20 Questions: The Blinders 1

20 Questions: The Blinders

Punkadelic ring leaders, The Blinders  are Britain’s most switched on emerging rock band. Articulate, politicised and theatrical with an electricity-charged connection live on stage. The songs – anthemic and polemic – are as huge as their potential. ‘Hear the sound / of dystopian cries’

The band’s Summer 2017 single, Brave New World’, is their third release following  the track ‘Swine’. Its the sound of true independence on the fourth of July and is available from all main digital distributors to download now.

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We sent them 20 questions answered by Charlie McGough (bass), with interjections from Thomas Haywood (guitar, vocals) and Matt Neale (drums, backing vocals).

‘Brave New World’ – is this coming from life in dystopia, or inspired by Aldous Huxley’s novel?

“It’s both really. It’s living in a world that seems ever increasingly dystopian. A TV star for a president. A PM calling an election to give herself unlimited power, delaying a queens speech, forming deals nobody has a say on or a chance to change. It’s quite scary how much these supposedly real life events can be encompassed by a piece of fiction…”

Have you ever been starstruck?

“100%. I met Father John Misty at Glastonbury, completely lost my cool.”

Do The Blinders encourage youth involvement in politics?

“I’m not sure. I don’t think we would be as narcissistic to say we are responsible for an upturn in youth involvement in any stretch of the imagination. Of course we advocate it, a mass mobilisation of the youth will lead to great change, we are already seeing it. I think we are just part of a generation, part of a movement where people are fed up; fed up of being told ‘no’ by a generation who had it all, who went to university for free, who could afford to buy a house and secure a career in their early twenties.”

Do you feel part of a movement, or is 2017 more about not needing scenes but making something completely new from unique collectives around each band.

“This follows on perfectly from the last question. We don’t feel like we are leaders of anything and by any means responsible for such trends, I think we are very much a part of them or, more importantly, a product of them.

The idea of a scene is very interesting. We’ve just finished a short tour with Cabbage and Strange Bones. You had three bands all on the same wave length, all with similar ideologies all sounding very different, all presenting such an ideology in a very different way. I think therefore people are more united around a shared ideology and vision for the future as opposed to traditional ‘scenes’ that have revolved around appearance and sound.”

If you weren’t doing this, what would you like to be?

“We’d no doubt be in some mundane office job, living for the weekend so to speak. It’s what we want to avoid at all costs, be it selling your soul to the devil or dying at 27.”

Films, books, art and poetry join obvious inspirations in your live performance. Who are your favourite actors, authors and artists either individually, or as a band.

Charlie: “As much as it’s a bit of a cliche, Orwell’s 1984 probably impacted on me in a more profound way then any other piece of literature. In terms of artist, I watched a great documentary on Maurizio Cattelan – is he a conman or an artist? Pretty interesting.”

“The beats changed my life: Kerouac, Ginsberg, S. Burroughs to name a few. I’m also infatuated with Jim Morrison, and share his love for Arthur Rimbaud, the obscene rock and roll poet of the 19th century. I’m not really into film.”

What were you like at school?

“I think we were pretty standard kids really, we aren’t really bad lads. We each belonged to various friend groups, not just one ‘clique’, and we all did pretty well academically. Tom was in bother most days for being late but that’s as far it went, Charlie was pretty sporty and Matt has always been the joker – he did have some really wacky hair cuts though. Glad we’ve seen the end of those days.”

If you could change one law, what would it be?

“There are too many laws, all entwining that have led to radical inequality. Changing an individual law does not change that, you essentially need a radical change in the way that society is governed.”


It would be an understatement to say that you are playing a lot of shows this year. Where do you get your energy?

“It’s incredible how long you can sustain yourself on meal deals and booze.”

The ALIVE tour with The Shimmer Band, Bang Bang Romeo and Blackwaters is a landmark for This Feeling. A club that is a key driving force of new guitar music?

“What This Feeling has done for us and is doing for other bands is so essential. The lack of music venues and the lack of stages now for young bands to play and make a living on is frightening. Nick Mason mentioned that he didn’t think Floyd would make it in today’s world due to the lack of such a space. I think This Feeling are the antidote. People come to the nights knowing they’re gonna see a couple of decent bands and bands also turn up, knowing they’re going to play in front of a receptive audience and be well looked after. It makes the ‘slog’ a lot easier.”

What do you listen to in your tour van?

“When we aren’t asleep there’s a lot of disco or road music i.e. anything from the 60’s and 70’s. It also depends who’s driving: the driver is in charge, and we do as we’re told in that sense.”

What were your favourite bands growing up?

“The Arctic Monkeys are the obvious ones but should not be overlooked; they’re a very important band in our lives. We all grew up listening to alternate but intertwining artists. Anything from your classic 60’s bands (The Beatles, The Doors, The Kinks, The Stones) to the 00’s Indie bands (The Vaccines, The Killers, The Strokes etc.) which were the soundtrack to our younger days.”

