Bonds between bandmates is always a chemistry unlike others. Siblings Bruce and Erica Driscoll take that meaning to another level considering the strong family bond they have as well. The duo, otherwise known as Blondfire, have created an indie pop sound with a hint of electronic that fits perfectly with Erica’s sweet melodies.
The band released their single “Where The Kids Are” and a music video to go with it in November 2011 and it was welcomed with raving reviews. Less than a year later, the duo signed on with Warner Bros. Records and it’s been a whirlwind since.
Erica Driscoll took some time from touring to speak to Red River Noise about where Blondfire came from and where they’re going now.
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When did you and your brother decide to form a group together?
Erica Driscoll: (laughs) It’s funny because my mom really got us involved in music and playing piano. I played violin and my brother started playing drums then started playing guitar. Ever since we were really young, we were involved and around music. So when we got into bands like The Smiths, we started wanting to write songs and we kind of just practiced and wrote music together. Kind of had like built in band members! We even played with our older sister then too. It was funny we lived in Michigan and it’s pretty cold there. It makes you a very prolific writer. It’s kind of how we entertained ourselves. We just kept going and didn’t stop.
I read that your mom is from Brazil. How much of an influence was that in your music?
Driscoll: She’d always pull out Brazilian records around the house like Caetano Veloso. That was always around. Also, we spent summers in Brazil so it was always a part of our lives to have Brazilian music around. I love it. I’m so thankful for that, actually. I feel like it opened up my mind to so many different things.
Did you and Bruce have a certain genre of music you were aiming for when starting to make music together?
Driscoll: I don’t know if it was something we were trying for. I think a lot of our influences when we started were definitely a lot of ’80s bands like Depeche Mode. A lot of ’80s stuff. That was a major influence on what we were doing. I don’t know, it’s funny…because I feel like when I write with my brother we have this “thing” that we kind of do together. You know, it’s grown and changed in a lot of ways but the heart of it is still the same. Our music is kind of happy/sad, if that makes any sense (laughs). Peaceful but almost nostalgic in a weird way.
Where did the name Blondfire come from?
Driscoll: It was hard when we had to change the band name [Astaire] because Fred Astaire’s widow didn’t want us to use it anymore. And even if we could have tried to fight it, we were an unsigned, baby band so we really couldn’t do much. Once you have a name for a while, that’s who you think of yourselves as. It was really a bummer at the time but we just started searching for bands. When we would find something cool, we would search it and there would always be a band at the time on MySpace or something. We were looking for a while.
We were driving in the car one night and a friend of ours was like, “I smell a bonfire.” I think they kind of fumbled their words and said, “blondfire.” And I was like hmm, that could be a cool name. I wasn’t even sure if I liked it at the time but I was like maybe we could make it mean something. I googled it and there was no band online. Now I love it, it fits who we are. It’s kind of feminine and masculine at the same time. It works and I feel like we made it mean something.
How have things been different since signing with Warner Bros. Records last year?
Driscoll: It’s been great. I’m like really active doing social media stuff and I feel like the more you can do on your own, the better. That’s kind of how this whole thing came about getting attention from labels, getting attention for our “Where The Kids Are” video and song. It was a lot of me acting as our publicist and just really putting the energy out in the world. It’s been really cool with Warner Bros because they got what we were doing and got our sound, didn’t try to change us. Just having people behind you and enhancing the work you’re doing is really cool.
So, this was your second year at South by Southwest but your first year as a signed band. What was that like for you guys?
Driscoll: This year was definitely the most intense. We had like seven or eight shows in two and a half days. By the end, I lost my voice because we were just running around the city, from venue to venue and interview to interview. It was comical! By the time we left, we only stayed for the festival was just starting to kick in we were already leaving to get back on our tour with AWOLNATION. By that time I was already just spent because of the intense time we had there. But it was so fun. Macklemore was on the bill. It was a fun, new experience. By the end, I was like I don’t know if any sound is going to come out but by the last show I just gave everything I had.
What other adventures do you have planned in your touring schedule, other than your two-month tour with Foals?
Driscoll: [laughs] We have all these summer festivals, which is crazy. We’re doing Firefly, a festival in Delaware. We’re doing Kanrocksas, and Lollapalooza which I’m really excited about. One thing that’s cool is that New Order is playing the festival. It’s just so cool that our name is even listed with a band like them. Just awesome.
What plans do you guys have in the making that we should look forward to?
Driscoll: We actually have an album ready to go. It’s called Young Heart. It’s finished and should be coming out soon, we’re just waiting on the official release date from the label. Hopefully this spring or summer. Our next single that’s going to radio is called “Waves” and we just shot a music video for that in Death Valley.
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Watch the music video for “Waves” from Blondfire below.