Blueberry Hills release debut single ‘My Girl’: Straight into the heart of Road-Rock

"We’ve worked hard to create something authentic, pouring our hearts into every performance and recording session"
7 June 2024

Blueberry Hills, a dynamic rock band formed in late 2023 in São Paulo, is excited to announce the release of their debut single. Comprising an international lineup featuring British singer-songwriter Gary OC, lead guitarist Sergio Balda, bassist Davi Rocha, and drummer Nando Barq, they’ve crafted a unique sound they call “Road-Rock”—a blend of boogie, hard, blues, and swamp rock that’s the perfect soundtrack for life’s journeys.

Blueberry Hills gets off to a smoking start with their debut single, My Girl, where hook-laden melodies, swaggering vocals, and face-melting guitar work come together in a song that’s both retro and right-now.

We had the opportunity to pick Gary’s brain in a candid conversation, and he didn’t hold back. Plus, Davi, Sergio and Nando were part of the mix. To truly grasp the essence of this band, follow the threads of their inspiration, the struggles they’ve overcome, and their ambitious aspirations – it’s a soundscape that will leave you breathless.

Road-Rock captures the essence of those long drives with the windows down, where the journey matters as much as the destination.

Could you share what inspired your debut track My Girl and how it embodies the distinct sound of Blueberry Hills?

Gary: My Girl is the debut track from our EP Antioxidants for Your Ears. This EP is a deeply personal coming-of-age story, inspired by my own experiences and observations while growing up in a London pub. It reflects the journey many men take today, often failing to realize that a long-term partner, a good home life, and genuine human connection are among life’s greatest rewards. The EP highlights the vulnerability required to become the kind of partner you aspire to be, even before meeting the one you have always dreamed of.

The track itself captures the innocence of youth and the blissful, yet naive, belief that your first love will last forever. Meanwhile, it also echoes the parental advice to stay focused on building a stable future.

Since coming together in late 2023, what has Blueberry Hills’ experience been like in carving out your space in the music industry, and what obstacles have you faced during this journey?

Gary: We don’t focus on others as we just do our thing and enjoy each others company, but I suppose that the financial constraints to balancing our personal lives with our music careers is the main challenge. One of the biggest obstacles will be standing out in an industry that’s often filled with music that feels plastic and lacks genuine feeling or a real message—a soul, if you will. We’ve worked hard to create something authentic, pouring our hearts into every performance and recording session. We want to connect with people who appreciate our unique sound and honest lyrics that would make it all worth it. The journey has been fun and incredibly rewarding, and we’re excited about what the future holds for Blueberry Hills.

The band has introduced the term “Road-Rock” to categorize your music. Can you delve into what this genre represents to you and how it distinguishes Blueberry Hills from other rock bands?

Gary: We came up with the term “Road-Rock” to describe our music as we couldn’t agree on an existing category, and for us, it’s all about the spirit of adventure, freedom, and raw authenticity. Road-Rock captures the essence of those long drives with the windows down, where the journey matters as much as the destination. It’s a mix of classic rock and modern vibes, filled with cinematic storytelling. What sets us apart from other rock bands is this unique blend. Our music isn’t just about the sound; it’s about the experience. We want our listeners to feel like they’re on a journey with every song, feeling the thrill of the open road, discovering new places, and reflecting on life’s adventures. It’s rock music meant to be felt deeply and experienced fully, just like a great road trip.

How do you enter into the creative zone when crafting new music?

Gary: When Sergio and I get together, the best way to describe it is synergy. We don’t think, we don’t talk; we just play, and the music comes out the way it’s meant to be. If the feeling and the story are there, we don’t spend more than an hour creating a track. We usually just grab my phone, hit record, and capture us creating the chorus, verse melody, and riff. Then I listen back to what I call my “Embramation,” which means sounds without words. Often, there are some words and themes that match the musical feeling. From there, I write the story as I see it in my mind, like a film. I then create the structure of the track, and we jam it out with Davi and Nando until we have a finished track.

Sergio, as the lead guitarist and Gary’s songwriting partner, how do you approach crafting guitar solos that seamlessly mesh with the lyrics and overall ambiance of Blueberry Hills’ music?

Sergio: I approach crafting guitar solos by really feeling the vibe of the lyrics and the overall mood of the song. It’s about creating something that not only complements Gary’s storytelling but also adds another layer of emotion and intensity to the track. We always aim for solos that feel like they naturally belong in the song, enhancing the journey without overshadowing the message. Me and Gary always joke that it’s my vocal part in the solos.

Davi and Nando, as the band’s rhythm section, how do you collaborate to establish a firm musical groundwork while leaving space for experimentation and spontaneity during live performances?

Davi: When we were doing the arrangements, me and Nando worried about keeping the base and making a consistent groove to the band. As a bass player and growing up listening to Billy Sheehan, Steve Harris, John Mcvie, and other legends, i understand that my way to play and my lines need to lock with the drums, keep the base and do what the music needs to be done, i often see many musicians crossing the thin line of be virtuous and becoming boring.
When we play it live, the mindset is to keep the same foundation,  but with more effort to fill the spaces and use every bar of the music to make it richer, but always with good taste and respect to the song.

Nando: I try to keep the rhythm simple and create the engine to keep the flow of the song. There is a connection between us all almost spiritual, we connect at certain moments and allow the creativity of each member to come through.

How has São Paulo’s lively music scene influenced your musical style and live performances? Are there any standout venues or experiences that have left a lasting impression on the band?

Gary: This is a tough question to answer. For our genre, “rock,” it’s almost impossible to make a living in Brazil as most people here just want to have fun and listen to the classics. There’s a vibrant cover band scene, and rock is very much loved in Brazil, but there doesn’t seem to be much interest in anything new. I hope this will change, but for that to happen, we need a new scene like they had in the 80s, and for showhouses to open their doors and minds to this. I hope we can be a catalyst for this, but in my opinion, it will only happen if we achieve success outside of Brazil first.

Gary, hailing from Britain, how do you infuse your cultural background into Blueberry Hills’ music while honoring the band’s Brazilian roots?

Gary: Coming from North London, I grew up with so many different cultures and styles of music like SKA, Reggae, Rock, Soul, RNB, and even rap! I think I bring a mix of classic British rock influences and storytelling traditions to our music. We blend this with the vibrant rhythms and passionate energy of Brazilian music. It’s about creating a fusion that respects and celebrates both our cultural backgrounds, resulting in a unique and rich sound that’s distinctly Blueberry Hills.

If you could set out on a dream tour alongside any musicians, whether they’re still with us or not, who would you pick as your ultimate road partners, and what about their music resonates with you?

Gary: For a dream tour, we’d love to hit the road with legends like The Doors, The Rolling Stones, AC/DC, BTO and Led Zeppelin, who have that raw rock energy and timeless appeal. Their music resonates with us because it’s authentic, powerful, and deeply connected to the roots of rock and roll. In terms of modern bands that for me are few and far between I’d say Nothing But Thieves, Greta Van Fleet, The Struts, and Foo Fighters. Realistically though there are also a few good young bands coming out of Sao Paulo at the moment that I have had the pleasure to play with Like “Venere vai venus” and “Lost Liars” and I think we could do an awesome tour together.

To encapsulate the core of Blueberry Hills’ sound in just three words, what descriptors would you choose to capture the essence of your music?

Gary: Adventurous, Authentic, Soulful.

©FM

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