24th March 2020

The Blinders | Interview

The Blinders are staples of the Northern rock scene. The tree-piece, consisting of Thomas Haywood (vocals, guitar), Charlie McGough (bass) and Matt Neale (drums), the group have been making waves within the local music scene, as having just toured the UK, the group are appearing on the lineups of local festivals such as SoundCity, and just about to release eagerly-awaited second album.

It’s certainly a busy start to the year, even despite the challenges that the current global climate present. So, to get more details on the bands busy schedule, I called Charlie, to see what he thought of their new releases, their local music scene, and how the industry needs to adapt.

Hey Charlie, thanks for chatting with me! How are you guys?

We’re good! It’s been quite a slow start to the year for obvious reasons. We finished just finished recording stuff late last year, so this year was all about getting back into releasing new singles. It’s ben nice to see audience reactions since it’s been a while, but it’s felt like a real new direction for us.

Obviously coronavirus is effecting everyone, especially smaller/independent artists. What are your thoughts on how this will effect the music industry, and how can people keep supporting artists they love?

I’m glad you asked me about the music industry and not about the rest of the world! It’s causing a great deal of issues at the moment.

We’re carrying on as if everything will continue after a few weeks and we can go ahead with our tour, but it’s really concerning. Small venues especially rely on a constant flow on income and trade, so you wonder how many they can take, and bands like ourselves can’t really afford for a tour to be cancelled. So, I think we’ll really have to rework how we release music, or rely on things like subscription services.

The music industry will have to adapt, and they’ll have to do it very quickly. But if people keep buying records keep buying merchandise… it makes a huge difference.

You’ve been going for while now, how did you guys start?

We all knew each other from school, so we got started there. Tom and I went to the same sixth form together, and we both had a strong passion for music, so we hung around and went to gigs together a lot. When we got about halfway through college, we just thought it was the right time to start our own band, and so we recruited Matt, and we all moved to Manchester, partly for uni and partly to keep the band going. It’s been a blur since then really!

I know you’re now based in Manchester, do you think the scene has influenced your music?

I think place is always going to be a influence for any creative outlet, so absolutely. Its difficult to say how much really, because you’re always going to be inspired by bands you’re close to, or local acts you’ve seen. But we’re always going to gigs, and Manchester has so many venues, that a really receptive audience has developed out of that. People want to go and see live music, and people are willing to give smaller artists a chance. It leaves room for everybody really, so it’s really lovely to be a part of.

You’ve obviously gained a lot of success over your time, what’s been the biggest career highlights?

Glastonbury was madness. That place means so much to me personally, so it really does feel like the holy grail of festivals. Getting the chance to play there last year, and it was a dream. We played The Ritz on our last tour as well, which was really special. Seeing your family and your girlfriend in the crowd, it’s a really lovely moment, and it was so nice to share it. What was surprising about that show as well, was the amount of young people there. Our music had always appealed to middle-aged guys who liked younger punk bands, but it seemed like the first time that this new wave of younger fans come through, who were buying into the band alongside our regular crowd. I always wanna connect with people who are in the same age group as us, so it was really nice to see. 

You’re about to release your second album, how do you think it’s developed from the last?

This newest album has really felt like we’ve been unchained! With our first album, we planned and toured those songs for so long that it seemed quite tedious at times. But this latest once has felt much more freeing, and a lot more personal too. Although there’s a running narrative throughout, we’ve let a lot of the songs encroach more into our personal lives, and our views on global politics. It feels like a united album in that sense, a lot of the themes feed into each other. 

Any favourite tracks?

Circle song is our first single, and one of the reasons we released at first as we agreed as a band that it’s our best song musically. Black Glass, which is a song on the album felt like a real stop forward musically as well. But you all have favourite lyrics, or songs that are your personal favourites, but it all changes so often!

You’re also about set off on your UK tour, what are some of your favourite cities to play?

The gigs you expect to be the worst are always the best! But in terms of cities, Manchester’s always great, as it’s our home. Glasgow too, their always really good for a gig. But we played places like Oxford and Cambridge on our last tour which was really interesting, the crowds were mad! We didn’t expect it.

Our newspaper gets a lot of readership from students who are keen to get started in the music industry, what advice would you give to them?

Making friends – sound cheesy, but building relationships with people is important. Playing shows with local acts, and staying close to a few bands can really take you to the next step, and really is the key to making sure you’re on the right track. Just be nice to people!

You can check out more of the bands music here.