Colin Blunstone of The Zombies talks reviving the band, their US popularity and performing at the London Palladium

I had the honour of interviewing Colin Blunstone from The Zombies. He spoke about their upcoming gig at the London Palladium and the truth behind the spelling of Odessy in their hit album Odessy and Oracle.

You’re playing at the London Palladium in September, are you excited?

Very excited. I think it’s wonderful to be playing in one of the prestigious theatres in the country. It’s very exciting when we put the original line up, sadly Paul Atkinson died in 2004. It’s exciting when we get back together, we played in Spain a week ago – played in Barcelona – This could well be the last time we play Odessy and Oracle in the UK. It’s always a special occasion. It’s quite emotional and full of memories

Quite emotional?

It’s emotional. We recorded in 1967 – 50 years since it was recorded – 67 then that triggers other memories of ones youth. There are some quite sad songs and some joyous songs as well. I do find it an emotional roller coaster playing an album which is celebrating its 50th anniversary with close friends. It is definitely going to be an emotional charged evening. There will be lots of family and friends there celebrating this iconic moment in The Zombies history.

What has changed in the music industry?

Everything has changed and changing incredibly fast, day by day in some instances. I think what has changed the most is people can have a lifetime career in the music industry. In 1964 when we became professional musicians, it was generally accepted you would have a 2/3 year career but that isn’t the case now, you can have a full career in the music industry.

I think people realise now it’s more international industry used to be UK focussed. But even as The Zombies we play abroad more than the UK. We are touring in the states all the time. The technology side is just totally different to what it was. The changes are just incredible. Now it’s limitless what you can do with digital recording but it can confuse the issue as there are so many choices on how to record now it makes it more difficult. There are hundreds of options you didn’t have in 1964.

If The Zombies were starting out today do you think they would have the same commercial success as they did?

Difficult to know. I don’t think anybody knows but I think we would have stood a good chance. We had two prolific writers in the band who wrote timeless classic songs, which was one of the main strengths of the band. I think we would have stood a chance at being successful now.

Some of your biggest hits are still heard and used today, that must be quite an achievement for you.

It’s very exciting and it’s taken me quite by surprise thinking back to 1964. Music 50 years back from 1964 was not playing then but now She’s Not There is playing all the time. And Time of the Season is by far our biggest hit. It is played all around the world but it was never a hit in the UK.

That is something you have to learn. Record successes change very much by territory and country. A hit song in the UK might not be a hit in other countries. But there is something about The Zombies songs.

Chanel used She’s Not There for a worldwide advert. Last Christmas Starbucks used one for the American TV campaign. Our songs are constantly being used in TV and adverts. Eminem sampled Time of the Season on his latest album. Our songs are continually being used in a contemporary war which gives us a contemporary edge. We are not a nostalgia band. We are still recording new songs and albums now. Our last album in 2015 was on the Billboard top 100

We are not a nostalgia band. We are still recording new songs and albums now. Our last album in 2015 was on the Billboard top 100 list. People might not be aware of the contemporary edge the band has.

So you did split up in the 60s but are you back together for good?

Yes we are. For the foreseeable future. We got together my chance to play 6 concerts in 1999 and we just kept going. The two original members, including myself, and the rest of the line up has stay ed the same over the last 20 years.

For 18 years we have been together and toured all around the world. We do around 3 US tours a year which is quite unusual for UK-based band to play in US as much as we do. We do spend most of time touring in the States.

Why the US rather than UK?

Well there is a much bigger market and a bigger demand for The Zombies. It could be because we are part of the first wave of British invasion. We went there shortly after the Beatles and there was this fascination with the British invasion.

It leads to people wanting to come see us in the concert – all top 5 records over there. Our iconic last album Odessy and Oracle, Rolling Stones nominated it in the top 100 albums of all time. And this is what we will play at the London Palladium. It has a standing that it doesn’t quite have in the UK,  people are fascinated by that album.

Is it true the spelling of Odessy was simply a spelling error?

It is sort of if you think back before computers. The painting of Odessy and Oracle was a piece of art. It was hand painted by an artist Terry Quirk who I know quite well. He went to the same school as me and I admit I cannot spell very well. He may have spelt Odessy incorrectly and nobody noticed. The artist made a spelling mistake. We were abroad so we didn’t have

The artist made a spelling mistake. We were abroad so we didn’t have chance to see it before it was already at the printers. It’s now become folklore. The spelling has become just as popular as the album. It sort of the same mystique of the album.

