Interview: Blitz Kids [May 2015]

By Lais

Blitz Kids recently released their catchy new single ‘Keep Swinging’. We spoke to singer Joey James and guitarist Jono Yates about working on new music (expect to hear a new album next year), life on the road, SXSW antics and seizing every opportunity possible.

How are you chaps doing?

Jono: Very good yeah, excellent. Taking time out of our busy drinking schedule to speak to you. Anything for Punktastic!

You’re doing some press around the single launch for ‘Keep Swinging’. How had it been going?

Joey: We’re a bit confused why it’s been released to be honest, because it’s been out for about a year and a half.
Jono: They said we were releasing it and we were like, “Oh right. Surely we can record another song?” We’ve got songs written, but no, apparently the plan is to release ‘Keep Swinging’, so that’s what we’ve done.
Joey: I posted something on Twitter the other day saying, “Please buy our new single, it’s being released in two weeks”, and I got three replies just saying “Why?” and I was like, “This is the truth. This is the people and they are speaking the truth.”
Jono: It’s been on iTunes to buy since January 2014 and here we are in fucking May 2015 releasing it. it’s like, whatever, do what you’ve gotta do, but it’d be nice to get something new out.

It is a catchy song though.

Jono: It’s alright, yeah. It’s the first one we wrote for the album, so we’ve done everything backwards. The first song we wrote for the album we’ve released last. But people like it and I guess it’s getting quite a big push press-wise and we’ve seen a lot of radio stuff coming in for it which is nice.
Joey: I guess the main reason we released it, I’m realising now, is it’s been released worldwide, so outside the UK, so the US have got it and it’s on rotation on MTV in America and Australia and it’s on circulation on radio in Australia, so I think maybe that was the point.
Jono: They thought it was the right song to release into the world market into doing different territories, which is fair enough, so we complied.

It’s definitely gonna get you a bit more coverage, which is always good.

Joey: Oh yeah, and we really wanna tour America and Australia, so that would be fun.

So you have written some new stuff? Will that be going towards a new album?

Jono: Hopefully. That’s our plan. I’ve got a little home studio so I’ve been demo-ing stuff and sending it between each other like, “What needs changing?” or whatever. It’s a long and arduous process, especially getting it off the ground and getting the wheels in motion, but once we get four or five songs down then I think the rest will just fall out of us. That’s what happened last time.

What’s it sounding like so far?

Joey: No idea. It’s so weird and random right now.
Jono: I’m home demo-ing at the moment but I’m not a good producer, so I don’t know how it’ll sound at the end, but I think we want it to be a bit heavier and a bit more raw and less polished than the last record.
Joey: I think we experimented a bit too much with what you can do in a studio with the last album. We were sat in the studio for hours and it was fun and it sounded good and we’re happy with it, but for the next one we don’t want to do the same thing. We’d rather experiment and see what we can do with our instruments and yeah, make something a bit heavier I guess. In the early stages it’s all over the place though. I’ve got loads of songs that are just vocals, so I don’t know what they’re gonna sound like. It’s just vocals and click tracks and I’m sending them off to the guys.
Jono: It’s up to the rhythm section to do something with them.
Joey: It’s quite easy for me really, like “Here you go, here’s some singing, make some music”.

It must be an exciting time for you, writing new music.

Joey: It’s definitely more fun to write in the summer time than it is in the winter time. You write an album in the winter time and it’s very depressing and sad. Raining again…

It’ll be a while before we hear a new album, right?

Joey: Realistically, for a full length album, it’s gonna be next year. But there’ll be something out this year, whether it’s an EP or a single.
Jono: We haven’t really discussed it with the label yet.
Joey: In our heads, we wanna release an EP by the end of the year.
Jono: We’ve got a plan…
Joey: …but we don’t actually have the money to do that ourselves, so we have to ask politely.
Jono: We had a conversation like, “Can we do something new now? Because this is fucking two years old now”. We wrote some of these songs four years ago. We’re not sick of them because we still love the songs, but you know how it is.

To everyone else, music seems fairly new, but bands usually sit on their music for a while, so it feels different.

Joey: I used to get annoyed when bands put new songs into their sets, but now I can understand. You just wanna play something you haven’t played before.

What have you got coming up tour-wise?

Joey: We haven’t got anything we can confirm. We’re booking a headline tour but I don’t know when it’s gonna be.

You usually tour quite a lot, don’t you?

Joey: Yeah, not this year though. Last year we did.
Jono: The last two years have been mad.

