Published Aug 09, 2013Ahead of Kanine Records' October 1 release of the Blow's first album in seven years, band founder Khaela Maricich tells Exclaim! that she and partner Melissa Dyne have fully embraced their love of pop music, but it took longer for them to get there than they expected.
"We really thought we were done last summer, but were really intricate about making all of the samples into sounds that we could reproduce in the show," Maricich says of the self-titled record from her artful, challenging band's new HQ in Brooklyn. "We were making the samples ourselves and didn't want the sound of another space. We wanted it to sound like nowhere.
"It's electronic, but made out of a lot of actual instruments that we played or had people play and then processed the samples really intricately."
The band's first single, "Make It Up," doesn't have the production sheen of your typical Top 40 hit, but its tone and arrangement is infectious and uplifting enough to be a jaunty earworm. The Blow may come across too-cool-for-school, but they have a pop underbelly that they're not afraid to reveal every so often. In several instances on the new album, they almost took on personas to get their music across.
"When I was starting to write the lyrics for these songs, I really was thinking about this storyline about pretending to be someone else," Maricich explains. "In ['Make It Up'] in particular, we actually went there. We were just like, 'Fuck it! Let's do it.' So, in a way it's a concept but we actually were flexing our production muscles and were like, 'Oh, wow, that's not how I necessarily saw myself,' which is kind of awesome and weird."
Citing David Bowie's discussion of theatre and creating characters like Ziggy Stardust, she continues, "We were approaching it like, 'What if this doesn't actually have to be us?' What if we're not selling our image but just trying something out? That's the weird thing about music; they're almost always selling the artist as part of the product. The identity is such a big part of it and this is us playing around with it, with the production and the lyrics. It's like, 'Who is this? Who am I?'"
The Blow are no strangers to Canada, and Maricich says that they're excited to play the final edition of Wavelength's ALL CAPS! Island Festival in Toronto, taking place August 10 and 11 on Toronto Island.
"It's a love connection," Maricich says of her band's relationship with Toronto. "We don't say no to opportunities to play Toronto. We will never say no! We will always love you!"
Hear the rest of this conversation via the Kreative Kontrol with Vish Khanna podcast. See the band's upcoming tour dates below.
08/10 Toronto, ON - ALL CAPS Festival
08/29 Providence, RI - AS220
09/15-16 Portland, OR - PICA's TBA Festival
09/21 Louisville, KY - Boomslang Festival
10/11 Boston, MA - Museum of Fine Arts
10/13 Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop
10/14 Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall
10/15 Minneapolis, MN - Cedar Cultural Center
10/17 Denver, CO - Walnut Room
10/18 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
10/19 Nampa, ID - Flying M
10/20 Portland, OR - Doug Fir
10/21 Seattle, WA - Neumos
10/25 San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill
10/27 Santa Ana, CA - Constellation Room
10/28 Los Angeles, CA - Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock
10/29 San Diego, CA - Casbah
10/30 Phoenix, AZ - Rhythm Room
11/01 Denton, TX - Rubber Gloves
11/02 Austin, TX - Red 7
11/04 Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
11/05 Atlanta, GA - The Earl
11/06 Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
11/08 Washington DC - Black Cat
11/09 Philadelphia, PA - First Unitarian
11/10 Brooklyn, NY - Music Hall of Williamsburg