BLSHS’ Soulful Darkness of “Hold On”

BLSHS Hold On Photo

I have received the distinct pleasure of interviewing Houston’s own BLSHS about their newest album, “Hold On”. Right off, I have to say I hold the folks in BLSHS in the highest regard as musicians, and all of you will be able to understand why when you hear this album. But first, let’s learn more about BLSHS’ process behind the creation of “Hold On”, their goals for this year, and more.

 What was the inspiration for “Hold On”? Was it written with a concept in mind…. Or, was it pieced together from songs you already had been performing but hadn’t recorded….plus some new material you hadn’t performed yet?

Michelle Miears: “Hold On was not initially written with a concept in mind; it is a collective of songs that were written between 2014 and 2015 while we were still out playing songs from our first EP, Abstract Desires.  What initially started as a demo of Clarity that I sent to Rick and Chris slowly unfolded over the year in the form of 6 songs that were organically written in the time that we had between playing shows.  Three of the songs are co-produced by P On The Boards (of A$AP Mob).  P sent us a handful of demos, of which three became tracks on the EP.  I was quickly able to write vocals on those demos – I could tell they were going to be amazing songs from the second I heard each one, and they were super easy to collaborate with P on.  We actually had 13 total demos at the peak of our writing phase.  At that point, we listened to all 13 demos and grouped these particular 6 songs together based on their flow together.  We thought that, as a body of work, they felt cohesive and made sense.  I tend to write about real-life emotions that hit me in the moment, whether I am basking in the glow of a new love or if I am sitting around lamenting over a lost love.  I write about the past a lot, I write about my present state in relationships, and I also write about the future and my hopes and fears, but all of my writing tends to be centered around interpersonal relationships: mostly romantic relationships. Hold On is essentially a snapshot of the rollercoaster that has been my love life over the past handful of years.  I believe I am still healing from my past, and this EP sheds some light on that.”

 Y’all make AMAZING beats. What program(s) do you use to create your beats and samples?

 BLSHS:“For this EP, we used two different DAWs for production: Ableton and Logic Pro.  Ableton was the primary DAW used, but Michelle uses Logic for production work and vocal recording.  Eventually all demos/stems were shifted into Ableton to be finalized.  In And Out was started in Ableton, but finalized at Sugarhill Studios, where some analog synth work was recorded in-studio and vocals were recorded in-studio.  Our instrumentals are a culmination of various analog and software instruments and samples.  Rick used the Roland TR8 for a lot of his drum production, but he also used samples as well.  Michelle used VST plugins on this EP for instrumental work, and Chris laid down some heavy synth work using various hardware like Korg Poly 800, Yamaha DX-7, Roland U-220, Yamaha FB-01.”

What do y’all have planned for the rest of 2016? Local shows? Planning a tour? Out of town gigs? Festivals?

BLSHS:“For the rest of 2016, we plan to debut these new songs live at both local and out-of-town shows as well as continue releasing new music. We are currently working on new BLSHS songs, remixes for other Houston bands, and collaborating with Guilla on some tracks.  We have a handful of Houston dates already lined up starting late summer/early fall that we are excited to announce soon! We would love to play a festival like Day For Night here in Houston or get out to NYC for CMJ again – that would be a great way to cap off the year!  We have loved our experiences at festivals, so we would be stoked on any opportunities that come our way!”

BLSHS’ “Hold On” was written by Michelle Miears, Rick Carruth, and Chris Gore. It was mixed by Dan Workman at Sugarhill Studios and mastered by John McCaig at Panic Studios. Artwork and photography was done by SpaceTiger Audio Visual Club. It was  released by Synth Records on May 30, 2016.

Now, let’s check out the tracks on the new album!

The title track, “Hold On”, has a beautiful soulful feel with electronic/ programmed drums. It’s GOREOUS. Michelle KILLS it on the vocals with a melody that would make even the most accomplished R&B/soul singers swoon!

“Temporary Love” is a steadier groove with some absolutely STELLAR vocal harmonies and hypnotic beats. See for yourselves!
“Clarity” is probably the best expression of Michelle’s vocal range and dynamics. The lyrics are BEAUTIFUL, and the synths and beats blend with Michelle’s vocals in a way that sounds like another instrument all on its own!
The arrangement of the beats and samples on “Before You Miss Me” are super bad ass. This song has a dark lyrical beauty that truly pulled me into a whole other world, and Michelle’s vocal arrangements did the same. Listen for yourselves!
“In and Out” is one of the catchiest songs on the album. It has a dark, poppy, R&B feel to it. I found myself hitting “repeat” on this song multiple times. This song could EASILY be on top 40 radio. I think y’all will see that too! check it out!
Finally, “Savior” is absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite track on this album. The organ intro is absolutely RAD, and sets the mood in accordance with the title of the song. There’s also some very cool Moog-ish effects in the intro that I LOVED, and the vocals, beats, and lyrics are just top notch creations. Here it is!
You can catch BLSHS live with my band, PuraPharm at Warehouse Live in the Green Room on September 17!
Thanks so much to BLSHS for taking their time to do the interview and also for just being some of the best musicians and people I know!
You can hear more from BLSHS on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/blshs
If you use Facebook, you can find out even more about them there: https://www.facebook.com/BLSHSmusic/
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