There’s no time like the summer to sink your teeth into some candy-coloured retro pop. Thank goodness then for South Londoners, Blueprint Blue, who had the foresight to release their new single, ‘Roll On’ just in time for the sizzling heatwave. With a plethora of luxuriant guitars and subtle harmonies ‘Roll On’ is a sumptuous, hazy love ballad that takes cues from the mastery of seventies pop. The lethargic guitars glide over mellow drum beats and playful keys, as the harmonies lead this kaleidoscopic dream towards a musical euphoria, that is both sweet and sentimental. Though underneath the sweetness sits a wry sense of humour, the subject of Blueprint Blue’s desire is their 1997 Volvo 940 estate that escorts them to their various gigs around the country. This song is in many ways an ode to lasting friendship and nostalgia, as well as a playful twist on the seventies pop trope of lost love.
It’s no surprise that the foursome will be supporting none other than the masters of songwriting dreaminess, James Taylor and Paul Simon at BST Hyde Park on 15th July. It will be an evening of wistful guitars and delicate arrangements, as the quartet rightfully showcase their collection of luscious songs alongside their heroes. Be there to watch the sun set, because isn’t drinking, dancing and listening to beautiful guitar music what this season of late nights and longer days is all about?
We caught up with the band to dig a little deep. Read our interview below:
Can you give us some background on your band beginnings – how you found each other and began to develop your sound?
.Elliot Hayward (guitar/vocals):I first met Mel (Rigby, drums/vocals) and Huw (Webb, bass/vocals) about five years ago. We started out as basically a Neil Young covers band, which was pretty fun but got boring quite quickly. After a couple of years we felt that we needed more harmonic texture and layering, because we were getting into music with richer and more complex arrangements. So we were really lucky to find Rhys at one of our gigs (on is his second night in London having just left home!) He became our second guitar player, we liked the direction it sent us in and continued down that path. Now, we have keyboards and synths on our recordings and have a keyboard player with us at shows. Since Rhys joined, the main focus has been to make music that is a bit more fun and dancey, like our heroes Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers.
Rhys Timson (guitar/vocals): I first saw Blueprint Blue by accident at a refugee fundraiser at the Moth Club. I heard them play ‘I Don’t Wanna Talk About It’, the Crazy Horse version, and told Elliot they nailed it. I told him I played, he invited me to the next rehearsal. I loved the way Mel, Huw and El played together and wanted to fit into that mould. Plus, I thought El’s tie-dye Grateful Dead shirt was cool, so I stuck about. Now we’ve completed an album together in our studio and I’m really proud of it.
What draws you in particular to seventies pop? You say that during the writing of ‘Roll On’ you were listening to a lot of Fleetwood Mac…
Elliot: Fleetwood Mac and ‘Rumours’ is a great example of an album that I really like – that made LOADS of money! We thought it would be fun to have a go at making one of those big 70s hits. Inevitably, the result is quite far away from those things, that was just the idea that began it.
Are you nervous or excited to play alongside your heroes at BST?
Elliot : Yes, really excited to play with the lads. Paul Simon and James Taylor are two of my favourite songwriters ever – one of the first shows I ever saw was JT about 15 years ago. I’ve been obsessed with those guys since I was really young, I still don’t think I’ve heard any music that is much better.
Rhys: I’ve listened to James Taylor since childhood when my Dad would play ‘Carolina In My Mind’ and ‘Shower The People’ on almost every long car journey. I’ve always loved his songwriting. I’ve watched his Flag gig on YouTube a million times, and learned ‘Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight’ from his tutorial DVD. I really like that new one he did with Charlie Puth – he’s still killing it!
What else do Blueprint Blue have lined up for 2018?
Elliot: We’ll put out an album so we can start working more on new songs. We already have half of the second album written, we want to get going on that so that things don’t fall through the cracks!
12th July – The Waiting Room, London, UK
15th July – BST Hyde Park, London, UK (w/ Paul Simon, James Taylor)
Photo by Clare Shilland