Stockport synth guitar pop band, Blossoms, are set to release their new album and will be heading to Newcastle this month so Lee Allcock caught up with frontman, Tom Ogden, to find out more about the new record, meeting Noel Gallagher and more.
Your debut self-titled album was one of the highest-selling albums of 2016, you must feel so proud of that…
We were made up with that. I don’t think we were the absolute highest seller because I think Bradley Walsh outsold us with his Christmas album, but of all of the popular releases, I suppose we were up there. I mean, Bradley Walsh’s Christmas album doesn’t really count, does it? Our album also came out later in the year than a lot of other artists’ albums, including Zayn from One Direction, and we sold more than Zayn so when you look at stats like that it kind of blows your head a little bit.
Back in 2016, in support of your debut album, I saw you play an extremely intimate set at HMV in Middlesbrough and I also saw you play a packed tent at Kendal Calling. But do you prefer a more intimate setting? Or do you prefer larger stages and festival slots and why?
I think you get pros and cons for both. A lot of the time with festival slots on a huge stage you don’t have as much time to set up and sound check and you don’t get everything perfect like you want it, but they’re the biggest shows of your life and you’re playing to all of these people who have never heard of you before and you get loads of fans of it and that’s great. And the smaller gigs can be more intimate, like you said, and the crowd can be a bit more up for it and you get a buzz off that in a different way but that’s the joys of playing live as you don’t always know what you’re going to get.
Who have been the biggest influences and inspirations to your music and why?
Growing up, it was always my mum and dad’s records and they got me into the likes of Oasis, Stone Roses, The Beatles, and then I got into the Arctic Monkeys myself. But I’d say that Oasis and the Stone Roses were and are by biggest influences and I say that as I’m currently touring with Noel Gallagher in Europe.
How has it been meeting Noel? Especially as he’s one your idols…
It’s a little bit surreal as you’ve worshipped him and idolised him for years, and then you meet and you kind of realise that he’s came from a similar background to you and they are just normal people – so I’ve never had any disappointment when meeting my heroes. On this tour, Noel has also been inviting us into his dressing room for a drink and stuff and it’s all really laid-back.
You’re set to release your new album ‘Cool Like You’ this year, so what can we expect from the new album in terms of its sound and lyrical content?
The sound has evolved off the back of the first record and we feel like we’ve evolved quite quickly. I mean, we’d wrote songs like ‘Charlemagne’ and ‘Honey Sweet’ and we were already delving into keyboard sounds and getting a bit more synth-heavy, so with a lot of the songs on this album they were written on synths as well so it’s kind of more synth-driven but there’s still a lot of guitars on there as well so we think it’s a great synth guitar pop album. And lyrically, a lot of the songs are about personal relationships including our opening song ‘There’s a Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)’ which is about a breakup and the last song, ‘Love Talk’, which is about sending a long distance love letter to someone. So the record kind of tells tales about my personal life over the last two and a half years really.
You’re set to play the 02 Academy in Newcastle on Tuesday 8th May, so what can gig-goers expect from your set?
I think we’ll be playing about 90% of the new album and all the big singles off the first album. I mean, it’s going to be great to have two albums to look at and think ‘Oh, what aren’t we going to play’, so we’re going to rattle through and play as many of the big tunes as we can. We’ve also got a new lighting show which is going to be exciting to take on the road. Also, a lot of the songs on the second album are more upbeat than the tracks on the first album so I think they’re going to go down really well live.
Now you’re a well-known band, do you have any crazy fan stories that you can share?
There are some bizarre ones that you’re probably not going to want to print. I remember our drummer, Joe, got a card off some Russian fans and on the card it said: “I think you look like a cute puppy; my mum thinks you look like a serial killer”, which is pretty strange. And in Japan they printed off masks of our keyboard player, Myles, and they were wearing them around the streets and stuff and they were following us – it was crazy, but you’ve got to enjoy it and have a laugh.
And finally, what advice would you give to bands that are just starting out?
Just keep writing songs and just keep trying to evolve your songwriting and when you know you’ve got songs that you believe in, they’re the ones you’ll want the world to hear. It takes time though – you’ve got to keep writing and writing until you find the ones that you feel people will connect with.
Blossoms head to the 02 Academy, Newcastle on Tuesday 8th May. Balcony tickets, priced at £22.00, are available from seetickets.com at the time of writing.