It was that old canard ‘musical differences’ that put things on hold for nearly two years for Is Bliss, just as things were starting to happen for the Portsmouth-based trio.
But in February this year the shoegazers made a blistering return to the live scene.
‘It sucked really. It was musical differences,’ explains bassist Dean Edwards. ‘At the time, our drummer who left was our guitarist originally. We had another drummer who left first - we were a four-piece originally, so we became a three-piece. He moved across to drums as he was a great drummer as well, but that was only meant to be temporary.
‘But over time he became stuck on drums and it wasn’t what he wanted to do, so he wanted to leave – and he moved away as well.’
In the two years where the band was apparently dormant, Dean and singer/guitarist Jimmy Stuart weren’t idle.
‘Me and Jimmy were always doing things – writing songs in Jim’s room, keeping ideas flowing, we just put the brakes on for a bit.
‘Our drummer now, Sam, he came back from university and he’s a friend of Jim’s. Jim invited him along to a rehearsal - we hadn’t practiced in a while but we had some new songs and it just felt good so we carried on.’
Their first hometown gig was during April’s one-day festival, Dial Days.
‘I really enjoyed that one. It was cool – it was interesting. The Saturday when we play at The Wedge, we’re putting that on, and there’ll hopefully be people coming along to see us and we’ll see what people think of us then.
‘We got a good reaction at Dials, but obviously people were there for the whole day.’
Is Bliss have put together the Southsea Psych Out show which also features Dead Coast, Dead Rabbits, The Confederate Dead, Grasshopper and labelmates You Walk Through Walls on the bill.
The band have been picked up by the label Club AC30, who are putting out their debut EP next month.
But signing with them came ‘out of the blue,’ says Dean.
‘We played a show up in London and Robin, who owns AC30, was tipped off by a friend who’d seen us a few weeks before. He came along and got chatting to us afterwards.
‘It all happened pretty quick. It’s very exciting for us, as it’s one of our favourite labels with a lot of bands we like on there.’
Since the band went on hold, there’s also been in upswing in the number of bands playing shoegaze and heavy-psych.
‘It’s picked up a lot, I’ve noticed that, it’s good timing for us to come back – we’ve jumped on the wave. It’s worked out well.
‘When we were doing it before, there were only a handful of bands locally that were doing it, but now there’s more of a scene and more bands to play with, so it’s good to get some shows with other local bands who are doing it.’
Southsea Psych Out
The Edge of The Wedge, Southsea
Saturday, September 24