Portland, Oregon based synth-pop trio, Blouse, are one of the many reasons I enjoy music as much as I do. Their lush and dreamy musical realm never ceases to draw me in and their lyrics are all-consuming too. Although their sound is less-electronic filled and more organic sounding, they still have that same intriguing "sound" that initially drew fans and critics to their music. Blouse's second LP, Imperium, which was recently released on September 12, 2013. Blouse is Charlie Hilton on vocals, Patrick Adams on bass and drums, and producer Jacob Portrait. Imperium was released through Captured Tracks. Fans can purchase their albums HERE.
Discover more about the spirited Charlie and her band, Blouse:
How was the recording process of Imperium different from the first?
CH: For the most part, it was similar. We recorded it at the same warehouse in Portland and worked off and on over a span of six months. But this time, the vocal mic was in a tiny closet with no light, so I was singing in the pitch dark a lot.
I know that the musical style is quite different this time around. What was the inspiration behind getting rid of the synths and drum machines on Imperium?
CH: It was Jake’s idea initially, but we all agreed it sounded like a good challenge. Our first record relied so heavily on those sounds and we were curious to see what would happen if we limited ourselves. We weren’t really trying to reinvent the band, we just wanted to explore some of our other influences. After we made the record, we joked that our next one would be all synth.
Was it difficult trying to keep the "sound" of Blouse throughout your music with this recording, or as a band, do you enjoy experimenting with different sounds?
CH: Yes, it was difficult. Sometimes it was frightening. At one point, we had just tracked about half of the songs and I went to Mexico for a week to get out of the rain. I knew Jake had done some early mixes while I was away, and I almost didn’t want to come back to hear them because I was afraid I wouldn’t recognize us. Patrick took me to the warehouse to play them for me, and I remember being so nervous. But when I heard them, I thought they were beautiful. So yes, experimenting with this record was so rewarding. Enjoyable? It depends on the day. If I want to be entertained, there are easier ways to do it.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
CH: In this band, we’ve talked a lot about Nico and the Velvet Underground, Galaxie 500, Neu!, and Leonard Cohen.
If you weren't pursuing music, what do you think you'd be doing?
CH: I’d be a scientist. I love chemistry.
Who was your first concert, and do you have a favorite?
CH: I was 13. My parents dropped my friends and I at the Palladium in Hollywood to see 311. I’d never seen a mosh pit before. But that was in no way my favorite concert! I think it would have to be David Byrne at the Greek Theater. He had dancers wearing white and played so many of my favorite songs. I think he’s a genius.
What are five albums or bands you wouldn't want to live without?
CH: Galaxy 500, Eric Satie, David Byrne, Bowie, and Ravi Shankar
What was your first album on CD, cassette and/or vinyl?
CH: It was a CD of the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction. When I was 12, "Lonesome Town" was the first song I learned on guitar. I could barely sing it because it was in the wrong key for me, but my dad made me play it for the family at thanksgiving and it probably made everyone depressed.
Do you have a guilty musical or entertainment pleasure?
CH: I love the National Treasure movies. I get really excited when they find the all the artifacts from American history. It’s so lame.
Is there any music that makes you cringe?
CH: Yes, quite a lot. But I’m going to keep that to myself! xx
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