I saw you with Young Guns the other day at the Bristol and Liverpool shows.

Joey: Bristol was great! I loved Bristol. I hated the show we played there with Mallory Knox before. There was a power cut and the power went down for five or ten minutes. The lighting rig didn’t work so we just played in front of white lights. The Bristol show on the Young Guns tour was great though. In Liverpool nobody could see us because Young Guns kept putting the smoke machine on for a laugh.

Are you doing any festivals this year?

Jono: Nope! Well, we’re doing two in Germany, but none in the UK. We did them all last year.
Joey: We were so bad they didn’t ask us back.
Jono: I think it’s good to take a year out of festivals and then come back next year stronger.
Joey: I’d really like to play festivals next year with new material, instead of playing festivals with all the same songs.
Jono: No-one’s got time for that shit.
Joey: We wouldn’t be on the main stage then, we’d have to do a smaller tent, so we’ll wait until we’ve got some new stuff.
Jono: Waiting in the shadows…
Joey: …and then we’ll pounce.

Do you miss playing shows when you’re not on the road?

Jono: Yeah, life is boring as shit when I’m not on the road. It’s like, “What do I do?” We are starting to write and stuff now though.
Joey: You miss it after two days of not being on tour. When you’re on tour, you feel like you need to go home and rest a bit, and then after two days off, you’re like, “No, I wanna go back on tour again”.
Jono: We have got jobs to be getting on with now though.
Joey: Realistically we’d not write an album if we were on the road. There’s too much drinking.
Jono: We’re not that sort of band.
Joey: We’re not disciplined enough to sit in the dressing room and write. There are quite a few bands that do that, and they’re all deservedly successful. Those hard workers!
Jono: I brought my stuff on tour but then you get in the dressing room and Nic’s cracking open a beer and you think, “Oh, well I’ll do the same”.
Joey: That’s maybe why we’re not touring right now. We’ll try and write a really good album. So no shows for us.

You have got the two shows in Germany though. How do you find playing over there?

Joey: We love playing in Germany!
Jono: I think we do as well over there as we do over here. We’ve got a really good fanbase over there.
Joey: We sell out pretty good headline shows over there.
Jono: We did that All Time Low tour and played in front of thousands of fucking kids.
Joey: We played Copenhagen and Paris too. We do really well over there.
Jono: Yeah, we do well in Europe. We love them over there.

You said you wanted to tour in America earlier.

Joey: Yeah. We’ve played there before, at South By South West, and that was really fun. The first time we played there was kind of pointless because no-one knew who we were. I don’t know why we went over there. We didn’t do any press. We played two shows and they weren’t good shows. All of our gear didn’t work because it was British gear and you need all these transformers and crazy stuff and we’d never been in America before so we had no idea what to do. But this time we went over and we were pros. We played before Mallory Knox and they said themselves that we smashed it.
Jono: God knows how, because we were drinking from 11am every day. Although they were drinking with us both days, so maybe they fucked it because we’re seasoned veterans. It’s hot as fuck there and full of suits.
Joey: Most of the bands that play at SXSW are unknown and you just hope that you stumble across something good. There’s a lot of secret shows, but basically if you go as industry you get one of these badges which gets you in to jump the queue all the time. But if you’re playing and you’ve got an artist wristband you can’t jump the queue.
Jono: The really busy shows are for people like James Bay.
Joey: They’re the official showcases.
Jono: For hyped up to shit bands.
Joey: I saw James Bay and Jack Garratt in a church. That was pretty cool. We were sitting in the pews listening to beautiful music. I think it’s definitely more fun to go as a punter than a band. I mean, we had fun because we have fun wherever we go. There’s plenty of bands who take it very seriously. They don’t wanna drink or eat red meat, but that’s not for us.

Oh yeah, you just have to take the opportunities and enjoy them, because most people don’t get to do a lot of the things you do.

Joey: Oh yeah, you’ve just gotta enjoy it.
Jono: We’ve seen so much of the world. I feel – not blessed, because that’s religious – but privileged.

It’s a good attitude to have.

Joey: I mean, we make a living from being in a band, but everyone would agree that we’re not Coldplay living in a mansion and driving around in a Ferrari type massive, but it doesn’t matter. The experience you get is the same. I feel like there’s so much more pressure on those people who treat it like a business. We don’t set ourselves goals, we just wanna have fun with each other. That’s the only goal for us – have fun for as long as possible and when it stops, it stops.


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