Blonde Roses is a Louisiana-based group that melds gritty, alternative tunes with a splash of rock n’ roll and southern blues to create a harmonious union. Lifelong friends, the four-piece are strongly influenced from the 60’s and 70’s, and coin these decades as a main component to their songwriting. With a little throwback mixed with personal strife, the band delivers honest and real lyrics about overcoming something and gaining strength from destruction.
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Sean Ritchie: To start it off, why don’t you talk a little bit about coming from New Orleans, and about the city’s atmosphere. Where would you tell a first-time visitor to go to?
Molly Portier: I’m sure you already know [that] New Orleans is pretty crazy around here. The people are pretty crazy. I love that about it. I grew up here, and it’s a city that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to leave. We have a really rich music culture down here, which is something that obviously is great when you’re in a band that’s trying to make moves and create waves. It’s been pretty awesome down here.
I think the place to visit would be my favorite music venue, Gasa Gasa, on Freret Street in uptown New Orleans. They are pretty new, they opened I’m guessing about five-years ago, and they’re really great about supporting local musicians and artists. It’s a really cool space. I love going there. I think anyone coming to town should definitely go visit.
SR: Going to have to check that out! Now, talk about your introduction to music. How did you get your start? How did it really peak your interest?
MP: Music was always a huge part of my life. My parents were very into music, and my dad has a side job where he does music charting. So, I just grew up listening to it a lot. I think my first introduction to wanting to be in a band was my first experience at jazz fest (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival) here in New Orleans. I saw John Mayer on the main stage of the festival. It was my first time there, I was 15 years old, and I was just like “I want to do that one day.”
I went home and immediately begged my parents to buy me a really crappy acoustic guitar, and started writing my own music. From there on I just kind of … did it. I’ve been doing this project since I was 15, so it’s kind of like in a day it caused me to believe I wanted to do this forever. It’s something I love and I’m passionate about.
MP: Yeah, we were under the name “Wooden Wings” actually for the past nine years, and we just switched our name over to Blonde Roses a couple of months ago. But, we’d been the same name and project for nine, almost ten, years.
SR: To transition a bit to the travel, what’s your travel history? Where did you really vacation to growing up?
MP: We have a big thing camping in my family. So, Fort Pickens, Florida and Mississippi were our two go-to’s as a family when it came to traveling. Camping was always our family go-to. The past year I actually got into working a music festival as an independent contractor, so I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. My favorite place recently that I went to was Pemberton in Canada. It’s beautiful and mountainous, and I worked Pemberton Music Festival up there. It’s absolutely gorgeous. It’s probably one of my favorite places. I feel I need to go back.
SR: How does music and travel fit together for you as a whole?
MP: We actually haven’t done too much traveling in the past year, just with the transition of recording a new record and changing our band name. So, we do plan to get back on the road and start touring soon. Our EP comes out in early 2017, so we plan to hit the road with it. A couple years ago we booked our first, month-long tour by ourselves — DIY! We went up the east coast. It was a really cool experience to get in a van with your best friends and play music around the country — meet new people. We went all the way up to Chicago and came back. It was really awesome.
SR: That’s what I hear. All the bands that we talk to say that when you travel in a van it’s the best way to see the country.
MP: It is! It’s like a paid vacation. I mean, you get to be with all your best friends, do what you want at night and see different parts of a town you probably wouldn’t see if you were just visiting. It’s cool, and you get to meet a lot of different people in the process.
SR: I know you said when you were younger you did a lot of camping, but now that your older, when you are looking for a vacation are you looking for anything different?
MP: I’m very much a nature girl. I still love camping. Recently I went up to some hot springs with some of my girlfriends, stayed in a cabin and did the whole hiking thing. I usually tend to go more towards the mountains and staying in cabins, or camping still, rather than big city.
SR: Looking forward a bit, I know you’re about to play a few shows starting in Texas in November, what are you really looking forward to with those?
MP: Two of them are our benefit shows that we host every year. We’ve been doing it for about six years now. We raise toys and funds around the holiday season. Volunteer advocates help to fight for the rights of abused and neglected children in the foster care system. We look forward to those every year. We host them and we try to combine our love of music and our passion for [helping people]. We get bands together, its for a great cause and we have a great night raising a bunch of money and toys for the kids.
SR: That’s really awesome to give back like that! Transitioning back to travel, what are three destinations that haven’t been to yet, but still have to hit?
MP: I want to go to New Zealand for sure. It’s definitely top on my list. I’ve actually never been out west as much as I’ve traveled. So, I would love to go out to wine country and check out California. That kind of thing. Then, I would love to go to Portugal. That’s probably my third.
SR: Lastly, to wrap this up, is there any new announcements from Blond Roses?
MP: Yeah, we’re finishing up our EP right now in the studio. We’re releasing it early 2017, so that’s something to look out for. We also just released a new music video on Huffington Post about a month ago for our debut single “Bullet,” so you should all check that out.