Bleach Blondes live at KB18

Bleach Blondes ‘Health’ EP

Copenhagen’s dive-bar prowlers Bleach Blondes slice through the rock n’ roll monotony with a new EP that pays homage to their influences without simply replicating them.

Words: Bleach Blondes & J.Scott Stratton
Published: August 17, 2017
Reference: Bleach Blondes web

The urban myths about the anxiety and pressure of a band’s sophomore release, in my opinion is only reserved for the few that make their home in the mainstream. For those that live in the seedy underbelly of subcultures–the dive bars, the filthy green rooms, and the gigs where the most you can expect to get paid is a few room temperature beers–there is a little more freedom to explore.

As an underground band, the right to change sounds, change genres, or just experiment is not only accepted, I would argue that it’s encouraged. Evolution is a natural part of creation, and that included music and composition. It’s only in the mainstream where artists are pressure to stay the same….keep producing those hits which keep the masses happy.

But the music that swims in the swamps of subculture has always been more about giving the audience what they need, not what they want—or at least a bit more about personal artistic integrity. Simply replicating the sounds of the past (whether your own or someone else’s) may get you closer to a hit, or closer to a paycheck, but it also gets you closer to being a talentless one-hit-wonder.

In my opinion, the bands that stand out are the ones that pay homage to their influences, rather than creating their entire sound around something that has already been done.

This is what has always stood out to me about Copenhagen’s Bleach Blondes—I could always hear their influences, but it was exceedingly difficult to put them into a classification. Are they shoegaze? Are they post-rock? Are they noise-rock? Are they garage? They seem to be all of those things at different times.

I wanted to get the skinny on their second release—the EP ‘Health’. The four songs take a slight point of departure from their last full-length album, both in how they composed the songs and how they recorded them. Yet just as with their first release, the songs have a dynamic of being both everything from their influences, yet nothing overly explicit in what those influences were.

Your new EP ‘Health’ is a follow-up from the 2016 full-length ‘You could take the whole world to bed with you”. Tell me how your sound has evolved since that release?

It has evolved just like the band has done. It has become more confident, I think. But it is ever-changing, even though we try to stay true to the DNA of the band, we just have to follow the songs in whatever direction they pull us.

The previous album was recorded live, with the three of us playing the music in the same room. That created a certain vibe, but it also made it difficult to mess around with the different instrumental layers individually. On ‘Health’ we wanted to be able to be freer, so we decided to record each instrument separately. It gave us more freedom to create the sound we wanted. The sound is still raw and aggressive, but this time around we focused on each individual instrument. This allowed us to explore other soundscapes.

I feel like your previous album had more of a dark feel, more haunting reverb and heavier distortion, while the guitar sound on this album is lighter on this EP, was that intentional?

Heine: Not intentionally, although we definitely tried to make some decisions about the sound during writing and recording.

After the last album, we wanted to try something new, and this EP was the perfect opportunity to take a different approach – so we did. We wanted to evolve and I think, that if we did the songs too similar to the debut, it would have been tiresome for us, and for the listener. What the EP might “lack” in heavy sound and dark feel, as one might expect from Bleach Blondes, it makes up for it in its determination and spirit. So I don’t feel like it’s a lighter album per say.

We wanted to highlight other elements and give them room to breathe. One of them being the vocals. And we got a really good result with the vocals.

Bleach Blondes live at KB18

Personally, I’m getting more of a Jesus and Mary Chain vibe from some of aesthetics of this EP, but can you give me some of your influences for this structure and sound?

It most certainly has a british sound to it. The Jesus and Mary Chain means a lot to us, but we try the aim broader sound-wise than they do. The sounds and aesthetics of Ride and Oasis are more present on this record, I think. But we of course have roots in heavier sounding bands like BRMC, Black Angles and A Place To Bury Strangers, and that we will probably never shake off us. And that’s fine by us.

As will all of your records, you record and mix all of your work, was there anything that you did differently with this EP?

For the first time in the history of the band we tried to work with an “outsider”. And that was kinda nerve-wracking, since we are used to doing everything ourselves. But we had the EP mastered by Sean Magee (Beatles, Pink Floyd, Sex Pistols, My Bloody Valentine) in Abbey Road Studios. And that was one of the best decisions we’ve made. Sean was great and the sound was even better. And to imagine our music being played in such a legendary place is just fantastic. It did a lot of good for my mix and the EP.

Is there a theme or underlying narrative to this release?

Heine: The title of the album says it all. I was writing about the health of the world we live in, the health of my relationships and the health of the people closest to me. There was so much shit going on around me at that time and I wanted to write and release songs about that – something I’ve normally would have considered a bit too personal and would have kept private. But it felt good to do and I think it helped me maintain a healthy mind.

Will this release lead to a full length?

We hope. We much prefer the full length format over an EP, because it gives the possibility to create a more “complete” work and is not as limited as an EP is. Time will tell, but we will start writing new songs after this summer.

What is the next step for the band?

Take some days off – it’s been a tough record to do. But after that, we look forward to trying out the new songs live and get people’s reaction on them. We’ve got some shows this summer and fall, and in between we will be writing new material.

Bleach Blondes live at KB18
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