"House music seems like a forgotten soul. Though the increase of popular house is constantly charted and air played, the real roots of it has somewhat been lost over the past 12 months. But low behold the breath of fresh air that has surfaced over the last couple of months from New York duo, Blondes." Mos Blog
Dubbed in their own words 'ecstatic trance' - with their swathes of blissed-out, woozy walls of electronic noise, Blondes throw up comparisons with everyone from My Bloody Valentine and early Weatherall to Fuck Buttons and Caribou dragged through a blender of balearia. I could bang on about them for hours with lazy comparisons but ultimately what it boils down to is what they've done to my ears. When I first heard the life affirming, early morning sunshine fuelled incredibility of Wine I found it hard not click repeat over and over again. Parting with a tenner of my hard earned cash for each 12" they've become somewhat of an obsession for R$N. Ahead of their appearance at We Love... this weekend and MoS debut we caught up with Zach and Sam for a delve into resonant bass frequencies and beyond... there's also a chance to win Tickets and Vinyl. Check at the end of the interview.
Hi Zach, Sam, thanks for taking the time to talk to us. I wanted to talk about your music obviously but it's also nice to get a bit of random background about yourselves to keep things a little lighter too - so you'll excuse the interspersions.
Shall we start with Cats or Dogs?
BOTH. So much love to give.
You put a high emphasis on recording nearly all your music live with little editing to make it sound "human and tactile". With that in mind how do you go about approaching remixes such as your incredible Harald Grosskopf remix?
Well we do edit. Some tracks more than others. But we like all our source material to be generated by playing. With remixes we basically just sample stuff we like from the original stems and then build out a completely new track in our equipment and record us performing it.
Black or White?
I'd imagine you originally created your music for more of a home-listening environment but as your music's picked up more and more attention you've increasingly found yourself at club shows in front of a considerable amount of people. Has you music changed and evolved according to this?
We'd say that's pretty accurate. Except, we always made our music for performing. Our older tracks were made for the venues we were playing around new york, which were more DIY venues that would sometimes turn into dance parties, but were often just listening and swaying events. But yes, as the shows have evolved to larger crowds and larger sound systems the music has definitely evolved to be a bit faster and "clubbier". We've also been listening to and become influenced by more and more traditional dance music as time has passed.
You played out in Ibiza last year @ We Love... how was that? Did you ever imagine you'd be playing Ibiza? There's been a renewed interest in the isle and distinct move away from the more traditional 4/4 sounds.
Ibiza was amazing. It was a dream come true... ha ha. Our music has always been a bit about bliss and body/energy manipulation, so it makes sense in the ecstatic cathartic tradition of Ibiza .
Fried or Boiled?
I'm sure you've answered this question a million times already and probably get bored of it but could you tell us about some of your influences. There's such incredible depth and layers to your productions. The underlying melody to the walls of sound and pulsating rhythms belies an obvious love of shoegazey dream pop but then there's obvious massive Detroit nods in there. I'm just keen to know about what you both grew up on musically and how you see your sound.
Our influences have evolved so much just in the time we have known each other. When we started playing as Blondes we really into kraut and Martin Rev, and now we've been feeling dub-techno and house. The instruments we use and the way that we build and play them, allow for us to incorporate so many styles, which is what allows you to hear all of that. Our musical history is really diverse, and we're not that interested in aligning ourselves with any specific tradition, however people see us.
Explain the "resonant bass frequencies” emerging in your music. Have you paid much attention to the UK 'bass scene' which is finally finding its feet cross pollinating the many permutations of bass sounds with house and techno.
We have a paid attention to the UK 'Bass Scene' a little bit, we have heard people say Business has some "UK Funky" influences but we don't see it as being that connected. Our use of low end is really more influenced from deep house and techno, but more importantly from the experience of feeling bass in a club.
Shower or Bath?
You also both individually work with visual art and sound installations - is this something that's been important in your work with Blondes in terms of maintaining a particular aesthetic with your sleeve art and live shows?
Sure, but not with the sleeve art because we have never done our own. Our visual aesthetic is definitely in our videos, which we make 'in house'.
You've traditionally released your music on vinyl. What did it feel like the first time your output appeared on a CD?!
Our first record, Touched, was actually released on both vinyl and CD. And I'd say it felt pretty cool.
Spring or Summer?
Spring. Spring is so fresh.
What was the first drum machine you owned?
SAM: I had a yamaha mu5 tone generator when I was 14... but I also had a shitty casio w/ drums that I would play with the keys.
ZACH: Electribe ER-1
You're playing live at We Love...'s show this weekend at Ministry. Had any experience of the institution that is Ministry of Sound before?
None. Ready to.
Berlin or NYC?
NYC. We'd probably be in Berlin if we thought otherwise.
What about talking about some other bits completely unrelated to music...If you were Jesus and there were no donkeys, what would be your preferred mode of transport?
If you could claim to have invented one thing i.e. Eddison with the light bulb, what would be yours?
Anything else I should have asked you about but haven't?
Blondes play We Love... at Ministry of Sound this Saturday.
WIN TICKETS & VINYL - We've got a pair of VIP tickets for this weekend plus a copy of their album on vinyl. Simply email email@example.com with "Gimme some of that balearic 'ecstatic trance' bliss, live and on record!"
Full album stream and remixes below.