Meet Blonde, aka Adam Engelfield and Jacob Manson, the duo who have been picking up momentum as they take the electro-house music scene by storm. Their energetic, empowering dance music is impossible to resist; their sound stems from their university days where they both discovered their love for house music. Adam attended Bristol University, which has a huge electronic music scene, and Adam found himself falling for the vibes after clubbing at hip Bristol clubs Thekla and Motion three times a week.
Blonde then evolved into a duo after pair met through YouTube; Adam runs the channel Eton Messy that promotes upcoming producers and was initially approached by Jacob to see if he would promote his music on the channel. From there, a friendship blossomed which in itself led to the two collaborating on a track together. When the result was something that felt like neither of their solo projects, Blonde was born. The feedback was intensely positive, surpassing anything they had done independently, and sure enough Blonde haven’t really stopped since they signed to Parlophone. Adam considers this to be a huge milestone for them, taking them from their bedrooms to real studios as well as blessing them with a manager who really understands their vision and project, helping them take those all important steps towards take off.
Blonde are perhaps most recognisable for their tracks ‘I Loved You’ and ‘All Cried Out’, which have both made it to number four in the U.K Charts showing just how well Blonde is going down – this is something Adam and Jacob are still struggling to get their heads around. As Adam put it, to think of tracks from their childhood that got to roughly the same chart position it is then crazy for them to be put in the same league, especially when they look at where they started out to where their tracks have taken them. Adam likens it to feeling a little bit like a dream, a surreal experience that is taking a while to sink in for all them – his mum still calls every time she hears one of their tracks on the radio!
To me, it seems Blonde are coming to live the dream too – when asked on other memorable responses to their music, Adam recalls meeting Craig David (understandably a hero of theirs) who spoke glowingly of their music. Having been an inspiration for their own music, to have this acknowledgment from one of their heroes not only meant a lot but shows how far the boys have come and how proud they should be of their well-deserved success.
“THERE IS SOMETHING SPECIAL ABOUT BEING PART OF EACH OTHER’S JOURNEYS”
However, their well-deserved success has not taken Blonde away from their roots and where they started out. As previously mentioned, one of Adam’s older projects is Eton Messy which supports upcoming producers, and Jacob suggested they carried this on with them as Blonde. This is the concept behind their Highlight Mixtapes, monthly mixtapes which Blonde use to share the music of artists that they rate highly and wish to support.
Obviously, Blonde’s tracks tend to feature upcoming artists as vocalists and working with new artists is something that they love doing. As Adam says, there is something special about being part of each other’s journeys and is confident that some of the artists they have worked with recently are bound for huge success – 2016 will be a busy year for the likes of Zak Abel, Karen Harding, Melissa Steele and Alex Newell, so to feel they are creating a new generation of music together is a great feeling.
The mixtapes are also a way to engage with their fans on a regular basis – it provides a good mix to put on whilst at the gym or on the train. Even cooler, all the artwork is done by fans, something Adam was keen to support as it gives artists a little platform from which they can start form. Adam admits that they have received all kinds of stuff. The brief given is loose, meaning people can submit anything the feel fits, which can obviously to all sorts of designs. Take note guys, if you want to give this one a go, Adam is an advocate of the wackier the better!
Blonde have also had a crazy summer of festivals and have their a series of up-coming gigs -they’ll be in Bristol on 6th November- so I wanted to know whether they preferred gigs or festivals. Adam was very diplomatic when considering this, acknowledging that gigs are often a more personal affair but the spirited atmosphere of a festival makes them his current pick, with Exeter receiving a shout out for being a ‘crazy energetic crowd’ when Blonde performed at Hijacked 2014 (not that I planted that one on Adam at all…).
This summer they played some amazing shows, the most poignant being Reading festival; to play it after years of daydreaming about it made it a moving set. Overall, it sounds like touring on the back of their newfound success has come with some fun stories – for example, at a festival they played in the Alps last year, their remix of Uptown Funk literally caused the dancefloor to collapse in on itself when the whole audience jumped as one (luckily, I’ve been assured that no one got hurt!), not to mention playing Pacha, Sankeys and Ibiza Rocks in Ibiza, a real privilege which is just incomparable to British festivals.
Blonde are taking on an incredible journey and will no doubt continue to get bigger and bigger; I asked Adam to think where Blonde would like to see themselves in the next five years and as he said, you’ve got to dream big – world tour, 4th album and a mantel piece full of Grammys are on his agenda! If they continue as they’ve begun, world domination via house wouldn’t be all that unrealistic after all.