- 04 Mar 20
With the release of their third album, Foolish Loving Spaces, Blossoms have confirmed their indie-pop hero status. We catch up with drummer Joe Donovan, to discuss Inhaler, Noel Gallagher, fame and pressure.
Springing to attention in 2016 with the bestselling debut album of the year, Blossoms were hailed as the new saviours of Northern indie – carrying the torch for bands like The Stone Roses, New Order and Oasis, while lighting up the charts with their irresistible pop hooks.
Now onto their third album in as many years, the Stockport lads have proved their staying power – ditching their classic guitar-band energy for a feel-good synth-pop sound. And, despite being still in their mid-twenties, their influence can be heard in some of the most hotly tipped emerging indie bands of 2020 – including Hot Press favourites Inhaler, who joined Blossoms on several UK dates in 2019.
“We love Inhaler,” drummer Joe Donovan enthuses. “We were having a drink with them last night. They’re a great band with great tunes. For a new band to be doing something like that is great.
“They’ve mentioned before that they’re fans, too, which is really nice to hear. They’re very young – Eli’s just 20. But that’s the best time in the world to be starting out, with the touring and all that.”
Has he been offering the young band any words of wisdom?
“Yeah…” he says hesitantly, with a telling smile. “But there’s only so much you can say (laughs). Don’t drink too much. Keep writing. Just have fun! That’s it!”
Inhaler also shared a billing with Blossoms at Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ stellar Malahide Castle show in June. As Greater Manchester natives born during the golden age of Britpop, the Stockport boys are no stranger to Noel, having previously joined him on tour – but they won’t be taking sides in the ongoing Gallagher feud.
“We’ve met them both and they’re both dead sound,” Joe says. “We’re all big Oasis fans. We’d love them to get back together, but both their solo careers are doing so well, so who knows. I can’t see anything happening at the moment with them, but hopefully one day they will – but that’s just me being selfish.”
Three-and-a-half years on from their chart-topping debut (“If we’d had a kid at the same time it would be a toddler now,” Joe grins), Blossoms’ latest album, Foolish Loving Spaces, looks poised to cement their legacy as modern indie-pop icons. But despite coming across calm and confident ahead of the release, Joe admits that there will always be nerves before the band hit the studio.
“You feel that way before every album is recorded,” he reveals. “Some of the songs on the first album took a lifetime to write. So, when the time came to do the second one, everyone was nervous, and Tom was under a lot of pressure. But once we get into the studio, get the songs down, and listen back, there’s nothing stopping us – we feel really confident. We’re quite strict – we’d never put anything out that we don’t believe in.”
With each album, Blossoms have moved closer into the world of unapologetic pop – and Foolish Loving Spaces, packed with big hooks and irresistible grooves, is the culmination of this journey. The project sees them teaming up once again with their longtime producers, James Skelly and Rich Turvey.
“We did ‘Your Girlfriend’ with them, and it just felt so fresh and different,” Joe recalls. “So we said, ‘Why try fix something that’s not broken? Let’s go it again with these two.’ It’s a direction in which we all really wanted to go. When Tom was writing the songs, he had a vision for how it would sound – and we definitely nailed that.”
Despite rushing to international attention over a relatively short period of time, Blossoms clearly have their heads screwed on tight – with Joe revealing that their worst post-gig vice is Domino’s pizza.
“There’s been some huge changes, like not getting to see your mates from home, but the positives definitely outweigh the negatives,” Joe reasons. “You’ve got to take it on the chin. At home, there are a few people who’d stop you, or maybe be a bit rude, or ask a bit too much, but a lot of people are just chill. Then again, I’m only a drummer – Tom probably can’t go to the shop to get a can of Coke anymore!”
Indeed, Blossoms’ only ‘controversy’ to date was an entirely staged social media spat between Joe and Tom. But even so, Joe reveals that living in close quarters with the band for four years hasn’t always been easy.
“I’m definitely the person who can just become a bit too much sometimes,” he admits, smiling. “When I get bored I love to wind people up, so I’m probably the person that people get a bit sick of. Like right now – they’re happy that I’m on the phone, and have my brain occupied. Tom says it’s like giving a toy to a kid.”
The new album sees Blossoms expanding their musical horizons, plucking inspiration from across the board. But no matter what direction they go in next, Joe reckons “there will always be hints of pop” in their sound.
“We all love pop tunes, and Tom writes great ones, so there will always be an element of that in our sound. But that’s it – I don’t think we’re ever going to go full-on K-Pop (laughs)!”