The Blinders

The Blinders - pic Sam Crowston
The Blinders - pic Duncan Stafford
The Blinders - pic ArtBeat Promo
The Blinders - pic ArtBeat Promo
The Blinders - pic Sam Crowston
The Blinders - pic ArtBeat Promo
The Blinders - pic Sandy K Moz
The Blinders - pic Sam Crowston

A hot tip for Reading Festival, and dubbed ‘Britain’s most switched on rock band’, The Blinders play visceral political punk rock that’s also gloriously anthemic. Constantly gigging they’ve galvanised an army of fans around the country and amassed plenty of radio play. The Blinders are Thomas Haywood, Charlie McGough and Matt Neale and we talked to them ahead of their Reading show - which takes place at 1.35pm Saturday on the Jack Rocks / This Feeling stage. Full tour dates here.

Hometown:
Doncaster
Debut:
2015
Homepage:
www.facebook.com
Twitter:
@TheBlindersBand

The Blinders

The Blinders - pic Duncan Stafford

You can’t come from where we come from and not be political

Passionate, political and packing a punch - The Blinders are on the move and the only way is skyward if their anthemic new single ‘Brave New World’ is anything to go by. With a load of festival shows lined up we wanted to know more about what feeds their sound and how they make their music.

How did you form and how long have you been playing together

Thomas: ‘The Blinders’ have been around for two and a half years now

Charlie: We all knew each other from school and had played in school bands together, so to speak. After secondary school Thomas and I went off to the same Six Form and Matt went off to some music college. Thomas then spent a couple of months nagging Matt to leave this band he was playing in and come down for a jam.

Thomas: And here we are.

Matt: Should have stayed with them.

Your songs are very hard-hitting, what’s the motivation behind them and what’s fed your political thinking

Charlie: We’re all from Doncaster, we come from mining villages or mining families. It’s one of the many towns around the country that has been left behind, left to rot really. For us it seems like you can’t come from where we come from and not be political.

Thomas: It’s as if you can’t not hold resentment for those who drove these towns into figurative ruin.

Charlie: But I suppose then, isn’t that the same for everyone? Since moving to Manchester, supposedly a modern, forward-moving city, we’re still faced with many of the same issues and have perhaps found it even more of a politically motivating environment to live in.

Thomas: We’re creatures of both habit and absorption. We’ve sucked what little life there is left on these walls and put it into song. It’s just what we do.

The Blinders - pic ArtBeat Promo

Songwriting - a collective process

How do you write your songs

Charlie: Our songs start with the lyrics or in fact a piece of poetry that will then be ripped up, restructured and reconfigured, if you like, leaving us with something that looks a bit more like a song. This will be done usually in a back and forth pattern between Thomas and Myself. We then all come together and Matt has a big role in the structuring and formation of the music, he really comes into his own there. It’s very much a collective process within which we all input our small areas of expertise, so to speak.

How do you record them

Charlie: We’ve been fortunate to record our last couple of releases with the wizard that is Gavin Monaghan,

Thomas: at the fittingly named ‘Magic Garden Studios’.

Charlie: We tend to go into the studio with the songs already written. The exception being our last release, Brave New World, which was a lot looser in structure.

Thomas: I personally preferred this system of going in with the bare bones of a song. You tend to get attached to your own ‘complete’ songs; they become a living entity that just sounds wrong when changed, for want of a better word. We’re currently looking to alter our recording style in order to attain a comfortable system. This will most likely happen using live tracking and recording guide tracks simultaneously, as oppose to previous recordings where the tracks are all completed separately.

When can we expect The Blinders’ album

Charlie: Way off. We’ve hopefully got an EP or two in the works before we even consider an album, but an album is what we are working towards.

Matt: Hold yer horses, calm yer camels.

Are you self-releasing and how’s that going?

Charlie: We are indeed. The trials and tribulations of releasing music today are pretty well covered and known. It’s a struggle, everyone’s trying to be heard and it’s very easy to feel like you’re shouting into a vacuum. The reward really comes when you go a bit away from home and meet a crowd singing along to one of the tracks, that’s when our heads inflate and we must be held down from fear of floating off the stage.

The Blinders - pic Sam Crowston

The Blinders Live

Your shows are incredibly energetic, how do you psych yourselves up

Charlie: Thomas likes to belt out a few Beatles tunes or anything that comes into his head to warm up his voice around twenty minutes before we go on, Matt goes through a few stretching routines and I just stick on my suit.

Matt: Confident lunges and beer. Don’t wanna be caught with a pulled hammy or sober do you now.

Thomas: We haven’t yet developed an elaborate pre-gig ritual yet… contrary to popular belief. So long as we’re well watered and ill-fed, we’re usually ready to go.

The Blinders - pic Sam Crowston

What’s your most memorable show and why

Charlie: We’d have to say supporting Cabbage at the Ritz in Manchester. As a support band, you don’t expect a great deal from the crowd, a nod of appreciation is good enough but the crowd were wonderful. It was simply a great night of music. The crowd were the same for our dear friends Strange Bones whom also played the night, and Cabbage took the roof off. It was a pleasure to be part of a night that felt truly special.

Matt: I’d agree. I believe it was our 150th gig, in front of 1,500 people. Pretty cool I guess.

The Blinders - pic Sam Crowston

A rush of blood to the head

You’ve a reputation for getting blood-stained instruments, how does that happen? And what are your tips for cleaning a blood-stained instrument?

Thomas: Almost always it’s the simple slip of a plectrum doused in sweat and, being already too committed to the frenzied stage-mire, your attempts to pick it up would be futile. A rush of blood to the head takes over and before you know it, you open your eyes to a dirty instrument and a displeased roadie.

Matt: Don’t clean ‘em, just leave the blood all over your snare.

The Blinders - pic Sam Crowston

Lyrics are so central

Who or what inspires you as a band

Charlie: We’ve always attempted to take inspiration from more than simply the music we listen to. Poetry, art and particularly literature certainly inspire us to write and alter our outlook upon our surroundings. Beat literature and the writings of Orwell and Huxley are pretty self-evident in our music and it probably explains why the lyrics are so central to what we do.

What’s next this year

Charlie: We’ve a few more festivals to play: Reading, Festival No.6, Rec Rock before heading out for a run of shows with comrades Cabbage. Keep an eye out for releases or news of releases.

Matt: Hopefully not uni.