Blossoms’ Tom Ogden may well be peerlessly confident onstage, but in real life he suffers from the same issues as his fans.
New album ‘Foolish Loving Spaces’ emerges later this week – January 31st – and it’s a record fuelled by soaring highs and crushing lows, the fear and agony of falling in love, and the feeling of crippling self-doubt you encounter when entering into a new and unsuspecting relationship.
Ever wondered what our favourite rockstars would do if they weren’t busy parading around on stage? Ogden gives us an insight into what he would do if he hadn’t become a successful musician, and also offers a candid bit of advice to those wanting to pursue a career in music, in a time where everyone is able to freely create and release content into the digital world.
The singer chats to Julia Hope about the circumstances of his personal life, events that have inspired the creative process throughout the making of ‘Foolish Loving Spaces’ and how the struggles of a stranger on the internet influenced the hit single ‘Your Girlfriend’.
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You will be preparing for your up-coming tour to showcase new album ‘Foolish Loving Spaces’, what is an average day looking like for you at the moment?
We’ve just been rehearsing every day, doing the songs on repeat – we’ve got a lot of sessions musicians to fill out the sound as there is a lot of live percussion on the record and extra guitars and we didn’t want to put them on a backing track. There’s going to be about eight of us on stage, we’ve even got some gospel singers and a small choir, which will be included in the live performance.
When you’ve made an album, you have to rehearse constantly – we’ve never played these songs live before, to anyone – which is a scary thing. We care a lot about the live set, because being a strong live set is where it’s at these days.
Can you explain your creative process throughout this new album? It seems primarily focused on love; love can be a great tool for creating exceptional art.
Well I suppose your personal life is always going to lead into the songs you write, I never sat down and said I purposely want to write this. I’ve never really stopped writing songs, some of the songs were written before the second album had even come out.
The first was ‘My Swimming Brain’ – which isn’t necessarily and out and out love song like ‘The Keeper’ or ‘Falling For Someone’. ‘My Swimming Brain’ is more about the early stages of falling in love, when you’ve been in quite a few shit relationships and your brain is full of doubt.
It’s hard to write a love song because it doesn’t sound as ‘cool’ as a heartbreak song I guess, ‘there’s a reason why I didn’t reply to your text’ is a better song title than ‘I think you’re great’. Sounds a bit shit doesn’t it. ‘Oh no, I’m falling in love’ is another song filled with the fear of falling in love. You always tell yourself you’re not going to get with someone, and then it’s like “oh no, I’m falling in love again”.
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I’ve also found that music is a big escape mechanism for me, because we live in a weird time – it’s nice to listen to love songs, it gives people something to hold onto. I also forced myself into some corners as a song-writer, ‘Your Girlfriend’ is a song that I made up just to try something different – I actually Googled, "I’m in love with my friend's girlfriend" and I came across a story about a bloke who had actually been in that position, he wrote a big blog post about it and told his story in depth – essentially asking for advice.
He had written things like "we rent a place and she comes round to stay" and I thought to myself, that’s going in the verse! And "I should be moving out because we just signed a lease". I think that song in particular, was different to anything we’d done before – we knew we wanted a single out but didn’t know what to do with all of the songs we had.
Because ‘Your Girlfriend’ was slightly kooky and unique, it felt right for it to be the single. Lyrically and sonically, I think that song opened up the door for a lot of musical freedom. It gave us confidence in a way, we released it before the album and everyone buzzed off of it and then so did we!
Which shows would you say you’re looking to performing the most?
Going back to Glasgow is always great, there is always a really, really incredible receptive crowd. We’re playing the Manchester Arena, which is surreal as we grew up going to shows there – and to be playing a venue we’d seen big bands play is really something else. I’m looking forward to the whole tour in general as we haven’t done a huge tour for a while now, it’s amazing to travel all of these cities and play all of these different venues. As cliché as it sounds, we’re so looking forward to seeing everyone from every city.
In the digital age of music, it’s easy for people to create their own music and put it out into the world – what advice would you give to a musician, to survive and thrive in our current musical era?
I think no matter what tools you’ve got in front of you, it always comes down to the songs you’ve created. If you don’t have the songs, you’ve got no other way around making it, you need to create content to share with the world. Write as many songs as you can and keep writing all the time.
Even if you’ve got 15 average tracks, one of them could be the one that breaks you. A lot of people say it’s a talent or you’re born with it, but I think with like anything – practise makes perfect. Try and find your own identity and try to do things on your own early days, if you can.
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What would you be doing, if you weren’t making music with Blossoms?
I’d be trying to be a filmmaker, that’s originally what I wanted to do. Around the same time, I started writing songs, I was making daft films with friends and then doing a few college projects here and there. Even with the band now, I try and do some film work any chance I get.
The music video for ‘The Keeper’, we made that ourselves and I did all of the editing for it, which was really fun.
What is the future looking like for Blossoms?
Hopefully bright, I think with the live set being the way it is and having lots of people helping – for example having the session musicians and gospel, it feels like such a big step in the right direction.
I want the shows to keep getting bigger of course, and I want to just keep enjoying what we’re doing and enjoying making music. It’s important to be happy.
We’ve never really had backing in America, so it would be nice to get some more recognition over there – but it feels like we’re on the right track to something bright and hopeful.
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Blossoms will release new album 'Foolish Loving Spaces on January 31st.
Words: Julia Hope
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