The music of BLOOM is so alluring to the ear due to its element of freshness and its delightfully dreamy quality. Each individual track within the band’s existing discography innately possesses its own unique beauty, combining grace and grit to create art that is just as ethereal as it is authentic. The high degree of authenticity within the music of BLOOM lies within the lyrics, which tap directly into the raw epicenter of human emotion. Whether the lyrics be about heartbreak, change, or any other form of humanistic evolution, the music of BLOOM yields the power to move listeners and make them truly think and feel – which is exactly what great art should do.
BLOOM’s skillful lyrics are written and sung by Sam Larson, who displays evident talent within both crafts. Larson’s ability to combine emotion with clear vocal skill is one of the many facets of BLOOM’s music that makes it so refreshingly candid, hence serving as a catalyst for listeners to feel deeply connected to their work. Amidst belting legato notes that simply sound stunning, Larson sings with flair and tonal variance that undeniably makes her stand out as her own musical entity.
AMPLIFY. had the opportunity to interview Larson about BLOOM’s early days, time traveling to different eras in music history, what’s coming up next for BLOOM, and more fun stuff. Read on, friends.
AMPLIFY: What’s the origin story of BLOOM?
Larson: It all really started four years ago. A friend of mine asked me to go to an open mic with him over at the Heartland Cafe in Roger’s Park. So, I went. We had some drinks, we had fun. I remember he told me that I should “make the album of my dreams.” Now, for the years leading up to this night I was really a closet musician. I didn’t have a band, I didn’t play any shows. I was actually quite shy about showcasing my music in front of people. But, he knew that I sang and played guitar, and he was always encouraging me to put myself out there more.
I ended up falling really hard for this guy. I became absolutely infatuated with him. But, he was not remotely interested in me in that way, as I came to realize.
So, I ended up channeling everything I felt into what became the first BLOOM album, and then Adoration. Chris Kramer was kind enough to help me record the first album, and Dark Circles Records was kind enough to release the tape on their label. Eventually, I had the luck to meet Joseph Montes off of a craigslist ad, and from there we began to form the band itself.
I always go back to the moment when I first saw that Pablo Neruda poem scribbled in the bathroom stall that night at the Heartland. ” I want to do to you what the springtime does to the cherry-trees.” I guess my answer was always to bloom.
AMPLIFY: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard BLOOM before?
Larson: I don’t know. We’ve been compared to The Pretenders, Gin Blossoms, one dude thought we sounded a bit like the Smashing Pumpkins. It really varies. I say listen and figure it out for yourself.
AMPLIFY: Do you have a favorite memory from any of your live performances?
Larson: I think my all-time favorite live performance that we did was two years ago at Hostel Earphoria. I had this veil over my head and me and the guys were sounding pretty tight that night. By the end of the set, everyone in that basement was literally SCREAMING at us at the top of their lungs. It was amazing. I’ve never experienced that much enthusiasm from an audience before.
AMPLIFY: How would you articulate the band’s artistic growth?
Larson: Well, in the beginning I recorded pretty much everything. (Vocals, guitar, bass, keys and drum machine, with Chris Kramer filling in at certain points.) Then when I finally got a band together, we were able to create a more solid sound as a three-piece. It shifted from being lo-fi to being more of a powerpop band. As time went on, we added another guitarist and the sound shifted to be more of a “90’s revivalist sound,” so to speak. We are now working with Donny Walsh as our lead guitarist, and I think his sound is really beneficial for this band as a whole.
As far as song-writing and artistic growth is concerned, I’d like to think that I have grown as a songwriter since the first record. I’m trying to write more songs that deal with ideas and cerebral concepts, rather than just focusing on the emotive aspect of daily life.
AMPLIFY: Which aspect of the creative process brings you the most joy?
Larson: Ooh, hard question. I think I may have an answer though.
When someone comes up to you after a show and says, “I’ve been listening to your album all week, and I think it’s fantastic.” You know, that is really the main reason why I make music. We all have had moments where sometimes we just have to listen to one song over and over to process a certain thought, or a certain emotion. Music heals people. Music is there when the ones you love aren’t. Music can also be a time machine, a knife in the heart, a mating call, whatever you want it to be. If just one person in the world listens to my music and enjoys it, then it’s worth it to me.
AMPLIFY: If you could time travel to any period in music history, which era would you select and why?
Larson: Probably mid-to-late 70’s so I could ease into the glory of the 80’s with ease 😉
AMPLIFY: What moves you to create?
Larson: I’m not so sure. I’ve been a creative person ever since I could remember. I was always drawing, writing, or singing something. I’ve always asked myself what drove myself to do these things from so early on, and I think it was honestly just a quick way to escape for me. I was teased a lot in school, I didn’t have any friends, my family was never in a great financial place. Looking back now, I think I was always trying to get away from that. So, I just created my own little world to get lost in. And now I simply don’t know what else to do with myself haha.
AMPLIFY: As a band, which aspect of your creative work are you most proud of?
Larson: I don’t think there’s a particular article of work that I’m “most proud of”, per se, but lemme just say I am so proud of MY BOYS in BLOOM. They inspire me every time we play music to become a better songwriter and a better musician as a whole. I am so lucky to have these guys with me, playing the dumb songs I write in my bathroom. Seriously, shout-out here to Joseph, Donny, and Watson for being the exceptional beings that they are, and for also being such great friends 🙂
AMPLIFY: Wild card question: Is there anything else you’d like to share in the interview? No matter what the topic, feel free to mention it here!
Larson: Also, shout-out to the Chicago DIY scene as a whole. You all are such beautiful, endlessly creative people and I am so glad to share the same city as you.
AMPLIFY: Lastly, what’s coming up next for BLOOM?
Larson: Keep an eye out come fall, BLOOM might have a new release for you. 😉
Ready for some tunes? Click here to visit BLOOM’s bandcamp page.