I have wanted to talk to Six Foot Blonde since I started writing about the Bloomington music scene. I had this inflated concept of who they were since they have been regularly playing shows since my first day on campus. I was nervous to sit down with them on Sunday since I thought they were such a big deal.
“I don’t know about that,” Zach Patrick, one of their guitarists, said. “It’s definitely a good time.”
The six-piece band started in the Bloomington Delta Music Club. They now have two BDMC presidents as part of the group: past president Elliot Obermaier, another guitarist, and current president Dom Heyob, the bassist.
John and Julia Rusyniak — keyboardist and lead singer of the band, respectively — are brother and sister, and attended high school with Brian Healey, the drummer. Obermaier met John through BDMC, joining their COVID bubble. They started playing music together since it was a much better use of their time than walks and video games, Obermaier said.
“Zach started to show up at my dorm freshman year during COVID,” Heyob said. “He just appeared with his amp and his guitar and we would just play some tunes together.”
Originally at nine members, the band has shrunk but persisted. They haven’t stopped playing since they met. With so many members and so much collaboration, it became difficult to stick to one sound.
“We bill ourselves as retro-pop-indie-soul,” Obermaier said. “It is the closest, most accurate way we can say our sound is consistently.”
Part of why I was so convinced that they were Bloomington stars was their constant stream of shows at The Bluebird, a verified institution of Midwestern music. Obermaier said they walked up and asked, landing their first show there in the summer of 2021. They use their performances as a way to grow their sound and experiment, he said.
“My favorite shows to play are the more intimate ones,” Healey said. “(We) can focus on the music itself rather than entertaining a crowd. Those are the ones I like to go to as well. Going to a chiller venue like the Bishop or Blockhouse is where we thrive.”
Even though they’ve been playing together for two years, they’ve only released singles thus far. “Tino’s Place” will be the group’s first EP. One of their biggest influences is Peach Pit, they said. Aside from Peach Pit, the band cites Melt as another influence, especially since Julia writes in a very similar style. The 2010s indie rock vibe is extremely present throughout all their live performances. Patrick insists that the six-track EP is just more music for people to hear.
“We had a pop song and a heavy funk song come out before,” Patrick said. “There’s going to be different elements on the EP that we’re very excited to show.”
“Tino’s Place” will release on all streaming platforms Friday, with two celebratory performances from the band taking place this weekend.
Six Foot Blonde will play alongside Connor McLaren and Thin Lines at 7 p.m. on Friday at The Reef, located at 313 N. Overhill Drive.
Both McLaren and Thin Lines are also releasing new music this weekend, adding more new music to a stacked show. They will also perform at 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Bluebird Nightclub to round out the weekend.