INTERVIEW: Blaenavon

Coming to the end of their headline, That’s Your Lot tour, I caught up with Ben, Frank and Harris, with a conversation entailing sea creatures, SXSW and Starbucks Double Shot Espresso cans.

What is the meaning behind the name of your first debut album ‘That’s Your Lot’?

Ben: Well, it’s an album about how it feels when you are about 20 years old. Whenever you make any decision like it’s going to be the last and most important thing that ever happens and realising; actually by the end of the record that y’know, new things will form, new relationships will occur and it will seem like it’s the end but things can start again and be even better. That’s what I’ve gone with today anyway, haha.

If you guys weren’t making music, what would you be doing?

Harris: I’d probably be studying sea creatures.

Ben: I would be working in a pharmacy.

Frank: I’d be teaching about sea creatures.

Harris: Frank and I would be working together.

Ben: And my pharmacy would be a specialist sea creature pharmacy!

Harris: So we would all still be together.

Ben: And probably making music!

What’s your favourite song to perform live?

Frank: Man In The Mirror is very fun. I like doing that a lot. Last time I did that, I didn’t look at the screen once or the words.

Ben: It was pretty impressive actually, but it’s never quite in the right key for Frank though so we need to get our own special version made.

Ben: One of my favorite moments of my entire life was singing Fairytale of New York with Declan McKenna for his Christmas birthday party, and I was Kirsty and it was also not in the right key so I shouted it loads and I was incredibly drunk and it felt amazing.

Harris: Probably Old Lang Syne on New Year’s Eve.

TT: I remember when Harris did karaoke and you went to sing a song but completely surprised everyone with another.

Ben: Oh yeah! Harris did that to Creep in New York and started singing All Star by Smash Mouth, it was pretty f*****g badass. I told you that night that it was the best thing you’ve ever done, honestly.

Harris: I wish it wasn’t, haha.

Who are the people that inspire you the most, influences, icons, idols?

Frank: Harris.

Ben: Harris?

Harris: Frank, I find you quite inspirational too so. But also Frank, you’re Peruvian friends! They know they way to live, they’re just family friends of Frank’s but they’re great.

Ben: I’m really inspired by Frank’s tiny nephew, Toby, who’s really, really good at the keys and a very sweet young man. Him and Lou Reed, haha.

What was SXSW like?

Ben: Very very excellent fun.

Frank: Quite surreal and crazy and rushed, drunk and fast.

Ben: Drunk and fast and sporty and cool and nice and sporty and hot and good. Yeah, we had like 4 shows in 6 hours.

Frank: Had a little swim.

Ben: Spent my birthday with these babies and our good friends, Alice Phoebe Lou and Michael Parallax by the Springs.

Frank: What a lineup. If you ask us what our dream festival is, we’ve already answered it right there.

Ben: Yeah we were only there for 4 days and we shot a music video which is coming out soon. And yeah, Austin, Texas is just the best really, it’s fantastic.

What has been the highlight of this year so far?

Frank: Brexit, haha.

Ben: Cry laughing emoji. It’s been a good year. We had a show in Cologne with Two Door Cinema Club and I told the audience that it was my dad’s birthday and he was out there to see us and it was his 60th. Then without me even asking, 5000 people sang Happy Birthday to him. He was so happy, that was pretty cool.

Frank you’re a man of many talents, as we have seen on Facebook Live and Instagram Stories. What made you stick to bass in Blaenavon?

Frank: Bass duties. No else wanted to, haha. That’s why anybody plays bass.

Ben: Actually if you come to one of our in-stores, you’ll see Frankie at the keys which he is very skilled at.

Are there any hobbies or interests you particularly enjoy?

Frank: Sea creatures, haha.

Harris: I get home and I do a bit of calligraphy. It’s nice to relax.

Ben: Do you?

Harris: Yeah, I bought a calligraphy set about a year ago and I’ve been steadily learning.

Ben: That’s what you do when you’re not picking your phone up?

Harris: Yeah, haha.

Frank: I don’t do f****** anything, haha.

Ben: Yeah, none of us do s*** man. Just Harris and his calligraphy.

Frank: I like doing a bit of painting but I can’t really do letters, like shapes of letters.

Ben: Something that I don’t do anymore that I really should do again, but I don’t have a PC anymore, but I’ll get some software on my Mac, is that I used to make really f******* hilarious stop motion animations.

Frank: The orange!

Ben: This was like 10 years ago, they were so funny. It was like men eating their own heads. But we also more recently made a piece called, “Your Clementime Has Come”; which is a stop motion.

Frank: More recently? That must have been 2013!

Ben: It’s more recent than the other one, which is the story of a clementine eating itself.

Harris: See the thing is, we have to look 5 years ago because we haven’t done anything but the band for 5 years. We are very busy men.

Ben: I went for a jog once and I set a personal best and thought there is no point ever trying to beat that.

Frank: I was thinking about this morning, how can I best monitor how many Starbucks Double Shot Espresso Cans, do I drink? Because I do drink quite a lot. It would be interesting to see how many I actually do drink.

Harris: I’d say 4-a-day.

Ben: I’d probably say 5-a-week.

Frank: It’s way more than 5-a-week, even when I’m not on tour as well.

Ben: Do they even help you out? I don’t believe in caffeine.

Frank: I don’t believe in caffeine but I do believe in Starbucks Double Shot Espressos. So there we go, exclusive!

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve been given?

Harris: I can think of the most disturbing. Which was a present from our label mates, Let’s Eat Grandma. [Ben audibly grimacing in the background] And it was this puppet they’d made out of like bits and bobs they’ve found around the house. And it had like one button eye and it was made out of green tissue paper. And it had empty toilet roll tubes as its arms. It’s hanging in my bedroom and sometimes when the lights are low, I see it in the corner of my bedroom and just have like waking nightmares.

Frank: So funny, I’ve never found that disturbing.

Ben: It’s like theoretically disturbing but very very cute in real life. I just wanna cuddle it. But that’s the weirdest thing ever. Also there was a ceramic sheep coin piggy bank thing, that Jessie gave Harris. Frank got grapes obviously. And we got a few cards from Leyla and I opened it and it was full of glitter and it went absolutely everywhere, which was nice.

Frank: That was pretty crazy.

Ben: Yeah, that was weird.

As a band, what are your goals for 1, 3, 5 years to come?

Frank: Sea creatures.

Ben: Stop it Frank!

Frank: I wanna not play shows, that’s where I wanna be.

Ben: We wanna get really really big. We wanna get so big so we never have to play any shows ever; apart from occasionally come to Liverpool. [Casual tongue click from Ben] But yeah so we can like be comfortable and music as our career and we can live away from home and not have to spend every waking hour on the road.  But spend more time in the studio, more time hanging out, relaxing a little bit, fishing more, doing more calligraphy, headlining Glastonbury.

Harris: I think a lot more bands take it very seriously and they end up being a joke but we make lots of jokes and therefore end up being serious.

Ben: Yeah that’s exclusive.

Frank: What a great interview. Thank you.

Ben: Thanks Jade, we love you so much. And mad respect to Turtle Tempo.

Frank: Whoa, that’s kind of my vibe!

Don’t forget to pre-order Blaenavon’s debut album, That’s Your Lot, which will be released April 7th and check out their latest single, Lonely Side on Spotify and Apple Music.

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