- Flex Staff
Strawberry Blonde Discusses Indie Influence, College Origins, and New Track "Always"
NYC-based, indie-pop group Strawberry Blonde is back with their latest single, “Always." The track explores the conflicted nature of romantic relationships, from emotional highs to tempting toxicity. Atmospheric synthesizers balance perfectly with a dancy chorus, a swirling, melancholy guitar riff signals a comedown as the second verse begins. An unexpected breakdown brings the end of the track, with heavier drums and guitar, yearning vocals, and even trumpets --- Strawberry Blonde is anything but predictive!
With “Another Dream” off of their debut 2016 EP “Better Still” included in the film “All Those Friendly People," and a sophomore 2019 EP "Calling" under their belt, the group is ready to take the next steps with this release.
We sat down with Strawberry Blonde to discuss the track and what to expect from these rising rockers in the near future.
FLEX: Strawberry Blonde was formed in college --- how did your formal musical education inform the work you do together, now?
Strawberry Blonde: Carey (vocals, synth, trumpet), Sean (bass), and Martine (vocals, drums/percussion) were all Jazz Studies majors at SUNY Purchase, so all of that experience practicing, learning from other musicians, and playing nonstop for four years definitely helped shape them musically. Sam (guitar, synth) majored in Studio production, so he engineered and co-produced all of our releases thus far and spent a lot of time dedicated to perfecting our sound in the studio. Liam (lead vocals, guitar) actually majored in Theatre/Performance, but minored in Studio Composition and ultimately wanted to sing/write songs in a band from the jump. He spent most of college focused on Strawberry Blonde and working on songwriting and practicing music. During the recording process more specifically, the band tends to lean on one another while writing new material and we are super open to trying things a million different ways until the song feels right. These days we also want the songs to feel natural as well so we don’t force anything if it isn’t working. Someone usually brings in a fragment or a full sketched-out song and the band works on it altogether, everyone writing and shaping the song more and helping create something that’s greater than the sum of its parts, collaboration is super important to us.
F: The track is so catchy, and touches upon a wide variety of genres. Who are the main influences that lead to this sound?
SB: Wow, thanks so much! It’s challenging to pinpoint exactly which influences are present and discernible on one of our songs at any given time but we are constantly influenced by so much music. Here’s just a few artists that inspired us on during the making of this release:
The 1975, American Football, Bon Iver, Amateur Love, M83, M.A.G.S., Porches, Snail Mail, Tatsuro Yamashita, Local Natives, Fickle Friends, The Whispers, Jeff Buckley, Marvin Gaye, Hiatus Kaiyote, Yo La Tengo, Japanese Breakfast, MUNA, Cocteau Twins, Yebba, Tears for Fears, Prince, Hiroshi Sato, The Weeknd etc.
F: We heard that you're moving in more of an indie pop direction. What prompted a shift in genre?
SB: The band genuinely seems to be interested in writing songs that are little more direct these days, whether it’s pop or indie, or emo. Genre aside, we genuinely want to write authentically and let the music be whatever it wants to be. I think our music used to be a bit fraught with musical ideas, whereas now we try to shroud the songs less and let them breathe more. I think as you get older you also start to learn how to couple musicianship with thoughtful songwriting and intention as you go along. At the same time, it doesn’t mean we’re totally opposed to getting weird with it and having fun, that’s incredibly important too. So many spontaneous ideas can materialize from messing around at rehearsal or playing something new in front of an audience for the first time.
F: The lyrics are so raw in this track --- what was the songwriting process like?
SB: Liam wrote the initial instrumental and lyrics sometime in 2019 but the song itself didn’t come to fruition until much later. Lyrically, the song deals with tempting toxicity in an unhealthy relationship. It’s also about relying on defense mechanisms more than actually doing the necessary work to make change a possibility. The band scrapped a different version of the song before landing on the current arrangement. The track was also completely demoed out first and then the final version was officially completed in 2021 at Two World’s Studios in Whitestone, Queens and then mixed and mastered by Adam Cichocki at Timber Studios in New Jersey.
F: We'd love to hear this energy in person! Where can we catch Strawberry Blonde live?
SB: Strawberry Blonde is currently preparing for two weekend runs around New England and the Tri-state area to promote our new releases. We will be playing in Brooklyn, NY at The Nest on Friday, September 16th, in Providence, RI at The Alchemy on Saturday September 17th, as well as in Boston, MA on Sunday September 18th at O’Brien’s Pub.
Additionally, we will be appearing again in NYC on Friday, October 28th, as well as Boonton, New Jersey on Saturday, October 29th, Philadelphia, PA on Sunday, October 30th, and Massepequa, NY on Monday, October 31st. More details for these dates will be announced on our Instagram soon! You can stay up to date by following us at @strawberryblondelovesyou!
"Always" is available on all streaming platforms.