Photo by Anna Arrobas
BLUSH is the dashing Montreal duo of Anna Arrobas & Khalil Ghadban. Think of modern-day vampires making tunes and you might perceive the feel of BLUSH. Haunted shoegaze and somber trip-hop could describe their sound as showcased in the tracks below. I got intrigued and asked them some questions, here’s what they had to say as phrased by Khalil Ghadban.
KG:I had been working delivery at a greek restaurant for a few years. I also had a little side business going selling weed to bolster my finances. While I drove around delivering souvlaki I would see a few of my own customers in between runs. So after a few years of this the bosses teenage daughter started to get wise to my scam. She basically black mailed me into selling weed to her friends or she would rat me out to her dad. So I started doing a quick stop at the alley up the street from her school every day at lunch time. Usually it was the bosses daughter who came herself, but one day this beautiful woman with a big smile and super pretty short hair came to buy the weed instead. I kind of fell in love with her on the spot. That was the first time I met Anna. So after that first day my bosses daughter started to come less and less and anna started to come more and more. There was attraction between us but I didn’t want to be a weirdo creep, so I tried not to flirt with her, and I would just talk to her about music instead. Sometimes I would be listening to my own demos in the car and I would play them for her. Other times she would tell me about local shows she had been to over the weekend. Eventually I felt comfortable enough to invite her to one of my shows of my band RF. That was the first time we ever chilled beyond our strictly professional relationship. After that we made plans to jam together, and that’s how we started making music together. Well I had been working on stuff on my own outside of RF, stuff that was a lot less harsh and a lot more dreamy. And I thought having a female vocalist would suit the sound of my new stuff really well. It would fit in with the tradition of some of my favorite bands like MBV and HTRK. It was also an excuse to get closer to Anna though I would never have admitted it. After jamming with her a few times I realized what a great voice she had and what strong potential she displayed. What started as an excuse to hang out with this girl and fool around started to coalesce into something a lot more serious. We started writing together, with her and I playing bass and guitar on my beats. For the longest time that was as far as it went. Our relationship progressed but musically we were stagnant. But then one day Rape Faction broke up. After that, suddenly I had all my time and attention to dedicate to Blush. Over the course of a year of jamming together, writing songs, programming beats and recording demos, Anna had really started to come into her own as a musician. Blush was starting to take shape. We are currently putting the finishing touches on our debut EP. We have started it so many times but our sound has evolved so quickly that by the time we are done with a set of songs, we already have an entirely different batch of new material that we consider vastly superior. So those previous tracks get scrapped and we start working on the new batch…and then it happens again. This time around we are finally satisfied with the EP. we are finalizing the selection of songs, and putting in the last steps of work, ie adding any final layers of overdubs deemed necessary (guitar noise, atmospherics, vocal backgrounds etc) and doing the last mixing and mastering. So the EP should be done and ready for release by the springtime. We will also be shooting a couple of videos for some of the songs. Anna is a very prolific photographer/DOP so i am really excited about the visual aspect of the EP release. I cant wait to shoot the videos and see the photos she takes for promotional material. And of course the cover for the EP is not done yet, but if you have ever seen Anna’s photography you know that it is going to be fucking gorgeous. I would describe our sound as some kind of future trip hop? Hip hop, in particular dirty south and so called “trap” music has been a major influence on both of us rhythmically so our songs are all built around beats, never live drums, and the beats are all very 808 sounding, heavy bass kicks and half time patterns. We initially envisioned Blush as a shoegaze, guitar rock project, so that dreamy washed out guitar sound is something that is still very present in our music. I come from a noise rock background initially, so you can expect to hear a lot of heavily treated, extremely tortured guitar sounds, to the point where it no longer really sounds like guitars. Anna I think has been influenced by my guitar sound and her own guitars have evolved into something really synth like and beautiful. And of course the constant in our sound is Anna’s voice. She is one of my personal favorite female vocalists of all time and I consider myself lucky she is in a band with me. I hold her up there with my best ever favorites such as Jonnine Standish from HTRK, and I think that her voice is one of the strongest, most beautiful and compelling elements of our sound. We have yet to play any live shows. So far our live performances have been reserved to our own private jam sessions, but with the upcoming release of our debut EP, we have been working hard to prepare our songs for live performance, and we are really looking forward to hearing how the songs translate from the studio to the stage.
BLUSH – Zero