Black Blondie Interview
Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: Interviews, Music, Twin Cities.
Attracting attention both locally and nationally, the critically acclaimed Black Blondie continue to compel audiences with their tireless live schedule. Leading up to the band’s forthcoming First Avenue performance with Muja Messiah, M.anifest and Maria Isa the group took aim at a few questions about the upcoming show, critical obsession with labeling their sound and the group’s lineup changes for this week’s edition of Five Questions.
I love the line, “I can not be whispering words that I should be screaming” from “World’s Won’t Rest,” if only to be self-indulgent for a moment, are there any lines that you’ve heard in your music that have blown you away?
Samahra Linton: When I had to write the lyrics down for a performance that was hearing impaired friendly, I looked at them and some of them made me realize how hard my year has been, and also how depressed I became after losing my mother six months ago. If anything, I felt more proud of being able to accurately articulate my emotions so that I could grow to understand what the fuck was happening to me.
Liz Draper: “We drink for Real reasons” moves me every time. I mean everyone has their issues. “Can’t be sure if that’s how it goes but there’s a red road and black road” hits home with me because one is the road to life and the other the road to death in Sioux mythology. Stories of black elk and crazy horse and other important Lakota figures were important in my family growing up so every time I hear that line I think of climbing Harney Peak – Black Elk’s “center of the universe” at various times in my life and always with folks who are very dear to me at that time.
I really think that accessibility breeds influence – if you have a book, you can read the book and you have the opportunity to be influenced by it. So much emphasis has been put on labeling the group’s sound, but in the age of the iPod and having 20,000 songs at your fingertips it seems almost redundant to try and make a definition. What are your thoughts on this?
Samahra Linton: I am not afraid of being labeled…’cause we sound unique to me. We have to be labeled so that people who like R&B, or soul, or dancehall, or…can give themselves permission to say, “I like them.”
Tasha Baron: I am fascinated with this obsession that people/writers have with labeling our music. People are uncomfortable with things they cannot name. Honestly, the only time I have thought about labeling us was when writing our bio. It’s my goal that our music keeps a common thread weaving throughout…and that our album is a cohesive piece of art (vs. some tracks on someone’s iPod). Beyond that, I am completely unconcerned with any labels. Music is music. All I care about is how it makes me and others feel.
Liz Draper: I totally agree. We all come from various musical backgrounds and interests and it comes out in the writing process – but it’s all just music!
A year after Sarah White left the band what has been the most important lesson learned from the change?
Tasha Baron: We were only a band a year before that. New bands change and mold themselves until the ideal formation for what they want to create is attained. We had different drummers…guitar players…etc. We’ve now found that formation.
Samahra Linton: I feel really comfortable being a front woman and it was time.
Aside from any possible musical similarities, what has helped the group stay together and mature as time passes?
Tasha Baron: Honestly, love. It’s like a marriage of sorts. You only stick with people ’cause you love them. It’s not like we like each other all of the time. We are like family. We really have been through thick and thin together. We all love the music that we write but no matter what happens we will always be friends for life.
What’s going to be the best part of sharing such a unique and talented bill for Muja Messiah’s upcoming release party at First Avenue? Are you friends with any of the other artists? Who are you most looking forward to seeing?
Samahra Linton: Muja is a close personal friend of mine and he is really talented and I think all the others are as well.
Tasha Baron: This bill is a lot like our band. I am looking forward to seeing everyone on this bill as a friend and because I have utmost respect for each of these artists’ altogether distinctive music!
Liz Draper: I think it’s safe to say we are friends with everyone on the bill. I am most excited to see the sexy First Avenue wait staff.