The suffix ‘-ish’ is usually hinged onto the back of things unclear or uncertain. Genre-bending chart-shifters Blond:ish, however, have made their sonic title synonymous with an authoritative dance demeanour that has been manifested behind decks across the globe. Canadian-reared and now London-based DJs Anstascia and Vivie-Ann joined forces in 2008 to the demand of partygoers in Montreal’s Cherry nightclub, and have been trailblazing with their slick cuts since.
Vivie-Ann insists their origins were less glamorous. “Anstascia stalked me on Facebook,” she jokes. “Actually, when I first met her, we were at an afterparty and there was a bunch of DJs there – old-school DJs – and she was DJing, but mixing two laptops with YouTube videos.”
So how do two girls from Canada get from trawling through YouTube pages to packing out rooms at Ibiza and the notorious Burning Man Festival? “The beginning of Blond:ish was insane,” says Vivie-Ann. “In Mexico, there was a good pivotal moment in our career when we were at a jungle party and Philipp Jung was playing, and all of a sudden Philipp opens up with this track that’s really familiar. We’d never heard our track in a club or at a party before – this is one of the best parties of the year in North America. All of a sudden the vocals come in and we were like, ‘Shit, this is our song.’ Anstascia runs back from the porta-potties and basically football tackles Philipp in the DJ booth. We’re on the floor, and he’s like, ‘Who the hell are you?’, right before asking if we were signed.”
It’s the same sanguine attitude that permeates Blond:ish’s distinct sound. Merging psychedelic grooves and ’80s rock nostalgia, the duo has piqued the interests of record labels worldwide, with their latest output Inward Visions proving to be their most experimental record yet.
“Right now, our sound is pretty indescribable,” says Anstascia. “We play a lot more techno-ish these days; but romantic, quirky techno, not really manly or anything. We’re influenced by The Zombies, The Doors, Pink Floyd…”
“Psychedelic, sexy, twisted,” adds Vivie-Ann. “We’re more influenced by what they did, in terms of … extracurricular activities – how they came about making their music”.
“The exploration of all different types of eastern instruments – that whole era is really fascinating to us,” finishes Anstascia.
In a season where producers are forced from flash dance to flash in the pan, Blond:ish have managed to re-energise each record by injecting their tracks with exotic new influences. “Everyone knows that they have to keep pushing forward to stay relevant,” says Vivie-Ann, “but at the same time, try not to think about it so much because you can get bogged down with it. We get to travel a lot and take influences from a lot of different places and cultures, and our friends as well – a lot of our friends are really artistic. We’re constantly learning new things so we constantly incorporate that into our music when we go back into the studio.”
And how exactly does this happen? “There’s not really one process that we go through,” says Anstascia. “It’s kind of a mish-mash of ideas. Viv really likes to work on drums and the groove of the track usually, and I like to add the main melodies, riffs and weird sounds. I’m more patient than Viv and like going through a million sounds. We work in different ways on every track, but for Inward Visions we had a pretty good idea of what we wanted to do, because we were writing for [EDM label] Kompakt and we just wanted something different from our last [Lovers In Limbo] EP. More energetic, more clubby, as you can see with ‘No Place Like Gnome’. Whenever we say, ‘We’re gonna make a song like this,’ it ends up completely different, so we learn not to box ourselves in.”
October will mark Blond:ish’s first trip Down Under, but they won’t be resting on their laurels till then.
“The rest of the dates for the year are pretty much set up. Every weekend we’re somewhere different in Europe. We’re just gonna conquer Sydney,” chuffs Vivie-Ann.
“…And pet a kangaroo,” Anstascia adds.
BY MINA KITSOS
Blond:ish play Agwa Yacht Club 17 with Hunter/Game, Brohn, Co-op, T-Boy, Sam Roberts and Alan Thomas at King Street Wharf on Saturday October 5. Blond:ish is also appearing at Patrón After Dark at The Star, Saturday October 5.