After The Zombies ended you had a successful solo career. Was it difficult to change from a band to solo?

It’s certainly different when the weight of responsibly is solely on your shoulders. Probably the edge was taken of me as I had Rod Argent produce my first album. It was co-produced by two of the original Zombies. So it was the same project but under another name.

It’s interesting to get involved in solo career after being involved in a band. I’m involved with The Zombies but still have a solo career. I still go out and tour and make albums. I enjoy having two careers. When The Zombies are having a quiet period I can go out and tour under my solo career.

It doesn’t seem like you will ever be slowing down.

Touring and performing is quite physical. It probably will come a time when we have to slow down but we have all agreed we will keep going while we can and long may it last.

So what has been the highlight of your career?

The reincarnation of The Zombies started in a low key manner in 1999. We were playing quite small venues and weren’t billed as The Zombies. We had no idea that we would be reforming The Zombies. We were playing with a group of musicians coming together. There is a huge international interest in The Zombies.

And it’s been great to see that interest grow, to see them growing in bigger places. We managed to relaunch The Zombies and now it’s quite a formidable touring entity. We get to play concerts in some of the biggest theatres in the world and that’s just been done by continually touring and word of mouth.

Would you ever want to collaborate with any current artists?

No I don’t think so. I’ve got my hands full now. There are loads of wonderful artists but I am very happy to just listen to Elton John, Sting, all these wonderful artists and I am very happy to go to their shows and listen to their records without having to force myself on them but of course I do have favourite artist.

And finally what is the weirdest thing a fan sent you?

Cannot think of single thing – huge bouquets of flowers but  flowers you can’t hardly get into the room. We have had items of underwear thrown on the stage. One item was a large and generous variety thrown at us in Seattle. As they floated down with the lights behind them it looked like a parachute. I do remember them quite well. I didn’t know what to do with them. I just left them.

‘We don’t see them as rivals anymore’: Cheat Codes on The Chainsmokers rivalry and Demi Lovato

I was given the opportunity to speak with Cheat Codes about their collaboration with Demi Lovato in their latest single and we also spoke about success at their age and having a friendly rivalry with The Chainsmokers.

You have collaborated with Demi Lovato in your new single. How was it working with her?

It was really awesome. We first came in contact with her at a show in Sao Paulo in Brazil at Z Festival.

At the time it was the biggest show we ever played – there was like 17,000 people there – and she was a headline and we remember seeing her perform and being like ‘Wow she’s such a good vocalist’.

She’s actually the first female vocalist we’ve ever had on a song and we were like ‘It would be great to work with someone like that.’

When we went back that way all of the Brazilian fans on social media were hitting us up. It’s been crazy how it happened. She really just nailed it and knocked it out in a matter of an hour and a half. She really is just a real professional.

Are you going to be working with her on her new album?

It’s just one single for now. I actually don’t know anything about her new album. I haven’t really heard anything about that.

I’m excited now that you’ve brought that up. I’ll make sure that I check that out.

Any other artists you want to work with?

There’s a bunch of them. We kind of have this dream of working with all the quite big artists and bringing them into a dance track.

So Paul McCartney, Sting – those are kind the dream collaborations. We kind of grew up listening to that kind of music.

We started as songwriters, so kind of different to typical DJs. We always start with the song first, so maybe just with an acoustic guitar or a piano and then we kind of add everything else afterwards.

So we’d like to work with quite big songwriters like that where the songs really stood up on their own without all of the bells and whistles like they do today. They’re the dream collaborations.

As far as future collaborations, we’d love to collaborate with there’s a bunch of people we’d love to work with. So now we’re just kind of opening that door of creative collaborations.

Top ten already in iTunes since releasing the single in March, that’s a pretty big achievement. How does it feel?

It feels great. The fans are really crazy and supportive, especially the ones on social media. Going back to Brazil is crazy.

On the very first day, we were number one on iTunes in brazil overall. It’s kind of crazy that that was able to happen so quickly.

Getting the support from radio so early on as well has been amazing, we’re so grateful for that.

You also have a platinum selling single. Must be quite crazy for you?

It’s crazy and surreal. It just kind of happened by accident, one of those super lucky accidents.

Ever since that song we just go with the flow and just go with our gut and because that’s how we figure out what’s good or bad.

We like to just with our intuition and our gut and just whatever feels good because that’s kind of one of our cheat codes so to speak.

