I first heard the band Bloods play to a lively crowd in support of Veruca Salt earlier this year in Melbourne. Interestingly, I don’t always have the patience for support acts, but the Bloods succeeded in making me pay them some attention. In truth, I went home and did my homework on them and discovered just how respected they were internationally having signed a worldwide publishing deal with Seattle based label, Sub Pop. Taken aback by their raw energy I had hoped to discover something new by them in the near future. And I wasn’t disappointed when I heard the Bloods were back with a bold and energetic new album released last month called Feelings, which effortlessly picks up on the gritty punk-pop aesthetic that made their 2014 debut so much fun. That said, arguably as one of their newest admirers, I recently reached out to band members Sweetie, MC, Mike and Dirk to chat about their new album Feelings and what makes them tick.
It has been some 7 years since Bloods first songs started making inroads into our consciousness. For the most part you have stayed true to your ‘power-pop-punk’ formula. What do you still love most about playing together?
I guess it’s having a creative outlet to focus our energy into. We don’t really write music for an end goal, just because we love doing it together and that hasn’t really wavered. Recording and writing is still massively satisfying for us.
You’re well known for your driven-guitar sound and dual harmonies. Who comes up with the melodies? Are you all still involved in the writing process?
MC has always been the principal songwriter and that remains the same. Melodies are usually MC’s domain and harmonies are Sweetie’s forte. On this record, Dirk actually wrote demos for two of the songs – BMWD and NCC and worked on finishing them with MC, which was something new!
The video clip for Step Back looks like it was a lot of fun. I especially love the last minute or so. Those masks are a riot! Can you tell me something surprising about the makings of it?
Thanks for the kind words! it was a lot of fun to make. We actually had a week to come up with a concept, shoot and edit the video! MC put together a treatment for the concept and colour palette, booked the studio DJ and MC shot it in four hours and Dirk edited it all in two days. It cost us all of $200 to make.
The Bloods new album Feelings recently found its way on to my playlist. I’m impressed how infectious it is, especially Bring My Walls Down, Bug Eyes and Part of Me. I understand Feelings took you a long time to put together? What were some of the obstacles you encountered in the four years between your last album and this one?
We had a few life events within the band that delayed the process quite a bit – MC went through a break-up, Sweetie re-located to Melbourne and as well as that, we’d blown all our money on touring the US, so that also played a huge part.
The title track Feelings seems like an experiment in chords and lyrics. It’s definitely quite lively. What was the inspiration behind this track?
Oh cool! Well this song was the last song written for the album by MC and it all came really quickly. It was intended to be a bit of an anthem about moving on and she wanted the energy to be really high and cathartic.
If you don’t mind I’d like to continue to talk about your new album, in particularly Broken Heart and Slow Break. You really slowed the tempo down on the back end of the album with these two tracks. It actually refreshing after the onslaught of feverish guitars. What can you tell me how they came about?
MC wrote these ones early on in the album process. Slow Break was actually one of the very first demos we had for he record and when MC sent it to Dirk, she thought it wasn’t really a ‘Bloods song’ but that changed after it came time to pick what songs went on the record.
Broken Heart was another one MC wasn’t sure could work as a Bloods tune, but it ended up becoming one of the band’s favourite tunes of the lot. MC thought the vocals needed to be really tender and sweet so she got Sweetie to sing it as her voice has a real tenderness to it that served the song really well.
Apart from your own seminal release, what’s the best thing you’ve heard all year?
There has been so much great music this year. The Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever album is pretty incredible as Mitski’s album. We have all also become obsessed with Cardi B!
Finally, what have you got planned for the rest of this year?
We have already started writing songs for the next record and we have a few shows coming up in NSW and VIC, which is really exciting!
Check out Blood’s new album Feelings via bandcamp and Spotify. You can also connect with Bloods via their website. Follow them on Facebook. Connect with them Twitter. Watch them on You Tube.
Photo credits: All photos used are copyright and courtesy of Bloods. I am not the uploader of You Tube clips embedded here.