Centre Stage: The Blazers


Ellen Morris (she/her) chats to the 'sexiest soul band in York', The Blazers

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Image by Josh Haining

By Ellen Morris

"Soul is what we all love. If we had a Venn diagram, soul would be in the middle."

The Blazers' music is trascendental; to experience them live is to be totally absorbed in the present moment. Often covering Al Green, Nina Simone, Bill Withers (to name a few), they always seem as enchanted with their music-making as the audience is. The Blazers is undoubtedly a project of authentic passion and flair.

The band consists of the velvet vocals of lead singer, Daisy Kennedy; the effortlessly tranquil Lily Jamieson on keys; the smooth and suave bass of Jacob Spreadborough; Tom Layton, the masterful and meticulous guitarist; Kuba Lambert with his mellifluous hums on harmonica - all tied together with the backbone of the beat: Arthur Frost on drums.

How did you all start in music?
With varying answers from a decade to mere months of practice, the band comprises a spectrum of experience with their instruments.

Daisy up-cycled her shower singing to become the quintessential sound of the band, and Jacob quit his 11-year guitar hobby to switch to bass.

Lily learned Latin and jazz piano at eight, and Arthur switched from piano keys to drumsticks at 12. Tom received an eighteenth birthday guitar gift, and Kuba decided to pick up the more ‘portable’ instrument of the harmonica.

So, how did The Blazers form?

Lily begins to speak of the band name’s influence from Soul Train, and how “you would think of everyone in their suits with trumpets, so we thought ‘The Blazers’ fits well with what they wore.”

Arthur tells the origin story of their formation, hanging out with Tom when he learnt they both played instruments and proposed a jam. Tom informed Arthur he knew a keyboardist, Lily.

Later, Daisy heard about the idea whilst queuing at The Stones Roses Bar and wanted to sing. They put a call out to find a bassist, and analysed the respondents’ Google mail profile, choosing the one of a shirtless man sitting on a truck - Jacob. Kuba’s involvement was more re-cent in the wake of The Blazers Collective.

What is The Blazers Collective?

The core five members of The Blazers are looking to expand their sound with the collec- tive; to find a larger group of musicians to join them on stage.

“Kuba is part of the collective, and we also want a couple of people to make a horn section, another drummer; we just want as many people as we can get."

What is your musical inspiration, who do you look up to?

Ranging from 1930s blues to 2000s pop, The Blazers have a unique source of influence that gives them that silky rhythm and funky spirit.

Daisy expresses her early obsession with Katy Perry, and Florence Welch, because her hair was long and red - “I always wanted long hair, and now I do.” Tom speaks of his soul gui tar inspiration, Cornell Dupree, expressing, “He is an expert on fitting the music, not doing too much or too little - he just takes care of business.”

Arthur follows, “Sometimes I channel Rin-go Starr, his style was diligent, and that’s what I try and do - is keep it going, and I don’t try to be too flashy”. Kuba replies, “There’s beauty in simplicity.” He adds that, to him, “Blues is just ‘bread and butter’ music.” He enjoys “Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson I and II, Little Walter, Big Walter Horton, and James Cotton”.

Lily’s favourite is The Black Keys, “their old-er records are a bit more ‘blues-y’. You can take a lot of inspiration from them - they’re super cool, and super sexy too.” Jacob shares that he likes “Mac Miller a lot, and Thundercat is the guy - or maybe Allen Woody, but when I was playing guitar it would be more Slash or John Frusciante.”

What has been your favourite performance?

After discussion of their successful first performance at Micklegate Social, they agree on how great they sounded at Sotano’s; an acoustic set they did at the live music staple venue in York.

Arthur remarks a special mention to the charity picnic gig for a collaboration between the Palestinian Solidarity Society and All Should Eat, the gig where they met Kuba.

Upcoming gigs following after 14 May are: a candlelit concert at Holy Trinity Church on 18 May. Fulford Arms on 24 May. The University of York Summer Ball on 4 June. Updates on Instagram @theblaz3rs, and watch out for original songs on Spotify, ‘Say Anything’ and ‘Loving you’. Finally, if you want to get involved in The Blazers Collective, please email theblazersyork@gmail.com