Indieterria meets Inwards

Dear readers!

Oh, it was a very frustrating beginning of the month! The WordPress went down, their SSL broke and our publishing schedule got delayed by a week and a half. Luckily, Rita is a miracle worker, found the right script, implemented it and voila – we are back in action. But it took a long time and we do apologize for the technical issues. They were outside of our control!

So, in span of just several days, you can enjoy two brand new blogs. The first one is our view/review/official waffling post about The Blinders (you can read it Here) and the other is a brand new interview with the electronic music prodigy, Inwards.

Inwards in another dimension (or maybe just on the stage!)

Of course, we don’t have to tell you that Inwards (aka Kristian Shelley) is the pride and joy of Worcestershire and we are extremely proud of his achievements. And there is a lot to be proud about! His music receives praise after praise and super favourable reviews from journalists, media and radio stations. Kris is going places and he is going to the top at an impressive speed. Before you blink, he will be there at the top of the charts with Burial, Aphex Twin and Chemical Brothers.

Talking to Kris is a rare pleasure. He is entertaining, kind and very pleasing to interview. He is curious about the world, culture and popular heritage. We sat down with him after his session for BBC Introducing in Hereford and Worcester and grilled him about his equipment, music and having his music played on the national radio.

Official bio:  Inwards is the alias of Kristian Shelley, a multi-instrumentalist and music programmer from Worcestershire, UK. His work exists in the experimental domain and draws influence from the far borders of dance music, using modular synths with acoustic and electronic sources to create a nostalgic and colourful sonic palette.  Crackling with the freedom and spontaneity that characterises his studio productions, Inwards live performances vary from one environment to the next, taking on organic forms through the manipulation of his electronic instruments. Gaining a reputation for his absorbing shows, which are often complemented by live visuals, he has played alongside the likes of Lapalux, Adam Betts (Three Trapped Tigers), Tyondai Braxton (Battles) and Ulrich Schnauss, and at festivals including The Great Escape and Brighton Digital Festival. Signing to Small Pond in 2017 after capturing attention with a series of DIY releases, Inwards invites you into a dark yet playful and psychedelic world of sound on his debut album.

According to your bio, Inwards is a moniker of producer, multi-instrumentalist and music programmer – Kristian Shelley. We are intrigued. Can you introduce yourself to readers of Indieterria?

Inwards: Hello readers of Indieterria! I’m Kris and I play instruments and use computers to make music.

Inwards is very poetic term. It describes someone “orientated towards the inside” or something “existing within the mind, soul or spirit, often not expressed”. It can also be applied to a person that is private or even shy. This is not a name that was chosen accidentally, isn’t it?

Inwards:  No, it is not an accident. The music I make is an introspective experience for me so I arrived at the name “Inwards” and it felt right. I stuck with it.

Before becoming a DJ, you played in several alternative and funk outfits. Is working on your own much harder than being part of a group? Do you feel more comfortable relying only on yourself on stage?

Diesel album cover

Inwards:  Working on your own can be a very freeing experience. It also makes you question whether what you are doing is a good vibe because you don’t have anyone to bounce ideas off. Being on stage alone is much more daunting than with a band but I like it. At this moment, I’m looking forward to a new project I have started with some musicians friends this year. I really miss playing in a band and miss the band vibrations!

It is not always possible to meet your musical heroes, but you were lucky to speak with Aphex Twin (aka Richard D James) at Bangface Festival in Cornwall in 2012, right at the beginning of your career. Are you still in touch? If so, did he say anything about your newest compositions?

Inwards:  This was just before I had started making electronic music and the whole festival was very inspirational! We didn’t exchanged details but I was lucky enough to bump into him again last year at a small festival in Cornwall and we had a good chat about modulars and living in the countryside. I don’t know if he has listened to any of my stuff, but it would be great to give him something back for his early support!

You have performed alongside Lapalux, Forest Swords, Adam Betts (Three Trapped Tigers), Tyondai Braxton (Battles) and Ulrich Schnauss (of Tangerine Dream) and at festivals including The Great Escape and Brighton Digital Festival. If you could share the stage with just one artist or a band, who would you choose?

