How To Sound Like Blossoms
From Stockport to Mercury
Today on the blog we’re going to talk about a band who have come a long way in a short time. We’re especially proud of this lot seeing as they come from Cheshire, the same county as Dawsons HQ. We are of course talking about 2017 Mercury Music Prize nominees, and Stockport’s finest: Blossoms.
In these days of fewer guitar bands rising to prominence, Blossoms are flying the flag for indie pop. Formed in 2013 by friends Tom Ogden (lead vocals, guitar), Charlie Salt (bass, backing vocals), Josh Dewhurst (lead guitar), Joe Donovan (drums) and Myles Kellock (keys), Blossoms fuse Coral-esque acoustic numbers with electro-pop ala Phoenix.
As a guitar led band we’re primarily going to talk about the gear of Tom Ogden and Josh Dewhurst, but we’ll touch briefly upon the keys, bass and drums.
Get the Gear
This top of the line Gibson Custom SJ-200 is Tom’s choice on acoustic led tracks such as Stormy and Polka Dot Bones. This ‘King of the Flat-Tops’ has been around since 1937 and been the guitar of choice for many legends of music.
If you’re on a smaller budget, but love the look of the J-200, Epiphone offer a the EJ200 at a much lower price point whilst retaining the beautiful design and huge sound of the Gibson.
Bassist Charlie Salt plays a Fender Jazz Bass due to its versatility. On tracks like At Most a Kiss, the dial is rolled up for that crunchier sound, and then toggled down on the pickups for the smoother sounds such as Across The Moor.
Across both albums, lead guitarist Josh Dewhurst plays the American Pro Tele stating that it’s ‘It’s just really nice to play, simple and versatile’. This no frills approach is a refreshing one, and is also apparent through the effects he uses.
Dewhurst forgoes boutique pedals for some readily available (often affordable) classics, such as the amazing Roland Space Echo. The Space Echo gives the player reverb, tape echo and delay, thus negating the need for additional pedals on your board. It has a wide scope for creating your own sound, and is robust enough to go out on the road as well as be used in the studio.
For those distorted flourishes on tracks like Smoke he opts for the EH Big Muff (check out our recent blog post on the series for a full run down) and the BOSS DS-2 Turbo distortion. Tone, tone and more tone. Which leads us to amplification…
Both Dewhurst and Ogden opt for the The Fender Blues Junior III, which, despite the name, isn’t just for playing the blues; it is truly a jack of all trades. This wonderful tube amp is perfect for warm tones, it’s simple to use and suits musicians from the practice room to the stage.
Drummer Joe Donovan is all about serving the song and keeps the fills to a minimum, but like many modern drummers, he uses effects to create an electronic sound and add a few tricks to his set up. He has been seen to use the excellent Roland TM-2. This fuss free piece of gear works with his kit’s raw tone, blending it together with the trigger module’s pro kit sounds and studio-quality multi-FX.
Blossoms are a band that utilize keys in a really cool way. Unlike many contemporary bands their synth lines don’t sound gimmicky but instead lead the song. Similarly they’re diverse enough to work in some piano led numbers such as For Evelyn. This is all a testament to keyboard player, Myles Kellock. Myles works primarily with Roland gear, so for an all in one powerhouse, we recommend the FA-07. The FA-07 is a high end machine with a whole host of sounds and functions, enabling the musician to work through a wide ranging repertoire.
Blossoms are a band in the great British tradition, playing instruments and use effects that serve the song and not the other way around. We look forward to how they develop and the direction that they take going forward.