Six Foot Blonde embodies the essence of groovy indie pop, infused with a soulful touch, while drawing inspiration from an eclectic mix of musical influences. Their sonic tapestry evokes the recent revival of retro soul groups like Melt, Couch, and Ripe, all the while channeling the vibrant energy and soulful spirit reminiscent of acts like Tedeschi Trucks Band. Julia, the lead vocalist, establishes a lyrical kinship with artists such as Courtney Barnett, revealing the depth of her artistic connections.
Their new single “Perpendicular Universe” is a vibrant track that will draw you in with every listen.
The band’s creative voyage is fueled by the serendipitous moments they encounter, particularly during their shared attendance at live concerts. These experiences seamlessly weave their way into the fabric of their songwriting, both in terms of genre fusion and innovative song structures. Six Foot Blonde’s driving ambition revolves around encapsulating genuine emotions within their music, whether it’s a poignant entreaty to a friend or a raw expression of frustration in relationships.
Six Foot Blonde’s lineup is a mosaic of talent, featuring Julia Rusyniak as the charismatic lead vocalist, John Alex Rusyniak skillfully manning the keys, Zach Patrick lending his prowess on guitar and vocals, Dominick Heyob anchoring the rhythm on bass and vocals, Elliott Obermaier wielding the slide guitar with finesse, and Brian Healey keeping the beat on drums. The amalgamation of their individual musical strengths yields a harmonious and enchanting sonic signature.
Drawing inspiration from a spectrum ranging from soulful roots to indie pop, Six Foot Blonde persistently crafts music that resonates deeply with their listeners’ souls. Their live performances burst with dynamic energy, marked by immersive audience interaction and a keen ability to adapt and extend their songs in unique ways. As they embark on a journey beyond the Midwest, the band’s infectious melodies and poignant lyrics are poised to forge a connection with audiences far and wide, ensuring an enduring impact that lingers long after the last note fades.
We had the chance to catch up with the band for an exclusive interview below!
Your band’s lineup consists of members with diverse musical strengths. How do these individual strengths contribute to the cohesiveness of your sound, and how do you manage to balance these different elements within your music?
Our individual strengths as musicians help to set us apart from a sonic perspective from other bands. We like to implement unique textures into our sound through things like Elliott’s slide guitar, John Alex’s jazzier piano, and Zach’s blues guitar background. Those textures really help to develop a unique fingerprint when it comes to our music, regardless of the specifics in each song. In many ways, the diversity of style allows us to explore genres and lean into multiple elements and avenues in certain songs.
That being said, we have had to be very intentional in order to balance these elements in a tasteful and not overbearing way. Especially as we continue to develop, we have worked to understand each member’s strengths and to learn how to give them their own places to stand out, and how to play off the unique sounds.
“Tino’s Place” is your first EP release. Could you delve into the themes or narratives that run through the EP, and how do you see it as a representation of Six Foot Blonde’s identity and growth?
At its core, Tino’s Place is a hodge-podge of different stories from our college years. Each song is a snapshot of those collective experiences, whether they’re reflecting on themes of friendship, self-love, or appreciation of something fleeting. Every narrative encompasses aspects of those “figuring it out” years. At it’s core, Tino’s Place encourages the listener to consider what it means to live presently and wholly during formative years of your youth.
Your live performances have gained a reputation for leaving a lasting impression. Can you share a memorable instance where you adapted or extended one of your songs during a performance, leading to a unique and unexpected musical moment?
A few weeks ago, we opened for the band Arcy Drive in Indianapolis. During the middle of our set, the power went out at the venue. We took the opportunity to get the whole audience quiet and did a rendition of 15 Months, an acoustic track on the EP that we don’t typically get to play live. We made it more stripped with just acoustic guitar and vocals. The whole audience was zoned-in. It was one of the most special moments we’ve shared on stage with each other.
