Liam Arrowsmith talks to Blossoms about their rag to riches story and where to go from the top.
This time last year, Blossoms were plugging their first headline tour. In January, they were picked as part of the BBC’s Sounds of 2016 list. Now they have a chart-topping album under their belt, and are out performing in the States.
“We felt like it was a great record,” effervescent frontman Tom Ogden tells me. “The number one isn’t really the thing that’s sweet, it’s more having the album out. Something we’ve recorded and made for the fans.”
“We never said to ourselves ‘imagine if it goes number one’”, keyboard player Myles Kellock adds.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We just sound like Blossoms. It’s a rare occasion where everything just gels together.”
People tend to think Blossoms came out of nowhere. But for the past two years, the band has been touring up and down the UK and building their presence. Consistent touring has proven their passion and tenacity. Initially they met in a scrap yard to rehearse, and filmed their first video there on a shoestring budget.
“I think the way we’ve done it keeps you more grounded. We did like two and a half years on our own and then a label came in. And we’d already built up a fan base. I think it’s important [that] we know how different it can be.”
Blossoms hail from Stockport, Manchester. The twenty- somethings hold their northern working class identity very close to them, describing their hometown as the “realest” of places. It’s this tether to reality, they believe, that gives their music such wide appeal.
“My favourite bands are Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, those kind of bands. They’ve come from a working class northern background. They’re just like us and they’re doing something that they want to do. We mean it, and it’s real” Ogden declares.
“I don’t think there’s been a band that shares the same story as us since Oasis” muses bassist Charlie Salt.
“Five working class lads who came together naturally. Dibbed up and down the UK and built a fanbase.”
They make it sound almost easy. But Kellock assures me to “give up all your jobs, and really push it, it’s hard to do.”
“We like a challenge” he affirms.
Their success has reached far past the UK. The band performed to a two- thousand strong crowd at Summer Sonic in Japan.
“It’s a different world,” Salt says. He proudly sports a t- shirt that says ‘Blossoms’ in Japanese.
“The first time we went there was actually last year,” Ogden informs. “We didn’t have a record deal and people all knew us then. They did drawings of Kit- Kats with our heads on. That’s the first time we’d experienced any sort of fandom.”
“That’s the first time you see your fans cry, in Japan” reflects guitarist Josh Dewhurst.
The group remembers how much their success overseas took them by surprise. They laugh, as Ogden recounts one story from a gig in Romania. Sneaking out of their dressing room to get some food and thinking they would go unrecognised, they were met by a mob of swooning devotees. The vocalist remembers thinking “this is mad.”
The band themselves seem surprised at how quickly they have risen to becoming household names. They maintain a strong relationship with their audience, at one point conversing about a long- time fan and friend of the band who had attended gigs in Sheffield and Manchester that month.
Dewhurst admits he doesn’t always understand the eagerness to get close to the band. “People always say ‘can we come backstage?’. If you come backstage, all you’re going to see is five profusely sweating men.”
But Ogden is humbled by the passion. “It means they’re connecting with your music. If you were shit, no one would want to get a photo with you.”
They’re a band who haven’t ever stopped. The quintet have played at least twice a week since January this year, and now they’re heading out to conquer America.
“It’s different over there,” Ogden explains. “You’ve just got to go and embrace it. It’s like starting again.”
I ask if they’re looking forward to going back to the early days of being in a band. Kellock chuckles and shakes his head. “I don’t miss any part of it to be honest.”
Ogden nods in agreement. “We look back on it fondly. It’s just easier now. Joe and Charlie don’t have to drive the fucking bus.”
Salt laments, “I miss the rough and readiness of it in a way. But the tours only get better and better.”
Blossoms are already working on their next album. Material is already being written for a sophomore record, and Salt tells me the band have been listening to a lot of Simple Minds for inspiration.
“Everything could just go in a second,” says Ogden. “You need to write a great second album. There’s loads of people who have had a number one album and are doing fuck all now. That won’t be the case with us.”
Blossoms are currently touring their self- titled debut album. They play New York (13th) San Francisco (14th) and California (17th) before returning to Europe at the end of the month.