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