I would never expect the frontman of a band to be so shy. To my surprise, I realised when I met Toby Wardle, singer of one of the most exciting new bands in the London music scene, Blonde Bunny, that not all of the guys who rock on the stage are so confident in the real life. I was so thrilled going to interview the band just before their gig at glittery venue Moth Club a couple of days ago. You are probably wondering why I was so excited? Well, because Blonde Bunny have this amazing weird, woozy and dreamy sound that gives so much pleasure to your ears while you’re listening to their tracks. They’re a very special band.
Blonde Bunny, originally from Oundle/Sheffield, formed in 2012 by Toby, Alexander Collier, RZ and Wisdom. In 2014, these incredibly talented guys released a single “While We’re Sleeping” in an unusual way– on the old fashion cassette. “While We’re Sleeping”is full of wobbly guitar, synth noises and falsetto vocals helping to drift away. “How can you hold on to something so beautiful” is such a marvellous beginning to the single, “How do you cope, hope?” which Blonde Bunny dropped in 2015 on their sound cloud page. Absolutely genius! It’s personally my favourite song to which I can listen on repeat for weeks, over and over again.
What’s the story behind the name Blonde Bunny?
There’s not really a story here– we just wanted a name that didn’t instantly evoke a particular sound. A lot of bands’ music sounds like their name– what’s a band called Blonde Bunny going to sound like? It kind of set us up to come through with our own sound.
How did your musical journey begin?
Our musical journey began when we were still just kids. The RZ and I first played together as far back as when we were 12 or 13 years old. When I was starting to play drums and he was already precociously proficient on guitar. Then with Alex when we were around 15 and I was writing and singing by that point. We all grew up together, apart from Wisdom, who would have been playing beats on a makeshift kit of household items 4 hours away up north before we met when we were 18. But the three of us made music both together and individually throughout our teens, experimenting and recording on a multi-track mainly. Blonde Bunny started after we met Wisdom. It wasn’t until then that we had something that felt increasingly concrete.
How did you first get introduced to music?
I think everyone gets introduced to music by what their parents or whoever’s around during their childhood listens to. I can only really answer for me, but Alex was a real Beatles kid, thanks to his Dad. And, I was too to a lesser extent. My mum was a huge Simply Red fan, for better or for worse. People hate on Simply Red. It’s funny. It’s impossible for me to hear and review Simply Red objectively now– it’s pure nostalgia.
How would you describe your sound?
It’s difficult to describe and I think every artist has got that trouble. I guess it’s kind of pop music with a lot of different influences.
Would you say your music is kind of psychedelic?
I’d never really describe our music as psychedelic, but I can see why some people would say that. I just have a problem with this word, really.
With all of these ideas in mind and strong lyrics, what’s the process behind writing them?
We write new ideas constantly, especially since we’ve been able to rehearse together regularly, which is quite a recent thing. A song can start from anyone or anywhere, but it’s often one of Alex’s guitar parts. Everyone does their thing to it. We’ll make a scrappy recording of what we’ve got and then I’ll take that away and turn it into a song by writing vocals for it. Making structure changes and then extra arrangement will often come over time when the song is in the recording and mixing stage. As for lyrics, things come at the most unlikely and inconvenient times, melodies too, so my phone gets a preview before anyone else. But, it might just be one line, and then I’ll build a theme or overall tone from that. I don’t really like to think about how that stuff happens. I don’t think it’s healthy to think too much about it because it comes from a place that we’re not meant to completely understand. As long as I can channel it, then I’m happy.
What inspires your live show?
Our live show is constantly evolving. We have staple songs in there, but we’re always changing up the way we play them to keep it interesting for us. We’ve been debuting some new songs recently. We tend to throw in an instrumental track or two because it’s exciting to [play] out something that might only be a week old. There’s a very improvisational dynamic in the band and I guess that’s reflected in our live show. The main thing though, really, is that hopefully our sets take the audience on a journey, but a journey with twists and turns and changing altitudes.
What’s happening next for Blonde Bunny?
We’re kind of mixing all the time because we’ve got a lot of recordings, but we haven’t put anything out yet. We’re constantly writing. I think we’re gonna put either a single or an EP out at some point in a year and then an album by the end of the year, or early next year. To be honest, we kind of wanna label before we’re gonna put an album out. I’m just trying to grow our fanbase because we haven’t got a massive fanbase. But, we’re growing it organically from doing shows for a one-person audience to where we are now. It’s just taking so long! Because we’re not a part of any scene, so we haven’t really got help from anyone.
What’s about the tour with The Wytches? Wasn’t it helpful?
It was a help, in a way, but we’re not a similar band.I guess we’ve taken some of their fans, but its very different thing.
We’re at Moth Club and tonight you’re playing a headline show, did you prepare anything special for tonight?
Yes, we’re playing three new songs tonight and they are much more melodic. I mean, all our songs are melodic, but these are more ballad-y and in much more lower tone. It’s going down in sort of a more jazzy way.
Do you have a favourite quote? Anything what’s your life manta?
It’s a quote from Björk: “With a small town mentality, you make a decision very early on as to whether you are going to do everything by the book or just go your own way and not care.”
What’s your favourite artist at the moment?
I like kind of hip hop, the stuff like Kedric Lamar– probably the best artist in the world. James Blake, St. Vincent,Warpaint. I like new Beyoncea lot, and Rihanna.
If you haven’t seen Blonde Bunny live, you can catch these guys on the 19th May at Brighton Electric for Alternative Great Escape and on the 24th May at Servant Jazz Quarters in London!
By Emily Slupecka
All pictures by Marta Magenta