By Richard Derbyshire
HAMSPHIRE stars Blaenavon will play a sold out homecoming show at The Joiners on Saturday just days before releasing their first album.
Talented lead singer-guitarist Ben Gregory, bassist Frank Wright and drummer Harris McMillan from Liphook and Liss will return to the St Mary Street venue after playing SXSW festival in Texas and before debuting That’s Your Lot on April 7.
We last spoke to Ben while on tour with The Sherlocks in the autumn and before the lads headlined shows in London and New York where they also taped a video for latest Radio One favourite Orthodox Man.
“They were probably the best weeks of our lives so far” Ben told me. “We loved touring with The Sherlocks and our own show at London Scala was the first time we truly felt like a band people believed in. We didn’t know what to expect in New York, but loads of people came and we showed the Big Apple what we can do.
“Now coming home to The Joiners as part of our biggest year so far means so much to us.”
With favourites like Let’s Pray and new songs like Lonely Side in the set, Ben promised a raucous show from the close-knit trio who somehow manage to create the intricate sound of a four or five piece band.
“The album takes you through a six year journey of our lives. First track Take Care starts off optimistically about being inspired by someone amazing who you’d like to emulate while Swans and That’s Your Lot are two songs that contrast between a young me being hopeful about eternal love and then finding out that things aren’t always going to work out.
“We recorded Take Care the first time we met our producer Jim Abbiss who’s worked on seminal debut albums by Arctic Monkeys, Bombay Bicycle Club and Kasabian. It’s difficult to do something different and stand out in indie music, so we wanted to work with someone who had changed the game before.
“We didn’t want to release an album and get a sort of ‘yeah ok, stuff happens’ reaction. You only release your debut once and we think we have an album that will stand the test of time.
“Progressive alternative rock is our music. One or two singles may indicate we’re more traditional indie, but the album shows how radical we can be. You’d be amazed at what Frank can do, like the fretless bass solo at the end of Ode to Joe. We want to make inspiring music for anyone starting off in a band.
“We recorded at Jim’s Lime Green Monkeys studio. In the first sessions we recorded the eight tracks that were certain to be in, then we looked at what pieces of the puzzle were missing. They were super long fun days.
“Older track Prague ends all our shows and it’s the song that really got us going as a band. We didn’t want it to be forgotten and it was fun to record again. My Bark is Your Bite is a haunting song about jealousy and feeling inferior to others.
“That’s Your Lot was the last one to be written. At the time I wasn’t sure how everything was going to fit together, but this song gave the album a structure that made sense.
“Ode to Joe was recorded when we thought everything was finished and it was meant to be just a bit of fun for a future B-side. But it was the most excited we felt in the studio and by the end we’d added more layers and parts until it became the big groovy jam that it is.”
Blaenavon’s show at The Joiners with support from Liverpool’s The Night Cafe on Saturday March 25 is sold out. Pre-order debut album That’s Your Lot before release on April 7 and download the band’s singles straight away. More at blaenavon.com.