With Blaire Alise & The Bombshells
Blaire Alise, a 20-year-old Detroit native, is leading the vanguard of a new generation in garage-pop, embodying the swagger of early 60’s rock, to edgier avant-garde proto-psychedelia, to classic bubblegum-pop whimsy, to a modern indie-rock sound with meticulously woven harmonies.
Blaire Alise & The Bombshells have just released the video for their song “Rolleiflex”, which exudes a 60’s style, filled with emotion. The song appears on their new album My Eye, out now. Popmatters praised the track’s “instantly memorable melodic line, splendid vocals, and its perfect chorus.”
We recently had the chance to catch up with Alise to discuss the resonance of 60’s music and how it made its way into her world.
What are your first memories of being introduced to the culture of the 60’s?
The Beatles were the first band that I fell in love with! My parents used to play their albums in the car after listening to “Fruit Salad” by The Wiggles a thousand too many times. It started with Abbey Road and Yellow Submarine, and after asking for more albums, it was all about Sgt. Pepper and Rubber Soul. I remember not being able to fall asleep and listening to “Lovely Rita” over and over and over again.
What was it that fascinated you?
I thought the lyrics were so silly! I remember listening to the words “toe jam football” and thinking “what the heck does this mean?!” I also loved how I could take off one ear of the headphones and all of the vocals would disappear or you could only hear a few of the instruments. You know, that George Martin stereo sound!
Do you have any other favorite artists from that time period that have had a major influence on you?
Other than The Beatles, I could watch and listen to The Monkees everyday for the rest of my life and never get tired of it. I’m such a nerd over them! I also totally fell in love with Lesley Gore, The Crystals, and The Beach Boys. More recently, I’m all about Os Mutantes, Harry Nilsson, Margo Guryan, Françoise Hardy, and Carole King’s demos from the Brill Building!
Your work seems to capture a bit of a throwback in some way, whether it’s filming on a super 8 to the album artwork and photographs. What can you say about that?
I think it’s all about creating a sense of familiarity to a listener who’s hearing my songs for the first time. I’m not trying to recreate anything; time can be used as a tool for people to relate to the music. For the visuals, I’m really inspired by the soft femininity of French yé-yé singers like Françoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, and France Gall.
Are there elements to 60’s music that you like to modernize or do you prefer to stay in the original style? If so, how do you do it?
I think it would be boring if I tried to do everything exactly the way it was done before! It’s especially true in the production side. I want my songs to be as rich and hi-fi as any recording made in 2017.
It’s not something that I consciously think about when I’m writing! I just try to write honestly and make something that reflects who I am.
For more information including upcoming shows, visit: BlaireAlise.com
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In collaboration with/produced by Jeff Gorra