INTERVIEW: Blackflower | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Having previously been a beloved fixture on the circuit – playing with acts like Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad and Lanterns on the Lake amongst others – the last few years has seen Blackflower lay low. This autumn however, the band are gearing up for a return to active duty, with a headline show at Cluny 2 on Saturday 23rd September and a new single Fathoms set for release on Friday 1st October. I got the chance to check in with Paul Fletcher from the band about their hiatus, their resumption and their upcoming plans.

Discussing their absence, Fletcher explains, “we didn’t cease to exist as a band, and still met up for rehearsals, but the urge to play live wasn’t really there for me, mainly due to having been around the local scene for many years and feeling that a bit of the freshness and excitement had been lost.  I also suffer quite badly from stage fright and anxiety, which has limited my performing in recent years, and that also added to the inertia.  The rest of the band were still really keen to keep gigging, however.  The catalyst for getting things back on track was when our bass player Leon Tighe started his own band Tchotchke, and it was at this point that I figured it was probably the right time to stop playing as Blackflower.  However, a burst of creativity led me to writing a whole new set of songs in the space of about ten days, which took me quite by surprise as I am not a prolific songwriter.  It made me think that maybe I shouldn’t give it up just yet, and things progressed from there…”

The first of these new songs to emerge is lead single Fathoms. “It was one of those songs that came out almost fully formed.  The lyrics usually take a bit of effort to finish, but they weren’t a problem on this one.  We started recording drums in our rehearsal space, and it became apparent that it was one of the better sounding ones, which is partly how it became a single.  I also wanted to show a more ambient side to the band, which was another reason why this song was chosen to be a single over the more instant sounding songs that we have in the new set.”

Discussing the other material Blackflower have been working on, Fletcher tells me: “Sixties psych pop has been an influence in our sound over the years, so it’s something we come back to, but we’re not a revivalist band, and there are so many other directions we are interested in pursuing.  The material we are currently working on has folk, trip-hop, Americana and Krautrock influences so we like to try and mix things up a bit to keep us interested.”

As for their first show back, Fletcher is clear they’re not aiming for nostalgia. “I always like to keep moving things forward in terms of the set, so there will be a heavy influence of new material in there.    However, I’m aware that some people might like to hear the older songs, and you have to reflect that too – we should have time to fit in most of the new and some of the old songs.  We also have a new song to finish the set, which is around nine minutes long and features some nice loops at the end, so I’m hoping that will be a good way to close the show.”

Blackflower play Cluny 2 on Saturday 23rd September. Fathoms is released on Friday 1st October.



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