Following the glittering August release of debut album Lie Out Loud, Alex Duke chatted to BLOXX’s charismatic mic-wielder Ophelia Booth about the new record, her favourite gig memories, and the music inspirations that have shaped the group’s insatiable brand of hook-stuffed indie-pop.
At a bustling, mosh-infused gig at the Bodega last year, BLOXX entertained the faithful Nottingham crowd with a buzzing, energetic eleven-song set. Bookending an intriguing array of songs with the ever-popular Sea Blue and Curtains, BLOXX’s performance was characterised by the passion and charisma of lead singer Ophelia Booth.
Now nearly a year on, with that memorable concert a nostalgic memory, BLOXX have managed to make the best of an extremely turbulent twelve months – the long-awaited release of Lie Out Loud being an extremely welcome arrival. “It’s a continuation as much as it is a new step,” explained Ophelia. “But it still sounds like us – there’s still the guitars, it’s still a BLOXX record.”
“It was mid-2018 when we decided to move away from EPs and onto albums. I’d written stuff for the record in early 2018, so it just felt right to put a big body of work out!” The album is an interesting hybrid of BLOXX’s original sound, alongside newer ideas and musical styles. Ophelia’s melodic vocals coincide effectively with thrashing drum rhythms and distinctive guitar riffs comparable to indie pop icons, The XX and Vampire Weekend.
Although BLOXX’s style is uniquely individual, Ophelia draws influences from a wide variety of different artists. “Jeff Buckley, Fleetwood Mac, or even more poppy stuff from the late 90s, like late 90’s Pink. I was into a lot of different music growing up,” she grins. Ophelia’s writing process is also a key part of her work. “I usually just start with an idea and get it in my voice notes. It’s like a melody and a lyric, I’ll put it on my iPhone really quietly, then get in my studio and just record.”
‘The album explores relationships past and present, the highlights and the heartbreaks, and the inevitable challenges of dating in the twenty first century.’
The lyrical themes on the album generally follow a similar pattern, with Ophelia exploring relationships past and present, the highlights and the heartbreaks, and the inevitable challenges of dating in the twenty first century. BLOXX have also been credited for adapting well to the pandemic, with the music video for electric album track Off My Mind being filmed creatively whilst still observing social distancing. “Our director had an idea where he just put the band in boxes, and kind of played on the social distancing thing. He’s done stuff for Vistas and April, he’s really, really talented.”
Yet changing themes and discussing different ideas is crucial to BLOXX’s work. “The stuff I’m writing now for whatever we do next is a bit more serious. It’s a bit different to the breakup theme of the first record.” Missing live music has been an ongoing problem in 2020, and Ophelia’s love for both venues and festivals is testament to BLOXX’s energetic live shows. “Headline shows in London are amazing, particularly the sets we played at Borderline and Camden Assembly. Manchester is amazing too. “It’s two different feelings but there’s nothing better than your own headline show. Reading and Leeds has always been great to us too,” she adds.
The future certainly looks bright for this up-and-coming band. With their first record officially released and a myriad more on the way, BLOXX are certainly a band worth keeping track of.
Written by: Alex Duke
Edited by: Dominic Allum