Friday, 4 November 2011

Interview: Blitz Kids

Things are finally coming together for Blitz Kids and they’ve come a long way from their spooky beginning.

Under the name Rig Up Explosive, they formed on the night of Halloween in 2005. ‘That wasn’t planned but it just so happened that our first practice was on Halloween’ says frontman Joe James. ‘It was just me, Eddie (Hawks – drums), Billy (Evanson – guitar) and another guy on bass’. After a year went by, bassist Nic Montgomery and guitarist Jono Yates joined and the group decided it was time for a name change. ‘Everybody kept thinking I was saying ‘Big Duck Explosion’ or ‘Ripped Up Explosives’. Everyone used to spell our name wrong or wouldn’t be able to pronounce it so it felt like the right time to change it. Plus we were changing our musical style so it made sense’ says Joe.

The band are not afraid to admit that they were a little naïve when starting out. ‘Tours were fun because we didn’t really know what was going on. We just sort of rolled with it’ says Joe. ‘No one came to the shows but we thought that was what it was like for bands like us. All of five people would turn up and the promoter would be like ‘oh yea, we’re not paying you any money’ and we’d just be like ‘ok, bye!’ We just didn’t realise, but it was fun anyway.’

Blitz Kids come from Crewe & Nantwich in South Cheshie, an area where, they admit, the music scene is ‘non-existent’. ‘There’s load of bands but no one is really going for it, and they all have missive egos.’ says Billy. ‘We’re a lot different because we’re all really sound people and none of us have really got egos’ adds Jono. ‘Whereas all of these kids now who are doing it, they’re all in competition with each other. There’s no support there at all, it’s every man for himself. There’s no unity.’ In fact, Blitz Kids are probably the only ones to have made it from their hometown. ‘It’s really weird’ says Jono, ‘We’re the only band from there that ever got to this sort of level. And back home, to all these bands its like ‘oh my god!’ They think were massive and its hilarious because we’re really not.’

They may not be massive just yet but they’ve been working hard at fine tuning their sound. ‘We’ve just got better at writing songs I think, just by practising every day’ says Eddie. ‘When we first started we were put down as an experimental band when really we were only like that because we didn’t know how to write songs. It wasn’t because we wanted to be experimental. And then as time went by we just figured out how to write songs properly and make them sound a lot better. We take the bits people seem to like, which are the choruses, and do more of them and make then bigger. Then we just fill them in with some nice verses’. Joe adds; ‘We just have riffs and then stick them all together. It’s very cut and paste!’

After releasing two EPs the guys were finally ready to record their debut album 'Vagrants and Vagabonds', and according to Joe, it was a quick process. 'We went in for two days and then we were done' he exclaims. They decided to record the album 'as live', just playing through each track instead of recording the different parts and layering them together. 'The only song that took loads of attempts we didn't actually use' says Joe, who managed to do all of his vocals in just two takes. 'The most takes on the album was four, which was for 'Bye Bye Blackbird'' adds Jono. 

'Vagrants and Vagabonds' also featured guest vocals from Aled Phillips, lead singer of Kids In Glass Houses. But who approached who for the collaboration on the track 'Story'? 'Aled said 'Joe, please let me sing on that song!'' jokes the frontman. 'No, we played T In The Park the year before last and we just saw him there. At that time Kids in Glass Houses were just doing their ‘Dirt’ album which was full of key changes and was very 80s inspired. And we’d just written a song with a key change. We we’re just having a drink with him and I said ‘I’d like you to sing on a song we’ve got with a key change, I think it would be fun’. Then he said yes and it just happened.’

Now Blitz Kids are supporting Kids In Glass Houses on their UK tour. ‘It’s the best tour we’ve ever done’ says Joe. ‘The crowds have been the best, the bands have been the best and the venues have been really cool’. Today’s venue is Southampton Guildhall, and the boys have had the opportunity to get out their skateboards and explore. ‘I had a really nice frappuccino for the first time ever’ exclaims Joe. ‘And the girl behind the counter was so nice, she swapped my drink for free so I gave her guest list for tonight’s show’.

Once the UK tour is over, the band will be jetting off to LA to record with John Feldman, big time record producer and lead singer of Goldfinger. ‘It’s going to be the biggest selling album of all time ever’ jokes Joe, ‘Its going to sell 18 million copies!’ Well I guess we’ll just have to wait and see about that, but if Feldman’s work for Panic! At The Disco and The Used is anything to go by, this could just be the album to look out for in 2012. 

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