Photos by Meg Clark
Blonde Acid Cult is a rock and roll band. To describe their music as something more would do it a bit of a disservice. Take from that sparse description what you like, and you’ll probably come up with one of the many bands BAC has been compared to -- The Strokes, Stone Roses, Kasabian, etc. But in each of the band's songs, most listeners find a different influence and touchstone. And as they set to work introducing audiences to their brand of rock, that’s exactly what the guys of Blonde Acid Cult are hoping for.
We've been singing their praises for a while now (see the proof here and here), and recently we caught up with guitarist Sonny Kilfoyle before the band's debut at New York's Mercury Lounge earlier this month.
Blonde Acid Cult - "Calypso"
First off, biography stuff: how long has the band been together?
We started playing music together like a year and half ago. We started playing parties and throwing parties about a year ago. It’s always been Damian on bass, Phil who plays drums, my brother Michael sings and I play guitar.
Where’s everybody from?
Phil’s English, he’s from London. Damian is from Philadelphia and my brother and I are from Boston. But New York is home now. Been here for about 3 and a half years.
What are the hopes and dreams of this band? Why do you guys do it?
I guess the hopes and dreams are to never let it stop being fun. The minute it stops being fun, and you don’t wanna make music and you don’t wanna be around these people… so it’s just about having fun and seeing where we can go.
One thing that has become clear with your music to me is that, after hearing a few songs, each person comes back with a different take on what it sounds like and totally different things your music sounds like. Is that what you hear as well?
When we first started off, we just put some stuff out there to see people’s reactions. I don’t know what we sound like; it is what it is. Some crazy people say, “It sounds like the Happy Mondays.” These people have obviously not listened to the music, we sound nothing like the Happy Mondays. But people will compare things to whatever they want to anyway. Luckily they usually compare us to good bands.
So at least you are being compared to bands that you want to be compared to.
Yeah, sure, I think so. We all DJ, so we are all into so many things. I’m into lots of funk and 70s rock and roll; my favorite band is the Stooges. Phil and those guys grew up on the “Madchester” scene, the Stone Roses, the Charlatans. I don’t know if we sound like those bands, but I’m sure somewhere in the back of their hands they are influenced by that.
If you are going to have one member who is into that scene, it should be the drummer.
Definitely. It’s cool too, because in NY, no one is really doing anything too similar.
That’s true. But why do you think that is?
I think it’s because people have shit taste. (laughs) People just like bad music. If it was up to me, there’d be 10 bands that sound like us so it would give me an excuse to go out and see some shows once in a while.
You mentioned you guys DJ?
Yeah all of us do. Damian DJs a few nights a week, Phil does a party on Saturday nights. Mike and I DJ here and there, at parties, and what not. That’s why I say that we are all always listening to all different types of music. It goes deep, we are not obsessed with only one kind of music and I think that shines through in our music. It seems there are two kinds of bands, those that ore obsessed with music and those that are obsessed with being in a band.
Honestly the lifestyle shit I think everyone in this band can completely do without. We’ve been cool since we were born; we don’t need that validation by being in a band. (laughs) We just do it because we like making music and if I wasn’t in a band I’d still be playing every single day, writing songs.
What are the plans for the next year for you guys?
We are going to go to England, do the UK. I don’t know how far we’ll go into France, at least Paris. Maybe Italy. All of that will be in the next few months. Someone invited us to go to Japan. I don’t know if we’ll actually go there. If we can do it, we will. We just want to play as much as we can to as many people as we can. When you are trying to stand out, it’s just fun trying to blow people's minds. It’s fun because they don’t know what to expect. There’s no shtick. It’s not like seeing Brian Jonestown, and everyone is expecting him to blow up. Or watching Oasis and hoping the Gallaghers will get into a fight, or seeing Daft Punk in the robot outfits. No one has any expectations about us, so it’s up to us to blow their minds.
You mentioned that there aren’t bands that sound like you, do you feel that there is any sense of a scene at all that you are coming out from?
There’s definitely something. We have existed playing rock and roll music to party kids who are out to listen to dance music. Everybody wants to be rock and roll. Even if you play a club night, it it’s a rock band that can make you dance, people freak out about it. They love it. It’s New York City, there’s a scene for everything.
Do you embrace the “NYC band” thing as a badge when you play outside of the city, or is it something you want to shy away from?
My point of view is that I am not going to wear any badge. If someone in England wants to describe us as a “New York band,” let them say whatever they want.
You mentioned that people in Europe seeing the band have no expectations. So say you go to England, after this tour, what do you think people will expect the next time you come around?
A good time. Loud. Something you can dance to.
Do you think the UK might be more receptive than others?
I don’t think so. Who knows? Maybe I’ll have a different answer once I get there. I have no idea what to expect. We’d like to do two weeks, but we don’t like to do things in a conventional way. So we probably won’t do like a real circuit. We’ll just play the good parties and the right things to do. If you are gonna go to England, you just want to make a splash.
Who is the Blonde Acid Cult fan? What kind of fans do you expect to make?
Anybody who’s heart is in it legitimately. We’re not the band that’s here today gone tomorrow. If you have good taste, you’ll like it. I know I like it.