Du Blonde

Newcastle Upon Tyne

Tuesday 16th April 2019

Photo by Stella Malfilatre

Name, where are you from?
Stage name Du Blonde. Human name Beth Jeans Houghton. Born in Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Describe your style in three words?
Adidas faux fur.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever been to?
Ezra Furman at End Of The Road Festival 2018. When I was growing up I felt perpetually bummed out that the likelihood of seeing a live show as energetic and magical as those put on by my childhood music heroes (mostly '60s and '70s Rock n Roll) was just never gonna happen. Then I saw this show. Ezra’s albums are incredible, the songs touch you on an emotional level that I haven’t really experienced with new music to this extent. This show, in particular, was pretty much a life-changing moment for me. I realised this magic can and does still exist, it’s possible.

If you could be on the line up with any two bands in history?
Frank Zappa and The Lemon Pipers.

Which subcultures have influenced you?
The energy of the Riot Grrrl movement had a big effect on me. I myself am non-binary/trans so don’t identify as a girl, but having grown up and having spent the majority of my career being viewed as a cis woman. Learning about a movement within the music scene that was and is so anti-sexism was something I could relate to. To see such a huge community of women shake off the age-old expectations of being demure and submissive and own their justified anger and spread that energy is very inspiring.

Subcultures, in general, have always been of huge interest to me. Growing up in Newcastle Upon Tyne in the ’90s there were a good amount of subcultures the youth were a part of. Goth was a big one. We had a square in the middle of town that got dubbed ‘Goth Green’, all the goths would hang around there. Eventually, the council paved the place and had security make sure people weren’t ‘hanging around’ even though they were no trouble at all. That’s the last time I really saw such a large group of people who were a part of something that they lived and breathed. After that with the acceleration of culture and access to the internet, everyone became much more varied in their tastes. This isn’t wholly a bad thing, but it makes me sad that there are so few communities these days that are so adamantly into one thing that they can all share. The camaraderie is something I still mourn.

If you could spend an hour with anyone from history?
My grandma, Irene Jeans. She was one of the most influential people to me in my life. Non-judgemental, caring, took no shit, calm and understanding. I miss her every day. I wrote 'RBY' about my grandad and grandma and the grieving process after losing them. The line 'if I could just say hello, then goodbye wouldn't be so hard' refers to that feeling of total loss. If they could send a sign from wherever they are, that they are not completely gone, the grieving process would be an easier one.

Of all the venues you’ve played, which is your favourite?
The Shacklewell Arms in Dalston, London. The month before the ‘Welcome Back To Milk’ tour my band an I did a residency there to get used to playing live again. It’s the type of place people will turn up to see a show even if they don’t know the music and coming from a small city that’s been hard to find in London. They host free shows, it’s often full of weirdos and they have a smoking garden out the back with painted walls and neon lights that when I have my own house, I’ll recreate in my living room.

Your greatest unsung hero or heroine in music?
Lewis (aka Randall Wulff) recorded an album in 1983 (one of the most beautiful I’ve ever heard) that got lost in the annals of time but was then rediscovered by a crate digger and re-released in 2014 by Light In The Attic. His story is fascinating. There are multiple stories/theories around who is and who he was back then, including theories he was a con man and a drug dealer. He turned up to record this record in a white convertible, shot the cover and then disappeared when the cheque to the photographer bounced. The myth behind it is what lead me to listen to the record and I was shocked when I realised how incredible the actual album was. Nothing like I expected and something I listen to regularly.

Beth Jeans Houghton released her third record, and second under her Du Blonde moniker titled 'Lung Bread for Daddy' in March 2019. Purchase it at smarturl.it/LungBreadForDaddy.

She is also an accomplished illustrator and has created animated music videos for the likes of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Ezra Furman. Read more about that here

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