Where Did You See a Blonde Otter?
The first thing that you will notice when you are listening to their music is, the production quality. Nothing seems to be masked or overlaid, everything is very nicely mixed together without skipping a beat.
The first song that I listened to was “Space Cadet” which took me to a nostalgic place in my mind listening to, R.E.M. with, the song having an immediately catching melody, only to be topped off with nicely harmonized vocals.
“Useful Now” Starts off with a really catchy 80’s themed bass synth line. The drums and guitar catch up very quickly. The transitions are spot on and flawless and the vocals add the flavor for the song to move forward. Very catchy song and very easy to listen to.
The third submission I received is called “But Craig”. Just as the other 2 songs, everything flows very smoothly. Very enjoyable from start to Finish and definitely prompts you to listen again.
Blonde Otter consists of 5 friends, Matt (drums), Rob (bass, vocals), Brendan (rhythm guitar) , Michael (vocals), and Dan (lead guitar) who formed a band in, The Bronx while attending Fordham University together.
We wrote and practiced music in the basement of our apartment. We named ourselves Blonde Otter, taking it from a nickname of a friend outside of the band.
We played at house parties at Fordham and then recorded two EPs together and then performed at legendary New York City venues like Mercury Lounge, Bowery Electric, and Gramercy Theatre.
Then Brendan (rhythm guitar) moved to Vietnam to teach English to students. So Blonde Otter recruited our good friend, and Matt’s (drums) next door neighbor, Steve as the new rhythm guitarist.
With our new coalition, we recorded our third EP and played to sold-out crowds at The Bowery Ballroom and Knitting Factory.
We recorded their first full length album at Red Convertible Recording, a studio in Brooklyn. Our debut studio album is out now and we look forward to seeing how the story continues.
One thing that I’m always interested in, when I sit down and chat with artists is, what their defining moment was that they knew that they wanted to be in music… What was that moment in time for you?
The turning point in our career as a band was when we played at the Mercury Lounge for the first time in 2017. We had all just graduated college and released our debut EP. After playing solely as a house party band and at a few dive bars in college, the future of the band was in flux. Whether by fate or coincidence we were asked by a friend’s band to take an opening slot at the legendary venue after another band had dropped out of the lineup. After a rigorous marketing and ticketing campaign, positive feedback from our debut EP, and a core following from the school we used to play at, we sold out the show as an opener. Those who were there remembered the night and by word of mouth we began playing headlining shows on our own at the Mercury Lounge going forward. From there, the audiences grew, and we knew we had something special and worth pursuing.
Do you mix and master yourself or do you have an engineer or a producer that works with you?
We recorded our music at a studio called Red Convertible Recording in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where our album was engineered by Ricky Berotti and Kieran O’Leary, produced and mixed by Ricky Berotti, and mastered by Justin Gerrish.
What motivates you? Not just in your music but in your normal life as well
Our motivation is the enjoyment we get out of playing with each other and performing for our audience who feel more like friends than just fans. Our shows have become a reunion of sorts, with people from high school, college, and their friends and their friends’ friends coming out to see us perform and have a good time. With every show we see more new and familiar faces in the crowd. Blonde Otter is not only a rock band, but a carefully curated party and communal experience.
I am personally on a mission to get good music heard by everyone. What is one thing that bothers you the most about trying to come up in the music world today and, do you prefer being underground or, is the mainstream something you strive for?
What bothers us the most is that the streaming world is based on algorithms and playlists, and these don’t always translate to fans or people who actually come out to see your live show. We appreciate our cult and underground following, as we have never had a manager or booker. Our goal would be to be able to do music full time and expand our strong following to outside of NYC. Blonde Otter has pretty much been a word of mouth club, and we always hope it reaches the people our music and shows will resonate with. We also pride ourselves on making interesting yet palatable music for everyone of all ages. Our motto for making music is pursuing something that is undeniably new and forward thinking, but also feels familiar.
Who, musically, is one of your bigger influences?
The Strokes and Vampire Weekend are probably our biggest influences in terms of contemporary sound. But we also have a lot of influences from classic bands like The Beach Boys, Talking Heads, and The Cars.
What tips or advice would you give someone that’s just starting out in the music game?
Don’t take yourself too seriously as a band and have fun with it as much as you can. Additionally, take the time to perfect your live shows and ensure the crowd has many reasons to enjoy themselves, and offer them reasons to come back and see you again. Do what you would want to see a band do at a live show. We take models from jam bands by changing our setlists, playing cover songs, coordinating outfits, visuals, and any other esoteric details at our shows. Ideally, you want people leaving your show with things to talk about and share those things with people who didn’t come out to entice them to not miss the next one.
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