Who would you want to play you in the film of your life?

“Someone close to us, who knew us personally.”

Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?


When was the last time you cried?

“Collectively, when Arcade Fire dedicated ‘The Suburbs’ to David Bowie at Isle of Wight Festival, and uttering the phrase ‘We miss you every day’. The memory still gives us goosebumps and a lu kimp now.”

What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?

Either Arctic Monkeys’ version of ‘Red Right Hand’ Thomas: “that brought Nick Cave into my life”or Joe Cocker ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’

What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened at one of your own gigs?

“I had a shoe thrown at me whilst playing The Ritz with Cabbage. I think it was in good faith. The Kids Are Alright.”

How was it touring with The View, and then Cabbage? Did their audiences take to you?

“Both tours have been wonderful. We were slightly apprehensive about The View shows. Playing venues like The Barrowlands are nothing short of daunting, and we weren’t sure how we’d be received. The crowds were great though. The View boys took us under their wings and showed us a great time, we’ll be forever grateful for that. The Cabbage shows that we’ve just finished were probably the best shows we’ve ever played, we seem to have a shared audience in part, the last night in Manchester was one of the best gigs we’ve attended, let alone played.”

You’re still a relatively new band. Would you say that you had a true following yet. Anybody who knows or even sings along to your songs when you play live?

“It still doesn’t feel like we’ve truly got a following yet. Maybe we are just being modest. We’ve always said that we want to be able to do a tour of the country and sell a couple of hundred tickets in every town we go to. We are by no means there but I suppose we are working on it. There has been some really strange instances when we’ve been playing ‘Swine’, for example, and all of a sudden its being sung back at us we’re not quite sure when or how that happened, and can’t help but break character on stage and smile.”

What are your own favourite lyrics from your songs, so far.


‘Brave New World’ sounds like your biggest anthem to date, and you have quite a few already. It’s newly written this year, right? Any more on the way?

“That’s correct. We are truly proud of it, it has been warmly received so far. We are gonna be using the next few weeks while we have a bit of time off to sit down and write. We’ve plenty to be working on and plenty in the time line so hopefully they will start creeping into the live set soon. Keep an ear out.”

July 2017
22 Blackthorn Festival, Cheshire – Headlining Paddock Stage
29 Kendal Calling Festival (Sold Out) This Feeling Stage (House Party)

August 2017
01 Doncaster Social Bar, (headline, with special guests; SHEAFS)
05 Party In the Pines Festival, Scunthorpe (Main Stage)
06 Hope + Glory Festival, Liverpool
12 Cotton Clouds Festival, (Jimmy’s Stage) Oldham
25-27 Reading Festival #JackRocks7 (This Feeling Stage)

September 2017
08 Festival No.6 – Tim Peaks Diner stage, Portmeiron
15-17 Rec Rock Festival, Stockport – charity event.
27 Holmfirth Picturedrome (supporting Cabbage)
28 Preston 53 Degrees (supporting Cabbage)
29 Stockton Ku Bar (supporting Cabbage)
30 Leeds Live Art Bistro (supporting Cabbage)

October 2017

01 Bristol Bierkeller (This Feeling alive tour)
02 Cardiff Glee Club (This Feeling alive tour)
03 Birmingham Institute (This Feeling alive tour)
05 York Fibbers (This Feeling alive tour)
06 Glasgow ABC2 (This Feeling alive tour)
07 Neighbourhood Festival
08 Manchester Academy 2 (This Feeling alive tour)
09 Leeds (This Feeling alive tour)
10 Hull The Welly (This Feeling alive tour)
11 Nottingham Glee Club (This Feeling alive tour)
13 Sheffield Plug (This Feeling alive tour)
14 London Electric Ballroom (This Feeling alive tour)
17 Norwich Arts Centre (supporting Cabbage)
18 Bedford Esquires (supporting Cabbage)
19 Stowmarket John Peel Centre (supporting Cabbage)
20 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms (supporting Cabbage)
21 Buckley Tivoli Ballroom (supporting Cabbage)

Band image taken backstage 29th June when they supported CABBAGE at The Scala in London.

Colour shot by Trust A Fox.

  1. “Punkadelic ring leaders, The Blinders are Britain’s most switched on emerging rock band. Articulate, politicised and theatrical with an electricity-charged connection live on stage.” Now that makes me want to check ’em out.

    Their answers to “Have you ever been starstruck?” and “What were your favourite bands growing up?” make me want to kill myself.

    Fuck ’em – if they can’t come up with a single interesting band when asked about the music they grew up on they really don’t deserve 30 seconds of my time.

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.