Inwards: (laughing) Slayer! It has to be them!

On 19th of January 2018 you released double single entitled “Amsterdam”/“Computertalsk”. In one interview you mentioned that both tracks are based on your personal experiences.  Can you tell us what events from your life inspired each song?

Amsterdam/Computertalsk double single cover

Inwards: Well, the first track “Amsterdam” kind of gives me that feeling of freedom you get when travelling. It is mixed with undertones of wanting to return home and chill. “Computertalsk” represents a different feeling, the one of trying to make the computer to express itself. It is like giving the machine a voice so it can tell you what’s going on. For me, this tune is like the computer is learning to talk because it’s got something really emotionally potent it needs to tell you. I really like making the machines feel like they have a personality and trying to give them a voice and this was me exploring these possibilities.

You are the only Worcestershire based artist who has been championed by so many DJ across BBC 6 Music: Mary Ann Hobbs, Don Letts, Stuart Maconie, Lauren Laverne, Tom Robinson, Steve Lamacq and Tom Ravenscroft. Your single “When she flashes her smile on me” was named a Song of the Week. That’s a complete take-over of national radio station! What`s your secret?

Inwards: (laughing) I don’t really know how to answer this question. I don’t think there are any secrets to making music! Just do what feels right for you.

We have seen the equipment you use to create your music during your session for BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester in Pershore. It looks very impressive and very complicated. We are sure that outside of music, it is also capable of answering phone calls and making a cuppa. Help us out and tells us what are all those cables, wires and boxes?

Inwards: I will try to make it easy! So, the main box with the wires is a modular synthesizer. It is basically a synthesizer that you can choose what component parts are inside it. Basically, you can make it your own instrument. The other stuff is a mixer, drum machine and a Delay Pedal which I use alongside the modular and my computer to create the vibes. I wish it could make drinks but not quite there yet (laughing). Would be cool to make a phone module that could randomly call people in a contacts list and then use the audio from the call in the system. Or a prank call module with customizable soundbank for all your favourite prank calls. If you are a modular synth developer and reading this, you’re welcome!

Tell us about your relationship with your label – Small Pond

Kristian at work

Inwards: I met the Small Pond crew through living in Brighton. I remember going to a great party at their studio on Castle Street. I think it was the opening evening of the studio that the Small Pond team had been building for 2 years. I met most of their employees that evening, although I didn’t back then think I would be working so closely with them in the future! Samuel Organ asked me in late 2016 if I would be interested in working on a release with them and if I had any music that I would consider submitting. I put everything I made that I thought was decent enough and sent them a file with about 60 tracks in it. It was quite nerve racking experience really. It felt like sending of all this precious stuff that I wasn’t even sure was any good anymore because I had listened to it so much. I think they were a bit taken back by the number of tracks included! Obviously, they couldn’t make a 60-track album (or could we?). It took some time for us to work out the best combinations of tunes but we got there in the end. The album turned out to be a belter and I’m super proud of it. Yeah in short, the relationship is ace, I had a great time so far working with the whole team and I look forward to future projects with them.

Your music is classified as general electronic /dance but we hear so many elements and inspirations: from Aphex Twin, Ian Pooley, The Orb, Orbital, Future Sound of London, 808 State, Sven Vath to Atticus Ross. At times you cross into territory inhabited by Boards of Canada, Unkle, Bjork and all the way to Radiophonic Workshop. You seem to be familiar with incredible amount of popular music, how do you retain your own distinctive identity?

Inwards:  I think the identity of music comes from chasing a sound or vibe that makes you feel a certain way. For me, it’s like there are massive spaces in music. Almost like big gaps or territories that haven’t been discovered yet. Making music is my way of bridging these gaps and getting to these sonic landscapes that I feel are missing from my current musical world. I think this is perhaps where musical identity comes from. When you are trying to chase an idea or feeling that exists only in your mind and you try to make it into something tangible. It has your own stamp on it.

Your debut offering via Small Pond – “Diesel” was released on 27th April 2018. How did you approach working on that album? Did you enter the studio with prepared material or preferred to compose there and then?

