If you’re down in Southsea this weekend and want to catch one of the hottest young bands around, then you could do a lot worse than see Blaenavon perform as part of the Saturday line-up at the Castle Road Fair.
The trio, from Liss in east Hampshire, have been steadily building a solid following as they ready their debut album for release.
When WOW247 caught up with bassist Frank Wright, they’d recently returned from the annual music biz jamboree SXSW in Austin, Texas.
‘That was such great fun,’ he enthuses. ‘It was absolutely exhausting - it was our first time out in America
‘We did six shows, plus a radio thing, plus jetlag, plus a lot of beer every night and it was,’ he pauses, ‘great.’
‘I think even though it was quite an international festival, you got the sense of being in America and I think we went down well with the audiences.’
We put in recording dates and gigs where we could, but we knew we had to finish school first
And they were mentioned in several pieces as one of the festival highlights, including one that put them alongside President Barack Obama, who was in town at the same time.
‘That was nice, but a bit of a funny one,’ Frank laughs.
Now, however, they’re focusing on their debut album.
‘We’re very nearly there. It has been a while. We finished recording at the end of January, and then it’s been hard to keep on top of the post-production and the mixing because we had a pretty heavy touring schedule, but now we’re getting back to it.’
‘We recorded it at the producer’s own studio that he’s just set up near Cambridge. We were one of the first groups to use it.’
That producer would be Jim Abbiss, who worked on Adele’s first two albums, Arctic Monkey’s debut and Kasabian’s first two.
‘He’s a really great guy, we absolutely loved working with him, but it took us a couple of days to break down the slightly weird initial relationship.
‘Our label Transgressive put us in contact with him, and they were excited to work with him because they’d never done a record with him.
‘He really liked us and wanted to do it, but we weren’t ready yet – we felt like we needed a bit more time on our own just to sort out the music and what we wanted to say.
‘We spent a couple of tours writing and getting really good at playing that music and then we were ready for it.’
They’re now hoping to have the album ready for release by the end of summer.
Transgressive Records have also played a key role in nurturing the act and giving them time to develop.
‘They got in contact with us a really long time ago when we’d just started putting music out online.
‘They’ve been really supportive because for the first couple of years we were at school and they were amazingly patient.
‘We put in recording dates and gigs where we could, but we knew we had to finish school first. Once we had done that, then they put everything into full gear and it was great.
‘They’re great dudes.’
The trio have played in Southsea twice before.
‘The first one was a while back, maybe 2011/12 with Peace.
‘We’d never really heard of them, but it was earlier that day that they’d signed with Columbia and they started rocketing.
‘We also did a gig as part of Southsea Fest which was a good day.’
This will be their first visit to Pie and Vinyl though.
‘But we’re all big fans of pie and vinyl in the band,’ adds Frank.
Castle Road, Southsea
Saturday, April 16