Blondfire’s sibling synergy sets New Orleans ablaze

Langdon Herrick

Special to theadvocate.com

Blondfire
Blondfire

Some siblings fight. Others form bands. Erica Driscoll and her brother Bruce, as leaders of the L.A.-based indie pop band Blondfire, fall into the latter category. Erica’s breathy vocals and Bruce’s bouncy beats have earned them many fans since the release of their single, “Where the Kids Are,” which can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVKFmNMQVTg.

While some siblings can’t even share a bathroom peacefully, Erica loves making music with her brother.

“It’s funny. We’ve been doing this since we were so little it’s just normal to me. It’s fun, because we have a cool brother/sister relationship, and it’s just something special that we do together,” Erica said.

Erica said she thinks that growing up in the same musical household helps the two of them get along in the recording studio and in the decision-making process.

“I feel like it makes it easy to come to decisions. Since we grew up together with similar influences, when we go to write songs we know in general what we like and what we want to hear, and we generally agree on stuff,” she said.

Erica, who is the band’s lead vocalist and guitarist, said that though the band’s songwriting process is far from set in stone, it is always a team effort.

“We write songs in all sorts of ways. With the new record, it was very collaborative. Most of the songs were written and recorded at the same time,” Erica said. “Usually my brother would come up with a cool drumbeat or something, get a little loop going. Then we would mess around with different guitar parts and work till we’ve got something we like, and I usually start with the melodies.”

One thing Erica and Bruce don’t do together as much is tour. Erica said that Bruce’s love of working in the studio and his desire to break into the competitive world of film scores keeps him at home.

Erica, on the other hand, said she loves being on the road.

“I like it a lot. It’s really intense. You’re constantly moving and trying to get to the next place, so it’s crazy, but it’s also fun,” she said. “I feel like you live more in a day on tour than you do in a week at home. You’re constantly meeting new people and seeing new places, and it’s an adventure.”

Erica lists The Smiths, Depeche Mode and the Pet Shop Boys as some of her favorite bands, but also feels that their mother’s bossa nova records were a major influence on Blondfire’s sound. The siblings share dual citizenship in America and Brazil and spent many summers in Brazil. Erica’s sister Monica, who is also a musician, has recorded songs in Spanish and Portuguese, something Erica would like to tackle in the future.

“I would definitely love to do some songs in Portuguese, because I love the language. It’s beautiful. I’ve played shows where I sang some songs in Portuguese, but we never actually released anything in Portuguese,” she said, adding that she thinks their new label, Warner Bros. Records, would support them if they did.

Blondfire isn’t the Driscoll family’s first collaboration. Long before Blondfire came to be, Erica, Bruce and Monica used to skip school to go touring as a band called Nectar.

“We were like this funny family band, and we got out of school and did a bunch of college tours. It was funny that we were able to do it and our parents were cool with it,” she said.

Erica said becoming a musician wasn’t something she just decided to do one day. Music was simply something she had always done, and she didn’t want to do anything else.

“I don’t know if there was ever a time when I decided this was going to be a career, but it always felt natural to me, and in a weird way, that was the one thing I felt confident and felt good about doing in life. It felt like that was me, and I just kept going with it,” Erica said.

Erica is excited about performing in New Orleans, as she has never visited the city before. She also promised that Blondfire will give it their all onstage.

“When I go see bands, I want to hear what I hear on their album, but it’s just so cool to see people give their all and put on a good show, and that’s what we try to do,” she said.

Blondfire will play at the House of Blues in New Orleans along with Surfer Blood and The Foals on April 28. The doors open at 7 p.m. Blondfire’s debut full-length album, “Young Heart,” will release on Warner Bros. Records later this year. More info about the band can be found at http://blondfiremusic.tumblr.com/