Debut Single ‘Hot Air Balloons’ Out December 18th.
If a greenhouse is a glass building in which plants that need protection from cold weather are grown. What is a blue house? Turns out Bluehouse is a male/female indie shoegaze/dreampop duo from London. Obvs. On their debut single ‘Hot Air Balloons’/ ‘Confessional’ it becomes clear pretty quickly that their chosen oeuvre is variation with ‘Hot Air Baloons’ sporting a laid back , blissed out, metronomic dream-pop while ‘Confessional’ lives up to its title as it features a gentle acoustic guitar a lament of lost love.
One half of Blue House, James Howard, took some time to talk to us about this variation in Blue House’s music, the duo’s upcoming debut album, and working with Capitol K.
Overblown: Hey and thanks for taking the time to talk to Overblown! Tell us a little bit about how you guys got together.
Blue House: We’ve known each other for quite a few years and kept talking about getting together to do some music. We’re both left handed so obviously we were meant to be. We were also fans of one another’s band (Ursula sometimes wears a ragged Fiction t-shirt as a pyjama top, which is obviously a great achievement for any band). We kept chickening out of playing but we ended up living together so worked these Blue House songs out in a couple of armchairs in Brixton.
O: You and Ursula previously played in the bands Fiction and Drop Out Venus respectively. Did your experiences in those bands inform your approach to Blue House in any way?
BH: I think they informed it in the way that we did things pretty much the opposite from what we were used to. The whole thing was very spontaneous, parts pretty much wrote themselves and we didn’t expend too much energy telling anyone what they specifically had to play. In this sense all of the recordings were a bit more about the songs, rather than the individual components.
O: Your first two releases, ‘Hot Air Balloons’ and ‘Confessional’, are stylistically quite different. Was it a deliberate decision to release such different songs as an introduction to the band and is this genre hopping something that listeners can expect from your debut album?
BH: It wasn’t a deliberate decision during the recording process but as an introduction for people we thought it made sense to give them a good feeling for range we like to do. Definitely expect more, yeah. We’re not sampling Obama just yet, but there might be a Patti Smith inspired disco number on the way.
O: You recorded those songs with Capitol K who has worked with Patrick Wolf and Atlas Sound. What was that experience like? Are you recording your entire album with him?
BH: It is a great pleasure to work with Capitol K. If he starts nodding his head then you know you’re really on to something good. He’s worked with a lot of other great people too, Serafina Steer for example. And his cumbia is one of the most fun things you could set your ears too. There’s some seriously good work coming out of his studio at Total Refreshment Centre and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people start taking notice of that next year.
O: Speaking of your debut album, is there any ETA on when that will be released?
BH: Definitely next year, but we’ve got some other releases planned too. We’re not in a rush but we are talking to a label that we’re really excited to start working with, so there’ll be more news on that early in the new year.
O: Your first single is being released on December 11th via Vaguely Pagan Records. How did you come to work with them?
BH: Vaguely Pagan was set up in conjunction with Believe by Fiction; so really it is me working with myself (James), with all the complications that entails (financial disputes, creative differences etc.). In all honesty I’m not interested in running a label, it was just a way to facilitate an early release without having to do any yukky showcases for labels or anything like that. Good name though.
O: James has said that he spent the summer listening to only a handful of songs while writing your upcoming debut album. What were those songs and why did they resonant with James so strongly?
BH: To be honest I don’t want to talk about this too much as I think it was really important for me as a songwriter and I wouldn’t like to do the whole process a disservice by blabbering about it. But Ben E. King’s recording of Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? was definitely one of them. It made me think of songs as atmospheres (which is not necessarily the same as productions).
O: You guys recently played a show at the Lexington in London. Do you have any more upcoming gigs planned?
BH: Yes, we are talking to a few people about shows at the moment. We’ll probably do a show just the two of us in Jan to get warmed up, and then we’ll get round to our first headline show with full band (which is full of excellent musicians that you probably already know and love).
O: Who are a band that you are listening to right now who you think Overblown readers should check out? Why?
BH: If I had to say one it would be The Comet is Coming, freaked up sideways leg shaking space sax jazz, they’re a real force for good. But there’s quite a few actually: Loose Meat (check out ‘Inside the Sun’), Bas Jan (Serafina Steer’s new band; listen to ‘Sat-Nav’, the version they did in session for Marc Riley is amazing), Super Best Friends Club, Lese Majeste (check out the ‘Airports’ demo), Pollyanna Valentine (singer has an amazing voice). Ursula suggests you watch Laurie Anderson’s Home of the Brave live show immediately, which she’s been revisiting non-stop lately.
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