Perfect is the enemy of done, but if something isnʼt sitting well with you, then you do need to trust your instinct
Biond is a bold and electric project that’s been injected with colour and feeling, and Rose has been a kind supporter of this blog, so I was interested in discussing with her the Biond project and musical vision. We met up at Mr Foxx, and discussed learning how to trust people, the optimism of the 80’s, and clones
I think your project is really cool, pronounced like ‘beyondʼ right?
Yes, and Iʼm glad you like it!
Youʼve got the three songs out on Spotify so far, and to me the songs sound sure of themselves and unapologetic, I think when youʼre first releasing music that can be hard to pull that off
I had been writing songs for this project for a long while, and I knew I wanted to create something in a specific kind of sonic realm- I was originally going to call the project something like ‘Rose and the Rhythm Electricʼ and it was going to be a super 80ʼs, Chaka Khan sounding, kind of project. But I was concerned there wasnʼt going to be a space for that, and it would lock me into a part of the industry that felt like it had a bit of a roof- a limit on how big it could get. I thought I would try a bit of a more commercial sound that was a bit more now. I looked to people Carly Rae, which to me felt like it had an 80ʼs sensibility to it, while still being very now
A lot of your sound has that 80ʼs sonic landscape to it, this 80ʼs futuristic sound
Isnʼt it weird how the 80ʼs sound is also a futuristic sound? A lot of electronic musicians use synths and sounds that are in this very 80ʼs world
It has this optimistic sound. I think when we look ahead and imagine the future, it isnʼt really a future with flying cars and spaceships, but in the 80ʼs it was all about that! Imagining this amazing future with space travel and hoverboards
Thatʼs kind of where the name ‘Biondʼ came from! Well, firstly it means ‘blondeʼ, I wanted to have a name that would represent my curly hair because I used to not like my hair
Your curls are glorious!
Iʼm learning to love them! I needed to stop straitening my hair, I had been doing it for years and no one had ever seen my natural hair. I got back like 5 hours a week when I finally stopped! It took me a while to recognise myself in the mirror again. Itʼs like I created this confident persona that I aspired to. And ‘beyondʼ also fit the 80ʼs fascination with looking into the future
I think that definitely translates
I was worried about it being discounted as an 80ʼs revival project, I wanted it to have a really modern feeling to it too
I think a song like ‘Like He Neverʼ had a really good balance of that, with those 1975 sounding guitar riffs. Thereʼs a really good balance between the production style, and the lyric and vocal processing that help it feel 80ʼs and now. Plus, 80ʼs are in
I reckon, oddly, every era is ‘inʼ at the moment, 70ʼs are in, 80ʼs, is in, 90ʼs are super in, 00ʼs are coming back
As long as the low cut jeans donʼt come back! Maybe it feels like these eras are coming back more because of the distribution of media, like you can go on Instagram and find anything you want, and you can find other people who are interested in what youʼre interested in. Everything is kind of always in now
I wonder if that means that itʼs hard for us to find our identity? There are infinite possibilities for who you can be
Itʼs daunting, you want to be original but what does that mean? How do you know what your identity is if itʼs a conglomerate of everything youʼve been influenced by? Is your identity ‘likingʼ a certain thing?
And what you like is changing all the time. I know my taste and style changes constantly
Do you feel like your music changes?
I donʼt think it does, I think the thing that makes a Biond song a Biond song is that it maybe talks about a serious or emotional topic, while still being rousing and happy at the end of the day. For me, itʼs about taking things that are bothering me, and turning them into an anthem that I can sing that can help me feel better and stronger. I tend to dwell on things, and the music I write is kind of pepping myself up when I have those feelings
Itʼs almost easier to write in the emotion youʼre feeling, like an angry song when youʼre angry, or a sad song when youʼre sad, but to feel angry or sad and to choose to write an anthem is powerful
I think with something like ‘Like He Neverʼ thatʼs especially true. The song is about this difficult time I had when this guy had lied to me to get me into bed, and revealed afterwards that he just told me exactly what I wanted to hear to gain my consent
When I tried to confront him about it, he just kind of laughed at me, and it became this process of getting over the rejection and deceit and becoming comfortable enough in myself to start seeing people again
Itʼs hard to trust again when that happens to you
I think all women have had these experiences that have kind of messed us up, and made us feel less confident and less comfortable with men, and yet we have to put ourselves back into that situation when weʼre feeling vulnerable. I tried to make this song an anthem I can tell myself donʼt worry about it, this doesnʼt define you
Which is kind of the attitude you need to have. You could write songs like ‘oh he lied and now Iʼm so sadʼ and thereʼs definitely a place for that-
Sometimes we need that song! But sometimes we need a song that can help us pick ourselves up
I think the balance comes from making it a song that isnʼt dismissing those feelings of betrayal, and rather making it something that can acknowledge what happened and expressing the desire to grow and learn from it. Learn to be okay with feeling vulnerable again
Exactly! And I think thatʼs what connects a lot of my song writing, my writing might change depending on what Iʼm listening to and being influenced by, but it all comes back to this feel-good message that is validating yourself and your emotions, and itʼs built in this guilty-pleasure pop music world
I liked your description of your music as being femme-pop, and I think itʼs so refreshing to have girly fun pop music with a bold message
Itʼs girly music that is strong and still feminine
It seems to be so hard for people to realise that femininity doesnʼt equal weakness or a lack of power
Theyʼre not mutually exclusive
For ‘Like He Neverʼ, you wrote on an Instagram post that this song was about knowing that you arenʼt a conquest for someone, which is really powerful imagery!
