Introducing Blonde, aka Adam Englefield and Jacob Manson, the two young Bristolian’s who have been taking the internet by storm
Hailing from one of music’s most multi-faceted towns, Bristol, Adam Englefield and Jacob Manson met in cyber space, both bonding over Adam’s infamous Youtube Channel – Eton Messy.
Taking the blogosphere by storm, the duos bootleg house versions of ‘90s dance and R&B classics have become the music de jour for the internet generation. With ‘Foolish’, the first track from their debut EP, due for release on Monday we caught up with the boys to talk the birth of Blonde, Bristol sub-cultures and Leeds hedonism, ahead of their summer of festivals.
Where did the Blonde journey start, I know Jacob was producing as Thieves and Adam you were running Eton Messy? Explain all…
Adam: Well it was coming up to 2 years ago when Jake emailed me through a track of his that he wanted uploading to my YouTube channel ‘Eton Messy’. He at the time was producing under the alias ‘Thieves’ and I loved his stuff, so showed him some of my own productions which I had done under the name ‘Beluga’. After a while I sent Jake the stems to one of my tracks to see if he would like to remix it, which he did and the result was really good so we decided to do a track as a collab. That track ended up being ’Talk To You’ which was the first Blonde track we put out and massively surpassed any of our exceptions. Once we noticed how well our styles complimented each other, it was a no brainer to do a whole project together. Hence Blonde was born.
What music did you grow up listening to?
Jacob: I think I went through a stage of listening to pretty much everything, from Hip Hop to Soul, to Jungle. I’ve never really thought to discriminate against particular genres, if it’s good music, it’s good music. I think the first record I ever bought was an Eminem single though, haha. I’ve always had a massive love for funk and disco though and those are the two main genres that I seem to keep coming back to.
Adam: I’m the same as Jacob really. I’ve never been tied down to just one type of music. When I was younger I played in bands and made very different music to the type we do today. However my mum did bring me up on Rock and Soul, which I feel definitely helped get me hooked on music.
What about Bristol, I read you grew up there Jacob, has that had a big impact on the music you create? What about Leeds?
Jacob: Bristol is really renowned for its music scene, with Trip-Hop acts like Portishead and Massive Attack really putting it on the map. There’s always been a real breadth to the types of music on offer around the city. I suppose that one unifying thing which can be said about the musical culture in Bristol is that the people are very open-minded and supportive. I think that attitude really gives Bristol based artists the confidence to push themselves to create music outside of the boundaries that a more claustrophobic scene might create. Leeds definitely had a big influence on my musical direction, when I first moved to the city for university I was promoting and assisting with live events for bands like Death Grips and Alt J but then after discovering the incredible house parties and dance music culture the city had to offer, I started to immerse myself more in that world.
Where did the inspiration for ‘Foolish’ come from?
Jacob: With Foolish we wanted to write an RnB track with a heavy dance music influence. We knew it would be our first fully original release so it was a real opportunity for us to showcase a bit more of the diversity of our writing and production. Working with Ryan was great, he’s a really special talent and brought such a great positive energy to the track.
Adam: It was great fun doing something so different in style from what we were used to producing, and as a direct result we have done plenty more tracks of a similar R&B vibe which will find their home on the forthcoming album.
What about the video? (I love it!)
Jacob: For the video we wanted something which would really compliment the groove and movement in the track. When Davis pitched the idea of working with dancers and choreographers (as well as a tropical fruit salad) we fell in love with the concept.
Do you have any more collaborations lined up that you can tell me about?
Jacob: Our next single features Charli Taft, a singer-songwriter from Liverpool who we’ve been working with on our album. She’s got this incredible soulful voice which really suits the vibe of a lot of the songs we have coming up and she’s also a very talented writer.
Adam: We have been very lucky to work with some amazingly talented artists over the past few months, many of whom we were big fans of prior to working on stuff with them. So as you can imagine we are itching to get it out there!
Which other emerging artists are you guys backing at the moment?
Jacob: There’s so much new talent around at the moment that it’s hard to narrow it down, but I’m a massive fan of Just Kiddin, their forthcoming release Thinking About It is one of the best new dance tracks I’ve heard in a while. Kaasi and Tom Misch who both featured on the remix package for Foolish are also very exciting up and coming talents. Kaasi has this really unique and very emotive vibe to his production and I’m really excited to see where he takes it next. Tom is a brilliant multi-instrumentalist but also has a great vocal which I’m hoping we’ll hear a lot more of soon!
Adam: We are also big fans of Zak Abel. His most recent track with Wookie has been on repeat for me over the past couple of months. If you haven’t heard Zak’s voice before make sure you check him out, I see big things ahead for him.
I’ll be sure to check him out! What else do you have in store for 2014?
Jacob: We have a lot more releases scheduled for this year, which we are really excited about! We’ll be getting back to our house roots for quite a few of them too. We’re also playing at a lot of festivals across the UK and Europe so it’s going to be a busy summer!
Words: Brooke McCord