It makes us feel good, it makes us feel easy and just go with the flow. We wrote Sex in about an hour and a half – that’s how long it took us to write that song.

We were just really inspired and it just came together in the moment with that song. I think a lot of people, especially music fans, they kind of think that ‘Wow this is crazy, how did they do this?’

I think that sometimes it just comes in a really inspired moment.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

We used to just listen to classic music – The Beatles, Bob Dylan. I still like the classic like rock stuff like AC/DC.

I think just being able to quieten your mind and be in the moment is a really powerful tool that we try to utilise as much as possible and not overthink it.

At the time when we wrote Sex, the whole melody just kind of popped into our head. We actually didn’t even reference the song, we didn’t go back to the original record.

We just wanted to recreate and do it however it felt natural and that would be relevant in today’s music – I think that’s important, to just allow whatever is natural to just happen. The fans will know if it’s forced, it will be awkward.

Ever wanted to go into rock industry? Or always DJing?

That’s kind of how we started. I used to be in a rock band. Trevor used to be in a different project – more of an acoustic singer-songwriter background.

Kevin used to be a rapper. We all come from different backgrounds and that was kind of the idea of this project. We didn’t want to be boxed into one specific genre. We wanted to be able to go in any direction,

If you come to see us live it really puts it all into perspective and everything makes sense because we’re mixing in hip-hop with big EDM mixes and also big pop records that everyone knows and loves.

All with a sense of just loving life and loving music. That’s kind of the whole idea of what we’re trying to do.

You have also been commissioned to do remixes. Is this something you wanted to do and would you do it again?

Definitely working with people in person is always amazing. The remix side is always fun just to put a different spin on songs. We just did this for an artist and it’s just kind of blowng up on Spotify right now. Sometimes with remixes you never really know what’s going to happen –

We just did this for an artist and it’s just kind of blowing up on Spotify right now. Sometimes with remixes you never really know what’s going to happen.

I think that’s also an exciting side to it. But we definitely want to focus on our original music and we have been.

You’ve all had a lot of success at such a young age. Must be great seeing the world?

I’m 26, Kevin is 25 and Trevor is 24. We’re just really grateful that we’re able to do this as a full-time job.

When we first started we were eating ramen noodles, sharing a one bedroom flat, struggling to pay rent and making all of our music from our bedroom.

It wasn’t a struggle though, it was a fun challenge. Like ‘We can live off of this for a month and make it work!’ We love what we’re doing.

Have you seen an impact through streaming and Spotify?

Honestly, without streaming I don’t think we would be where we’re at so quickly.

I think streaming has opened the door for us to really break in and get into the market and it levels the playing field in a sense where the song is the most important thing.

It takes away a lot of the political business stuff that the fans might not realise is going on.

We were in the top ten in Spotify and we didn’t have a major label behind us, we didn’t have a long-term deal.

That was pretty crazy when that was happening with Sex. At one point we had almost three million plays in a single day.

It puts the power in the artist’s hands and it also puts it in the fans hands, they’re getting the music that they care about most, it has nothing to do with the label or CEO’s or the major companies.

It just has to do with what music they want to listen to. When we first started, I remember we never had that much money so we were recording it all by ourselves, writing it all by ourselves, singing it all by ourselves.

I remember we spent about $50 for the entirety of our first song just to be able to put it up on Spotify and iTunes.

For an independent artist that’s a huge tool because there’s no overhead. If you can create music on your own then you’re able to spend like $50 and if you’re able to get a couple million plays on a song then you’ve made all of your money back times a hundred.

I think it’s amazing for an independent artist and it was a huge help for us in the beginning for sure.

You started as an independent group is that still the case?

We signed a deal with 300 Entertainment. They also have Fetty Wap as well as a bunch of other artists. They’ve just allowed us to do all the things that we want to do and release music the way we want it to be released.

When we first started we were releasing a song every single month and that was a radical thing for certain people at the time.

And then The Chainsmokers did it not too long after that. You can release a song every single month and they don’t compete with each other, they actually help each other. It’s kind of like a snowball effect.

Being able to release music whenever we want was a huge priority for us and they’re allowing us to do that at a bigger level. We’re excited about it.

You’ve been on tour with The Chainsmokers. How was it?

That wasn’ actually the first tour we ever did with The Chainsmokers. That was 2015.

That to be the first tour we ever went on was really great to witness and be a part of because that was back when their song Roses was taking off on radio and it was right before they released Don’t Let Me Down.

