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Blindhead – 8 Questions About Music For Dancing and Dining

blindhead

Blindhead is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist recording artist Bryan Pocius. The indie veteran debuted his solo project in 2010 with the album Biology. That record introduced a prolific and multi-talented, genre-smashing musician and producer.

Since debuting, Blindhead has released six albums. His catalog spans from accessible radio-ready indie-pop to the darkest corners of avant-garde experimentation. Several of Bryan’s compositions can be heard in films and television shows. Though he started on guitar, he now also makes sounds with banjos, bass, drums, flutes, harmonicas, electric piano, digital keyboards, and saxophone.

Music for Dancing and Dining is the brand new album from Blindhead, released worldwide via all major streaming services on April 1, 2024. From the psychobilly rocker “Alphabet Man” to catchy 80s-style Brit-pop like “Maybe” and “Elon Musk Sent My Girl To Outer Space”, Bryan offers a bouillabaisse of styles and sounds, served with a decidedly indie aesthetic.

“Reservations” marries a 90s alt-rock groove with a deep dive into some fabulous psychedelic acid rock guitar. The instrumental “Stowaway” has a great 80s college rock vibe, when bands like Guadalcanal Diary spun art rock riffs into their jangly post-punk bops. “We Were All Once Children ” then takes a turn into softer territory with a beautiful acoustic and steel guitar duet.

“Pirate Song” is a fun little jam that sounds it could be a Primus B-side if Les Claypool were to play with a pic. “TIYFU” offers 19 seconds of punk cacophony to introduce “Suitcase Blues”, a wonderfully swanky guitar and electric piano jam with a Clapton-in-the-70s vibe. “The Fisherman” has a groovy early-Joe Jackson feel.  

As the title suggests, “A Little Dinner Music” is a mood. “A Little Dance Music” is a groove. By no coincidence the record ends on “Time To Go”. The track features Mr. Pocius waxing philosophic on the state of modern society, over a fun and frantic bop.

We had the chance to chat with Bryan Pocius about the new album. Check out his answer to our 8 questions below. Listen to Music for Dancing and Dining in its entirety below, or on your favorite streaming service. You can also hear “Time to Go” on the Deep Dive : Pop & Rock playlist, “Suitcase Blues” on Deep Dive : Jazz & Classical, and “A Little Dinner” Music” on Deep Dive : Chill. Follow the links at the end of this article to connect with the artist.

8 Questions with Bryan Pocius of Blindhead

blindhead

Where are you from?

Grew up in New England but have been in NYC for a number of years. I’ve played way too many dive bars (and a fair share of great venues) here.

How long have you been making music?

Since middle school, really. I loved music class, but failed miserably on the trumpet. Randy Rhoads’s dad was our band teacher! Maybe I felt too intimidated by that (and I never got to meet Randy, RIP). But by high school I was experimenting on my own, and took an electronic music class, which included an old reel-to-reel and some analog patchboard synths. I’d stay all night playing with that shit, cutting up tape with a razor blade, fucking around with all the knobs…but actually making some interesting pieces. Sure, I played my guitar in some bands trying to play Van Halen covers, but this was really cool. I didn’t have to master an instrument or assemble people to make organized sound out of nothing.

From there, it was local bands, a high school band, then various things until I moved to North Carolina and played in the alt-country scene there in the 90s in a great band called Shiloh. In fact, for this project, I trotted out a song we did, written by our lead singer, Ed Hoffman. Alphabet Man. We also wrote Pirate Song back then. I don’t normally rehash old stuff like that, but Ed wrote some great songs, and he approved. Then on to NYC playing bass as well as guitars in bands, including a metal band of Russians down in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and a country hip hop band whose core members still play today as Gangstagrass.

Through it all, since those early days, I have been recording myself, grabbing talent wherever I could. I even did some hip hop production. Totally underground sounding in my apartment, of course, with whatever software I could pirate and figure out.

Who are the musicians involved in Blindhead?

