In a small Italian restaurant in Camden, I find myself stood around a table with 3/4 of indie rock/pop group Blushes and their PR Manager. As we’re about to sit, keyboardist and vocalist Tiff asks: “where’s Brad?” Turns out Bradley, guitar and vocals, is stood outside eating his own Tesco bought pizza that he felt wasn’t cool to walk into an Italian restaurant eating. Orders are taken, Jacob, drummer, orders two courses which I’m told by the others is “too much” and that he won’t finish it. Apparently, this is a reoccurring thing. Once the group are “nice and stuffed” as Tiff put it, I get the opportunity to ask them some more questions.
Blushes are about to perform their penultimate show of their debut tour. They all seem to agree on a good note, one of slight relief from the stresses of tour life to eat in this dimly lit restaurant, but also some pride and sadness. “It’s been good, we’ve seen and played in cities we’ve not been to before. We went all the way up to Newcastle, we’ve never been up that far but it’s been amazing.” says Jacob who is still picking at some tomatoes on his plate. Tiff chimes in “I think it’s tested our energy quite a bit, like whether we can stay awake and stuff, we’ve all had our grumpy moments.”
For a moment everyone looks at Brad, before Sonny, the band’s lead guitarist, blurts out: “Him, every day.” We all laugh as Brad attempts to defend himself from being picked on. “You accept that wow I gotta deal with these three people forever now.”
What’s really lovely with a band like this is to see that their personalities are reflected in the music. This group play quite a variation of music but focusing on some quite upbeat vibes of indie pop. “That whole EP was recorded in a hand-built shed. Like some people spend thousands of money to get their songs on Radio 1, or featured in NME and…” Says Brad.
“Thousands of money…”, Repeats Sonny, “Thousands of money…”, Repeats Tiff.
Brad, once again is on the back foot trying to defend himself. “That’s the one, well you know, could be dollars, euros, could be yen!” Still I’m incredibly surprised and interested by the idea that they did this in a shed.
“My brother had an idea, he moved into a house in our local town and went ‘I want to build a studio in the backyard.’ So we did, and basically started off with a prefab shed and built a studio inside it. It was totally purpose built, it’s demolished now so that was the only thing recorded in it. Apart from I guess building the shed it was you know free.” Says Jacob, now devoid of a plate to pick at.
A home built shed isn’t the most conventional recording studio but I was fascinated. “The EP has had such a good response. We had such a good time as well, it wasn’t stressful at all, it was so so fun. We stayed up so late just keeping going.” Explains Tiff. “It was crazy like a shrunk down studio somewhere and had the freedom to just be in there as long as we wanted and spend however long to do it.” says Brad, free from having to defend himself.
The band explain that they didn’t even demo the tracks, that they “only sorta heard them live…” as Jacob put it, “…then a few months later, Radio 1 asked if they could play it, then NME write a blog post about it, it was crazy.” Despite its seemingly temporary nature, this head on tactic seemed to work for Blushes for drawing so much attention.
Tiff nods and turns to me, “you should’ve seen our response, like a few days after we came to practice, it was such a moment, they were all waiting for me, I felt like crying! We all jumped around together like ‘OH MY GOD’. Apart from Bradley. He was like “yeah, cool.”
Once again on the defensive Brad says: “No no, it just felt too good to be true, it took me a while to react. They were all like” at this point Brad is making what I’d like to believe was a surprised face; “You cant see that for the interview but I basically made quite an excited shake of my head.” But as Sonny put it “with a hint of pain”, which is pretty accurate. At this point Sonny, who was the quietest of the group, got quite excited “we’ve been compared to Foals which is incredible because they’re one of my favourite bands.”
Sonny at this point was playing three pieces of tomato that were on the table from Jacob’s meal. We’re all watching intently to his obliviousness as he hides one under a napkin and everyone loses it. “He always does this sort of thing, he hates 3 for some reason.” Says Tiff excitedly. “If we’re in the car or something and it’s 23 minutes past, we have to wait until 24 before he’ll start driving” exclaims Brad almost more excitedly so than Tiff.
After the excitement from whatever weird superstitions Sonny holds were over, we got to speaking about what’s next for Blushes. “We’ve got ‘Honey’ our next single,” says Jacob darting his eyes at Ella, their PR Manager “on the…13th of January?” an air of chaos descends as they all debate when it is before being told it is in fact the 12th of January. “But yeah releasing a new single and vid,” says Brad. “Music video, you know? The whole shebang, definitely 12th January,” Tiff confirms.
We briefly moved off the band itself and I got to ask them my favourite question. “What’s your favourite first song off a first album”. We go round the table with Sonny’s choice of ’I Wanna Be Adored’ by The Stone Roses, same as Joel Amey’s of Wolf Alice. Tiff chose something I never expected with Christina Aguilera’s ‘Genie in a Bottle.’ Another different one was Brad with ‘Bastard’ by Tyler the Creator. Jacob is up next, but Sonny chimes in with saying it’ll be Oasis. Turns out Jacob hates Oasis. Someone get NME to ask the Gallagher brothers opinions on this feud? Jacob’s real answer was American Football with ‘Never Meant.’
We round off our dinner and head to the venue to watch the other acts perform and get a few drinks in before their set. The band went on to perform an incredible set in Camden’s The Dublin Castle, where Madness first performed many years ago. The sound was perfect, the energy was mental, definitely a sweaty one. Bradley had a string break which apparently happens at every single show. He’s cursed for sure. Regardless I recommend seeingyou go see Blushes live if you get the chance. If you missed our Artist Spotlight on them you can find it here.
Words and photos by Toby Henley for IndieCentralMusic ©