They used to actually play their song Don’t Let Me Down as their encore song every night so that was cool being back stage and hanging out with them.

Even just hearing them play Don’t Let Me Down, we could just feel that this song was going to be big.

I think that just being around people and seeing their success right in front of your eyes is a really inspiring thing. That was really motivating for us. Just to see that it’s possible.

Do you see The Chainsmokers as a rival?

I think maybe in the beginning a little. But now they’re kind of their own thing with their own sound. Especially with their new album, they’re doing something that dance artists are really doing.

I don’t think it’s healthy to compete with other artists on that level, I think it’s more about the fans and inspiring music lovers. I think when you’re first starting there can be feelings like that because you just want to be successful. Once you start doing it for a while, you realise that it’s not important.

I think when you’re first starting there can be feelings like that because you just want to be successful. Once you start doing it for a while, you realise that it’s not important.

Did you get invited to The Chainsmokers tour?

Early on we became good friends with their manager – he actually flew out to LA to meet with us.

Then they just invited us on their tour. I think we had like two songs out at the time so we were really excited to be able to do that. It was great.

What’s next for you?

We’re doing a world tour for No Promises and we’re hitting a lot of countries that we’ve never played for which is really exciting.

We’ve just come back from Dubai, we’re going to Latvia, Croatia, Norway and a lot of countries that we’ve been dreaming about going to.

So that’s taking up a lot of time. We have a bunch of music that we’re sitting on that we’re ready to release so look out for that.

On Thursday we’re leaving again for a bunch of America tour dates and Canada. It’s going to be good. We’re doing a bunch of American festivals as well as European festivals in summer as well.

Coming to the UK?

We’re going to be playing around Europe. We’re playing this festival called Electric Love in Austria.

A couple of months ago we did UK and Ireland. I’m sure we’ll be back pretty soon – we’re always bouncing back and forth.

Playing in London is one of our favourite shows. We love London.

Let’s Talk Daggers Announce UK Tour

In support of their debut album A Beautiful Life, Let’s Talk Daggers head out on tour this October.

Starting in Brighton on October 10, the band will visit other venues around the country including London, Bristol and Cambridge and will finish their tour in Manchester.

See below the list of dates and venues:

October:

10 – Brighton – Green Door Store *

13 – London – Old Blue Last *

14 – Bristol – Red Lion

15 – Worcester – The Pig And Drum

16 – Bedford – Esquires

17 – Cambridge – The Portland Arms

18 – Manchester – A Carefully Planned Fest

On the 10th and 13th, Palm Reader will join the band.

A Beautiful Life will be released on October 23 on Tangled Talk Records.
Watch the new video for ‘I Love You Dad, But I’m Mental’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxxldWcIeVA

The band recently launched a PledgeMusic pre-order campaign which you can find out more about here:

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/letstalkdaggers

Let’s Talk Daggers have teamed up with PledgeMusic

Let’s Talk Daggers and PledgeMusic have just launched a pre-order campaign around the band’s fantastic debut album, A Beautiful Life, which will be released this autumn.

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/letstalkdaggers

This is the only place to get your hands on an exclusive hand numbered limited edition vinyl, signed by the band. Limited to 60.

From here you’ll also be able to pre-order the album digitally and as a limited edition CD.

On top of this the band are offering a wealth of other unique opportunities, including the chance to be in their next music video, an intimate (15 tickets only) semi-secret show in Brighton where they’ll play the new album in-full … and for everything else, well you’re going to have to go and take a look on the Pledge page. http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/letstalkdaggers

Once the campaign hits its target 5% of the subsequent income will be donated to Nepal Earthquake: Help Children Now – Unicef

Check out the YouTube video below:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fxq2qhZDbVo

Here are the links to their website and Facebook and Twitter pages:

www.letstalkdaggers.co.uk

www.facebook.com/letstalkdaggers

@LetsTalkDaggers

Palm Reader Headline Tour Announcement

Following the success of Palm Reader’s second full-length album, Beside The Ones We Love, they are pleased to announce a UK headline tour this September.

Frontman Josh McKeown: “We can’t wait to get back out in the UK. It’s been too long since we’ve hit some of these places up so we’re stoked to come back and see some old friends and make new ones”
See dates below for the gigs:
Sept 01 – Basingstoke – Sanctuary
02 – Plymouth – Exhile
03 – Derby – The Victoria Inn
04 – Glasgow – Ivory Blacks
05 – Sheffield – Riverside
06 – Swansea – Lemon Factory
08 – London – Surya

Debut EP from Bellevue Days

Bellevue Days are dispelling the reputation of their Croydon home by delivering an atmospheric, uplifting and captivating debut EP.