This project is me. I play everything. Two exceptions: I have an old friend and musical partner rapping on a track on this album (Maybe). And a friend I’ve played with since high school dropped by to jam on keys while I played drums. One take. We sat down and just started playing. I added other instruments later, and threw it on there (Suitcase Blues). But that’s it. When I record, I often do it in one take. Makes it sound more like a band, even though it’s mostly me picking up another instrument. Leave the warts on. Must be all the live playing and recording that I appreciate. I do what I can with what I can do. I did grab a couple samples for this one – saxes and flutes that I stretched and chopped (though I also actually played both in other places).

As far as production, I record and produce it all, but when I hit a wall, I send the tracks out to Eric Ritter out in Mount Cobb PA. He recorded a band I was in from Queens called Lies & Cigars and I really liked his work. He’s one of those guys who is happy to explain what he’s doing and help you along, so I always learned from him.

I’ve been told “Oh if you clean this up just a bit and make it sound more ‘modern’, it could definitely be on a major tv show blah blah. Fuck that. Not what I’m going for. If I wanted to do that, that’s what I would be doing. I do have some tracks out there on cable TV, though. Pawn Stars was a real cash cow, if your rent is $8 a month. But that’s just background nonsense. I’d love to actually score. But wouldn’t everyone? Give me a call!

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Oh man, I dunno. I probably have a different answer every year. Frank Zappa, Hank Williams, Aphex Twin, Hendrix, Dylan, Slayer, The Minutemen. Did I mention Frank Zappa? But over the last few years, add Scott Walker, King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizzard, Yves Tumor, Charley Crockett. I listen to a shitload of jazz – Eric Dolphy, Mingus, Monk – all the greats (and then some). And I can’t really play any of it. In fact, you’d listen to my stuff and probably not really hear any of any of this. That’s how it goes, I s’pose. R. Stevie Moore has inspired me to do it the way I’m doing it. Great stuff!

What is your greatest non-musical influence?

H.L. Mencken? I’m supposed to say my mom or dad, and actually, that’s probably true. My mom for showing my that it’s ok to not give a fuck about what other people expect (except her!). My dad for operating a lot on instinct, also kind of on his own terms, even though he gently pushed me to “do what you’re supposed to”. Like most kids, I rejected that. In my teen metal years, he accepted that my friends and I were “head-banging assholes” as he once put it. He was correct.

What inspired you to create the new Blindhead LP?

I guess I’ve appreciated simplicity lately. I wanted to just play and write hooky, simple stuff. Maybe from lots of punk and country listening lately.

Like most projects, I don’t really have an endgame or particular inspiration greater than each song. I may start with one, like “OK…I’ve been hearing and playing some great guitar lately…this is going to be a guitar album”. But that never happens. The last one was more of a guitar album, I suppose, even though I am not a great guitarist. Certainly not in a technical sense. I kind of just see what comes together. I admit that I am inspired by stuff like TV theme music. Hell, I’d love to have had Mike Post’s career. So I just let that stuff happen. I thought a lot about the 80’s and 90’s and what made songs from my youth stick in my head. But then I’d hear about all the awful shit happening in the world and I’d just grab random instruments I can barely play, hit record and just cry through them and call it a track. But actually playing upbeat stuff through it is, in a way, more cathartic. More satisfying. So it never really does work out as planned or expected. Put that squeaky abstract clarinet honking on the album? Sure. Why not? It’s not like I’m aiming to please anyone. That’s how I felt. This project is how I felt between start and finish. That is all.

What are your plans for the future (musically)?

I’m not sure. I’m in a band now that’s sounding pretty tight. I keep my goals short-term and attainable. Maybe get tight enough to kick ass at a gig. If that’s not working, I might try an all-acoustic album and gig that – play in the park, record some video. Get a local duo or trio going.

When I was running around NYC, or even Raleigh before that, I spent way too much time setting “other people’s” goals to achieve “success”. Sound like this band, kiss that promoter’s ass, play this venue. My feeling now is “fuck all that.” All that ever did was keep me from growing. Maybe my goal next week will be to play better drum fills. Write a reggae song. Pick up my banjo and try different tunings. I don’t know. Whatever. That said, I’m inspired by people who do it on their terms, and see it through. I’m kind of off to the next thing on a whim.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

No.