"In Ireland, it's a case of 'Blink have been playing for years but they are not getting anywhere'. In America it's more like Blink have paid their dues, let's go hear them. I mean if Blink sold 70,000 copies of a CD in Ireland we would be on the Late Late Show for God's sake!"
2000 will be a special year for Dublin band Blink. Two years after its release in the USA, The End is High will finally get its Irish release in February. The single Would You Kill For Love has already preceded it.
Dermot and Robbie tackled the questions.
When Blink released 'The Map of the Universe' five years ago it received critical acclaim. Were the lads happy with the way the album turned out?
Dermot: "Yes we were. We have a situation going on whereby if you are not happy with what you do, you only have yourself to blame. It comes from years ago when we used to read that some of our peers would release albums and the second the album came out they would be complaining about the production or they didn't like a particular track or the record company made them do this or that. We had the freedom to do the thing the way we wanted to do it. We had our arguments with our label over certain tracks being included but we pretty much got our own way. We had the certain 'safe' songs but also some other songs that might not always find their way onto big budget albums. To this day I stand over that album and we are very proud of it."
Is Blink obliged to put the obvious single material onto albums?
Robbie: "They [the record company] wanted choruses on everything! There is a track on that album called Everything Comes, Everything Goes and they did not want that on the album which was a complete live favourite but they insisted that it was not going on. So we traded with them and dropped some songs that we did not want anyway."
Has the band changed much since those days?
Dermot: "Quite a bit. it's much more of a case of getting the songs into the rehearsal room now whereas before we would not have rehearsed them very well. By the time we got around to recording The End is High we had spent a lot of time in America and that opened our eyes a lot to rock music and the rock attitude in particular. At the moment Blink are regarded as a cool band in many parts of America. Our CD The End is High has sold well over 70,000 copies which is very respectable but we are not worried about bothering the charts for the next few years. We had to decide if we wanted to travel around America with a crew of seven or eight or do it on our own and then be able to stay on the road for 12 weeks and stretch our budget out a bit more, so we decided to go for the second option."
Robbie: "What would happen was, we would show up at a gig, plug in, play, finish up then travel on to the next gig and do it all over again. All this made the band very tight and then we come home and look at how things are done here and think 'Hey we don't want to get back into all this do we?' The whole live thing is much more respected in America. In Ireland it's a case of 'Blink have been playing for years but they are not getting anywhere'. In America its more like Blink have paid their dues, lets go hear them'. I mean if Blink sold 70,000 copies of a CD in Ireland we would be on the Late Late Show for God's sake! If you can't cut it live in America you might as well give up, no matter what colour your hair is [laughs]. They don't care what you look like over there. They are not image driven."
Was it always the band's intention to head for America?
Dermot: "No. The intentions were very scattered and parochial at the start. We really only got together because we had nothing else to do. We didn't want to sound like every other band that was around at the time. There was a lot of jangly pop and what we wanted to do was to take the dance music of the time and do something with it. We were not thinking about England and most certainly we were not thinking about America. We didn't want record deals because we had gone through all of that with the bands we were involved with beforehand but before we knew it came to us! We had sent a song away to someone in America for some competition or other and next thing we knew it was being reviewed in the English magazine "Music Week". There was 17 Irish bands and ours was the one that was picked. We didn't know what to call the band and that's where we got the name for the band as we needed a name in a hurry. Next the phones were hopping. We had to get a live set together for a showcase for record companies."
Blink have spent almost two years in the States and their almost entire infrastructure is based there. This was mainly due to the fact that the band did not want to be based in England and be sucked in to the English Brit Pop scene as many bands do when they get there. Blink were determined that this would not happen to them and that is partly the reason for their move to America - a move that appears to have worked for them.
The album The End is High has been on release in America for two years and next month Irish fans of the band will get their opportunity to hear it for themselves when it gets its Irish release. The band are eager to find success in Ireland but for now they will continue to play America and forge out a name for themselves. It should not be long before they arrive home in triumph.
Blink's Official Site
Blink at the Open Directory Project
Roddy Cleere's Irish Music Show on WLRfm
Friday nights from 10pm to 1am GMT
Last updated 10 March 2003
Interview © 2000-2017 Roddy Cleere
Site design © 2001-2017 LMB / Almost Fabulous
Interviews from Roddy Cleere's Irish Music Show