Thatʼs exactly the message I wanted to have come across. Trusting people can be scary because of how hard it can hurt when they lie to you!
We have so many reasons to not trust people, and navigating that world is tough
Exactly, even something like ghosting- someone treating you like a conquest and then not even following up emotionally afterwards, happens to people all the time! Iʼm not a part of the dating world at the moment, but I have friends who have been through situations like that, and I try to write with them and their experiences in mind
‘Like He Neverʼ felt to me like a song that validates the need to understand and believe in yourself when you are in moments where you feel a bit crushed. When youʼre in those vulnerable moments of entering a new relationship, and youʼre let down or hurt in that state of mind, it can be devastating! I felt like this song acknowledges that devastation, but reassures you that that isnʼt the full stop of your life
I wrote the song in a way that communicates with someone who is now going through the kind of situation I went through
Weʼve kissed the same lips
Weʼve felt the same touch
We had the same love
We both had to give it up
Like, girl I get you! I wanted to write something for that girl who will inevitably feel like I did
And when you were in that moment there might have been someone to say ‘hey maybe be carefulʼ, but we can kind of have the hood over our eyes when we have strong feelings for someone
Yeah, and I think itʼs something that connects all women- whether you date men or not, I think weʼve all had men treat us in that way. I wanted to have the song say weʼve all been there, and you need to find a way to move forward
When youʼre releasing a song that feels quite pointed, do you feel a bit of hesitation before releasing it?
I have a habit of wearing my heart on my sleeve and not really keeping anything a secret, which means sometimes I definitely overshare! Part of my need to be understood means that I want to tell the story of my experience. There is a bit of hesitation, and I donʼt always feel like I can come right out with the truth about what these songs are about, and I think simplifying the story helps more people to see themselves in the music
Letʼs talk about this new song ‘TFWʼ, what a bop! Whatʼs the feeling behind that song?
Well my partner and I have been together for a long time, and we are quite open with each other with how we feel. I was starting to feel guilty about finding other people attractive, or for having other desires and fantasies that were outside of my relationship. ‘TFWʼ is me imagining what it would be like to be back in the dating world, and getting all the excitement and danger that comes with new people and new experiences. ‘TFWʼ weighs up the two sides of the story- maybe I do miss a bit of the single life, but also I have something incredibly special that fleeting relationships could never give me
That emotional stability
Totally! Itʼs an internal battle, because I feel like you canʼt really have both? You canʼt have excitement, newness, danger, that spark constantly when youʼre so deeply connected with somebody. Those things get replaced with love, understanding, security and the danger is kind of gone
Like a fireplace with a dull glow, you might miss all the sparks and flames but those things are dangerous! That glow will keep you warm for a long time
And ‘the one that got awayʼ is always this person who you just never get to know what they really thought or felt for you. Having that confusion and uncertainty is what can create this deep, deep desire in you to know, and can kind of pull you towards similar situations
And other stuff can be great! But you keep thinking that things could have been different, and instead of enjoying what you have, youʼre constantly thinking about what it could have been- even though that probably would have been unsatisfying too! It wouldnʼt have necessarily been this fairy-tale situation you keep telling yourself it might have been
My best friend said that being in a relationship is like period pain! You have two options, you either have really intense period pain that comes and goes like waves, or you can have a dull pain for a long time. You either have this intense high and this intense low, or a sustained feeling. But either relationship comes with its pain! Both are going to be difficult, and you have to decide what you prefer. Everyone is making that decision every day in their relationships
The uncertainty that starts a fire
The other element that becomes a factor in the song is our general dating culture at the moment and its impermanence. There are a lot of serial monogamists out there who are having these fleeting, super romantic, sexy relationships that end quickly and painfully
And they get so exhausting! Great for song writing though
It is! Taylor Swift said that she writes about it all the time, and she gets judged for being in all these relationships, but itʼs something that a lot of people can really relate to!
What do you want people to walk away with after listening to ‘TFWʼ?
Iʼd want them to feel sexy and strong and fun! Make them feel seen and supported
Did it take you a while to figure out the sonic direction of ‘Biondʼ?
