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Blitz Kids interview: 'Collaborating with One Direction would be fun'

Blitz Kids are one of Britain’s top rising rock acts.

They’re releasing the track ‘Keep Swinging’ on April 20 as the latest single from 2014 album ‘The Good Youth’ and the tune is set to see the quartet’s stock rise even further.

Pressparty caught up with singer Joey James to find out the meaning behind the single, why they covered One Direction and working with producer John Feldmann.

What themes run through the lyrics to ’Keep Swinging’?

I started writing it about two years or three years ago. It was a point in time for the band when we didn’t really know whether we’d really carry on - it’s difficult to make money in this industry and we were just sort of struggling. We’d been trying for a while and didn’t know whether it was going to go anywhere. I was sort of writing this song to almost keep me going, like a motivational song I was writing to say ‘don’t give up, keep going and carry on’. I only wrote half of it and when we got the chance to go to LA and record with John Feldmann, that was when I finished the song. I was in LA recording with him and it felt quite poetic that I got to finish it over there when we finished the record. It’s very inspiring for me.

So has the hard work and perseverance now paid off?

Yeah. It’s still hard work every day…I won’t say the hard bit is over, but it’s definitely getting easier because we’re just more used to it. It felt like that hard work had paid off when we got to America and we went ‘Wow, we’re actually signed to a record label and recording an album’. But I will continue to keep trying and working hard.

What was the thinking behind recording a cover of the One Direction song ‘Steal My Girl’ for the single?

I think we used to say we liked One Direction ironically, and then they released some absolute bangers, if I’m honest. We were thinking about doing a cover and we didn’t want to do a rock song - we’ve got guitars, bass and drums and we thought ‘What can we bring to a rock song other than just playing the exact parts that those guys have written?’ So we wanted to take a song that didn’t really sound anything like us and make it sound like it us and sound like as if we’d written it.

Did you ever worry that it might alienate some of your rockier fans?

Not really. Anyone that knows us as a band or follows us on Twitter or Facebook or watches tour videos knows that we don’t take ourselves seriously at all. If it did [alienate people], maybe those people are taking themselves too seriously. But it was a bit of a laugh - we enjoyed ourselves. And some people said that they didn’t even realise it was cover.

Would you ever want to collaborate with them?

If they do write their own songs, then yeah, why not? It’d be fun. I think a couple of them are from near to where we live, so I’m sure we have some similar interests. And Harry’s a Utd fan…

Are there any future covers in the pipeline?

We had a bash at a Taylor Swift song, but it didn’t really go the way that we planned it. When we get some time in the studio, it’s a nice break from writing. It’s nice sometimes to take yourself away from it and do a cover. There might be some more in the pipeline because we’re recording. We’re writing our next album so I’m sure there’ll be a few. Jono does some covers on his YouTube and I’ve got a few on mine.




Speaking about the album, was it a big deal for you to work with John Feldmann?

For me it was a massive deal. I feel like I’m the biggest John Feldmann fan in the band. I grew up listening to My Chemical Romance and The Used and I was really into that scene when I was younger. John Feldmann was the producer on The Used’s debut album and a lot of their other albums. I really like the way that he works with bands and the way he is so into the music that he is doing. He was really hands on with everything. It’d always been a dream of mine since I was really young to work with him, so I was very, very surprised and taken aback when he randomly called me out of the blue.

So it was him that came to you and not the other way around?

Yeah, it’s great. I think we sent him a video of us playing live and we didn’t get a response back. We thought he didn’t really like us, so we just carried on. And then it turns out that he’d kept track of us and we released a video a few years back and he saw that video and thought we’d come on leaps and bounds and wanted to work with us. He got my number from somebody that knew me and rang me one day when we were on the way back from a gig. Crazy. 

Do you have any personal musical influences that might surprise people?

Maybe. I’m a really big fan of Bon Iver, Sam Smith and Bruno Mars as well. I guess that might surprise people, because it’s really poppy. In terms stuff people might not have checked out, I’m a huge Jeff Buckley fan - he’s not really well publicised anymore. And I’m really, really into Motown music. That’s an influence that hasn’t really made its way into our music. I don’t know how it could work in there.

You could maybe do a Stevie Wonder cover?

We did play around with that idea actually. We did a cover of an Elton John song, which is somewhere on Spotify. That was pretty funny.

You’re going to SXSW this month - how hard have you found it to break into America?

We have a little bit of an advantage because we have British accents. They just love boys with British accents. I think really we should just stand on stage and talk. But it’s such as massive country, it seems like a huge insurmountable task. But I’ve always wanted to travel America and visit every state so I’m willing to put the work in. It’ll definitely be tough. Robbie Williams couldn’t manage it…

Here’s a few questions from your fans. What are your festival plans? (via @fyeahblitzkids)

Last year we were actually really, really busy on the festival circuit - I think we played every festival going. So this year we’re going to be a lot quieter. We were promoting the album last year and everything was really busy - we played like 200 shows - so if we play all the festivals again this year, we won’t have any time to write a new album. And we definitely want to get a record out this year. 

What would you do if you weren’t allowed to drink alcohol or eat pizza for a month? (via @BLlTZKlD)

I would probably just stay in my room and cry. I would hate life. I’d stay in my room, play Xbox and probably go completely mad and end up killing someone. That’d be the worst thing ever. I can’t imagine living without beer or pizza.

Can Joey please date me? (via @whosjessyanyway)

Absolutely. If you pay for the beer and the pizza, I’m yours.

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Watch the video for Blitz Kids' 'Keep Swinging' below: