In three short years, Blossoms have reached heights they barely dared dream. But as frontman Tom Ogden tells ANDY WELCH, that doesn’t mean they’ve ‘made it’ - yet
Blossoms’ singer Tom Ogden is nothing if not down to earth.
Like many 20-year-olds from the Manchester area, he’s still riding high after his beloved City’s victory in the recent derby against Manchester United, although he’s rather sad he had to give up his season ticket when his band started taking off.
He also talks with great excitement about the night Manchester’s King Monkey, Ian Brown of the Stone Roses, approached him in a bar and talked about how much he loved Ogden’s band. Another time, he and his bandmates bumped into Johnny Marr in a shopping centre and he brought up their single Charlemagne - or “that great pop song”, as Marr referred to it.
Best of all, he says, was meeting “his hero”, Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys.
As a teenager, when his mates went off on a lads’ summer holiday, he and another pal opted to go to France to see Arctic Monkeys instead, and stood outside Turner’s hotel all day hoping to meet their idol.
They got a few words that day, so imagine how pleased Ogden was to find himself in Turner’s dressing room one evening more recently, sharing a drink and swapping lines from Back To The Future II (a mutual favourite).
“I can’t believe stuff like that is happening,” says Ogden. “Alex knew that James Skelly from The Coral had produced our record, which is just amazing. I’m such a nerd with dates and tours Arctic Monkeys have done, and I was blurting all this stuff out. I needed to pretend I’m cool, when really I was just fanboying all over the place.
“I see it a little bit when fans come and meet us now,” he adds. “They’ll be shaking, or they’ll say, ‘You just seem really normal’. I don’t know what they expect, really. I always want to be like that.”
Our interview happens during Blossoms’ first of five days off since the beginning of the year (although if Ogden’s doing interviews, you have to wonder if he knows what a day off is supposed to consist of...).
While he’s happy to have woken up in his own bed, rather than a hotel or tour bus, he’s eager to get back on the road to what Blossoms do best.
“We’re in the eye of the storm at the moment,” says Ogden. “It doesn’t seem as mad to us, but if we explain it to friends or strangers, our lives can seem really hectic. Don’t get me wrong, there are certain moments when we look at each other and wonder what’s happening to us, but we haven’t just been dropped into this situation.”
He explains how things have been building since the band’s very first rehearsal, just over three years ago. He says that was the moment he, along with bandmates Charlie Salt, Josh Dewhurst, Joe Donovan and Myles Kellock, knew something was special about Blossoms. Having all previously been in bands to no avail, things just felt different this time around - a feeling which was truly cemented at the first gig they played after putting their first song, an early version of Blow, online, and filming their own video to go with it.
“That was the first time it was more than parents and mates coming to see us,” he recalls, “and the video had about 1,000 views on the first day.”
Since then, it’s been a gradual, albeit steep, rise for Blossoms, who started 2016 by reaching the shortlist of the BBC’s annual tastemaking Sound Of poll, culminating with a chart-topping album.
For Ogden, it’s no sign the band have made it.
“Even at this moment, we don’t feel like that,” he says. “Three years ago, to reach the point we’re at now would’ve felt like making it, but now we’re here, there are more things we want to achieve, and longevity is the thing we’re aiming for.
“We want to be around for a long time. The goalposts move.”
The night the band discovered their debut was going to No 1, they’d just played at Boardmasters Festival in Newquay and were due to fly to Romania early the following morning, which rather curtailed their celebrations, although they did manage to take in a little champagne with their manager, booking agent and a handful of other people “who have been there since the beginning”.
Ogden says they felt like the underdogs having their day.
“I thought it was going to be like Rocky I,” he says. “You know, the underdog that doesn’t win in the end but still manages to win people over, but what happened was more like Rocky II, when the people’s favourite comes first.”
Ogden lays out his plans for writing bigger and better songs than he has done before, his dream of growing the fan base in order for Blossoms to stick around for a long time.
“We’ve come from obscurity to have a number-one album, but we’ve seen so many bands do that and then disappear into obscurity again soon after. We don’t want to do that.
“We’re very serious about it, without being serious people. We’re driven, and we still put in the same work we did three years ago. James Skelly said we’re the hardest-working band he’s ever worked with and that will take you a long way these days.”
There’s a confidence to the things Ogden says that harks back to the days when bands would shout from the rooftops about how great their songs were.
That cocksure attitude has disappeared, long since replaced by humility as the default setting for young artists eager to appear relatable. Ogden, though, seems more like a Gallagher brother in his self-belief, and isn’t shy when it comes to trumpeting Blossoms’ songs.
“I can’t explain that confidence,” he says. “It just comes from the bands we listened to, where we’re from and what we’re like. Oasis were my favourite band, their attitude stuck. It’s our songs, more than anything. We’re humble people, but we believe in what we’re doing,” he says, convincingly.
“You know when you hear a good tune, and these are good. They just happen to be ours. And anyway, if they weren’t good, my dad would’ve told me.
“He likes them, so they must be good.”
l Blossoms’ self-titled debut album is out now. They begin their UK tour later this year. For more information, visit www.blossomsband.co.uk.