The biggest year to date of Blossoms singer Tom Ogden’s life began in the most inauspicious of circumstances – he went round to his mate’s house to see in the New Year.
“I was with Myles last year and we just went to one of his mates’ houses,” he recalls. “He had a little house party. It was probably the quietest New Years Eve gathering I’ve had for a while. Myles used to live in a flat by himself and we used to have parties there. We had New Year parties there even before I was in a band with Myles.”
Five lads who were born in the same hospital, Blossoms’ thrive on a shared background, a shared outlook, and a shared chemistry. When it works, it works – and in 2016, it worked supremely well. The opening days and weeks of the year seemed to belong to the band, who broke into the BBC Sound Of 2016 poll amidst growing hype. “We came fourth on the BBC poll and then we had a Radio 1 Live Lounge and that set us up for what would be a big year.”
Of course, it also helped that the group had completed work on their debut album. Sessions were signed, sealed, and delivered before dust had settled on 2015, with Blossoms happy to wait for the right moment before releasing the material.
“We wanted to wait because we didn’t want to rush it,” he explains. “We wanted release it at the optimum time and we ended up doing that. The only thing that was hard was we wanted to play the songs live, and obviously we couldn’t play them because no one had heard them yet. But it was definitely worth the wait.”
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Non-stop touring has become one of the band’s hallmarks, a dedication to getting out on the road that has seen Blossoms win over fans show by breathless show. “The songs were coming from an honest place and really connecting with people... and they still do today but even then it’s slowly bleeding into people. We thought we had a following that really meant something to people. We weren’t just a random band.”
“People will love you, and they’ll come and follow you and support you like a football team... and that’s what we feel like we get.”
Pinpointing a favourite show, however, is a tricky task, although the frontman eventually names something rather close to home. “The night the album came out we did a show at Stockport Plaza that meant a lot us,” he says. “The tour we’ve just done was our biggest across the UK - that was massive, every gig they were singing every word.”
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They’ll come and follow you and support you like a football team...
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“The more we’re enjoying it the more confident we are on stage,” he insists. “We kinda don’t take ourselves too seriously. We don’t get nervous or anything, we just listen to a lot of good tunes before we go on and that seems to settle any sort of nerves about playing. We’re proud of how it looks. The live shows we constantly want to evolve. We just want it to be massive.”
Near constant touring brought Blossoms in contact with a number of other groups, forming a close-knit community of unsigned bands battling against the mainstream. Inviting Viola Beach on the road, the two groups forged a close bond, one that was shattered when a fatal accident took the lives of those young Warrington musicians.
Blossoms grieved, and used a recording of Viola Beach as a tribute to their friends on their breakout tour. In remarkable synchronicity, the band’s debut album raced to the top spot, and in the process replaced a posthumous compilation of Viola Beach recordings pieced together in the aftermath of the accident.
“That was a lovely touch out of a terrible situation,” he says softly. “It was a little bit of light shone around something that was very dark. We are very proud that their record got to number one as well because it’s got great songs and they’re a great band.”
A year of soaring highs and desperate lows, Blossoms aim to close 2016 as they started – by focussing on their debut album. Self-titled, the record will be re-packaged for an expanded release, featuring those fan-favourite B-sides which made their introductory EPs so riveting.
“It’s kind of like another album before the first one,” he says. “We’re very proud of our B-sides. All my favourite bands have great B-sides.”
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It’s kind of like another album before the first one...
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As for the future, Tom has already begun sketching out material for Blossoms’ second album. “I’m always writing when I can and when I’m away on the road I’m collecting ideas - things which I can bleed into songs. All those things are difficult when you're on the road because you’re not in your own headspace as much as I was before... but I’m always writing. I want to continue to have a big collection before we go in to do another record.”
Set to play two sold out dates at Manchester’s historic – and rather beautiful – Albert Hall this weekend, Blossoms will then spend the festive period with their family, enjoying a brief moment of respite amid the whirlwind. Looking back, though, Tom can’t deny that this has been a life-changing year for everyone associated with the group.
“I think we’re very proud of the album we made, and it’s a big moment in our lives,” he says. “The first album is born. That’s the biggest thing for us. Taking that away and thinking: yeah... we made something we’re really proud of.”
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Blossoms will release the expanded edition of their debut album on December 16th.