Inwards:  My approach varies to each song individually. Each track is like an experiment where I am exploring music possibilities within a framework of equipment that I set up in different ways each time. When I experiment, I am chasing a vibe or sound that makes me feel in a certain way. Sometimes I can be making music and listening to the same cycle for an hour and not realize it because I am totally sucked in. Some tunes are made in a methodical sequenced way on the computer and others may be coming straight out of the hardware live or a combination of the two methods. I didn’t sit down and said to myself: “Right, I’m going to make a 13-track album this month”.  Every time I make music, I just do it in certain moment. Only afterwards I try and fuse tracks together to make larger works.

Last question – where can we see/hear you next? What`s in your calendar for coming months?

Inwards: I have a live show in London coming up at the Pickle Factory on the 16th of August with my visual bro Irie Pixel. We have been working on a live AV show that I am excited to perform. I’m very excited that the show will take place at the Pickle Factory as they have really good club system. Also, I have a show coming up in Bristol soon and some other very cool things to announce but can’t quite tell you about them yet! You will have to watch and see!

You can follow Inwards on social medias:

Label: Small Pond
Contact: Rosie James
Website: https://smallpondrec.co.uk/
Bandcamp: https://smallpond.bandcamp.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inwardsuk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/inwards_
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/inwards_92/
Bandcamp: https://smallpond.bandcamp.com/album/diesel
Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/inwardsuk
Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/542nHHjo4wRmP3AbeJWkse?si=I3pj6B1DSyqchOJ45fV8uw

On 29th April 2018, Inwards visited his home town of Pershore to record BBC Introducing session. We have been there and made some recordings and videos on the day. It is only fair to share some of our materials with you.

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You can also see our videos on Youtube (yes, we have our own channel with a lot of goodies here)

Well, that’s all folks for today, but stay tuned and we will be back shortly with even more news, reviews and interviews!

Please stay beautiful!
xxx
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Indieterria presents The Blinders

Hello friends,

 

Thomas Haywood (“Johnny Dream”) performing with The Blinders (“Codeine Scene”) at The Sunflower Lounge on 16.02.2018

We have hit July now and it is time for another chapter in the ongoing sonic travels of our good ship Indieterria. But we will do something much different today.

Firstly, there is no interview with the band ready yet (we have sent out questions so keep your fingers crossed) but we would like to tell you about them in a long-read format. This blog will be then more of a presentation rather than a conversation.

Secondly, we could have done this blog about two years ago. We have discovered the band in question around October 2016 and have been championing them heavily on our socials and though our contacts and seen them live. Yet we waited until the right moment to introduce them on Indieterria. We knew from first ten seconds that this band will be huge. Call it a gut feeling or experience of an A&R (got to have both). There was no doubt in our minds what they would achieve – and they are doing it in a fashion of rock and roll greatest. Now, before their debut album arrives in September, we want to tell you the story of The Blinders.

 

The Blinders logo

The Blinders are:

Thomas Haywood (guitar, vox)
Charlie McGough (bass)
Matty Neale (drums, vox)

There is a wonderful article written by Steve Lamacq about one of his favourites performers – The Idles. It reads like a love letter to a band. We encourage you to have a look at it HERE, because in a sense this blog will be our own love letter to an indie band – from a perspective of music fans.

Being a fan of music (or a music obsessive as the term goes) is sometimes the best feeling in the world. It actually allows you to be head over heels at least once a week. You come home, cheeks pink, jaw dropped and a record in hand. And for the next seven days you harp on about an artist who doesn’t even have a Facebook page to whoever wants to listen.

The cover of Swine single – DIY released via Rock Art Records in 2016

If you are an A&R who happens to be a die hard music fan, chances are that you will be harping on about a band that nobody else but you have heard of. If we can throw in here some family anecdotes to illustrate the point.  Rita once sent Mal on a quest to buy a single by The Big Moon. Mal walked entire town, all record shops, second hands and charity stores. Even the local indie record place had no clue. “There is no such band as The Big Moon”- they proclaimed. Defeated Mal came back home. After a long search online it turned out that the band existed all right, and their single was awesome. But it was due in about a month’s time and it was only their second release! Back in the 90s we must have been the only people outside radio stations in our country who knew about Helium and Polvo.

