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Music Q&A: Blanket

The Blackpool-based shoegaze four piece band have just returned from a full European tour and are now looking forward to a homecoming gig at Bootleg on 23rd March. Front man Bobby Pook tells us how they’ve drawn inspiration from ’90s Britpop for their new album, Ceremonia, and why Blackpool is special when it comes to music.
Tell us a bit about you.

We’re a band from Blackpool called Blanket. We’ve been releasing records and touring for around eight years and we’re about to release a new record titled Ceremonia.

The band is: Bobby Pook – vocals/guitar; Simon Morgan – guitar; Ryan Forsch – bass; and Lucas Fletcher – drums.

Tell us about Ceremonia.

We started writing for this record straight away after or last, Modern escapism. I think the sound we had on the previous records went from post rock and ambient to more of a shoegaze heavy rock sound, and for this one we really wanted to tap into something different.

After a lot of experimenting we decided we were most excited about the tracks we were writing when they sounded more ’90s and almost Britpop. And I think leaning into a more northern English vibe, drawing inspiration from bands of that era made a lot more sense than anything American. Cermeonia is 10 tracks of shoegaze/alt rock but without losing any of the band’s tones or sounds we had built ourselves upon previously.

You’ve been described as a cinematic band, full of epic soundscapes. You seem to lean into this with the visual elements of your show, and the cinematic reworks of your debut album. How important is the visual language of your live shows?

To be honest after the last record we shied away from visuals as there were more vocals, so we try to use lighting and haze as part of the show now. Saying that, we do want to bring screens and sync’d visuals back when budget allows. It’s a very laborious and expensive addition when you have a small crew, and festivals can be a really short set up time.

What’s your favourite part of the current set?

Easily the new tracks from Ceremonia, I can feel the energy and vibe shift in the room and it’s great to see. We just came home from a full EU tour and I saw this happen every night.

It’s always been a very beard stroking muso crowd – everyone always tried to look at the pedal boards and talk to us about gear after the shows.

Why do you think Blackpool is special when it comes to music?

I just think above all it’s character building. A lot of areas which could be seen as deprived in the north always seem to be a breeding ground art in general. I always remember Noel Gallagher talking about the best Oasis songs coming from when they lived up north in humble surroundings, and later as they got more successful it got harder and harder to write. There’s also the relatability of it all, our whole album was written at the Waterloo music bar in Blackpool. Which in itself is a very special place.

We have so much to write about here and that’s rare. Not a lot of people get to live in a predominantly tourist town.

Who are you major influences now compared to back in 2016?

I think the first record we were trying to be Sigur Ros! Haha. That changed as we found our own style. It got heavier, it got softer and it morphed as we experimented.

Ceremonia is very reminiscent of bands like Cave In, Hum, Swervedriver, Failure, and shoegaze bands such as Slow Dive and Nothing.

Have you seen in a change in post-rock audiences over the years?

It’s always been a very beard stroking muso crowd – everyone always tried to look at the pedal boards and talk to us about gear after the shows. Not going to lie, I love that. I would say now though we have a much more mainstream audience which is far less niche and sort of caters to all.

What’s the elevator pitch that one of your fans should give their friends to get them down to a Blanket show?

You can tell your mates you’re going to see a shoegaze band and maybe they’ll get confused at the name of the genre and want to come through pure FOMO.

Blanket play Bootleg Social on 23rd March. Buy tickets here.

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  • Mully is a writer and musician from Blackpool. Formerly an English Literature teacher, he is currently a copywriter, and enjoys movies, long walks on the beach, and clichéd lists.

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