Q: Your song, “Paper & Stone”, explores the image of “human perfection” generated by today’s mainstream media. What drew you to want to write about this subject?
SUPERBLOOM: I think the idea came to me at a time when I couldn’t seem to turn on the TV, look at a magazine or scroll through social media without seeing a ‘perfect’ depiction of a man or woman. Someone with washboard abs, tanned skin and a chiselled jawline. This got me thinking, where did this one-dimensional idea of beauty come from? It’s got to be man-made, and there’s got a be a point in time when this started to be considered ‘perfect’. Not for the first time, I was quick to blame the mainstream media for this warped perception and Paper & Stone is my slightly hostile and sarcastic protest against it.
Q: The raw emotion in your voice pairs well with the 90s Grunge and Blues influences in the overall production. Vocally, which artists influence your singing style?
SUPERBLOOM: Hmmm, that’s a tricky one. There are loads of things that influence my vocals, and other people’s voices are just a small part of it. Chris Cornell was one of the main reasons I started singing; I love his tone and power. If I could choose to have anyone’s vocal talent, it would be his. I’m also massively inspired by Maynard James Keenan of Tool. Lyrically, there’s no-one quite like him. At the other end of the genre spectrum, I’ve been listening to a lot of Tom Misch recently, and his voice gives me chills every time I hear it.
Q: Talk about the making of the music video for “Paper & Stone”. How did it come together? Which scene is your favourite?
SUPERBLOOM: We actually filmed two other versions of the video before deciding on a final edit, so we’d determined the concept long before the release. Our main goal was to create something visually stimulating, that was entertaining to watch, on a budget. This is a challenge I’m sure many bands encounter.
The final video was filmed in a warehouse in London. It involved three musicians, a man with a camera, some flashing lights, a paint gun and a mask. The latter was the focus, used to abstractly convey the message of the song; the fact that the mainstream media’s image of ‘perfection’ pulls the wool over our eyes and often makes us try to be something we’re not. The paint was mainly used as a visual stimulus, designed to catch the eye of the viewer.
There are lots of scenes I like, but I love the end of the video. The bit where the rationality of the storyline goes out the window and I’m left throwing myself around like a lunatic, covered in paint. I think the energy here reflects the climax of the song nicely.
Scrubbing the paint off the floors afterwards was definitely my least favourite bit…
Q: When writing songs, what spurs you creatively and what’s your favourite part of the process?
SUPERBLOOM: It really depends. I find inspiration can come from anywhere. Sometimes I’ll be listening to a band I love and my ears will prick up at a particular section. It’s normally rhythms that hit me first. Something with a real groove that makes me think, ‘I want to write something with that kind of impact’. When this happens, I tend to sit in my ‘home studio’ (a desk with a laptop and some speakers) and consciously write riffs/layers until I’ve tracked something I like.
Other times it’ll be less of a conscious thing. I’ll just be jamming on my acoustic guitar and a riff or chord progression and accompanying vocal melody will spring to mind. Writing songs normally goes one of two ways, either nothing happens for months and months, or you have tonnes of ideas in the space of minutes.
I would say my favourite part of the process is tracking everything in the studio. The song is written, so the pressures of that are taken away, and you can just focus on sounds and tones and bringing your creation to life. We work with some great producers too, so that makes this part even more exciting. I love locking myself away from the world and just focusing on music (as corny as it may sound). It’s one of my favourite things about being in a band.
Q: How did the two of you meet and what’s the story behind your name, Superbloom?
SUPERBLOOM: Me and Sam have been friends for years. We used to play at one of our local venues, The Green Room in Welwyn Garden City, in separate bands when we were kids. This was back in the day when people went out to gigs on a Tuesday night, just for fun! We had a lot of mutual friends and ended up playing in a band together. Many years and musical projects later, we started Superbloom.
There’s not a big story behind the name to be honest. I find it really difficult thinking of names that tick all the boxes and I think Sam’s the same. We knew we wanted something timeless and marketable, that reflected our musical roots, and we (eventually!) landed on Superbloom. I think ultimately it was a word Sam heard in passing on TV and it just stuck.
Q: At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
SUPERBLOOM: I hope our music moves people in some way. Whether that be to instill happiness, sadness, anger, or inspiration, I just want people to feel emotionally driven by it. There’s a huge amount of effort, energy and emotion that goes into our songs and I hope this comes across. I’m so pleased and proud every time someone reaches out to tell us they’re enjoying what we’ve made, it means the world.
Interviewed by Brynn Hinnant