Wet Leg should have seen it coming. After the English indie duo blew up with the wickedly catchy “Chaise Longue” in 2021, the inevitable backlash emerged: how could a band with just a handful of songs to their name, from the relative obscurity of the Isle of Wight, be so popular so suddenly?
Terms like ‘industry plant’ were bandied about with abandon; just last month, one half of the duo, Rhian Teasdale, had to witness her ex-boyfriend being given a platform as notable as The Times to argue against their success, claiming responsibility for several of their songs.
Underneath it all, equally inevitably, was hints of misogyny: some people just couldn’t abide watching two prominent female musicians rise to such levels of popularity, and Wet Leg themselves knew it.
Melbourne pop trio Blusher share several things in common with their English counterparts. They’ve also had to deal with seemingly premature hype, hailed by Vogue Australia, Billboard and many other prominent publications before even releasing a full record. They also, truthfully, worked their way slowly towards their ‘sudden’ breakthrough, performing in other bands and projects before settling into the Blusher-mobile.
And like Wet Leg, Blusher place female friendship and joy at the forefront of their infectious songs, and also refuse to take this whole music malarkey too seriously. It’s a fun-focused approach that has seen their newly released debut EP, Should We Go Dance?, be so well-received by pop fans across Australia.
“We tend to bring out the most un-serious sides of each other, which I think is why the project might have some ‘hype’ in the first place,” says Miranda Ward from the group. “People can feel that we’re having fun and hopefully that can be a bit contagious.”
Contagious indeed. Like Peach PRC, or Troye Sivan, or, indeed, Wet Leg, Blusher, at their best, conjure sugar-rush anthems like they’re going out of fashion; if one doesn’t hit you right away, another instantly comes along to urge you to the nearest dancefloor.
On Should We Go Dance?, Ward, Lauren Coutts, and Jade Ingvarson-Favretto take listeners on a chaotic, energetic ride into the night, capturing in detail each tiny part, from getting ready with friends at home to having deep ‘n’ meaningful chats with them in the club bathroom in the early hours of the morning
To celebrate their debut finally being out in the world, Rolling Stone AU/NZ got to know the rising trio better, discussing all that hype, the themes of their EP, being influenced by artists as diverse as The Black Eyed Peas and ABBA, the importance of female friendships, and much more.
Blusher’s Should We Go Dance? EP is out now via Atlantic Records/Warner Music Australia.
Rolling Stone AU/NZ: You’ve had so much hype surrounding you even before you’ve released a record. Did this add pressure on your debut EP? How have you all dealt with the praise?
Miranda: We don’t let each other take things too seriously. The way we deal with anything that happens in this band is with humour.
We’ve all been in the music industry for a few years in other projects before we started Blusher, so we’re super appreciative of every win and opportunity we get, because we know how hard it is. There have been a lot of pinch-me moments already, but our definition of success is like – do people relate to the songs, does the EP make them feel fun and confident and full of sparkly energy? If there’s one person out there who chooses to put Should We Go Dance? on for pre-drinks with their friends, then we’ll be happy. We really just want the band to do well so we can keep hanging out with each other and making music together.
What themes were you trying to explore on this EP?
Miranda: We were writing a lot from personal experience and the stories that we share with each other. We were inspired by the conversations you have in the club bathroom, with those total strangers who become your best friend and confidant within two minutes.
The EP tracks the journey of a night out, from getting ready in your friend’s bedroom, to yelling crush confessions over the music on the dancefloor, to running home barefoot while the sun comes up. The title feels like something we would say to each other on a night out, or after a big cry, when you pull your friends to the middle of the dancefloor for some moments of catharsis.
What artists really impacted the sound of Should We Go Dance??
Jade: For this EP, we spent many writing sessions indulging in our shared nostalgia for Robyn, Kesha, MGMT, The Black Eyed Peas and Charli XCX. We took a lot of inspiration from their hooky basslines, crunchy drums, bright fizzy synths, and hard-hitting pop melodies. We love the honesty, humour, and brash confidence in all of their writing.
Do you all share similar music tastes? Or are you all usually listening to wildly different sounds?
Lauren: We have very similar tastes in music! We all love electropop, big choruses, blunt lyrics, and some kind of weirdness in the production. Where we differ is probably in our day-to-day listening – Miranda listens to lots of dance music, house, and hyperpop, Jade more throwbacks (The Beach Boys and ABBA), and me more guitar stuff (a lot of Boygenius at the moment). We love bringing all these different kinds of music into the studio.
Did you really want to showcase the importance of female friendships in these songs? Perhaps to inspire the next Blusher-in-waiting?
Jade: Yes definitely, and it’s a huge part of why we formed the band. We wanted the EP to encapsulate the emotions that we put on full display within female friendships, and the way that heartbreak can strengthen and empower those relationships. We wanted the lyrics to feel like your best friend telling you a secret. We’d always envisioned starting a band that we would have wanted to see growing up, to have women in the producer chair, writing all the songs together, and onstage. We really want to show younger generations of women what’s possible, and to inspire them to go out dancing with their friends!
What’s your dynamic like as a trio, particularly during recording sessions?
Lauren: Absolute chaos. Really, sometimes it’s hard to keep up, we throw around so many ideas on so many different instruments. We all sing different melodies at the same time, and swap between the synths and guitars and drums. We also open up our journals and engage in mild, unprofessional counselling for each other.
The real magic comes after the chaos, when we go through all the ideas and pick out which ones are most exciting. We often talk about killing the darlings – leaving the studio floor covered in scraps so that song is made up of only the best parts.
Do you consider Blusher to be more of a recording or live band?
Miranda: This is such a good/tough question! I think we love both equally. We’ve definitely spent more time in the studio so far creating the EP, but the few shows that we have played have been incredibly exciting and satisfying, seeing the songs come to life in a live setting. Our show mirrors the chaos of our process in the studio. We all sing together in three-part harmony, swap instruments on stage, go hard on the synchronised choreography, and at some points forget we’re playing a show and just feel like we’re just cutting loose on a dancefloor together with nobody watching.
At the same time, there’s nothing quite like deliberating over a snare drum sound or a lyric for hours in the studio, and bringing our creative ideas to life. I think Miranda, Lauren and Jade thrive in the studio, but *Blusher* thrives on stage.
How did you feel about supporting Tove Lo on her Australian/New Zealand tour?
Jade: It’s such a dream! We are huge fans of hers and couldn’t think of a more perfect match for us. We’re so excited to play, but maybe even more so just to watch her. She’s got this magnetic confidence on stage and gorgeous husky voice from outer space. We know that Tove Lo fans go hard on the dancefloor, so we’re hoping to have a lot of fun with them as an audience!
Did you enjoy performing overseas at The Great Escape etc? How did European crowds take to your music?
Lauren: It was so much fun. It was the first time that we had done a big international trip together, and aside from that being a milestone for the band, it was just so exciting to travel together. At The Great Escape, we got to play our first beach stage which was so gorgeous. We also really loved the crowd in Paris, they were just so ready to have a dance with us, we can’t wait to go back sometime soon!
What should we expect from Blusher in 2023 and beyond?
Jade: We just got back from a writing trip in the US and the UK, so we’re working on lots of new music in the studio. We look forward to touring and playing more shows before the year is out!
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