If you think that the superbly executed musicianship and structural nous across the four slabs of alternative rock, emo, indie comes from a band with far more than a lone year to its name, you will be forgiven.

The lyrics are the focal point and cover topics from lust to literature. Around the lyrics, which impressively 3 of the 4 members contribute to, they apply subtle layers to ensure the songs are dynamic and memorable.

This all plays its part in ensuring that an honest approach to song writing is implemented. This is very important to the band. So you’ll find no tricks or gimmicks within ‘The Sun Came Up When We Were Young’.

Recorded at Stakeout Studios with Jason Wilson, the four tracks are exceptionally well produced, but not overproduced. There’s a very organic feel to these songs and a great sense of balance. There’s warmth, there’s power, there’s delicate and intricate instrumentation and it’s all in fine proportion.

If you consider the raucous end of The Xcerts repertoire and the anthemic moments of Manchester Orchestra’s back catalogue, with bites of pop genius akin to the likes of Weezer, then you’re wandering into Bellevue Days territory.

‘The Sun Came Up When We Were Young’ is an undoubted summer soundtrack!

To listen to one of their tracks ‘Capability Capacity’ click the link below:

http://youtu.be/6FHO2G_QTGc

‘It’s a bit of a necessity, bit business and bit of a passion’

A new pop-up venue in Quids Inn, in Scarborough, has opened and is allowing local musicians to perform there.

Chapter Three was started by Mike Linskey who works at San Angelo, the previous owners of the Open Air Theatre.

Like the Open Air Theatre, the company does celebrity bookings but their new venture is all about smaller artists who are breaking in and have just been signed.

Mike said: “This is sort of where we came from. People have got to come and see you play but it’s a bit frustrating as we get bands all the time but have nowhere to put them in Scarborough but now we have.

“We are trying to bring out of town bands into the town and put our local bands as support acts and hopefully people won’t be able to spot the difference.”

Places like Leeds and York have been providing a venue similar to this for years and have been very successful and Mike is looking to bring a bit of city life and a bit of a city venue.

He said: “It’s all about nurturing the scene that Scarborough used to have but it’s been lost to Ed Sheeran covers in every pub in town in the same pubs, playing the same songs with the same people.

“I know why they do it because pubs make money out of it but it doesn’t help the musicians. They have to go do the songs if you want a career in this.

“It’s hard to make money from it and it’s hard to keep a venue open and it is difficult to keep the door open when you aren’t putting on cover bands.”

Chapter Three began last Thursday but they were asked to do it three months ago but they were trying to work how to make a venue into a venue in three hours and that alone took about a month to work out.

The venue at Quids Inn was decided as Mike has built up a relationship with the bar by hosting university post shows there.

“I quite like it here because it is not a trendy bar but you come and enjoy yourself,” he said.

“People come in and have a party. When Basshunter was here a few months back people were dancing for six hours and that’s what it’s about.”

Chapter Three has been approached by other towns and cities but Mike is planning on having a signed contract with a place so they have full exclusivity and each town will only have one.

“It’s a bit of a necessity, bit business and bit of a passion and no one else is doing it,” Mike said.

As well, San Angelo run a pop-up cinema and are planning to put some films on in Dalby Forest this year.

“People like the idea that something will appear one day and then it is gone the next day,” Mike said.

“People used to come and watch us build Beached.”

Mike would love to hold Beached again and have put a proposal to do it again but it wouldn’t be the same, he said.

“It just got a bit crazy with about 35,000 people on the beach and health and safety has changed over the years, we wouldn’t be able to do it the same,” he said.

“I have no idea how we got away with it anyway.”

The proposal to host Beached again has been knocked back again and again and according to Mike every week someone asks about it.

“A lot the kids that are grown up now had their first gig at Beached and it’s been five years since we last did it,” Mike said.

“It may appear again but it probably won’t be in Scarborough.”

Chapter Three will be held every Thursday at Quids Inn from now on and they have the next four weeks booked.

If any local band wants to get in touch, you can contact them via Facebook or Twitter and send them a demo and they will find a similar band for you to support.

“The plan is to have a headlining act with support from local acts,” Mike said.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chapter3venue?fref=ts

Twitter: @chapter3venue