A chat with The Blizzards
Ireland, a country musically associated with a blonde man bouncing up and down legs-a-flailing, or failing, that, Boyzone. All in all, its history of musicality has not been the most, shall I say…epic (excluding of course the might that is U2). But in the past few years a new steady flow of Irish talent has been trickling onto our shores, setting to show that outside the Eurovision Song Contest Ireland is indeed a force to be reckoned with. The latest editions to La Révolution Irlandaise are the no-strings-attached power pop addicts, The Blizzards. Straight from Mullingar in County Westmeath, the five lads are aiming to prove that the only dancing music to come out the country isn’t the Irish Jig. In fact, the band has done pretty darn well in their home country, winning themselves numerous awards including Best Irish Live Performance at Oxygen in 2007 and 2008, and not forgetting the Meteor award for Best Irish Live Performance this year. Oh yes ladies and gentlemen, good and honest pop is about to make a well-needed return, and I think it’s safe to say that in Blighty, The Blizzards are going to whip-up a storm.
Headed by proud and brash frontman Niall Breslin, aka Bresy, the quintet takes a no s*** attitude when their choice of musical style is questioned, a fact that I found out when I interviewed the lead singer himself. A man who it seems doesn’t like Indie bands or music, or in fact anyone who came after Oasis and Blur...Consequently, a Parentals Advisory should be attached to this interview.
After Bresy had finised eating the piece of garlic bread that was muffling his Irish tones, he swiftly began to tell me how The Blizzards became to be the Platinum-selling band that they are now, “I grew up with the lads, I’ve known them for about twenty years, we were bored shitless and just decided to do it, then we got signed quicker than we thought we would.” So it seems that the band got snapped up quickly and quite rightly too, though Bresly wasn’t afraid to admit that this might have prevented some musical development, “we wanted to develop the sound a bit more, but, when you get offered a deal ya know, you don’t turn it down.” I know what’s going through your mind at the moment concerning the potential problem of the band needing to find its musical direction before going full steam ahead. But I have to tell you that according to Niall you couldn’t be more wrong, “we don’t know what we are but we know what we’re not. We’re not an Indie band, we don’t want to be an Indie band. Music died with Blur and Oasis in my opinion, so we didn’t want to be like that. If you come to our shows you will realise that it’s all about pop music, and to do pop music well is a lot harder than doing Indie music.” Well there you go then, the five lads from Ireland are all fired up and ready to dis-band the, and I quote, “most horrible music crap in the world,” and who can argue with that? There is a bit of buzz-based clogging going on at the moment and maybe, just maybe, The Blizzards are the ones to de-scale the pipes.
If one thing’s for sure (apart from the fact that Bresy doesn’t like Indie music) the band is very much focused on its live performances and getting their name established outside the Irish borders. “I think if you’re an Irish band you always have to work that little bit harder because people presume that if you haven’t made it outside Ireland then you’re not good. In the UK I think people seem to be getting us straight away and they think we’re a new band, so they don’t realise that we have a lot of live experience.” It is this onstage persona that has won the band many-a live award, so I wondered what the secret could be. “The people that come to our gigs see that there’s a kinda chemistry and a natural energy that we have because we grew up together. But the live shows, it all depends on the crowd - if there’s no crowd, the live show’s gonna be shit. It’s kinda half and half. If the crowd aren’t giving you any kind of love then it’s really hard to do an explosive show.” You have to admire Bresy’s honesty and stance on his role as a musician, as, apart from the fact that you’d better hope that everyone else who’s paid for the gig actually wants to go, I don’t think a lot of frontmen would easily own up to a money-based reason behind becoming a band. “There is a big commercial thing with us, we came on to make money out of this, we don’t want to go around touring the UK and Ireland three times a year and not make a penny. People start giving us shit about saying that we’re selling-out, but we’re not selling-out. We know what we’re doing. We’re doing what we love, and that’s writing pop music. To write good pop music is what we strive for, and that’s what the album is.” So, in case you were wondering, a pure pop record is what you’re going to get. This band are self-consciously manufacturing themselves into a poptastic machine that ironically gives a shamrock about how a record is produced. “Bands nowadays don’t give a shit about production, they go and do photos and it sounds weak and we wanted the actual record to sound big and ballsy. We went for the American sound, using the producer we used [Michael Beinhorn – Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Korn, Marilyn Mason], just because at that time in the UK a lot of the producers were just doing guitar music and we didn’t want it to be a guitar record, we wanted it to be more about the vocals, the songs and not the big fancy guitars.” Although it is sometimes nice to have some guitars actually on a record, The Blizzards are sticking to their guns that pop is the way forward, Captain Kirk’s new frontier if you like. “When we progress the sound we don’t want to turn into Radiohead and go off on fucking tangents, we want to still write pop-based tracks that have to work live. If they don’t work live, they won’t go on the record. That’s our template, it’s a nice one to have.” And with the band already touring the UK and doing an almighty Slane Castle gig, it looks like they might just fill up the preverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And like any good wood treatment the band does what it says on the tin, every song is a highly-charged can of pop, spilling into your ears and making you nod your head like a Churchill dog.
For more info catch The Blizzards at www.myspace.com/theblizzards.
Their debut single, ‘Buy It Sell It’ is out on the 6th July. So go on and buy it, buy it!