Indie pop and soulful, roots-oriented acts seem to be at the core of your musical influences. How do you envision your sound evolving in the future, and are there any other genres or artists you’re eager to explore within your music?
From the time we recorded the EP in 2022 to now, it has been interesting to witness which aspects of our sound have strengthened. As we continue to develop, we find ourselves leaning more and more on indie-soul and indie-pop qualities, especially when it comes to melodies and chord progressions. Our goal is to lean into our unique musical strengths when writing new songs and to see how we can make those elements pillars within the indie pop and indie soul genres. We are always open to exploring new genres and seeing how specific members’ influences shape their playing at the time.
Julia, your lead vocalist, finds lyrical connection with Courtney Barnett. Could you elaborate on the themes or emotions that resonate most strongly with the band and how they translate into your songwriting?
Courtney Barnett is dry and honest, I find myself drawn to her lyrics because she doesn’t always beat around the bush—she says things as they are. It is easy to get overwhelmed with the idea that my lyrics need to have these really deep meanings and she is a good reminder that even direct lyrics are powerful, and oftentimes more relatable.
The club founded by Elliott Obermaier played a role in your formation. Can you discuss how the dynamic between the band members evolved during your time at the Bloomington Delta Music Club, and how that camaraderie continues to shape your music today?
Bloomington Delta gave us all a freeform environment to develop that early musical chemistry with one another without the fear of making a mistake in a professional environment. That space allowed us to learn how to communicate with each other effectively in terms of music – whether it be decisions on stage or off – which is still at the core of how we approach every part of the band. We play music because we love it and because we love being able to do it with each other. The freedom that came from that mentality within the club still drives us.
As you venture beyond the Midwest, do you foresee your music responding to different audience dynamics and cultural contexts? How do you plan to maintain the intimacy and connection with your audience as your fanbase grows?
Our intimacy and connection with the audience comes as a by-product of the fun and sincerity we have with each other on stage. Julia has always been excellent at being the connective tissue to the audience, making them feel just as part of the experience as we are. As we step into new audiences and cultural spheres, our goal will always be to make the audience feel as though they are experiencing the same joy that we feel sharing and playing our music. In short, our plan is to stay genuine on stage and make it as palpable to the audience as we can.
Your singles “Callin’ To Karma” and “Lady” have garnered attention. Can you share a behind-the-scenes glimpse into your songwriting process, particularly how personal experiences or moments influence the creation of your music?
Lady was the first song we ever wrote together as a band. It came as a spur-of the moment idea that fleshed itself out over a single practice-turned-writing-session. A few of the instrumentalists sat and devised the phrases of the verse, while our trumpet player and vocalists sat and worked the melodies and lyrics. Callin’ to Karma was a similar process, where a musical idea was fleshed out and then shared with the vocalists who write the melodies. Callin’ to Karma was a really fun writing process where the song came together quite quickly. We were in the midst of writing for the EP when Emma and Julia came to us with the lyrics for Karma. They said they weren’t sure if we would like them and proceeded to sing over the instrumental recording we had taken on Zach’s voice memos app. We were all instantly blown away.
The EP title “Tino’s Place” suggests a certain significance. Could you shed light on the meaning behind the title and any stories or inspirations associated with it?
Tino’s Place is named after our old vocalist Emma Spartz’s cat Tino. Her apartment served as the hub for a lot of our original song ideas for the EP. We thought it was fitting to pay homage to that fact and call it Tino’s Place.
Your music captures honest emotions, from heartfelt pleas to emotional vents. How do you strike a balance between vulnerability and relatability in your lyrics, and what message do you hope your listeners take away from these emotional expressions?
We think the key is to not allow the entire song to get bogged down in specific details. For example, Red Wine White Wine’s verses tell a personal narrative, while the choruses remark on a much more universal experience, albeit bluntly. Lines like “please don’t call me baby” feel like statements that a lot of people can relate to, and it comes from a place of real frustration. Why get bogged down in telling an overly-nuanced narrative when what you want to say is right in front of you?