Today we're unleashing the epic sounds of rising Blackpool ambient rockers Blanket. With an emphasis on swirling soundscapes and brooding, expansive experimentation – plus an occasional penchant for autotune that puts Kanye West to shame – this four-piece are rapidly becoming one of the UK underground's fastest-rising stars.
We catch up with the band to find out more about their journey, their music and what they have lined up for next.
Can you introduce yourselves – where are you from, who does what and what are your roles in the band?
Simon: "Well, I’m Simon, I play guitar and sing backing vocals."
Steven: "I’m Steven, I play the drums."
Bobby: "I’m Bob, I play guitar and sing main vocals."
Matt: "And I’m Matt, I play the bass guitar."
Simon: "We collectively are Blanket, from Blackpool."
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
Matt: "Me and Bob have played in bands together for years, I think we just met through other bands playing together and started working together on various projects."
Simon: "It’s a similar story for me and Steven, really. We’ve played in many different projects over the years together."
Bobby: "I met Simon when my old band recorded with him, as he used to run a studio in Blackpool. We became good friends, and even eventually housemates, which was when we started writing music together."
Simon: "Yeah, once we started writing together and realised we needed to form a full band, I brought Steven in, and Bobby got Matt involved, and things went from there."
What were your key influences/inspirations in getting the band together?
Bobby: "If you mean musically, my main influences ranged from Circa Survive to The Dillinger Escape Plan, and in a weird way I think you can hear that wide scope of influence in our music. We all listen to such a wide range of music, and we wanted to draw on all of those influences to create Blanket.
Steven: "All of us have always been infatuated with movie scores, so we wanted to take our influences and create something cinematic."
How would you describe your sound in three words for people who’ve never heard you?
What makes you special/different to other bands out there?
Simon: "I feel like we’ve combined our influences to create quite a unique sound."
Steven: "Yeah, and with our live show we incorporate visuals and lights to give the show a more cinematic feel."
Bobby: "Some people have referred to it as being hypnotic."
Matt: "The whole audio visual experience of our live show is definitely something that helps us stand out as something different right now."
What’s the story behind the new album How To Let Go?
Matt: "How To Let Go is an album about finding positivity in the darkness. The record is about realising how small a part of the universe we each are individually, but instead of looking at that as a negative, we use this fact as a way of letting go of our self-imposed boundaries, because we need to make the most of the small part we play in the universe, and make ourselves free to create art together."
Bobby: "Yeah, we wanted to acknowledge our place in the world, but use that knowledge in a positive way, and create a record about letting go, and moving forward, in a creative and positive way."
How did you approach writing the album and how did it come together?
Bobby: "So we demoed a lot of ideas, both individually and as a group, when we would write together. Either way we would record the ideas and then spend time listening to them, and performing them, trying to find the perfect structures, or the perfect parts, until we felt they were finally ready."
Simon: "We’d also road test songs, throwing the odd one into our sets to see how they worked, and if they didn’t work in the way we were hoping, we could dissect the songs and look at what needed changing."
What’s your favourite story/anecdote from recording the album?
Simon: "Well I mean, Steven forgot to bring any spare socks so he wore the same pair for the whole recording process, that was something."
Bobby: "We are idiots sometimes, we can’t even count – we miscounted the days and when we thought it was our second to last day, it was in fact our last, which caused a great panic as we suddenly realised we had a hell of a lot of work to get finished that day."
Matt: "Not really an anecdote, but my favourite part of recording was our slightly bourgeois trips to the fancy cinema down the road after sessions."
What, in your opinion, is the stand out track on the album?
Simon: "Absolutely hands down Turn Ourselves To Stone for me."
Bobby: "I’d be tempted to agree, either that or Let The Sleepers Awake."
Matt: "A Sky Filled With Ghosts."
Steven: "The single, man – Worlds Collide is the one."
What do you hope people will take away from the album and your music in general?
Matt: We talked earlier about finding positivity in the darkness being a big theme of the record and letting go of that which holds you back. So, I think what we want people to take away from the music is a kind of hopefulness and joy, basically a positive mental attitude. We want our music to help people reach this state of positivity and hopefulness and to inspire these people to create together and help work towards a more positive and welcoming world - we want the people who listen to our music to become the light in the darkness we’ve spoken of.
What's been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
Steven: "There’s been so many, it’s hard to pick one – maybe getting to play on the most picturesque beach I’ve ever seen in the South of France last year?"
Matt: "Definitely getting to play ArcTanGent last year, that was unreal."
Bobby: "Getting to finally record all the songs we’ve been working on for so long, and to get to do it somewhere like The Ranch with Lewis Johns was just incredible."
Simon: "Signing with Music For Nations, it’s just an honour to be a part of such a historic label. And we absolutely love working with the team there, such a great group of people."
What can people expect if they come to see you live?
Bobby: "A hypnotic live experience – we want to take our audience on a journey with our visuals and light show, we’re as proud of the work we’ve put into that as we are the music itself in many ways."
What are you most looking forward to about the future – what’s coming next?
Steven: "Well, we’ve got our debut album out, and we’re super excited for everyone to finally hear it."
Matt: "Playing loads of shows, man – can’t wait to get back on the road and show everyone what we’ve spent so long working on."
Bobby: "Just creating more, writing more music, working more and more on the live show. We just wanna create, and we don’t want to half-ass it, we want all of our output to be something special, that the listener won’t want to forget any time soon."
How To Let Go is available now via Music For Nations.