Blonde Redhead Invites Australia To Dinner

Blonde Redhead

It's evening in Upstate New York, and Simone Pace is preparing dinner for him and his daughter.

"It's nice to be out of the city," he says of his new home. "[My daughter is] going to kindergarten up here. We're a little isolated but I don't mind it because I don't like being around too many people anymore, especially after going on tour where I'm surrounded always.

"Now, it's nice to have some space and nature around us, and being able to park your car without getting parking tickets."

It's a quiet life compared to his role as drummer in the alt-rock band Blonde Redhead. Simone has played with his twin brother Amedeo and Kazu Makino for over 30 years, releasing 10 albums that span noisy rock to dreamy and experimental pop.

After releasing their ninth album in 2014 and an EP in 2017, the band reemerged last year with their tenth album, 'Sit Down For Dinner'. In support of their return, the band are embarking on their long-awaited return to perform in Australia – their first shows here since 2011 Laneway Festival.

Work on the new album was a long process, beginning in 2018 – a far cry from the process for their 1994 self-titled debut. "The first record we recorded in two days and mixed it in one," Simone says. "That was all we could afford, but all of the songs were ready because you have your whole life to prepare for the first record."

Sessions for the 'Sit Down For Dinner' album began in Italy, the birth country of Simone and Amedeo. "Before COVID, we went to Italy for about a week in the studio and we started recording without putting too much pressure on ourselves.

"From those songs, the only one that we kept that made it to the record was 'If', and I think it was the second to last song. [It] turned out to be more pre-production and figuring stuff out, but it was nice to all be in a studio and working on it."

The band's next move was supporting prog-metallers Tool on their North American tour in 2020. Blonde Redhead had reunited in New York to rehearse, with Kazu travelling from her home in Italy.

However, once the pandemic locked the world down, the tour was cancelled (eventually rescheduled in 2022) and the trio were trapped in New York. "We were forced to work on the record," Simone says. "Once we realised that was the one thing we could do, we got started.

"Things started becoming more concrete when we were all here, but it was hard because it was COVID, so a lot of it was done separately and we didn't know how to keep safe.

"I had a little bit of a hard time because my idea of recording is more about all being together in a studio, having a timeframe and just getting in a creative frame of mind where you let yourself go and get the other band members' opinions and creative juices from them too.

"At the end of the day, it doesn't matter how you feel when you're doing something, as long as the result is good. That's what I've learned throughout the years for the most part."

The band's sound has evolved dramatically over their 30 years together. Beginning with noisy and discordant guitars, the trio's music has grown in scale, incorporating electronics and strings.

On 'Sit Down For Dinner', Simone's percussion is quieter but complex, influenced by '60s Brazilian music, Stevie Wonder, and reggae. "I was listening to this song by Black Uhuru," Simone says.

"There's a song on their self-titled record that has this beat I thought would work so well for 'Snowman'. When we went into the studio, we all played that line of percussion all together on different percussions, and I played the drumbeat over it and then we built the song from there."

As the band's recording process evolved, their performances have, too. The combination of their growing musical abilities and their aging bodies has led to the trio adapting their music for performances.

When the band return to Australia next month, including as part of the Open Season programme in Brisbane, fans will be treated to a set list of new songs as well as new takes on old favourites.

"We're constantly trying to improve older songs by using newer songs as an inspiration because you're always learning something new," Simone says. "Kazu used to sing so high, but it's hard to keep that up live.

"Some songs we had to lower the key and they're now maybe a semitone or a whole tone lower. When you learn and understand certain things, then you can adapt the older songs to that. You have to adapt to where you're at at the moment in some way."

Blonde Redhead 2024 Tour Dates

Fri 14 Jun - RISING @ Forum Melbourne
Sat 15 Jun - City Recital Hall (Sydney)
Mon 17 Jun - The Rechabite (Perth)
Tue 18 Jun - The Rechabite (Perth)
Thu 20 Jun - Open Season @ The Princess Theatre (Brisbane)

Let's Socialise

Facebook pink circle    Instagram pink circle    YouTube pink circle    YouTube pink circle

 OG    NAT

Twitter pink circle    Twitter pink circle