Although the UK’s BLiNDNESS technically formed in 2008, their debut full-length, WRAPPED iN PLASTiC, isn’t set to hit shelves until July 24th… although the album is well worth the wait… BLiNDNESS is comprised of Beth Rettig, Emma Quick, and Debbie Smith (of Curve, Echobelly, and Snowpony fame), a trio whose sonic output is reflective of many of the 1990s greatest musical movements, from straight-ahead alt rock to shoegaze and electronic rock, with notable hints of industrial and grunge, but while always maintaining an aesthetic that puts their songwriting (which seems largely indebted to post-punk) center stage. The band, who have already gained a reputation for their live shows, have an upcoming album launch show on July 26th at London’s Nambucca and, although they have no current plans to play this side of the Atlantic, in a recent chat with vocalist/programmer/noisemaker Beth Rettig, she reveals to me that that’s something that the band could get quite excited about.
Izzy Cihak: So I realize this is a huge question, but you’ve been a band for quite a while now and there’s still relatively little information available about you, even to “critics.” How did you come together and what did you hope to achieve with this band?
Beth Rettig: Well, Debbie and I have been working together for some years now with the band in different guises. Then, when our previous bass player left, we found Emma through word of mouth. What did we hope to achieve? I guess just to play some gigs and be noisy.
Izzy: What have been the highlights of BLiNDNESS so far?
Beth: There have been a few for me. All the moments when things just come together – when we’re jamming in practice or recording or messing around with sounds or effects and something happens that really excites you. I love playing live as well and we’ve had some great moments on stage.
Izzy: How would you characterize your process of writing and recording together? Is there anything you think is especially important for fans and potential fans to know about you as artists? (I realize those are sort of two different questions.)
Beth: Writing, I tend to come to the band with a track – synths, etc. and vocals. From there we just work on it at practice until the others have written something that’s working. That’s the basics of how it’s been so far but it’s usually just down to whatever sounds good. Sometimes jamming parts for one track will spawn ideas for another.
Izzy: You’ve drawn comparisons to a lot of really cool acts, like The Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, and Nine Inch Nails, but I’m curious: What would you actually consider to be your biggest influences, whether musical or not? Personally, your upcoming album hits me as somewhere between Elastica and Garbage (Hopefully you don’t find that insulting.)
Beth: Not at all. In fact, I grew up in a part of the world that can be a bit of a cultural void – I listened to what I could get my hands on. The first time a friend lent me the first Garbage album, it totally changed my direction in music, like it opened up another world. I really have so many influences – some of the bands you’ve mentioned already. Also, Curve, Kate Bush, Patti Smith, PJ Harvey, Depeche Mode, Tom Waits, Talking Heads. The list is endless really.
Izzy: Finally, what are you hoping and planning for after WRAPPED iN PLASTiC drops. I see you have an album release show, but any chance we might get to see you live over here in the States sometime in the near future?
Beth: We’d love nothing more than to go over to the States (and elsewhere) for some shows. Unfortunately, it all costs more money than we have so it just isn’t feasible at the moment. The launch will be our next gig and hopefully we’ll start booking some more after that. We’re open to most offers. We’re also gearing up to start recording again soon.