With the release of their incredible and beautiful debut album How To Let Go just twenty-four hours away (18th May), blanket’s bassist Matthew Sheldon wrote us an article about what makes them tick: essentially, the band’s manifesto. Read on below…
blanket was initially formed by our members Simon (Morgan, guitar) and Bobby (Pook, vocals and guitar) back in 2016. They were both coming out of long periods in projects that had previously fallen apart and were wanting to create something just for their own enjoyment in exactly the image they both shared, without the restriction of a formal band scenario.
They both draw influence from many different avenues but one thing they did share was a love for cinematic music. We began to write together as a band with this in mind, but also drawing from our other individual influences to create what began at first as a fun project from home, but would go on to become blanket. At first the band existed only inside the workings of an iMac, but Bobby and Simon then brought in Steven (Pellatt, drums) and me to fill out the line-up, and blanket was formed.
We have always written with the cinematic in mind, from the very beginning wanting to incorporate unique visuals and, later, stage lights, into the live show, to create an all immersive experience as opposed to just the live performance of a band.
Our early work together was very much in the vein of post-rock with no vocals, but as we developed as a band we started to use vocals almost as another instrument, and we began to incorporate vocals in to more and more of the songs. Through this we found our own sound, sitting somewhere between post-rock, progressive and alternative rock.
When it comes to influence, cinematic scores inspire our music greatly, but not necessarily the big bombastic traditional film scores we see in blockbuster movies full of fanfares etc.; but more in line with the work of people like Hans Zimmer, Johann Johannsson or Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who all manage to create wonderful and unique pieces of music without focusing solely on the melodies, and giving space to sonic texture and tone equally to the melodies and traditional instruments.
This is the approach to cinematic music that most influences us and the way we write music together. In addition to this we take influence from many different genres of popular music, from Bon Iver, Sigur Ros and Mogwai to American Football, Circa Survive and Converge. We take inspiration from these artists, and music from the movies we love, to create what we hope is an engaging and all-encompassing sound.
Our writing style is very collaborative: one of us will bring an idea to the group either in a jam session or online via a demo track, and everyone else will have notes and comments on the track, and we bring all of this together to try and find the best direction to take the piece in. This method of writing is very rewarding and it completely immerses each of us into the music to an equal level creatively.
The message that our band is trying to communicate is primarily one of hopefulness, of being a light in the darkness. Our music is about recognising that despite the vastness of our universe, and our small place in it, we believe it is important for us to stand for letting go of the self-imposed boundaries that hold us back and move forward and create art together without restriction.
This idea of a ‘light in the darkness’, is a concept that we feel very much relates to our home town of Blackpool, which led to Bobby directing and producing the short movie Fragments of a Dream, which was sound-tracked by some of the material from our forthcoming album How To Let Go.