Feted by the luminaries of contemporary British rock music, Blossoms have enjoyed plaudits from the likes of Ian Brown and Johnny Marr. In just a couple of years, the Stockport five-piece have gone from touring small halls to sharing the stage with the likes of The Stone Roses.
And with an acclaimed number one album and Brit award nomination, their express train shows no signs of slowing. We caught up with lead singer, Tom Ogden to discuss their journey so far, pop music, The Stone Roses and their plans for 2017.
Q. You’ve had a relatively rapid and successful ride so far. Was there a particular moment when you thought you could really make it?
I suppose even now we don’t think ‘we’ve made it’ as we’re always looking for the next thing. We don’t want to become complacent. We never thought about this whole music thing as a career. We have just carried on like we started and it’s just got more and more serious.
When I was younger I never imagined this as a career choice. When we started out we knew we were onto something so we wanted to drop everything else and pursue the music. We always believed in what we were doing but there was no grand plan to make it a profession.
When we got the record deal, that was the moment we thought our chance had come to run with it. There’s only so much you can do on your own and we wanted to take it to the next level.
Q. You are a group of working class lads from Stockport who built up your following organically through touring. There are a lot of musicians who have found traction through things like BBC sound polls and a lot of the industry seems to be dominated by Brit school graduates. Are there enough regional voices in music today?
If people are producing decent music, I don’t really care where it’s coming from. Saying that, a lot of the bands I grew up listening to came from similar backgrounds to myself. Working class lads who’ve built up a following the old fashioned way – just got in a van and drove up and down the country trying to make a name for themselves. There’s something in bands that have come from that – there’s a realness to it that you can’t re-create by going to a school to study song-writing. I don’t quite understand how you can do that. You can do it or you can’t do it and if you can, work at it.
That’s not to say that I don’t like songs that have been written by those who are taught because you never really know someone’s background. I’ve got nothing against the artists themselves but the situation can get a bit messed up.
Q. You draw from a diverse sonic palette. In the early days, you were making quite ‘Doors-y’, psychedelic pop and you've also cited 70s & 80s disco as influences. However, you are also big pop fans. Is leveraging your pop side a good way to reach people who may not have discovered you?
We never shied away from saying we were pop-y and that we wanted to appeal to the masses. Pop just means ‘popular’ at the end of the day – The Beatles were pop, Oasis were pop. We’re just being honest about who we are. It’s not something that comes close to defining us but it’s not something to shy away from – we draw from numerous different elements in our music. A lot of people who are snooty about using a bit of pop are just trying too hard to be cool. If it’s a good tune it’s a good tune!
Q. There are parallels with Kings of Leon in the way they successfully blend their more interesting influences with a big guitar pop sound - is that psych side of your music your secret weapon - do you feel you have a weirder depth you can unleash to surprise people?
Our songs are organic so, if I’m writing and the music feels good and the expression is right then I know it’s something to carry on with. There’s no plan starting off saying ‘today I’m going to write a psychedelic-type song. It’s been a lot more natural than that. All the best things we’ve done have just come naturally. In the early days with the keyboards we used, we did sound more ‘Doors-y’ but that’s because we hadn’t explored into synths and stuff like that – we knew nothing about them. We just had an old organ knocking about in our rehearsal room so when Myles [Kellock] joined he just jumped on that.
I mean, the reason the Arctic Monkeys sounded like they did on their first album is because all they had were guitars and a drum – it made it punky and heavy whereas now, their AM album is like a hip-hop record done by a guitar band. Bands need time to grow and develop. We’ve already evolved a lot and we’ve come a long way in a short amount of time. That’s got a lot to do with time and exploring new instruments and sounds.
Q. You supported The Stone Roses at the Etihad Stadium – as Man City and Stone Roses fans how emotional was that night? What did it mean to you collectively?
It was just an honour. It was one of those things that you didn’t want to end – we didn’t know how to act or anything so we just went with the flow and tried to experience as much of it as possible.
I’m a city fan – I had a season ticket there and had witnessed great moments like Aguero scoring in the last minute to win the league. So, to then go back and support the Roses all those years later - it was a mad turn of events.
The good thing was that my parents where there. They’d been to Spike Island so for them seeing their son supporting a band that was so important to them was amazing. And really odd as well – they’d have never have imagined when they were at Spike island that their kid would be supporting The Stone Roses almost thirty years later. Crazy. Something I’ll never ever forget.
Q. What do you think is behind the reunion of big guitar bands like Stone Roses, Blur, The Verve. Does this say something about today’s music industry and (perhaps) the lack of guitar bands available to us?
These bands mean so much to people. They became timeless bands and it’s more than just the music. Whether or not people agree that they should get back together the unanimous vote is that everyone would love a day out to relive that time through their music.
There’s always a cycle between 5-10 years when bands come through and they mean something to people. Then again, there’s plenty of people that would argue there’s loads of bands that mean something all the time. Depends on what you think is meaningful.
Q. Your self-titled album went to number one in its first week – tell us where you were and how you celebrated?
We were doing some gig in London. We found out the day before the gig. We’ve done so much stuff – we did 150 gigs last year so everything’s turned into a bit of a blur. But I remember getting the email in the morning and we were made up. It’s like a sales race throughout the week. When it happened I just remember thinking that it was insane!
Q. You were nominated for British Breakthrough Act at the Brits. How surreal was that experience? Did you get to meet any of your heroes?
It was like prom and New Year’s Eve morphed all into one! The award ceremony was alright. It reminded me of when I used to play football and going to the end of season awards – it was exactly like that except for pop stars!
Noel Gallagher was there so I can say I’ve now been in the same room as him…I haven’t met him yet but I’m getting closer!
Q. What’s next for Blossoms in terms of new material – have you begun the supposed difficult second album yet?
We’re literally demoing a song right now. We’re fully on it and excited. We just carried on straight after the first album. We never said we made it we just thought that we needed to get right back on it as eyes would be on us. We’re prolific at the minute which I don’t see many other bands doing.
Q. What song sums up Blossoms' journey so far and why?
‘Night Fever’ – because we’ve done a LOT of gigs and we’re always up for it every night!
Q. Name three bands we should look out for this year?
The Vyrll Society
The Magic Gang
Blossoms are on tour now, click here for tickets.