Interview The Long Blondes

The real eyes of the music world are fixed upon a five piece who are creating a niche in an increasingly competitive pop world. The Long Blondes.

Pop music died in Sheffield; The Human League are no more, Heaven 17 parted ways, Pulp disbanded, they even closed the National Centre For Pop Music in respect of the occasion. The dark clouds gathered and a city went quiet, mourned its losses, collected itself and waited. And Waited. Waiting for the flame of the music candle to flicker brightly once again; that wait could be over – with the nation looking expectantly at Arctic Monkeys, Milburn chomping at their heels with their jaunty pop melodies, but the real eyes of the music world are fixed upon a five piece who are creating a niche in an increasingly competitive pop world. The Long Blondes.

So just who are our five young heroes straddling up their horses for the pursuit of success? ‘We were 4 librarians and a vintage clothes dealer. We met at a cocktail party in Sheffield about three years ago, but the meeting was uneventful. But then we met again a few days later and fell in love. We are: Dorian – licks, Kate – lips, Screech – sticks, Reenie – hips, Emma – high kicks’. Though none of you are blonde are you? Be careful - I’m sure you won’t get away with that in the new EU constitution, we’re already petitioning for The Killers not to be allowed back in the country on a similar note. So what was the reasoning behind the name? ‘The Long Blondes are a fantasy pop group. They exist through the net curtains of an imagined past and trace the steps of vaudeville singers and cabaret stars, go go girls and the sixties chanteuse. Today, The Long Blondes are Mae West, Edie Sedgwick, Marlene Dietrich, Nancy Sinatra and Barbara Windsor. Tomorrow they may well be us.’ So who does what within The Long Blondes musical production line? ‘Kate and Dorian write the lyrics between them. Kate pens one line, then Dorian offers up a bad rhyming couplet. As for the music, Emma rarely comes to practice yet still is the driving force behind most of our songs. Dorian is the authoritarian composer. Screech and Reenie piece together a vague cadence. Kate is the cherry on the iced bun.’

Such is the enigma that they cultivate it allows them to stand out above the crop of acts they are often placed alongside - with the number of bands who are currently surfacing from Sheffield is there a noticeable scene? ’ If there is a scene rearing its ugly head in Sheffield we must have missed it. I think we were at the cinema. And if there is we fit in to it like a heart shaped peg in an arse shaped hole.’ Though surely there are bands who DIY readers should be watching out for? ‘Pink Grease. Literarily watch out for Pink Grease – they are deliciously unhinged. Ditto Chips for the Poor and Hiem – inexorable troubadours with a story to tell.’ And from further afield? ’ Patrick Wolf had us all struck dumb when he played in Sheffield recently. The Mystery Jets also charmed the pants off us. Neil’s Children fired up the blood. And we’ve being making eyes at The Young Knives for about a year now…’

So if Sheffield is on the up and up, which now we’re not so sure about, why then are the majority of your gigs being held in London? ’ Supply and demand, darling. Supply and demand.’ That must be an arduous task when living and working in Sheffield? ‘It will be a sweet relief when we finally get fired from our pesky jobs…it can’t be long now. But then how will we pay for travel? We’ll have to hitchhike or stow away on freight trains. As it is we are slumming it on the National Express, except for Kate who favours Midland Mainline First Class. Eight hours on a coach is a sizable portion of the weekend gone to the dogs.’ The Long Blondes are sacrificing their weekends to entertain you with their unique brand of pessimistic pop melodies that are fast becoming their trademark, so are these songs a fair reflection upon your personalities? ‘We are all jaded cynics, yes, but can you think of anyone who has reached their mid-twenties without a broken heart or a fallen idol? Our pessimistic pop songs will make your radio a more interesting piece of forgotten electronic equipment.’

Traditionally music has always been a male dominated environment so has it been more difficult and provided any extra hindrances for you? ’ Yeah sometimes it’s all a bit ‘Ooh, girl guitarists. Kinky.’ which is tiresome. Once Reenie was ordered to leave the backstage area as ‘girlfriends and groupies aren’t allowed’. But it’s nothing more than a tedious inconvenience for us; we won’t be losing any sleep.’ Despite any roadblocks in their path they’ve previously released a split 7’ with The Boyfriends and are now releasing the follow up to the refreshingly wonderful ‘Giddy Stratospheres’ on Angular; is the deal with Angular a permanent deal or a record-by-record agreement? ‘We have a semi-casual relationship with Angular, underpinned by great affection. Have you heard of the expression ‘Fuck Buddies’? It’s a bit like that.’ What have you got planned for after the release of the single? ‘A period of readjustment I imagine. For better or for worse…’ Hopefully not a lot will change and the same level of bouncy infectious songs we’ve become accustomed to will still be prevalent.

Anyway, enough of this, let’s get down to the serious matters ‘The players are under so much duress, it’s like duressic park out there!’ Ah, Sid Waddell, you’ve got to love him. What was the inspiration behind the fantastic Darts’? ‘Ah the darts and where to begin. A hangover on New Years Day, Christmas is cancelled until next year, sorrow at the January, February, March cloud and rain, nothing exciting will happen today. BUT then, every year, the darts begins and makes us smile again. May the darts be with you.’


The Long Blondes’ new single – ‘Appropriation (By Any Other Name)’ is out now.

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