Love for obscure and unknown artists may be a silly thing in a world of serious issues, but it makes life a little brighter. And you can look back and say: “I was there when X released their debut single!”

The cover of EP Hidden Horror Dance – DIY released via Rock Art Records in May 2016

So where were we when we first stumbled onto The Blinders? Hard to tell really. Up to writing this blog we thought that we first heard them on October 28th 2016, few days after their debut single “Swine” came out. Now, it must have been around May 2016 as their self released EP “Hidden Horror Dance” was saved in our SoundCloud history. But we can clearly record what an impression “Swine” had on us – hearing Thomas Haywood scream “There is no hope” over and over again on top of a punkadelic anthem, full of fury and despair.  Mind, our birthday is October 29th – so discovering The Blinders is one of our best birthday presents ever (next to The Americas BBC Introducing sessions from 29.10.2017).

When working on this blog, we began to wonder if there was a way to somehow measure the impact newly discovered artists have on us. Our own “harping-on level measure scale” (HLMS).  We found out that search option on social media can be a good indicator. We ran a quick search on our posts in the last two years and The Blinders have been mentioned over 60 times on our channels.  There is one  particular thread on Twitter, written by Malicia that summarizes what big fans of the band we have become. Trigger warning! Malicia specializes in using big, dramatic words, so if you are allergic to highly emotional content, please skip this paragraph.

The cover of Brave New World digital single from 2017. In a style similar to Green Day`s Dookie cover, it includes many references to current political and economical issues such as border walls and Donald Trump presidency
Artwork by Fennuala Butterfield
https://www.facebook.com/fennuala.butterfield

This is what was written in January 2018, shortly before we have seen The Blinders live (as you can imagine after the gig things only got worse ^_^):

I need to write something longer at some point but a short thread will do for now. I realize it will read like a love letter to a band. Well it is. Because you cannot NOT love a band like The Blinders.

October 28, 2016 – a day before my birthday and I hear Blinders` debut single Swine by accident. It usually takes me about 30 seconds to know if a band has potential. That time it took about 10.

That line in Swine “I need not to be a man on the street” screamed into ether in despair, band thrashing their equipment in pointless rage like its Manics` last gig with Richey at Astoria. Fury at everything. That’s how Sex Pistols looked at The Lesser Trade Hall in Manc in 1976.

Next day, I come into the office telling everyone who is mildly interested about one of the most exciting bands that came out of UK in the last 30 years. I exaggerate but I don’t care. I just found a musical gem. Life is worth living. Faith in humanity restored.

I google everything I can find about the band. Singer`s Youtube video when he was 10. Their gigs, clips from gigs, their first interviews. I want to know everything. At once. I draw comparisons to Idles, The Doors, Pistols, Manics, Savages.

I discover Strange Bones, This Feeling circuit, The Velvet Hands and others and suddenly realize a new genre is building up and we have no name for it yet. And The Blinders are on the front”.

The Blinders photographed by Duncan Stafford Manchester, February 2017
https://www.facebook.com/duncanstaffordphotography/

In the next two years, some of the reactions we had towards the band also included these (gems) statements. We may be smirking while re-reading the posts, but they have been written on particular days or when listening to band`s new songs, and we find them to be quite a powerful data. Raw emotions expressed by fans (us) recorded by the social media:

  • “And there is magic in The Blinders. If you can – go out there and see them. Judge for yourself. Agree or disagree but go and experience their fury, despair, hope, longing and listen to their own voice on what is happening around us. Their voice is strong. And unique.”
  • “A band to die for. You cannot describe The Blinders any other way. Proper legends”.
  • “Most important band of the decade.”
  • “The best new talent we have in this country”.
  • “ Music is the best remedy for dark and uncertain times. Hand on the heart The Blinders are our cure.”
  • “Mighty band – something seen so rarely even on an ever changing indie scene”.

    The cover of Ramona Flowers single – B side to “Swine” and our favorite song of the band

We could just take these statements and put them together to create an amazing and quite eloquent review. And so can each of us – the music fans. Every day we share songs, thoughts and our passion for many artists. We sometimes do not realize how powerful is the love for music. How expressive we become when we refer to art.

