Blisses B, the Californian sunshine salesmen have finished work on their third LP and are embarking on a tour in support of it. San Francisco seems unable to hold their sheer talent and originality any longer as they step further and further afield, bringing their halcyon glow of folk-rock and psychadelic-reggae infused vibes with them. We had the pleasure of being able to get a few answers and probe deeper into what makes these creative maestros tick.
HUNOW: So I’ve been sat here listening to Sea Level Astronomy for a while now and I was trying to decide how I could describe you to people who haven’t heard about you yet. I got nothing. How did you manage to craft something so utterly unique and carefree in every regard?
BB: Aw shucks, thank you for the kind words first and foremost. I believe our uniqueness is what we thrive on, and in regards to how we craft it… We truly believe that if you pour your heart and your personal touch into something, it will come across that way to others.
HUNOW: This LP is your first release in three years, what caused the long time between releases? Was it a decision you made or something unexpected?
BB: Personal changes caused the proverbial “Two steps forward; one step back.” We had some songs ready and others came in closer to the recording of Sea Level Astronomy. So the decision was made for us time-wise and was somewhat unexpected, but we are happy with what we came away with in Sea Level Astronomy.
HUNOW: Being from CA, do you find that it sometimes colours peoples perspectives of you beforehand? And if so, positively or negatively?
BB: I am very proud of being a first generation Californian. Friends can tell you that I lean on the side of annoying about my love of this great state. I truly see us being a Californian band as a total positive. I would also say that San Francisco Bay Area has a plethora of talented bands.
HUNOW: In a time where music is consumed rapidly and wholesale, your brand of music begs to be listened to and enjoyed. How do you go about creating that?
BB: Albums as a whole still matter. We go about creating Blisses B albums as a whole concept/idea and I intend to do that as long as I/we make music. Taking the time to choose the song orders of each album makes the listening experience a full realisation too.
HUNOW: Unusually for many hands you use the bass as a melody maker rather than simply support or rhythm, what prompted such an interesting and beautiful use of an underutilised instrument?
BB: Where do I begin?… James Touzel, our bass player, is a man of many pedals, and talents. HE uses an array of pedals (Pickie Pie Distortion, Synth Bass, Boss Octaver etc.) to produce a sound all his own. We all have free reign in regards to instrumentation but we let him go wild with his Danelectro Longhorn Bass.
HUNOW: You’ve been on a small tour in support of the LP recently, how was the reception from new fans? Do you find that your music connects with new fans easier than perhaps other genres might?
BB: In January, we did a run of shows in Southern California to a great and diverse audience each night. Playing songs off of Sea Level Astronomy has been great and received very well. The new songs take on a life of their own when played live and we are an upbeat band, so we hope to get people moving each and every gig. I don’t know if we connect any easier with fans than other genres but I will say that people can tell when you are putting your heart into something and we do that in spades.
HUNOW: Do you find that gigging in different areas will bring in different crowds? And how does that affect your performance and reaction?
BB: Each and every show is a mixed bag, and that’s what makes live music great. The uniqueness of a venue and its patrons will manifest into how the night will go. Our performance is not affected in any sense of the word, we put our best foot forward in every new situation. People can sense plasticity and fake efforts, we pour our heart out and hope it beats near the same tempo as those we are playing to that night.
HUNOW: Have you ever had any amazing experiences or particularly bad receptions with touring and gigging?
BB: Our album release party for Sea Level Astronomy was this past weekend at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. It was an out-of-body experience to play that hallowed hall, and I can tell you that it was one of the best musical experiences for Blisses B. As for bad experiences, I won’t hard on any as it’s all learning experiences. I think it’s great that people support live music in any way possible, as we are becoming a less interactive society.
HUNOW: This LP was produced thanks to a successful kickstarter campaign, how did you find the experience and can you see yourself using it again in the future?
BB: Kickstarter worked out great for us and we couldn’t be more appreciative of fans, friends and family who supported us. We offered and make good on really quality items like Vinyl, CD’s, posters and American Apparel t-shirts so that people knew they were getting a worthy finished product. I would definitely do it again, and I hope we showed that we are worthy of it.
HUNOW: On the topic of the internet and music, how much do you use it for advertising related purposes and do you find that using it affects you as a band? Do you see it affecting music?
BB: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the trifecta we use for plugging shows and our music. I couldn’t tell you how effective we really are but we are trying, and Instagram may be the favourite as the picture only side of things seems to resonate the most. Spotify, Pandora, et al. are affecting music and though it gets it heard by a much larger crowd… we will see the lasting effects on bands. We also choose to produce vinyl and that will never change.
HUNOW: You say that the concept for the LP is “the underdog perspective”. Is this something that is important to you, something that you’ve experienced and see how effective it can be, that ‘nothing-to-lose and everything to gain’ aspect?
BB: That “underdog perspective” idea came from an article I read, wherein a group of sea level astronomers in Florida made a huge discovery.
Now this led me to the theme of what is one’s perspective, from a certain vantage point, i.e., whereas one could be limited by physical location/mindset but pull off large feats given that locale. Now, it’s not always a setback and the idea that you could find a Jupiter sized planet from a sea level observatory really got my mind racing on the subject.
HUNOW: What does the future hold for Blisses B? A full-length album and countrywide tour perhaps?
BB: New music is always being worked on, and we will have some ideas fleshed out very soon for a new album. East Coast and Pacific Northwest Tour are on the docket next. The festival circuit is always on our radar, and a need for us in 2015.
HUNOW: What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? And how did it affect you?
BB: I have been given advice throughout my life from friends and family, and I adhere to it daily. I suppose the effect is that we are all positive/forward thinkers, we may just have a chance. My brother Kyle shared a letter F. Scott Fitzgerald sent his daughter that imparted wisdom that still holds true today… the key part of it read, “Why borrow trouble?”.
HUNOW: And for the readers here at HUNOW, what is the one message you would like to send to everyone right now if you could?
BB: From the great mind of Warren Zevon: “Enjoy Every Sandwich.”
You can purchase all Blisses B’s works here.
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