10 for 2011 Interview: Blonde Louis

By on Tuesday, 14th December 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

Josh Clarke of talented Hertfordshire band Blonde Louis kindly answering some questions in honour of them placing on our 10 for 2011 poll. For the world exclusive on the (adorable) origin of the band’s name and more, read on…

Congratulations on finishing #6 in our 10 of 2011 poll of bands to watch next year. Unfortunately, we don’t have a trophy or anything to give you, but please know that it was the faithful readers of TGTF that voted to give you your place on this list. Although we risk sounding like the reporters on the red carpet at the BAFTAs, we want to know, how do you feel about this achievement?
Well, we feel very privileged to be even considered as a ‘Band to Watch in 2011. The fact that it is voted by the readers of TGTF is great, as it’s always nice to get some form of reward for all those cold mornings spent in rehearsals! Apart from the music, it’s always about the fans.

First off, we want to wish Josh a very happy but belated birthday! How long ago did you decide, right, we’re going to play a gig in honour of Josh’s birthday and invite all our fans?
Thank you for your kind wishes! We decided to do a birthday show back in the summer. Over the past few months we’ve been doing a show once a month at our local club, and in the preparation for this we had to come up with a theme for each night. It just so happened that the November show coincided with my birthday! We felt it was a nice way for the fans to feel a part of what we are doing. We wanted to make the shows a personal as possible, so any ticket that was bought online we hand delivered to people’s houses as our way of saying thank you!

So how did it go? (This can either refer to the birthday shenanigans or the gig itself. Or both. Up to you.)
The shenanigans lasted long into the night, so read into that what you will! But the show itself was amazing. Its our third sold out show in a row, what more can we ask! The response we had from fans was astounding. They really took to theme, and many of them actually bought me presents! We love our fans, they’ve been so good to us, so each gig we try to reward them as much as we can, giving out party bags at the gig, chatting to them afterwards, and in general putting on a memorable show for them. From my point of view, it wasn’t bad as birthday parties go!

This year you released two great singles, ‘Midnight Kiss’ and ‘Sleep on the Floor’. Is an EP or album of more material in your plans for the near future?
We’re always thinking of what to do next, writing bigger and better songs, playing bigger and better shows. In terms of a new single release, we hope to produce a new track very soon. This year we’ve tested the waters with a couple of tracks and the response to them has been fantastic so far. But it’s important from our point of view that each track is a progression from the last, so we’ve spent the last few months working on new material with that in mind. We’re delighted with the tracks that we have now, and we can’t wait to get them out there!

What singers and/or bands do you consider your greatest influences? When taking inspiration from artists, we like to learn from everything about them. The way they perform on stage, how they work an audience, and of course the music. I love Brandon Flowers of the Killers. His stage performance is always faultless. In terms of groups, we take a lot of influence from Kings Of Leon. I suppose they are similar to us in the sense of instrumentation (two guitars, bass and drums) and it’s always important to look at those bands that are doing a similar thing to you if you want to emulate their success.

Tell us about your 2010. What was the best moment of the year for you as a band? What moment would you like to forget?
2010 has certainly been a heavily contrasting year! We would be playing to 12 people in a pub one evening, then selling out clubs the next. But I think you have to take the bad with the good in this business. We would never swap those nights where we played to one man and his dog. We learnt a lot from those gigs, plus you never know who’s watching!

A moment to forget would certainly be when we were on tour earlier this year. We’d been driving up and down the country in a very small van and had just arrived in Southampton. We were driving around looking for a place to stop and eat, when suddenly the side door to our van fell clean off! Our guitarist Harvey (Josh’s cousin) fell out with the door, which caused a lot of concern at the time as you can imagine. Once we had him back in the van (or what was left of it) we had to drive to the venue with no door! It was a crazy moment in Blonde Louis history, certainly one to forget. But as I said earlier, you have to take the bad with the good!

What’s something about your band that most people do not know or would not guess?
I think the fact that we’ve known each other since we were 4 would be a surprise to most. We often get asked the question, “are you guys manufactured?” But the answer to that is quite the opposite! We’ve grown up together, spending more than half our lives with each other (a scary thought). Its a good thing for us that we know everything about one another, we resolve problems better and work together in a productive way.

Name something you’d like to do in 2011 that you have never done before.
We would love to play Glastonbury this year. It’s been a dream of mine since before I can remember, so that is certainly one of our many goals for 2011.

How are you planning to spend your holidays?
Celebrating our last residency of course, to send off the year in a spectacular fashion. Once that is over its back down to song writing for the new year ahead. Preparing for tours and new singles, and anything else that is thrown our way!

One final question…where is the name Blonde Louis from? None of you are named Louis…???
How the name Blonde Louis came about is a deeply guarded secret, but as you have been so good to us this year, There Goes The Fear, please enjoy this world exclusive…

As a youngster, I used to love the Jungle Book. Forget Mowgli, it was all about the orangutan King Louis for me. That orangutan was so smooth. With my bleach blonde hair, the name kind of stuck. But as I got a little older, losing the blonde hair and realizing that no matter how hard I tried I could never quite be ‘like him’, I settled for picking up a guitar and writing some songs over aspiring to become a talking orangutan.

I still have very fond memories of that film, but I’m hoping I made the right career choice. We’ll see….

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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