Interview: The Blinders

Interview: The Blinders

Coming all the way from Manchester, The Blinders are causing a stir in the live music world with their fiery, provocative performances where their political views are spat over any lucky bystander. Freshly shaved, comfortably dressed and ready to talk all things politics, Peaky Blinders, their new album and Scissor Sisters, I sat down an hour after scheduled for a chat with arguably one of the UK’s most exciting live bands.

Can you describe your sound to anyone who’s never heard you before?

Tom: Our sound we would like to describe as shit. What did we say the other day? ‘Rainstorm coming out of a desert’ I think that’s what we’re going for at the moment.
Charlie: We were described as the other day as, ‘Jim Morrison’s ghost infected Alex Turner’
Tom: See, that’s nice!

Everywhere I have read, you have been described as ‘Punkadelic’

Tom: Our management really likes to push that
Charlie: Like, push the ‘P’ word
Matt: We should get it on t-shirts

So, you’ve got a new album out later this year. What can you tell me about it?

Charlie: It’s finished. We can tell you that, but I don’t think we can tell you much about it. We don’t know ourselves really.
Tom: We finished it all off. We went into a studio hoping to come out with an ep and came out with about sixteen tracks, so we thought why not try and document what we’ve done so far in the last two years and go for an album. So, that’s the plan but when it comes out we don’t know.
Matt: It’ll be end of Autumn time.

Does it have a name yet?

Tom: We have but it’s a working title so,

You guys are originally from Doncaster, but you relocated to Manchester as a band. Why was that, was it the music scene?

Tom: Multiple reasons really. We all wanted to go down some sort of academic route.
Matt: First and foremost, Donny is shit.
Tom: We had a bit of growing pain about Donny with the band. We thought we needed to get out there and into a city to branch off. So, that was one of the reasons we all made a conscious decision to go to University around Manchester and live together. I think it benefited us massively as now we are here talking to you!

You’ve made it!

Tom: (laughs) No, I feel like we all made the right decision.

What did you study at University?

Matt: I did music. Charlie did…
Charlie: History and Politics.
Matt: Tom failed.
Tom: I failed twice. I did, I studied, I tried Archaeology and then just went for straight History and failed that also.

I read somewhere you guys being described as a ‘political wake-up’…

Tom: Yeah, we’re not gonna beat around the bush, our songs are in some way politically charged but on the means that are necessary. It’s not like we try and force it, it’s just what comes out of our heads as we write a song.

…has being so outspoken ever prevented you from achieving musical goals such as getting Radio play? Does it frustrate you when you must change lyrics in your songs to get them on more platforms?

Tom: I think that’s what an album’s for. It allows you to pick and choose what songs are gonna be dripped on to the general public and what songs you could really go to town with.

You are on tour at the moment and this is about you 11th date, how has it been? Have you got any good stories to tell?

Tom: It’s hard to remember….when you’re put on the spot. The tour sort of blends into one day at the moment.

What can we expect from the shows? Will there be new songs?

Charlie: Yeah, we’ll play some new songs and it depends on what kind of show it is. Um, obviously there’s a few songs we’ve played quite a lot live that’ll be on the album. Obviously, the people who’ve come to our shows before, they’ll know them, but they are still quite new.
Tom: There’s a few adaptations.

I heard somewhere your name came from when one of you picked up a Peaky Blinders box set in Tescos…

Matt: It was Morrisons!
Tom: It was ASDA,
Charlie: I thought it was Sainsburys- might have been Aldi?

Shall I just put down Lidl?

Tom: (laughs) Lidl yeah! No, that was all a complete lie. It just sounded like a cool name.

Are you guys fans of the show? I’ve never seen it

Tom: It’s a very good show- very good show.
Charlie: I enjoy it. I think, we’ve heard a lot on this tour that ‘your songs sound like those from the show’. I think the soundtrack also, we all just like it.
Tom: It’s strange. At the time when we picked the name, The Blinders, we just thought ‘Peaky Blinders, what a fucking cool name for a band, why don’t we just change it to The Blinders?’

Not The Peaky? Because that’d be shit

Tom: (laughs) But then it turned into this amazing thing with a great soundtrack to it and we just sort of fell into it and now it almost feels like we’re making music for Peaky Blinders. Especially on the new album, there’s some really fucking violent tracks on there that wouldn’t go a miss on the show.

Did anything particularly influence you to start The Blinders?

Charlie: I think we were all up for starting a band and were all avid music fans. The obvious next step was to start a band.
Tom: It’s like that thing that everyone who buys that Velvet Underground album- they all start a band. Literally just as simple as that. Like Charlie said, the natural step was to try and have a crack at it ourselves and that’s how it manifested into this six-headed monster that we can’t really get rid of. We’re just gonna ride it and see how far it takes us.

Could you guys play before hand?

Tom: Yeah, we could all play. Well, (points at Charlie) he couldn’t
Matt: He still can’t.

Obviously, you guys are very political in your music, do you feel this country needs a political wake-up or do you think politics is so talked about that people are getting bored of it and even desensitised to it?

Tom: That’s interesting. A really cool question. It does seem that way, but I would never put anyone down for being inspired or passionate about some sort of political movement or political activism.

Even if you disagreed with them?

Tom: Even if I disagreed, definitely. I think democracy is so important. You could talk about this all night.

Well you guys have food waiting for you downstairs

Tom: (laughs) If we provide the shake up and wake-up thing that you were talking about as the consequence of our music then great. If people just like our songs for what they are and enjoy the melodies and enjoy the ferociousness of the live set, fair enough. But as I say, if a consequence of our music is, “fuck I wanna get into what these guys are talking about” then yeah!
Matt: C’est la vie

What bands are you guys really into at the moment?

Tom: White Room. We wanted them here tonight but when push comes to shove, we didn’t get our way. Who else? Um,
Matt: Avalanche
Tom: Avalanche Party! We take quite a lot from Avalanche Party actually. I’m not ashamed to say, a lot of our influence comes from them and I think they’re fantastic. One of the most exciting bands in the UK. Um, and Mother’s Earth Experiment.
Matt: They’re great.
Tom: Freak Out Honey (laughs) one of our roadies is in them so we had to say that.
Tom: Strange Bones. Bang Bang Romeo.

Strange Bones are great! I still remember them as the first band in an interview to offer me a beer.

Matt: You want a beer? (laughs)

Yeah, but they also offered me a toastie

Tom: Not everyone’s as nice as Strange Bones. Oh yeah! Every gig they come with a toastie maker. I always think- why you doing that?

What unusual bands are you into that we wouldn’t expect?

Matt: Scissor Sisters (sings Take Your Mama)

Scissor Sisters. They sound quite Bowie-esque at times

Matt: I wouldn’t say that!
Tom: I would!
Charlie: Their covers are great.
Tom: Yeah, their Pink Floyd cover. I quite like Charles Manson’s stuff actually

Not really one you want on a t-shirt though

Tom: (laughs) No, absolutely not. I think his music is quite inspiring. And HMLTD too. At one of their gigs they handed out loads of masks to everyone.

Are masks not really your thing as a band? You’ve normally got something like “Fuck Tories” written on you

Tom: I do myself in war paint. I suppose that’s a mask. Bring out the machine in yourself.

You can catch The Blinders on the remainder of their tour. Get tickets here:

Photography: Rhona Murphy


Popular Posts