We did our search with a pinch of self-deprecating humour, just to see how much we have been impressed by The Blinders, but to be very serious, it taught us that music is such a strong force in the lives of us and many others. It is quite a discovery.

When we were gathering information about the band, we have approached their PR team (amazing Caffy St Luce of ArtBeat Promo and formerly of Hall or Nothing) asking for a press pack. We have received a detailed bio of The Blinders with links to their videos. We want to share that bio with you now so you can learn about the artist and how quickly they rose to where they are now:

The Blinders photographed by Nidge Luhg Sanders aka Trust The Fox in Manchester, April 2017
https://www.facebook.com/TrustAFoxPhotography/

The Blinders are a force for good who attempt to be in your face at all times. They emit smelting loud, visceral political punk rock with enigmatic, psychedelic poetry and tones.

Their diverse, unique raw music forces them to give everything they’ve got, in their frenzied performances, leaving only blood-stained instruments behind.

The verging-on-madness thrill of their live experience is shocking most of their audiences out of austerity inflicted apathy, into instant obsession.

Formed at the end of 2014 after school, The Blinders moved from Doncaster to Manchester to be a band, and to study.

They released the ‘Hidden Horror Dance’ EP (Rock Art Records) in May 2016 (with Gavin Monaghan, who has produced all their releases) and grew the seeds of a small but genuine fan base, over the summer, from these tracks and impressive live shows.

The first London gig at the start of October 2016 (This Feeling at The Water Rats), picked up instant smitten new fans and further music industry support.

They then released debut single, ‘Swine’, at the end of that month (just after their second London gig, a last minute stand-in set, at The Roundhouse, for Venues Day).

 

 

‘Swine’ was played on BBC Radio 1, excited fresh interest and The Blinders haven’t looked back, since it’s release. The video ends with the word ‘REVOLT’.

The scene was now set, by the end of 2016, for The Blinders to introduce themselves to a wider public and make an impression within a year.

This started at the sold out Manchester and London ‘This Feeling Big in 2017’ shows; “scores of people left outside, a pair of tickets went for £50” reported Clash Magazine, citing them “UK’s hottest new rock band on “the brink of big things.”

February/March 2017 was the first headline tour by The Blinders – for long term supporter, This Feeling club – of small UK venues.

Chris Hawkins played the ‘Swine’ tour-7” B side,‘Ramona Flowers’, on his BBC 6 Music radio show noting that “The Blinders are “a band about to explode”.

All gigs were packed (most sold out in advance). “16 immense shows, powered by heart and soul, have shown this is just the start. A very special band.” (This Feeling).

What happened on tour created a visual thank you from the The Blinders to their audiences: ‘Ramona Flowers’ – released on digital platforms in April – it was accompanied by what the band describe as “a pseudo-documentation of our recent This Feeling UK tour.”

Nasty Man Creations present the following motion picture introducing The Blinders as Johnny Dream & His Codeine Scene: Ramona Flowers, a film by Sam Crowston, documenting the band in stills and film.

 

 

The reviews for this download/stream/video are as breathtaking as the song, a comet sized slice of sex-Rock, probably the best “B-side” since ‘Fools Gold’ by The Stone Roses in the 20th century.

Musically on their own planet, a theatrical experience, photogenic on stage. Students off stage. Recently they’ve done a gig in-store at Fred Perry, a live streamed performance on the Pirate Studios launch tour, have had airplay support from Amazing Radio and various independents, been added to key Spotify playlists and totally packing out their first festival appearances. The Blinders may be unknown to most people, but have made an impression, on 2017 already.

The Blinders photographed by legendary A&R Caffy St Luce at Camden Assembly, April 2017
https://www.facebook.com/artbeat.stars/

By May 2017, The Blinders have been announced as one of the seven rising stars chosen by Jack Daniels UK. They graced the Jack Rocks/This Feeling stages at The Great Escape, Isle Of Wight, TRNSMT, Glasgow Green and Reading Festival. The band  also supported The View, Idles and Membranes.

