WORDS : HENRY CALVERT
The Blinders – the Doncaster-born, but Manchester-made trio consisting of Thomas Haywood, Charlie McGough and Matty Neale will force you to confront your biggest fears and least favourable behaviours with their own brand of off kilter post punk – their minds warped by what they observe around them, which is unsettling more often than not. Thomas takes us on a trip down their shattered glass spattered yellow brick road, ahead of the release of their second album Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath looking back on easier times and taking a step into the next shard, it’s only forwards on this journey – however difficult it may be.
recognise what is happening around us. Dystopia is now. We are living it
Thomas previously took the character of Johnny Dream on stage, and throughout their debut Columbia, a bitter figure attempting to traverse a dystopian landscape, but what is the modern climate like for Johnny, Thomas says “Oh, it’s much gnarlier. Columbia was all about extremes. Trying to embellish reality, and blow out of proportion the desperate thoughts we had around it. We used Orwell’s 1984 as a crutch to facilitate that, but I don’t think anybody could have anticipated the world in which we live in right now. It feels like humanity is finally answering for all of the pain and suffering it has caused, and works such as 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World are now not so much thought-provoking pieces of fiction, but guides or handbooks to recognise what is happening around us. Dystopia is now. We are living it.”.
Whilst living within this dystopia many of us may question if we too have become stay at home psychopaths, Thomas describes the traits of this kind of human as “An inability to deal with the immense pain and sadness caused by the injustices of the world. It’s borderline misanthropic, completely losing faith in humanity and believing that there is no good left. It comes from a road which not many people walk”, though whilst we’re all locked away many may have taken the path of “Isolation, escapism through drugs and alcohol, a lack of certainty or control in your life, and an unwillingness to connect with those closest to you through a genuine fear that you simply cannot, or do not, wish to face reality anymore.”.
The people taking this path of chemical escapism are encapsulated in “Black Glass”, the slow come down to begin, the fizz of finding a fix, before bursting into the chaos of post consumption, the track is a violent cycle in itself. When asked why we seek these artificial mind holidays Thomas said “To put it simply, reality sucks. Drugs allow you to indulge, and pray for a short moment to whatever energy you believe in, in a hope that for a brief moment in time all of your problems and your fears and your anxieties are taken away, and allow you not give a fuck about anything or anyone. It’s an incredibly dangerous way to live, but sometimes it’s hard to find an alternative. I take my hat off to anyone who is straight up raw-dogging reality. That shit is hard.”.
When you take on a persona, you grow tired of having to be someone you’re not. Over time it gets more and more difficult to turn it off and the lines become blurred
This striking juxtaposition between Johnny on stage and Thomas off is apparent, from the softly spoken sweetheart who couldn’t hurt a fly to a warrior at the front of a battle ready to draw blood. Thomas explains where the character has gone in recent times “It’s become a part of me I suppose. When you take on a persona, you grow tired of having to be someone you’re not. Over time it gets more and more difficult to turn it off and the lines become blurred.”.
Between these blurred lines The Blinders have always tried their hardest to do what they believe is right, Thomas adds “as people we want to make the world a better place.”, before continuing “Music, we believe, can be a great vehicle to do that and that’s often the way we’ve approached song writing and performing. It’s a case of using our talent if you like to almost gain a platform where you do start to have influence, where you can raise a decent amount of money for something you believe in or you can give a voice to those who may not have one.”. Thomas pleads with us “join a political party, join a union, get out on the street and demonstrate. I think one thing we’re always so keen to emphasise is that change won’t come via social media. It’s not a tool to be dismissed, social media is a great organisational tool but real change will only come through collective action.”.
We know how to break the cycle of justice Thomas adds, it’s just convincing those governing our lives that the answer is out there “We know this story all too well with the Black Lives Matter movement, and how much black people have struggled through the years to assert themselves in a fair and just society. ‘Taking the Knee’ is all well and good, but it’s genuine change and reform we need. But when it comes down to it, those at the top are just not willing to implement it because the fact of the matter is… it does not benefit them.”.
Listening to the album, a deep distaste for the human form will grow within your gut and Thomas states that “was definitely where a lot of the writing came from for the album, but I also think there’s a degree of sadness and hopelessness that goes along with it. If I were to criticize our own work, it would be that we don’t provide enough answers to anything. That’s what bands like IDLES do really well”. The Blinders may not provide the answers to your misery but they’re brandishing a torch and fighting the good fight right alongside you, as we all try to traverse this torturous land as we’re all thrown face first into the glass.
Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath is set for release on 17th July, 2020