Almost three months have passed since I had the pleasure of sitting down for a chat with the wonderful Sapphire Blues in the beer garden of bowling alley-cum-venue The Lanes, on a dour Tuesday evening in the centre of Bristol. The following unfinished article has sat staring at me from the corner of my desktop for what feels like a lifetime and serves as a reminder to never bite off more than you can chew…
“How did you become the Sapphire Blues? Don’t all jump at once,” I ask, rubbing my hands together in a pointless effort fend off the cold. “We normally do, but Sam always complains, so we just let him do it,” smirks bassist Harry Beaver.
He looks across to frontman Sam Jones, who sure enough starts to fill me in, but before he can utter much more than a sentence he is interrupted by drummer Chris Thompson. “I got bullied by them, by him!” he exclaims, pointing a long accusing finger in Beaver’s direction. Beaver, who is sporting a knee-length black wool coat and an equally woolley moustache for the month of November, laughs softly to himself but doesn’t deny the accusation.
The band formed in 2016 and it was a friend’s night at their local ‘Bath Tav’ pub that spawned what would ultimately become Sapphire Blues. In the four years since, the Blues have started to gain traction as one of Bristol’s most exciting and extraordinary new bands. In that time, they have experienced a multitude of changes both personally and creatively. I ask them how much they feel their music has progressed up until this point. “Our songs used to be a lot slower, probably to do with the headspace we were in at the time,” Jones explains, “but now we’ve found our sound and we’re trying to create our own scene.” The band now feel right at home nuzzled deep within the arms of Bristol’s rich musical landscape, but this wasn’t always the case. “I wasn’t in the space to be involved in it, I didn’t want to fucking leave the house,” says Jones, “but now we’re in a situation where we have to go out and meet other bands and it’s nice,” he smiles.
Beaver, who is sporting a knee-length black wool coat and an equally woolley moustache for the month of November, laughs softly to himself but doesn’t deny the accusation.
Looking at them now, it is impossible to imagine them doing anything slowly or quietly. You’d have as much luck trying to cross the M4 blindfolded, as you would trying to predict how their live show is going to play out. Jones’ acute philosophical awareness manifests itself in an intense yet playful performance, as he pulls on imaginary cigarettes and snarls at whatever crowd have assembled before him. As for Thompson, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was playing on top of a rodeo bull the way he leaps effortlessly from drum to drum. All the while, Beaver commands the stage, pacing back and forth with a look in his eyes that could break through granite.
The group initially began writing and recording songs in Thompson’s bedroom, but it has been a long process getting to a point where they feel truly satisfied with their output. “We wrote an EP, recorded it, never released it and now we’re here,” laughs Thompson. I ask how this lost EP compares to their first official release, ‘Sundays of Life’, which at the time the of our interview will be ready for human consumption in little over a week. “We were developing our sound I think,” nods Beaver, “we’ve always fallen into a trap of writing new songs we way prefer more and I don’t know if that’s because they sound better or we are bored of the old songs.” One such song is their newest single “Good Morning Britain.” Described by Jones as a “low-blow” and a “gimmick of what’s going on today”, the song takes aim at the ugly reality of British tabloid culture. The song’s tongue in cheek nature is most apparent in its accompanying video. In it, Beaver and Jones’ news bulletin is interrupted by a pissed-up Boris Johnson (brought to life by an incredible performance from Thompson). After dousing one another in cheap Vodka, the band take to the streets and begin wreaking havoc upon the population. “Everyone responds to Good Morning Britain because it is generalised and it’s not so much me, me, me,” mulls Jones, “you’re going to relate to more people talking about something political in this day and age than yourself.” “We’re probably talking about taking it out the set already,” admits Beaver, “It’s just politics in general. You can’t be singing about how shit Britain is all the time because it just gets boring.”