Blessa speak to us about catalysts for new bands, blogs, misogyny and what's next for the Sheffield soft-rock five-piece.
It terms of the Internet, Sheffield's Blessa have been around for just over a year since the unveiling of "Pale" back in February 2013. To some bands, that's about as much time as us "throw-away" bloggers give them, promoting a here-today gone-tomorrow nature of musicians and releases. Is that actually the case though?
We recently spoke to Jake and Liv from Blessa about the catalysts for new bands these days, their opinion on blogs, misogyny within the industry and what's on the horizon for the band.
I read you made the decision to form Blessa at a Warpaint gig, what was it about the Warpaint gig that triggered this - was it a spontaneous decision or had it been coming for a while?
"Starting a band together was something that had been coming we'd recorded a few demos and largely kept them to ourselves, without any kind of clear direction. It was something about seeing Warpaint, in Sheffield, that seemed so appropriate for us, given the musical context around the city at the time. We'd go and see local bands and find ourselves completely bewildered at the lack of progression from the previous era. Although we know now that we were looking in the wrong places (we were new to the city), contrasting the intelligence and beauty of Warpaint with the lack of imagination of these bands was a real catalyst for us."
How do you feel about being compared to the likes of The Cure and The Smiths; while being a fairly decent confidence boost, would you prefer people focused on what you might have to offer going forward, rather than look for ways to pigeon hole your sound after just a few tracks?
"We find ourselves constantly surprised (and flattered!) by the comparisons made to seminal bands of the 80s, as it isn't a sustained or conscious influence on our song writing. I think Between Times is something of a unique song in the context of the rest of our material, as we jammed it one night in the studio recording two songs we didn't end up finishing, and it was very much a sudden surge of creativity that happened to sound the way it does. We've always stressed the importance of trusting natural instinct when it comes to sound writing, so made no effort to stifle its immediate influences. The hope is that the upcoming EP will reshape or at least diversify people's perception of us."
Pigeon-hole your sound...
"It's totally disheartening to see people's readiness to turn a blind eye to this, for people within the industry to show support for bands unable to display a basic level of compassion and respect towards women."
What's your opinion on blogs and their ties with disposable music. Blogs make music more readily and widely available than before when you could only hear new music at a gig, limiting discovery. If a band make a few good tracks without following up, it's nobody's fault but their own - we can't demand a dossier before publishing a track, or bands like yourself wouldn't be heard outside Sheffield.
"Although it might be slightly idealistic to say so, a blog should be an extension of someone's identity. Expression is by nature a momentary and fleeting construct and people can't be held accountable for the longevity of the music they post. The shelf life of many bands that become relatively successful can rarely be determined, in the same way that of a brand new band can. People want to be more up to date than ever on music, and there are many blogs that cater to the "Track of the day #12302" mentality, but the best blogs are always more selective, which in turn gives more gravitas and sincerity to each song they post. We know we're not exempt from the temporariness of modern music, and our ambition has always been to create something autonomous from fads or trends."
I've read how much you enjoyed working with MJ; he's becoming a bit of a cult phenomenon and his stance on misogyny within the industry is commendable - if only it wasn't necessary. As a band, do you consider the issue to be getting worse, or do you feel people are rightly starting to open their eyes to it?
"Social media has provided a platform from which people can be called out on these issues, and to a large extent the presence of these kind of views is diminishing. However, it is largely aspectual of our generation to reject or simply mask actively prejudiced thought, (although as mentioned there are an alarming number of notable exceptions to this), so to say it is getting better would be to excuse the passive and unconscious modes of misogyny that occur everyday. It seems that we are lacking of a language in which females musicians can have an identity unattached from their gender. 'Female' is used as a prefix in music, rarely possessive of other distinctive qualities but ostensibly capable of ascribing a genre to a band. It's totally disheartening to see people's readiness to turn a blind eye to this, for people within the industry to show support for bands unable to display a basic level of compassion and respect towards women. While people are on the whole more careful what they say publicly, this level of indifference indicates how far away from progress we really are."
What's your plans for the rest of the year, how's the EP coming on?
"The EP should be out soon! We can't be too specific at this point as there have been so many (self-imposed) delays that we almost don't want to jinx it. We've been lucky enough to be invited to play some really great festivals in the summer, and we're just really looking forward to experiencing new parts of the country and doing what we enjoy more often."