Born from the remnants of acclaimed harmonising pop-rockers Little Green Cars, Soda Blonde’s early career was unusual: not so much a slog in front of tiny crowds, but instant recognition of their ability, and no little local hype based on their previous work, resulting in mid-sized gigs from day one.
The four-piece are led by the vocally distinctive Faye O’Rourke, and produce spacey yet vibrant alt pop that nods to their past, but is less abstract and more engaged in social commentary. New single ‘Love Me World’, for example, is a personal ode to looking for acceptance and love through darker moments.
“I don’t think anything should feel easy,” O’Rourke says of the rebranded return. “It’s been a little less daunting and unknown this time around but it was a huge deal to pick up and start again. We have more control over the visual aspects of this project. That was always something that we wanted to harness more in the past, and with this new beginning we’ve been able to have a lot of fun with that.”
“The single is about acknowledging the darker moments of wanting to be loved by everyone,” she continues. “The idea of bending to fit within the zeitgeist in the pursuit of acceptance and love. Being judged certainly lies within that sentiment, but I think it’s more interesting to focus on what and why that happens.”
“I think what ‘fake’ we wish to portray says a lot about who we are and what we desire. I do think people have to be brave today to expose what they really think.”
Like most acts, Soda Blonde have struggled a touch with the lock down, though O’Rourke says there have been good and bad days. Virtual gigs – something the band did in support of the single – are not something they particularly crave. “The audience is 99% of the experience of a live show,” she says.
“I think artists need to rally together to defend their work and the value it holds across genres and particularly across the different stages of their careers and levels of the industry,” she continues. “Things have changed dramatically in the music industry since we began, but it’s always felt like a steady decline in artists’ security since then.”
“At the end of the day there’s nothing else we would rather do, so we need to be innovative and progressive in order to come up with a new and profitable system for music makers and music lovers. Both need to feel that they are gaining from the value being reinstated into music. The damage was already there in a system that was unfit for purpose, the pandemic had exposed the vulnerabilities of artists in an unfair and inequitable industry. “
With two EPs under their belt, an album is the next major project for the four-piece, though they’re slightly coy on the timing of it, simply saying it’ll be “coming soon.” Their long-term plans will require a change in all our circumstances as well as a successful album, but earlier achievements suggest they’re possible.
“I think bands need to be extremely committed and grounded to come to terms with hype and deal with the pressure it may bring,” O’Rourke says. “Naturally if there’s hype the band is viewed as having more to prove, however it’s a fundamental part of how we consume and enjoy music, and that will never change.” Their own hype will give Soda Blonde the chance to grow into those big aims, too, which are simple: “tour the world.”