They released stand alone digital single “Brave New World” that put them for the first time in a regular rotation on nation wide stations such as Radio X and BBC 6 Music.

At the end of the year, the band went into the studio to work on their debut album. The winter months were well spent, because once they emerged to play their first headline tour in February 2018, they have been bolder, darker and more focused than ever. Their attack plan was not only in detail – they were to execute it flawlessly.

February 2018 tour poster – first headlining cross country tour for the band

The tour in February 2018 sold out on ten shows out of eighteen. We have seen the band at The Sunflower Lounge in Birmingham. If we were to give you a frank review of what went down at that show, we`d have to quote Nick Cave. Mr Cave described his first ever gig by stating that he was standing in the crowd with his eyes closed feeling the sound physically going through him. It felt exactly that. It was a cacophony of sounds, anger, passion and hopelessness. Tom looked properly possessed while Matty and Charlie built walls of sound that would make the guys from Ride green with envy. We loved every second. Off the stage, Tom was quiet and read books at the upper bar. We had a lovely chat and our admiration for the band, their crew, tour management grew even more. Few days after the gig in Birmingham, The Blinders played Lexington in London supported by one of the Worcester bands – The Americas. So we sent a book of Beatnik poetry to Tom with Americas as a gift for the lovely time at the Sunflower. Tom thanked us from the stage in London. He also stated that Americas were great. Second time we fell in love with The Blinders at that point.

Some images we took in Birmingham when we weren’t having our eyes closed.

 

Since the end of the tour in February, The Blinders are on a roll. They move as quickly as ninjas and each appearance or a single is a proverbial bull`s eye. In March they recorded a live session on XS Manchester for Clint Boon (Music Made in Manchester), were featured on Amazing Radio and their single/video to Gotta Get Through was released on 2nd March 2018.

In April The Blinders recorded session at the legendary Maida Vale Studios in London for Steve Lamacq show/ BBC 6 Music and appeared as guests on the drive time show. Their session was also part of BBC Introducing scheme. They performed live version of “Ballad of Winston Smith” for BBC Manchester and supported The Courteeners in Sheffield.

The band played on Viola Beach stage at the Neighbourhood Weekender in Warrington in May, attended Live in Leeds and Liverpool Sound City festivals to full houses and rave reviews. They also had a residency at Salty Dog during a Norwich takeover mini festival organized by The Charlatans.

The cover of Gotta Get Through single released 2nd March 2018 via Modern Sky

Two videos have been released for their single L`Etat C`est Moi (French for I am the State). Story video (with script penned by Tom Haywood) debuted on 7th May 2018, while alternative version (with uncensored text) was released on 21st May 2018. The single itself was premiered on 3rd May 2018.

Cover of L`Etat C`Est Moi single released 3rd May 2018 via Modern Sky

In June The Blinders played 53 Degrees North in Hull, two sold out shows in London (Borderline) and Manchester (Gorilla), supported Miles Kane at O2 Academy in Oxford. L`Etat C`est Moi was reviewed on Steve Lamacq`s Round Table to highest notes, became Lamacq Livener (best single of the week) and was added to BBC 6 Music playlist for 4 weeks.

“The future’s bleak, but at least we get to decide it’s soundtrack.”

It`s hard not to agree with The Blinders. It feels like the world is on fire and orange puppets with bad hair don’t make things any better. But here is the silver lining. We have the music and the soundtrack provided by the upcoming generation of bands on the indie circuit is awesome. From Idles, to Slaves to Strange Bones, False Heads, Sheafs, The Wholls, The Americas, Emily Capell, Estrons, Bang Bang Romeo, The Velvet Hands, Calva Louise, HVMM, nth cave, Nuns of the Tundra, Garage Flowers, Sisteray, Karkosa…the music keeps getting better and better with every week, every release.

The cover for Columbia – debut album for The Blinders set to be released on 21.09.2018 via Modern Sky

The Blinders will add their own voice to the newer wave of punkadelic belters. Their debut record

Columbia was announced on May 30th 2018 to be released on 21st September 2018.

