INTERVIEW: goldenbloom on their new single, CHIN UP

CHIN UP is the audacious first single of the year from London post-punk outfit, goldenbloom. Opening up a vital dialogue about mental health from an unexpected perspective, goldenbloom's sonic fury never wavers, creating a stark, biting contrast between sharp social commentary and indulgently fun noise.

goldenbloom by Agne Mankute

First catching our attention last year with their seething track FINE (which had the honour of featuring on our Discovery playlist, no less), the four-piece have garnered a reputation for their high-velocity, socially critical musical arrangements - and anyone who slags off the Daily Mail over the sound of a filthy riff is more than fucking welcome in this Coven.

Delivering an onslaught of instrumental chaos from the get-go, CHIN UP centres itself aggressively around the track's relentless riff. Frontman Jordan's emphatic vocal delivery is breath of fresh air in a sea of disaffected post-punk droning. It's relatable, it's emotive, and it's authentic. There's a sadistic snarl to his performance; a scathing critique of the state the patriarchy has gotten us all in.

With lyrics like "If you're having man problems I feel bad for you son, you've got 99 problems and you've told no one" (genius) - the importance of sharing the weight of your mental baggage is clearly important to these lads. Written about the fragility of men’s mental health, CHIN UP aims to normalise men sharing their feelings and break down the layers of toxic masculinity we find ourselves engulfed in. With its tongue-in-cheek, anthemic chorus and straight-talking finale, CHIN UP manages to maintain the energy of goldenbloom's raging catalogue whilst still delivering an important message.

Formed back in May 2019, goldenbloom is powered by the howling vocals of Jordan Walker, wailing guitar of Will Young and hard-hitting rhythm Justas Pugaciauskas (drums) and Johnny Brock (bass). We caught up with Jordan to find out more about CHIN UP, the London alt-scene and future plans.

Hello goldenbloom! Welcome to the Coven, how are you doing?

We’re good thanks. Thanks very much for having us.

goldenbloom by Agne Mankute

Congrats on the release of CHIN UP! We're loving the track. We know it's about mental health, can you tell us a bit about why you chose to pen a song on the subject?

It was sort of a product of the first lockdown. A friend of mine who was living in Shoreditch had her two housemates leave to go back to their families before proper lockdown sanctions were in place. She had to stay in the flat by herself for the foreseeable future. Me and another friend would call her every other day through that app Houseparty (remember that one hit wonder?) to make sure that she was okay.

It really sat with me that we take being able to speak to other people for granted and if that’s taken away from you, it can be detrimental to us. We’re humans - we live off of energy from other people.

The song took a rough shape, but I didn’t think it would be appropriate for a male voice to speak to a female audience about how they can open up to us about anything. There was a lot going on in the news affecting trust between men and women - murders, disappearances, spiking - so I decided to flip the perspective, so it was a man talking to a man.

We don’t normalise enough that blokes can open up emotionally to other men. I know I’ve wanted to in the past but usually held back for fear of damaging my pride, my ego or how I was perceived by my peers. That’s not how it should be.

If you didn't listen to the lyrics, CHIN UP would sound like a classic, wonderfully abrasive post-punk track. Was this a conscious decision, and how do you think it impacts the song's message?

The last thing I wanted this song to be was slow or emotive. It has a pretty important message. I wanted the song to stick in peoples head, that they’d want to listen to it again. That in turn would hopefully mean the lyrics, the message would stick to whoever is listening.

We loved your last single FINE (so much we put it on our Discovery playlist) - which has a similar air of societal frustration to it. Could we be building up to an EP release, perhaps?

Thank you so much for that too! You’d be right in thinking that. We’ve been ultra lazy getting into studios and getting stuff laid out but before the year is over we’ll have our next EP out for sure.

goldenbloom by Agne Mankute

As fellow Londoners, how do you feel the alternative scene here is fairing? We always seem to cover artists from Brighton - do you have the same FOMO we do from not being there?

There’s some great independent venues, promoters and shows over here in London, especially in East - but the FOMO is definitely real for Brighton. I was always told that you need to know at least five different bands in Brighton before promoters down there start sniffing you out. Almost like joining The Masons, we need some ritualistic right of passage! There’s some infamous venues down there that I’d love to unleash goldenbloom on. Green Door Store, Rossi, Hope and Ruin. If you’re reading this, we’re available. We look forward to hearing from you.

Who are some artists that inspire you, and anyone on the scene we should be looking out for?

I think goldenbloom was heavily inspired by IDLES and their ability to push these meaningful messages with music that was usually associated with violence. I think our first rehearsals were brought together by bands like Kid Kapichi, Tigercub and Talk Show.

There’s too many bands to mention that are slaying right now. Eyes firmly kept on SNAYX, L’objectif and Egyptian Blue. Also just the Bristol music scene.

Where and when can we catch you live?

Good question. We’re getting some shows ready for closer to the summer. You’ll be first to know, You can hold us to that.

Thanks for talking to us, hopefully see you soon!

Much love guys.

Listen to CHIN UP on Spotify or Apple Music

Review and interview by Courtney Myers

Photography by Agne Mankute

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