London five piece Born Blonde recently released their debut album What The Desert Taught You, a fresh collection of shimmering indie space-rock that really shows off the band’s development to date, as well as hinting at their future potential. Louder Than War’s Chris Hearn catches up with singer/guitarist Arthur Delaney.
Louder Than War: Initially you were signed to a major label subsidiary, but I believe this closed down. How did this affect you guys? You were left to be âindependentâ again I believe? Can you tell us more about what happened then, and in particular, do you think this was a good or bad thing for the band?
Born Blonde: Yeah, it was really tough for us to go through. We actually found out on the day the record was mastered. I had got home with the finished master CD and just sat down to have a listen when I got the call from our manager with the news. It was this double blow of feeling amazing about finishing a project that had taken us a year and half to see through from the first song being written and not being able to really enjoy that because we were suddenly being faced with these huge questions as to how we would go about releasing it. Just after, it felt a little like coming down off a mountain for us. It was a surreal time, we were trying to get over finishing the record and get clean as well as deal with some serious uncertainty about our future.
Once the emotion of it all had cleared a little we really found out why we were in a band together and what making music together meant to us. We’ve grown more rapidly and been more up for the hard work since then. I think every band goes through a moment or a test like that and it has just made us more determined to continue, we think we have a great record that people should hear and have loads more music in us beyond it. In many ways it has taught us so much and I think in years ahead we will look back and say that it was a defining moment for us.
Louder Than War: You initially began recording with big time producer Owen Morris but that didnât work out. What exactly happened? When did this happen? Where did it leave you guys? After things not working out Morris, and the label closing down, did it ever make any of you question the future of the band?
Born Blonde: Those sessions were memorable to say the least. We went in with him quite shortly after we signed, first for a week at RAK in North London then for two weeks at Real World in Bath. We always speak about that time with a mixture of excited fondness and deep regret.
Though we had loads of fun, the music didn’t come out sounding how we wanted it. In many ways what happened with Owen taught us how we didn’t want to make music. When we went back in with Barny (Simon Barnicott), who we had recorded âSigns of Fearâ with before going in with Owen, it became very apparent how we wanted to make music. It was actually very liberating for us to put the music first and to have fun around that, rather than the other way round.
We had come out of the Owen sessions in a lot of trouble with our label and it did force us to shape up and certainly made us push ourselves to write the best possible record we could. It put the pressure on us, I suppose. Whether that was a good or a bad thing? Iâm not quite sure yet and I donât know if I will ever be. Those sessions were a big turning point for us and our reaction to how they went made us a better band, but they were also an abrupt end of innocence for us, a bit of the childhood dreaming and enchantment had gone. We lost something that I believe we wonât ever get back. Thatâs life though, you learn and sometimes wisdom feels like the greatest pressure, to not go wrong when you have learned from your mistakes.
Louder Than War: I cannot remember where I read it, probably your Facebook page, but the person who wrote the comment said that he heard your song on Sky Sports. That seems to be pretty big timey and quite mainstream. Does this mean that the album is catching on? What has been the response? Has radio in the UK picked up on you guys?
Born Blonde: Yeah, ‘I Just Wanna Be’ was on a Sky Sports ad recently. For us it felt like a good opportunity had come our way and that was cool. We’re not putting this record out with a big marketing push so any exposure like that is good for us. Itâs only been a week or so since the album came out and we have been quite aware that if it was to be a successful record it would be a slow word of mouth build, but responses so far have been really good. There are people all over the world saying how much they love it and that feels incredible, makes it all worthwhile.
Louder Than War: Last question: How would you guys label yourselves? So far, I have read descriptions like Britpop and Shoe-gaze. In an interview that I read, and have no clue where, I believe you guys called yourself trippy. How would you describe the Born Blonde sound?
Born Blonde: Itâs always a strange one for us trying to define ourselves in that way. We just write these songs and make them sound how we like them and then everyone expects us to give them some ambient description that sums them up in one word when actually they operate on more levels than that both to us and to everyone else.
I donât know if itâs because we are just re entering a new guitar music era and everyone wants that new descriptive word that sums all these new bands up or if people just want to give some order to how indescribable music is in general, as if by categorising it into a genre or subgenre we can understand it better. I think if we were to be categorised at all then âSpace Rockâ is the definition we would feel the most comfortable with. We are really into space and we love rock music so that should be it.
Words by Chris Hearn. More writing by Chris on Louder Than War can be found here.