Yeah, I initially thought it was going to be a lot more heavy on the 80ʼs stuff- that was the direction for ‘Immortalisedʼ. After releasing that song we looked at doing ‘Like He Neverʼ. It came out really Whitney Houston sounding, and I sat with it for a while but just didnʼt release for some reason. I had everything done, the video, the track, but I kept thinking to myself why donʼt I want to release this song? I eventually realised that I wanted to change the direction of the project. I sat on the song for about 6 months, crying over it! and just being really unhappy with it. I did a couple of live shows with my bandmate and now collaborator, Hamish Patrick, and he suggested that we find an equilibrium between the 80ʼs and the now. People like Robyn- this kind of dance-focused music became a big influence for me, and I wanted to try and find a space for that song that was more in that direction. We sat down with all the stems and completely reproduced the song, put it back over the music video, and thatʼs what we ended up with! I just knew I didnʼt want to release it the way it was. It wasnʼt that I didnʼt like it, because I still listen to that version all the time!
Itʼs important for it to be right! And you can feel really guilty about holding on to a song for so much longer because it isnʼt hitting the mark you wanted it to
I recently listened to an interview with Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend, where he shared ‘Harmony Hallʼ, and when asked if he was happy with the song, he said he would still go back and change a million things. Like “Iʼm happy with it, but I could still think of things to change”, and I think we are always going to be like that. Perfect is the enemy of done, but if something isnʼt sitting well with you then you do need to trust your instincts
I think itʼs important when musicians and artists can speak out about being unhappy with things they create, because it can seem on the outside like everyone has it all under control, and that there was no stress or tension in the writing process, and it can be hard to relate to that when you look at your own creative experience and know you have issues with feeling like itʼs good enough
And youʼve cried and been heartbroken over it! And itʼs so expensive to make mistakes and want to try things from different angles
I wish it was cheaper to just clone yourself to do everything
One clone could go to jazz school, one could be a mixing engineer, one could be a piano player
And one could be an accountant to pay the bills!
Exactly! And people want to hear what you believe in, so back yourself and just do it
How have you found navigating the music industry?
Things can feel unpredictable sometimes, and it can be hard to tell if things will break through or not
How do you help yourself stay inspired in this industry when it can be so unpredictable?
Sometimes it can be frustrating and disheartening for sure, especially when you always make an effort to make the next release better than the last. Itʼs tricky, but what I try to focus on is the fact that people who hear it seem to like it
If it can resonate with people, itʼs important to recognise that thatʼs a big deal! If someone can listen to it and connect with it, then it was worth the time and effort
Exactly, and the success of a song comes down to so many factors working together, and you learn as you go with these things
Letʼs talk about ‘Immortalisedʼ, what made that one feel like the right first release?
At the time I also had ‘Like He Neverʼ recorded- the previous version- and ‘Immortalisedʼ just felt like the right combination of happy and sad- the right combination of 80ʼs and current. It felt like the right one to release out of the two songs, and I guess it was in the end because I did go back to change ‘Like He Neverʼ
That happy 90ʼs vibe definitely came through for me, and Haim came to mind when listening to your music
I love Haim!
It has a real girly, powerful, dancey feel to your music
I think Haim have a lot of great grooves, which is something I try and have as much of as I can with my music
Betty Who was another I was thinking of
I love Betty Who too! Itʼs so cool that those influences are coming through
Who else influences you? Haim, Carly Rae, Robyn, a lot of 80ʼs music- Prince, in particular, is my number one! I also really love Chaka Khan too, especially all of those funk grooves underneath her music
What would be your perfect performance space?
I donʼt think Iʼve found that space yet, maybe something that feels sort of intimate but with capacity in it
Maybe like a house party
That would be great! I played Evieʼs Disco Diner for my very first launch, it has an industrial feel and thereʼs neon everywhere and that was a great vibe. Anything with a mood and colour and vibrancy, but can also fit about 200 people. Neon is the key!
How do you describe your writing process?
I think there are two stages of my songwriting, and I try and keep the first part as easy breezy as I can for myself. I try to not criticise myself in the first stage because it can ruin the creative feelings. The first step is about getting out all the ideas, and usually Iʼm inspired by something, like a groove or a feeling, and I try to record some ideas straight away that I can flesh out later. Later on I let the critical brain come in and figure out whatʼs strong and whatʼs not strong. I tend to struggle most with editing lyrics because I get attached to ideas, even if they might not be that strong
I find editing can be hard especially when the vision for the song is a little blurry
Absolutely, and I will often start by writing down what I want the song to be about, and brainstorm words and ideas before trying to translate them into lyrics that make sense rhythmically
Is there an element of your sound or song writing that you feel really proud of?
I feel proud when people message me and tell me that my songs are stuck in their head! I want my songs to be catchy, thatʼs really important to me. Artists that I love most like Prince, write songs that are really singable and are like little earworms. I know Iʼve succeeded when someone is singing along to it
Always good to let yourself linger in someoneʼs head
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