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Ticket Giveaway, Interview: Blouse


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Photo by Tonje Thilesen

Portland trio Blouse is currently on tour with Dum Dum Girls and will stop in Phoenix this Sunday, March 9. The band released Imperium, a follow up to its dreamy self-titled debut of 2011, on Captured Tracks in September 2013 .

Read The Spec‘s interview with Charlie Hilton below and enter to win a pair of tickets to see Blouse live with Dum Dum Girls and Casket Girls at Crescent Ballroom on March 9.

The Spec: Who are some of your favorite artists and of those, who do you think has had the most infleunce on Blouse?
Charlie Hilton: We’ve always bonded over some really classic stuff: The Velvet Underground, Galaxy 500, The Dream Syndicate, Suicide, Leonard Cohen. I’m not sure who’s had the most influence on us. It’s a difficult question.

TS: You guys closed out last year touring Europe, how was the experience? Can you share a story, or two, from the tour?
CH: We had so much fun. I think my favorite day was in Athens, wandering around the ancient near the Acropolis and petting stray cats. There are beautiful cats and dogs all over the streets of Athens, just hanging out. They all seem very relaxed. It gave the city a really interesting mood because the people seemed relaxed too, and the weather was a bit warmer. Athens was the last stop on our tour, so it was like a paradise for us. I even spent an hour at a turkish bath before our show. It made me think all tours should end in Athens. If only! And the strangest thing was, the Dum Dums played a show the night before, so we met up and got to hang out a little, go to each other’s shows. They were lovely.

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TS: Imperium came to be over a “span of six months.” Were you listening to, watching, reading or experiencing 

anything in particular during that period that inspired parts of the album? What were your main inspirations, and aspirations, with this release?
CH: Patrick [Adams] and I had gone back to art school for a term while we were making the record, and I became pretty obsessed with an history course on the Spanish Baroque period. This is where the song “Imperium” comes from — it’s actually about the invasion of the New World from the native perspective. I was also going through pretty dark time, spending every weekend in the mountains outside of Portland. Some of the songs came out of that feeling of despair that emerges when I have some time to reflect. As far as production goes, I think Jake [Portrait] wanted to make this record shinier. We felt like pushing ourselves into new territory, and I think he took these songs to the perfect place.

TS: What are your favorite Blouse tracks to perform live? Have you noticed which ones seem to stir your live audiences the most?
CH: “Arrested” is really fun. It’s so lighthearted and frantic, I feel like we always end up goofing around a bit. “1000 Years” has become my other favorite live song, which is definitely unexpected. It’s so simple, but it’s one of the only Blouse songs that feels like a classic ballad, which I think people appreciate. It’s also kind of cool bringing an acoustic guitar into the set.

TS: What is something about Imperium, a Blouse member, or the band as a whole that fans might be surprised to know?
CH: The sound in the beginning of “No Shelter” is a giant jackhammer from a construction sight across the street from the studio. This noise went on for days. It drove us a little crazy, but it always felt like an appropriate motif for this record, like something out of a novel.

Complete the sentences…

Before I take to the stage, I always have to…drink a sip of Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa.

If I could have dinner and a chat with anyone who has ever existed, it’d definitely be Albert Einstein because… I really like old men.

One of the best feelings in the world has to be…falling asleep.

I can’t go very long without listening to…David Byrne.

Arizona fans who attend the upcoming show can expect to hear music but probably not a lot of talking. I’m shy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winner will be contacted by email on Thursday, March 6. This show is 16+. Don’t want to test your luck? Tickets are still available online through Ticketfly.

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