A few words with – Blaenavon.

Blaenavon. Remember that trisyllabic word because they are going to be around for some time. Well just as long as they continue to “have a fun in a sustainable way” according to Frank. I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty world of genre lexicon so for now I’m just going to tell you that they’re an indie band because you will check them out! And you will like them! So make your mind up when you listen to them. Sorry to go all stalin-esque on you guys, but The manner in which Ben, Harris and Frank forge together slick polyrhythms is indeed something to shout about. The band routinely break the shackles of 4/4 indie whilst avoiding this trait being dubbed as a gimmick.

I spoke to their bassist Frank, we spoke about tourist clothing from old mining towns, cryptic social media in-jokes, and the standard of Britain’s service stations. Just a standard interview really!

Frank was in a chipper mood he told me that he was staying with mates in Bristol and that they’d just played in front of the “most fantastic audiences ever” he goes on to tell me that they were supporting The Hunna. The band are supporting them on their tour over the next few weeks just as they have done with a host of bands, namely Foals and Mystery Jets. When I raise their exemplary tour history, he tells me that he really enjoyed playing with Warpaint who released their album ‘Heads up’ a week today. Those of you that follow Blaenavon would know that they regularly critique the standard of Britsh Service stations, “Some services are great others really aren’t” Frank laments, thankfully he informed me about Britain’s only independent service station which can be found northbound on the M6 folks!

Supporting Foals was a rather fitting fixture seeing as a fair amount of their catalogue could be described as mathsy. ‘Swans’ could have easily fitted on Olympic airways, I asked Frank if we should expect music on their debut to be similar to ‘I will be the world’ and earlier works. He chuckles and says “yeah that vibe will definitely be back” he goes on to tell me that “the next tune is fast paced and slightly ‘poppy’”. To date Blaenavon have released two EP’s, the latest was titled ‘Let’s Pray’ and was released earlier this month. Picking up on the fact that Frank mentioned the word Album, I questioned him about the release, he replied “very early next year”.

‘AUX cable fire for nationwide headline tours’. No it isn’t the name of motion picture coming to cinema’s near you – it’s the name of one of their Spotify playlists, I brang it up with Frank, he unfortunately can’t recall making it but I question him on some of the song choices . I recount listening to their playlist on shuffle and listening to Ariana Grande’s ‘Dangerous Woman’ play straight after Julian Casablancas + the Voidz experimental song ‘Human Sadness’ . The two artists couldn’t be more different, a baffled Frank argues that the band have an diverse taste.
Frank tells me that each member has different tastes. Ben their singer “is a fan of Elliot smith and a seventies band called Television”, those of you that watch stranger things would be a tad familiar with their works. Harris their drummer on the other hand “listens to Tom waits”, I prod Frank to ask him what he listens to and he says “Jazz”.

Credit: Steve Gullick

Credit: Steve Gullick

Bringing to attention their Facebook page genre description “ghostjazz”, I ask Frank if he was came up with this name he laughed and claimed that it was actually ben who “thought that the two words sounded cool together”. Frank then alluded to the fact that their page hadn’t been altered, their page contains a bountiful amount of cryptic and altogether wacky statements. I clarified if they had changed it, he responded saying“no it’s a relic”. I couldn’t question him on all the intriguing entries as he would probably have to delay the album by five years to answer my questions – I can’t wait that long. The Blaeners have had many milestones but yet their Facebook page only details one. Their performance at Serena’s Garden party. Frank laughed once again “ahhh Serena’s mythical garden – the performance was real but the garden? Hmmm”. I guess we’ll never know…

There is a question that I assume most of you have. Where did they get their name from?. Frank explains how “a while ago Wales used to make a lot of tourist clothing” he proceeds by telling me that a band member “received one tourist t-shirt as a hand-me-down” that had a particular intriguing “bicycle man” on it. Lo and behold the word Blaenavon was written on it, the shirt also was the source of information for the bands earlier band names. So if you’re ever looking for a source of inspiration for a band name just get your hands on a welsh tourist tee!

I further question him on their past, the group are all yet to hit the age of 21 and they started out pre-GCSEs, I quizzed him about the difficulty of being a band whilst in school. The bassist reminisces and tells me about how they would take “a posse of friends and catch a train to London to play a gig then catch the last train home on a school night”. He giggles when he proclaims that his parents weren’t exactly happy about it. Their work bore fruit early on as they were approached by Transgressive records in as early as 2010 their first album will also be released by the indie label, Frank describes Transgressive’s influence as being “interwoven”, if their latest EP is an indication of their relationship then this partnership appears to be working well.

On the 13th of October the band play their biggest headline show at London Scala, Frank informs me about why this particular gig is special to the Hampshire boys. Whilst recalling gigs  he attended at Scala he highlights his love for the Viet Cong (Preoccupations) gig that he attended. He concludes by modestly saying that “he hopes the band sells a few tickets” to their big gig and that they continue to have fun. Furthermore he cites ‘Rich’ as being instrumental to their success, ‘Rich’ is their tour manager, driver, sound tech and friend he claims that he keeps “the show on the road”. So keep it up Rich because I need these boys in my life!

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