If you take a walk along Crosby Beach in Merseyside at low tide, you will find a strange, dreamlike spectacle that wouldn’t look out of place in an avant-garde horror movie. Spread out along the shore, 100 cast-iron sculptures look out at the horizon, waiting to be re-submerged in the water returning from the Irish Sea. It is these sculptures, with their haunting magnetism, that inspired Blue Statue’s band name.
“Our name was inspired by the British artist Antony Gormley’s work,” says frontman and guitarist Aaron. “He did this artwork called ‘Another Place’ at Crosby Beach in Merseyside. It is 100 statuesque figures facing the sea. When the tide comes in the figures get submerged, and over time it causes corrosion. There was a stationary resilience that appealed in some way to the band name, and it fitted into what we are about.”
Indeed, like Gormley’s art, many of Blue Statue’s songs and music videos have a surrealistic quality that invites you to ask questions. Take the band’s video for ‘Lachrymose’, which, with its blue tint and Eyes Wide Shut style masks, is visually Kubrick-esque. So, what is the meaning behind the song, on how has it translated into such a dark, freaky, and visually arresting music video?
“’Lachrymose’ is actually a song about love; it is not something I usually write about,” explains Aaron. “It’s about the ending of a romantic relationship and the heartbreak that follows. Through the experience, I ultimately understood that a lot of what I loved in the person who finished the relationship was what I aspired to be. This realisation helped me to deal with it.
“I try to convey the meaning of a song through the music video, so the concept is what the song is about. We don’t set out to do ‘freaky’ videos; it just turns out that way.”
‘Lachrymose’ is a single from the band’s latest album ‘No/On’, which has received positive reviews from music critics since its release in late December. Songs from the album have been played by Steve Lamacq on his BBC Radio 6 show, with Blue Statue developing its sound and exploring different lyrical avenues.
“The songs have evolved lyrically for me. In the past, I tended to be surreal and now I’m trying to have a balance between realism and surrealism. Musically the songs I write now have a more ‘post-punk’ element to them which they didn’t have before.
“Inspiration on the album for me also came from things like mental health and the big questions. The song ‘V.F.’ is about people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s interesting to see how the abbreviation O.C.D has been hijacked by culture to mean something less serious, which undermines the actual disorder that many find debilitating.
“The big questions such as the classic meaning in life or the lack of. I’ve heard lots of times, ‘The universe doesn’t care about you either way’. It always struck me how confident this is said and made me wonder if it’s more like a saying without much thought behind it. Either way, I started thinking about this and then about meaning in a broader sense, not only individually but also societally.”
Hayd, Aaron’s brother, co-frontman guitarist and also songwriter for the band, weighs in with his take on the band’s songwriting process: “For me I have always liked to thread different lines together so the songs aren’t about one thing, but also can seem like they are with a myriad of different meanings. With ‘Supercilious’ the song is partly about having beliefs that are built on ignorance and being unable to divorce from your ideologies. With other songs on the album, I like to write about falling with balance, horrible things that happen with the best intentions, speaking freely, subjectively, objectively, whatever you feel, circle of apathy, mental health, conscious, subconscious, drooling on stools, stuff like that…”
Since the album’s release, the band has been performing 30-minute sets at various London music venues, mainly playing the album in its entirety. While most of these have gone smoothly, one gig required the guys to channel their inner Mike Oldfield.
Aaron: “At the moment we mainly gig in London. They have all been pretty good gigs except one where the mics didn’t work after the first song. We had to do the rest of the show instrumental, which was weird, but it was kind of liberating at the same time.”
As many will attest, incidents like these are very much part of life for bands making a name for themselves, and no doubt Blue Statue will look back and laugh in years to come. As for the future, they’re eager to share their music with a wider audience and build on their growing success.
Hayd: “It was a pleasure to be played by Steve Lamacq, and we are now looking to expand on this. We are looking to tour and play the big festivals next year.”
While Gormley’s sculptures inspired Blue Statue’s name, it is clear the band is anything but static. Having developed their sound, embraced new lyrical themes, and worked tirelessly on the London music scene to build a name for themselves, Aaron, Hayd, Ben (Bass) and Andrea (Drums), look to be on cusp of something great. As they look out onto their own horizon, they undoubtedly have a world of opportunities before them. Watch this space.