INTERVIEW: Blindfolds And Daggers

Hi Branson, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

– Great, just enjoying the smoldering Tennessee summer.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Shiny Things”?

– Shiny Things is my second single release from Blindfolds And Daggers LP titled “Light Thief”. I had been listening to an old Cure song “All I want”, the overall vibe and guitar sound on that particular track had a heavy influence on my instrumental delivery for “Shiny Things”. I wanted that loose rock guitar sound but with synth lines underneath reminiscent of post punk.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

 – The lyrics of Shiny Things represents pursuing self-progress or goals without letting distractions get in the way. We have all experienced people come and go in or lives and wish we had spent that time more wisely. So the song is very symbolic much like a note to self in a sense. “Don’t let the pretty shiny things get in the way”.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

– It was rather fast really, I had three days left before my lease was up and had to be out of my flat. So I built two small sets in the apartment and filmed it with a Samsung Note 5. It was extremely low budget and rushed, unfortunately I didn’t get all of the shots I had wanted, had to reuse a few frames and because of time constraints the background visuals were less than halfway complete. I filmed the motion shots of her and used a tripod for my own.  But overall that shoot was a lot of fun 🙂 I want every video to have some sort of theme. The next will be focused around Skateboarding.

The single comes off your new album Light Thief – what’s the story behind the title?

 – I was thinking how I’ve never really shared any of my recordings with anyone and thought I might as well. You know shed the light on this form of self expression.

How was the recording and writing process?

– The recording process is always a hit or miss, I can be at the table for hours and nothing works or comes together. Or it’s the total opposite, an entire idea manifests, flows naturally and I am up until 4 AM. I also spend a lot of time using a loop pedal to come up with both guitar parts. Blindfolds And Daggers is a 100% self contained independent project, meaning I did everything in it’s entirety alone. Including all writing, recording, Instruments played, videos, photos, branding and web page. I use an inexpensive eighty dollar Presonus interface and Audio Technica AT2050 microphone. I didn’t use any auto tune or pitch correction on the songs whatsoever and left it raw.

How has your upbringing influenced your writing?

– Well I grew up around the Tennessee Smoky Mountains in the really small town of Maryville, over not so far from my families origins of Robbinsville North Carolina. My grandparents took me in at the age of four and raised me completely on their own, I never knew my father and my biological mother was never around. I found my pack among the the small skateboard community in the town, you know the outcast weird kids that didn’t have any interest in conformity or typical small town type stuff. By the time I was fourteen I was running off on road trips to Atlanta, skating all night and sleeping in parking garages without a worry in the world. We would take off with two dollars in our pockets and split burritos at Taco Bell. Sometimes we would end up skating in the ghetto at 4am, now just imagine a bunch of skinny white kids skateboarding on Martin Luther Blvd as gang bangers drove by looking at us like we’re crazy.  I found interesting music through skateboard culture/videos which introduced me to bands like Dinosaur Jr, Sonic Youth and underground Garage rock, Alternative and Post Punk bands.

   My grandfather was a guitar player with Tennessee Ernie Ford’s Happy Valley Boys through the 1940s before he became a legendary traveling evangelist,founded two churches and played music aside my mamaw as she sang on all of the gospel radio stations for forty more years. There was a recording studio behind my childhood home that had walls of old reel to reels and vintage mics hanging from the ceiling. It’s funny looking back because I never had any interest in any of that and now wish I had all of that old school gear, especially since I collect my families entire musical history.

Has been easier or rather difficult to look for a different musical direction to those some of your family members had made a name for themselves?

– Making songs has always been just a form of self expression, I never even told my family that I was into making music of any sort, it wasn’t until I had a song featured on FM radio that a few of them found out.  I’m just drawn to various styles of rock and enjoy creating sound, even though I do love all music and highly respect/admire everyone from my family and their interests. It’s just a different generation, I grew up in a different time and can’t even remotely play guitar like my uncle Roger and his picking style. I mean we got it all across the board… My grandmothers classic country voice all the way to Ronnie with over #42 number one country music hits which places him as one of the top two Country stars of all time.  We’ve got cousin Malcolm Holcombe (My grandfather’s sisters son) which was on the epic label Geffen Records with his brand of Appalachian folky blues. Then we’ve got my aunts side which is the legendary Graves music family, her uncle “Burkett” aka Josh Graves of Flatt & Scruggs is responsible for making the dobro famous by bringing it out of obscurity and into the light. I also didn’t leave my side of the state to Nashville for any type of musical endeavors, it was a last minute decision to start sharing stuff I made.

I mean I’m into bands like Silversun Pickups, The Sound, Comsat Angels, Sad Lovers And Giants, Minus The Bear, Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, Gary Numan all the way to Crystal Gayle which I must add is probably the best female vocalist country music ever had.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

– Lyrics are usually very personal and I draw from feelings and life experience. However sometimes I will watch a science fiction film and draw inspiration there.

Any plans to hit the road?

– Hopefully in 2020 I will be able to find some musicians,form a band around the project and record an entirely new album as a creative unit, then hit the road and do the band thing.

What else is happening next in Blindfolds and Daggers’ world?

– Blindfolds And Daggers “Vanish Thin” and “Chasing A Ghost” are now on iTunes And Amazon music so I am going to try promoting those as well.  There’s also a new song brewing in which I have plans for a video with the theme and concept in mind and would like to use some professional film equipment.  It’s a slow process since the project is brand new and low budget / DIY .

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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