It is a strange beast before the LP is released. For starters, it is advertised with a mysterious texts that is made out of fragments of the lyrics. Like this one, though we have seen several shorter or longer versions:

We welcome you to an alternate world informed by reality, Indulge in the drudgery, under an absolute autocracy.

Echoes of Johnny’s Dreams run through the Codeine Scene streets, as The Man stalks his prey and hunts for his meat.

The party will serve to subdue and neglect. It’s a Brave New World. What did you expect?

Know your place and serve your time, Roll of Thunder, Hear Our Cries. Freedom is Slavery and Peace is a Lie, You’re Never Gonna Escape From That Watching Eye. Daddy told me it’s us and them.

Welcome to Columbia. You are being observed.”

If you have heard some songs from the album (either on YouTube or live), you will recognize the lyrics. Brave New World, Hate Song, L`Etat C`est Moi, Ballad of Winston Smith. Then there are obvious references to 1984 by George Orwell. Mighty political party, scrutiny and lack of privacy.

The Blinders logo using the image of white dove or colomba

Something tells us that Columbia is a or may be a concept album. Is Johnny Dream a protagonist in totalitarian town/state of Columbia? Is he on the run? Who is The Man (always written with capital M)? Rock music haven’t had a proper concept album protagonist in dystopian future since Fear Factory`s Edge Crusher on Obsolete. If Johnny is a good character, then is The Man an indie version of Smasher/Devouer?

There are other elements that make us think Columbia is a concept record. The imagery/ symbolism is interesting. Since the record announcement, we see images of white doves being used. There are doves in Gotta Get Through videos, the birds appear on promotional materials. Even the make up that Tom wears seems related. And of course there is the name of the record itself.

Columbia in cultural and historical sense is a female personification of United States. Similar to Themis (Lady Justice), Brittania (United Kingdom), Melita (Malta) and French Marianne. Some equal Columbia with Statue of Liberty. Columbia is derived from Columbus (the mass murderer who discovered New World), but is also very similar to Italian word „colomba” or white dove. No wonder then that Columbia was often shown in white dresses and wings in American paintings.

John Gast “Spirit of the Frontier” – created in 1872 painting showing Columbia in her white dove form leading settlers in the Wild West. Dressed in a roman toga (symbol of Republicanism), aided by technology (telegraph poles) driving Native Americans out of their land. This is classic example of “Manifest Destiny” a belief that white, European settlers were morally and technologically superior towards First Nations. “Manifest Destiny” is still alive among the conservative and religious minorities in United States.

Tom`s stage persona – Johnny Dream wears very distinct make up, it almost looks like wings of a bird. We have seen comments online that compared the make up to that of The Crow. The comic hero who becomes The Crow after his death is Eric Draven, he is a musician turned vigilante to avenge the death of himself and his wife. Johnny Dream with his own make up looks like he could blend in Gotham after dark. Perhaps Columbia has its own dark hero, but we cant shake the feeling that Johnny Dream`s make up is a dove rather than a raven.

October and November 2018 tour poster

In the Bible, white dove was sent by Noah to find land after the flood and came back with an olive branch as a sign of peace and deliverance. Would it not make sense for a rebel who plans to free citizens of Columbia from totalitarianism to wear the make up of a dove? Wouldn’t it be a delicious fun to mash Winston Smith with Ziggy Stardust and The Crow to create this new figure we all can relate?

We may be stretching things here, but just coming up with those ideas is exciting. We love to read into things to find some new meanings and pop-cultural references and then make long blog posts about it. Everybody needs a hobby.

We cannot wait for October/November to arrive. For the next tour we are hoping to see The Blinders in Birmingham and Bristol. We will surely update our blog with images, video clips and our review of the record. Watch this space.

For now, we will end the blog with this little appeal. Support your local scene – be it music or any other form of art. Without support and people in the audience, even the best new bands or artists stand no chance. Times are tough, so being there for the artists is more than just being a fan. Standing up for culture and art becomes an act of transgression against materialism, fascism and totalitarianism.

http://facebook.com/theblindersband
http://twitter.com/theblindersband
https://instagram.com/theblinders

Rise citizens of Columbia!

Mal/Rita