Blondfire Talk "Where the Kids Are", Movies, and More
Wed, 12 Sep 2012 16:43:19
It's easy to float away while listening to Blondfire.
The Los Angeles duo of siblings Bruce and Erica Driscoll fuse together shimmering electro soundscapes with elegant alterna-pop hooks. It's hypnotic, heartfelt, and heavenly. The group's full-length debut, Young Heart, looms on the horizon with 2013 release date, but the first single "Where the Kids Are" offers up the perfect prelude to their divine sound. Blondfire are about to set pop music ablaze, and it may never be the same afterwards.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief, Blondfire's Erica Driscoll talks Young Heart, "Where the Kids Are", movies, and so much more.
What's the story behind "Where the Kids Are"?
My brother and I were working on new music and recording. For that song, we were trying to capture an edgier sound for us. We wrote it really fast, and we started playing that little synth riff and it wrote itself. It's about being young and enjoying life while you can. That song set up the direction of the rest of the album for us once we wrote that. Then, we got some friends to make a video for us, which is cool.
How did the concept for the video come about, especially the panda?
[Laughs] The dreaded cowboy panda…the director heard the song, and he really wanted to do a video. He came up with the whole concept of the panda being hunted by this little boy. Then, Bruce came up with the backstory at the beginning. It was fun to do. We shot it at Vazquez Rocks in Malibu Creek Canyon. It looks like mars. The earth is orange and clay. There are these giant rocks jutting out of the ground.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs?
Definitely, I feel like we try to create visuals with the words we use and evoke emotions with different words. Bruce loves film score, and that comes through.
Where did "Waves" come from?
"Waves" was interesting. Our friend Xandy Barry co-wrote it with us. Bruce and I were toying around with a disco vibe for the music. It turned into this dark disco sound. We went along with this theme of the ocean and waves. It was fun.
What's your take on Young Heart as a whole?
It turned out a lot of the songs are about being young and enjoying life. There are a lot of anthemic-sounding lyrics on the album. The youth theme runs through all of the songs like a thread. We didn't set out to do that in the beginning. It's definitely more anthemic than our older stuff. Some of the songs are a little bittersweet too.
It seems like a balance between that whimsy and those darker moments.
Yeah, I agree with that. It's youthful, but some of the songs have a sadness to them or a mysterious vibe.
Have you and your brother always made music?
It's funny. Ever since we were little, our mom had us in piano lessons. Our dad played acoustic guitar. Ever since then, we started playing instruments. Bruce didn't love the piano so much, but he played the drums. When he discovered guitar, he fell in love with it, and he'd play all the time. He'd literally sleep with it [Laughs]. I played violin and piano growing up. There was always music in our house. Our mom's Brazilian, and our dad's American so we grew up with a lot of Brazilian music. When I was young, I discovered The Smiths, and I started teaching myself guitar in my bedroom and trying to write songs. Bruce and I naturally started playing together. My older sister plays music too. We got some basic recording gear. You're bored in Michigan, and it's cold so you just record [Laughs]. Eventually, we upgraded to Pro Tools and had a little studio setup in our parents' basement. We've been doing this for a long time.
Do you tend to read a lot or watch many movies?
I go through spurts with reading. Sometimes, I'll get really into a book. I'll finish it, and then I won't read forever. Music is natural to me. Melodies come to me very easily. I have a big imagination. Ever since I was a kid, I always liked trippy visual movies like Beetlejuice and David Lynch films.
If you were to compare your album to a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
"Young Heart" itself would probably be a Sofia Coppola movie like The Virgin Suicides [Laughs]. I think it takes you to a dreamy place. The light and everything in The Virgin Suicides is beautiful. Some of it has a darkness like that movie. I'd say The Virgin Suicides. It'd be awesome if she did a music video!
What artists shaped you?
I had an older friend who gave me a mixtape when I was 15 or something. I heard "Big Mouth Strikes Again", and I thought it was a really cool song. The mixtape had "Frankly, Mr. Shankly". It was like nothing I'd ever heard before with the lyrics. That got me excited about writing songs. It was such a different take. I thought Johnny Marr's guitar was really cool. I'm really into '80s music like The Pet Shop Boys. I remember going to Brazil when I was 12-years-old. I could actually get into dance clubs, and The Pet Shop Boys were really big there. They still play them. I love New Order and Depeche Mode. I think Siouxsie and the Banshees and Sinéad O'Connor are amazing. Then, there's The Sundays. Harriet Wheeler's voice is so angelic. Their music is dreamy.
Have you heard Blondfire yet?