Earlier in the week, I was reached out to by this band breaking out onto the scene. They are called BLONDER, and really have an incredible take on modern music. With influences ranging from classic rock to modern pop, their style is a culmination of all the best parts from the 80’s to now. I got the opportunity to hear some of their new tracks from their upcoming EP, which will be released for their tour starting April 2nd. They only have two tracks right now called ‘Lean’ and ‘Talk to Me’ but you can get a good sense of what they are about. I got to sit down and talk to the creative leader behind BLONDER, Constantine, for a quick interview about the tour and record.
Crowdsurf Central: How did BLONDER come to be? What is the whole story behind BLONDER?
Constantine: Well, I am still working on the story truth be told. I was writing songs for a different band before, and that band got a record deal. But once I signed to this label; 300 Entertainment which was founded by Lyor Cohen who had left Warmer Music and looking to build his roster with young new talent, I showed them about 30 or 40 demos and they really loved it. Which was great for me because I had really been trying to get a record deal and basically they had told me I should scrap this other band. I mixed and mastered the EP of the other band and 300 essentially said to me that I should look more into the demos I had made. Thus began the extensive process of creating this new record. I ended up writing a bunch of songs with Aaron Maine from Porches, and also with friends in LA who had wrote songs for Tegan and Sara and Phantogram. I even got to work with Brian Lee, who’s like a major name in the pop world right now. So after all this writing I had already mixed and mastered the record, but we didn’t have a band name yet, even with the full record made. I knew how I wanted the music to sound, and I was super happy with the record, but we still just couldn’t think of a name.
Crowdsurf Central: So then how did you come up with BLONDER?
Constantine: Well it’s funny, I was seeing this girl at the time (actually the whole record is kind of about this girl), but she called me up late one night after drinking a lot with her friends, and she knew I was trying to find a band name. So she calls me and says “Oh my god, I know what you need to name your band. It’s gotta be BLONDER. That’s the coolest band name I’d ever heard of. You HAVE to do that one.” And the funny part is, the name just fits the record so well. When you hear the rest of it you’ll totally understand why the name is what it is. It’s got this romantic narrative, and it’s so shiny and polished and perfect. So that’s the long version.
Crowdsurf Central: That’s perfect haha. I love hearing about the creation story behind the music, cause everyone’s story is totally different. And after listening to the singles, ‘Lean’ and ‘Talk to Me’, you can see the pop influence and the indie influence.
Constantine: One of the biggest influences for the tour, merch design, and just band in general, is to be this reference to New Order and Factory Records. If I’m really looking for rock bands that I want to listen to or wrap my head around, that’s my reference point. I feel like they did it in the most unique and intelligent way. I’m very interested in the emotion and execution and making sure it’s done as thorough as possible.
Crowdsurf Central: So then when did you really start writing all this music? You mentioned you came to the label with about 30 or 40 demos, when did that start?
Constantine: It’s been a crazy trip to be honest. So just to put it in perspective, the old track on the record is from back in February of 2014. And back then I was a totally different person, I was really into like crazy old school rock, which you will hear on the next single coming out. But you know, like I said, I wrote a bunch of stuff with Aaron Maine, who’s like one of my best friends for years, and we’ve been sharing music over this whole time. And we tried to make music before, but it just never really worked. But as we grew and improved in our writing, our styles started to come together, and the music started to make us actually excited. It had that emotion I was looking for. ‘Lean’ is actually the first song we wrote together.
Crowdsurf Central: But Aaron isn’t part of BLONDER then?
Constantine: No, no, no. He’s not we just do a lot of collaboration together. Kind of like what I was talking about before, a lot of how this record came to be was through collaboration. So I would write with Aaron and some other friends, and then I produced the record with someone else entirely. The way I look at songs, and making the best songs is kind of like a collage. So if I really love something one person did, or a sound one person had, I’ll try to take that and combine it with something another collaborator may have come up with. I try not to get attached to particular parts of songs.
Crowdsurf Central: So you like to show the best parts of the different musicians you work with? Like a group effort?
Constantine: Exactly, and I think it’s really helped create the sound of BLONDER. I’m the creative director and executive producer for the whole project. And it’s crazy how it all morphed into this, because this wasn’t the original concept for the project. It’s kind of turned into this little “world” with musicians. If you noticed the social media is all @blonderworld, and I feel like I’m trying to create this little alternate reality you can tap into when you’re listening to the record.
Crowdsurf Central: That’s really cool man, so then what do you guys to for live performing?
Constantine: Honestly it’s a bunch of musicians from my social circle who enjoy the music and like seeing it come to fruition. I’m the creator from the band, but they are a huge part in bringing it to life, if you will. I’ll still take suggestions from other people and if it works we use it, but at the end of the day, I’m mostly running the show.
Crowdsurf Central: So then have you toured before this?
Constantine: Yeah I’ve done like a little DIY tour before, but nothing like this. Where all the venues are 200-300 cap rooms, and it’s all been pretty much organized for me.
Crowdsurf Central: So what would you say you like about having the tour planned out for you?
Constantine: Oh it’s just better in every way. Everything is just more organized, like proper sound checks, the direct support for Methyl Ethel and Wet. It’s just a larger platform for us to launch off of. I mean we are playing a seven song set, two of the songs aren’t on the EP, but I feel like this tour is a great way to bring blonderworld to life and give people something to get excited for.
Crowdsurf Central: So is this tour the farthest you’ve been from home so far?
Constantine: Oh yeah, this is the first time we’ve performed outside NYC so that in itself is huge for us.
Crowdsurf Central: Is that exciting or scary?
Constantine: Oh exciting for sure. I mean we’ve been prepping so much for this project and this band and I just can’t wait for people to hear it. Especially to feel the energy from us, and having that resonate with them and really just let people hear the other songs. It’s going to be great for people to hear 7 BLONDER songs instead of just two.
Crowdsurf Central: Well thank you man I am really looking forwards seeing you guys out on April 18th!
Constantine: Absolutely man, can’t wait.
I also asked Constantine to tell me his favorite joke, to which he linked me to a cartoon from the New Yorker which is shown below.
You can find BLONDER on facebook, twitter, and instagram at @blonderworld, and check out their current releases here on soundcloud (https://soundcloud.com/blonderworld). They will be performing at the Great Scott on April 18th in Allston, so be sure to come out!