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Music interview – Blossoms: ‘We want to be around for a long, long time’

Blossoms play two gigs in Leeds in May.
Blossoms play two gigs in Leeds in May.
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Blossoms are something of an anomaly in 2018. The Stockport indie-rock heroes haven’t withered in the face of adversity like so many of their forerunners and early peers; indeed, they seem to have gone from strength to strength in a market thoroughly disinterested with electric guitars.

Full credit then to the Greater Manchester five-piece, for remaining one of the genre’s leading commercial lights in a time of trap and tropical-pop saturation – though frontman Tom Ogden is wary to say that they’re in the big time yet.

“I think we see our success in longevity more than anything else,” he notes on a wintery April afternoon, languid in his phrasing.

“We want to be around for a long, long time, to still evolve as a band, to stay important to people.”

He mulls it over. “We’re still early on in our career, in terms of where we want to go; to be able to keep doing what we get to do will be a marker of having ‘made it’ as such.”

The band’s second album, Cool Like You, hits shelves this month and comes on the back of a rather unorthodox promotional campaign where Ogden and his fellow musicians alluded to tension in the group, positing a potential break-up or line-up reshuffle on the horizon.

James Skelly was always popping over stuff, one-off songs that he felt would inspire me or get me into a different corner where I wouldn’t normally be. Prefab Sprout’s When Love Breaks Down, that was a great influence. The Style Council too.

Tom Ogden

The singer chuckles about it when asked; though he does not directly address it, he plays down any genuine discord as merely an invented lark.

“There’s no tension in our camp, really,” he responds. “We very rarely argue; we’re nearly always on the same page, we don’t pull off in wildly disparate directions. Harmony is the way to go for us; it works so well!”

Are they collectively proud to have new music out of the can?

“We can’t wait, all of us. We think it’s the best thing we’ve done so far.

“To have two bodies of work under our belt is great; it shows we’re doing something right, at least.”

Describing their latest sound as “euphoric pop”, Ogden noted that there was a concentrated effort to make Cool Like You “more upbeat” than their previous self-titled debut.

“Obviously, we’re dead proud of that record,” he states. “But we found that when we were playing the songs from it live, we could have done with a few faster numbers to give the tempo a boost.

“We very much wrote for this record with the conscious idea of being able to take our gigs up another level.

“I guess picking a setlist will feel rather strange now, given we actually have twice as many songs.”

Their influences were wide-ranging too; producer James Skelly, of The Coral, sent members individual tracks to help with their stylistic writing process.

“He was always popping over stuff, one-off songs that he felt would inspire me or get me into a different corner where I wouldn’t normally be.

“Prefab Sprout’s When Love Breaks Down, that was a great influence. The Style Council too.

“There was a lot of fantastic Eighties pop going into the mix, along with all the other stuff that’s been there all my life, like Abba and Oasis. It was a pretty eclectic variety, to be honest.”

The band take to the road in support in May, with a gig at Leeds’s O2 Academy on the agenda; but before then, they have a string of hometown shows at the Stockport Plaza that Ogden is thrilled about.

“We played it the first time round; we actually did a show at the exact moment our debut album was released. We’d been there as kids for pantomimes and the like, at this lovely art deco theatre.

“To play in the middle of your home town is great, though the guest list is going to be a nightmare!”

Do they ever tire of touring or is the magic very much still alive? “I suppose, like anything, you can grow a little lethargic. But we’ve never just toured; we’ve always nipped into the studio here and there around shows, as opposed to going in for a month on end and making a record. It keeps both sides of the process fresh.

“You’ve got to love it to an extent though and we do; we get to see the world with our friends, meet new people in every city.

“Folk would kill to be in the position we’re in.”

In one of the weirder cross-promotional marketing incentives of recent times, Cool Like You has a bundle that comes with a free ice-cream, on release day back at home.

Would Ogden be tempted to create his own concoction on the side? He chuckles ruefully again.

“Nah, nothing too fancy. I’m a simple man of simple tastes. A vanilla with strawberry sauce or a ’99 with a flake; you can’t go wrong there!”

Indeed, you arguably can’t.

Cool Like You is out tomorrow. Blossoms launch their new album at Brudenell Social Club on Tuesday May 1 with a matinee and evening show; they also play at O2 Academy Leeds on Monday May 7 and Tramlines Festival in Sheffield on July 21. www.blossomsband.co.uk. For ticket availability for the evening show at the Brudenell visit www.facebook.com/blossomsband