I've got quite a long list of reasons why it's not the first (nor the last) time that little band called Bloodshake is appearing on this blog in such a short period of time. Their name might just start sounding familiar to you (ignore any other name confusions you might get), but personally, I've got a long history with them. Because - as much hipster as it gets - I knew Bloodshake before they were Bloodshake.
We all met one surprisingly warm May day in the beautiful city of Leeds, back in the times when The Vaccines were still in their double denim phase and all of us had slightly (or a lot) worse haircuts. I can remember they were already in a band back then, but it's been completely different. And since our paths crossed again two years later, I just simply can't get enough of their band. And I can assure you - soon you will be just like me. So when they kindly invited me to their band practice back in December, I just had to ask them a few questions I had in my mind for a while.
I came back to the outskirts of the city we first met and visited the nice, quiet studio (where Damon Albarn once played a gig with Africa Express, so imagine my excitement level) and sat down with the now three-piece - Ash, Kieran and Tom - and we literally drowned in all the possibile topics, including the resent for the indie culture, the love for cheesy pop (from a punk band!), filthy band-name stories and recording in an abandoned churches. We talked for so long that it actually took me six pages of paper (a bottle of pink wine) to write it all down. But you can read it all by yourself below.
We might be slightly different in age, but we were somehow all born and raised in "an indie culture". That might be a bit tiring, especially when you're a band who wants to do something completely different in terms of style. How does it feel like to be a punk band in an indie era then?
Kieran: It's fun! We're more free in terms of sound. We can experiment more.
Ash: Everyone who's in the band now is kind of hit with "an indie stick". It's pressuring sometimes. And there's much more styles than indie to play!
Tom: Yeah, but sadly, punk died out a bit..
Exactly! All you hear about now is just indie bands. Where did you get the idea to play punk from?
Kieran: Actually, me and Ash have been in a band since 2011 and to be honest… we were quite shit. Only in April we started playing that stuff that we're finally proud of. That sort of sound came naturally after years and years of seeing and listening to the other bands. You can say we're kind of… experienced.
Ash: I guess we had an idea where to start from. Then we found out that playing punk and grunge is just so much fun.
Kieran: Especially now, when we have a new drummer. Tom just fits in like a glove. Now we've got the sound we wanted spot on.
It's still a fresh thing, isn't it? Most of the people still think it's just you two in the band. But there's such a massive connection between you all!
Tom: Of course it's kind of all thanks to our mutual influences. It bonded us from the beginning. I was more influenced by pop-punk than the "classic" punk, but we found a perfect connection.
Ash: We had a lot of shit drummers. All we wanted was someone who would walk in the room and just play. And Tom plays well.
Even though your influences are generically punk, you still can't escape the "indie curse". Everyone who hears your name automatically thinks of that one certain indie band…
Kieran: It gets even worse than that! Everywhere I go people mistake me for Dom Boyce from Peace. Even Harry Koisser took a picture of me when I met him once!
Tom: I didn't even know Peace before, but when I typed "Bloodshake" into YouTube, their song was the first thing to come…
Kieran: Yeah. Our most common answer now when someone asks about our band name is: "Bloodshake. NO, NOT PEACE.".
Bloodshake, not Peace
I can imagine it might be annoying to get asked that a lot. Why did you choose that name then?
(when I ask that question, the room suddenly goes silent and then bursts with a sudden laughter...)
Kieran: Tell her, mate!
Ash: Well, there's two stories… The official one is that I just like the idea of having the word "blood" in the band name. That's the REAL reason. The side story though is more… inappropriate. It happened to someone I know… but you can guess yourself what exactly it was.
Ok then, I guess we should just leave it there… What also caught my attention was your massive admiration to all those haunted, abandoned and scary places. Where did that come from?
Kieran: I guess fear just gets us going, doesn't it? We visited quite a lot of dark places. Haunted pubs, lunatic asylums, even a concentration camp. Crazily sinister. They hit you, it's horrible. But that sort of feeling matches naturally to our sound.
Ash: We live in Halifax and there's a lot of old architecture here. It's very gothic. All gargoyles and stuff. It just gets to you one way or another.
Kieran: I'd love to record in an old, abandoned church. Sound-wise, it would be just extremelly big. And the feeling you get when you go inside! That's massive.
Aside from scary places outside, you sing a lot about dark places inside human's brain. Does that come from your own experience?
Kieran: A lot of it, yeah. Like "Live Alone" - all aout a paralytic dream I've had. Petrifying shit. Same with "Moral Hangover". It was just a stage in my life.
Ash: People connect with lots of things. Everyone have the idea of being scared. Sometimes they're just crying for help.
Kieran: Like in "Live in Fear". People just do live like this. They're scared of their own workplaces, other people, government. Like slaves.
Ash: Especially in our hometown…
Kieran: Halifax is quite a working class town, right?
It's easy to guess what bands are your musical background. Is there something you listen to that nobody would expect you to? Any "guilty pleasures"?
Tom: I like stuff like early Coldplay and I'm a member of a punk band!
Kieran: Just when we thought you're perfect… I'm not gonna lie though, I've seen S Club 7 live and I had loads of fun!
Tom: Yeah, that's a must though!
Ash: I like a lot of 90s bands as they are all quite tongue-in-cheek. Stuff in the charts from those times makes you quite nostalgic. Like Spice Girls!
Kieran: Right now, there's a lot of stuff that's rubbish but catchy. Annoyingly catchy. I can't help to sing it at work…
2015 seemed like a good year for you. You have a new drummer, an EP coming out and played loads of gigs. What do you wish for in 2016 then?
Kieran: More gigs! We want to become more of a live band than a studio band. It's like a drug!
Bloodshake are releasing their first official EP "Junk" on 15th of January. Catch them live playing a very special EP launch party on the very same day at Cookies Bar, Halifax. More info on their facebook page.
All pictures taken by me.