BLAENAVON

The indie rock trio on album number two and charity shop hauls.

 

BLAENAVON

The indie rock trio on album number two and charity shop hauls.

 

Photography by MIKAYLA MILLER

Styling by JESSICA GARDENER

Words by ELLY WATSON

Blaenavon have had a pretty whirlwind year. Dropping their debut album That’s Your Lotlast April, the trio - made up of frontman Ben Gregory, bassist Frank Wright and drummer Harris McMillan - have spent the last 18 months on the road, heading straight into the studio earlier this year to work on their hotly anticipated follow-up.

Lauded for their beautifully melancholic indie rock stylings, one may have thought the Hampshire-hailing three-piece may be somewhat anxious about maintaining the same momentum with their as yet to-be-named second album, but Blaenavon have never been ones to hold back. If you’ve ever seen Frank’s dance moves on stage, you’ll understand what I mean.

“The songwriting’s just a league above,” Ben says of their upcoming record. “It’s probably a bit more concise and coherent than the last record. Lyrically it’s a lot better. The first one’s good as well though! There’s just some bigger ballads and less indie pop on the new one.”

Centred around feeling “pretty shite”, the new album details the toll that growing up in the music industry lifestyle can have. “The first [LP] was a bit more teen-angst vibes and this one’s written from our early 20’s and just a different time in our lives really,” he details. “I’ve grown up in quite a strange way, not having any routine, feeling the strain of this job. It’s quite

high pressure and stuff and I was just really struggling to keep myself happy. A lot of it’s about feeling pretty down in the dumps, but there are some big songs about eternal love… That ended up not being eternal, unfortunately.”

Having already played a few newbies whilst completing the festival circuit earlier this summer, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for the new material. “We got a lot of good feedback from a song called ‘Catatonic Skinbag’!” Ben smiles. “It’s probably one of the singles. People were singing along and bopping their heads to it even though they hadn’t heard it before, which was pretty nifty.”

Looking to release new music this year and with the record release planned for next Spring, Blaenavon will be previewing some fresh material when they head out on tour in October. “It’ll be nice to get back into the swing of things,” Ben tells me. “It’s a good feeling once you’re two or three shows in and you’re really, really tired. You’re not nervous anymore and it’s just about having a good time, that’s when it’s really fun.”

Getting back to touring also allows for some exciting fashion experiments. “If I’m knocking about at home, I’ll keep it casual, but I do like to get a bit eccentric on the road,” the former model says of his fashion sense. “Oversized suits and shit. Lots of lace. Maybe reveal a bit of skin every once in a while?”

He describes experimentation with fashion on stage as a chance to “create characters, enhance your eccentricities and become otherworldly,” something to fully add to the spectacle of going to see a live show. For Ben, he sees the link between fashion and music as something to get excited about, citing Burberry Acoustic as a particularly cool collaboration.

Where does he get the most of his stuff? Charity shops are his secret weapon. Oxfam being the number one go-to. Selling ethical, sustainable, unique and affordable fashion, the charity allow you to buy incredible designer outfits for a fraction of their original cost. And, of course, all of their profits go straight into helping fund their work fighting poverty and suffering across the world. In fact, just £10 spent at an Oxfam shop could mean safe an clean water for 10 people in an emergency.

Oxfam also accept donations - which can be dropped off in store or deposited in clothing banks - and their online shop - the first UK online charity shop - now has over 125,000 items. “It’s where I find the majority of my clobber!” Ben smiles. “I bought a lovely grey double-breasted suit from an Oxfam in Oxford which served me very well until I spilt a Bloody Mary all over it…”

With new music and new garms (hopefully with fewer cocktail stains) at the ready, Blaenavon are ready to wow once again.

Blaenavon have had a pretty whirlwind year. Dropping their debut album That’s Your Lotlast April, the trio - made up of frontman Ben Gregory, bassist Frank Wright and drummer Harris McMillan - have spent the last 18 months on the road, heading straight into the studio earlier this year to work on their hotly anticipated follow-up.

Lauded for their beautifully melancholic indie rock stylings, one may have thought the Hampshire-hailing three-piece may be somewhat anxious about maintaining the same momentum with their as yet to-be-named second album, but Blaenavon have never been ones to hold back. If you’ve ever seen Frank’s dance moves on stage, you’ll understand what I mean.

“The songwriting’s just a league above,” Ben says of their upcoming record. “It’s probably a bit more concise and coherent than the last record. Lyrically it’s a lot better. The first one’s good as well though! There’s just some bigger ballads and less indie pop on the new one.”

Centred around feeling “pretty shite”, the new album details the toll that growing up in the music industry lifestyle can have. “The first [LP] was a bit more teen-angst vibes and this one’s written from our early 20’s and just a different time in our lives really,” he details. “I’ve grown up in quite a strange way, not having any routine, feeling the strain of this job. It’s quite

high pressure and stuff and I was just really struggling to keep myself happy. A lot of it’s about feeling pretty down in the dumps, but there are some big songs about eternal love… That ended up not being eternal, unfortunately.”

Having already played a few newbies whilst completing the festival circuit earlier this summer, the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive for the new material. “We got a lot of good feedback from a song called ‘Catatonic Skinbag’!” Ben smiles. “It’s probably one of the singles. People were singing along and bopping their heads to it even though they hadn’t heard it before, which was pretty nifty.”

Looking to release new music this year and with the record release planned for next Spring, Blaenavon will be previewing some fresh material when they head out on tour in October. “It’ll be nice to get back into the swing of things,” Ben tells me. “It’s a good feeling once you’re two or three shows in and you’re really, really tired. You’re not nervous anymore and it’s just about having a good time, that’s when it’s really fun.”

Getting back to touring also allows for some exciting fashion experiments. “If I’m knocking about at home, I’ll keep it casual, but I do like to get a bit eccentric on the road,” the former model says of his fashion sense. “Oversized suits and shit. Lots of lace. Maybe reveal a bit of skin every once in a while?”

He describes experimentation with fashion on stage as a chance to “create characters, enhance your eccentricities and become otherworldly,” something to fully add to the spectacle of going to see a live show. For Ben, he sees the link between fashion and music as something to get excited about, citing Burberry Acoustic as a particularly cool collaboration.

Where does he get the most of his stuff? Charity shops are his secret weapon. Oxfam being the number one go-to. Selling ethical, sustainable, unique and affordable fashion, the charity allow you to buy incredible designer outfits for a fraction of their original cost. And, of course, all of their profits go straight into helping fund their work fighting poverty and suffering across the world. In fact, just £10 spent at an Oxfam shop could mean safe an clean water for 10 people in an emergency.

Oxfam also accept donations - which can be dropped off in store or deposited in clothing banks - and their online shop - the first UK online charity shop - now has over 125,000 items. “It’s where I find the majority of my clobber!” Ben smiles. “I bought a lovely grey double-breasted suit from an Oxfam in Oxford which served me very well until I spilt a Bloody Mary all over it…”

With new music and new garms (hopefully with fewer cocktail stains) at the ready, Blaenavon are ready to wow once again.

All clothing availble from OXFAM

Grooming Chloe Peers at Creatives Agency using MAC Cosmetics and Bumble and Bumble

With thanks to Raw Casting Suite

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