We met up with the city’s coolest couple, fashion blogger, Sophia Rosemary and Joe Donovan, drummer of best-selling Stockport band, Blossoms, to talk music, love and Manchester.
How did you meet?
Sophia: I went to an Arctic Monkeys gig a few months before meeting Joe. We’re both from Stockport and I heard about this band from Stockport that were really good, so I went to check them out. Before I went, I put up a picture of my outfit saying ‘Off to see this amazing band tonight’. After the gig, Joe came up to me and I thought ‘God, what a friendly guy!’. We just hit it off.
Joe: I went to the Arctic Monkeys gig a few months before our gig. Me and my mate Tom saw Sophia and I was like ‘Wow. She’s top, her’. I was dead sweaty, so I was like ‘I’m not gonna go speak to her’. We didn’t know her name, so she was known as Arctic Monkeys girl. When it came to the night of our gig, we were going through our [band’s] Instagram, then we saw Sophia’s photo and we were like ‘It’s Arctic Monkeys girl!’. After the gig, I went out to speak to my mum and saw Sophia. I’d just come off stage and I was like ‘I’m doing it!’. I said to her ‘We’re going next door if you want a drink?’.
Sophia: And the rest is history…I mean it could have been something really embarrassing that we’d both gone to see.
Joe: Britney Spears!
Sophia: Little Mix. It’s not got as much credibility to it as Arctic Monkeys.
Tell me about your first date.
Sophia: Joe was late.
Joe: I said, ‘Do you want to come for some drinks at Almost Famous?’, and Sophia went to the other Almost Famous. I didn’t realise there was two Almost Famouses. It was two hours later and Sophia was walking home, but it just so happened that her route home went past the other Almost Famous, so I think Sophia just thought ‘Oh, I’ll go in’.
Sophia: I was cursing you all the way home, like ‘Screw you! I’m going home with cheesy chips’.
Joe: So, then you ate your cheesy chips and met me and I was like ‘I’m so sorry!’. I was at a gig and my phone signal had gone. I was really panicking and then when I found out there are two Almost Famouses I was devastated. When I explained it to Sophia, thankfully, she understood. I thought I got forgiven really easily but I don’t get forgiven as easily anymore. My one big forgive had gone on the first date. [Laughs] It was quite bad. I am sorry Sophia.
Sophia: You’re forgiven.
Joe: Thanks….You met all my friends and everything dead quick. All my bandmates are from the same school. We were all born in the same hospital. We’re very loyal boys, Stockport boys.
Do you have any coupley things that you do together?
Joe: We love a boxset! An Idiot Abroad.
Joe: I reckon every couple watches boxsets. [Laughs]. Pretty generic.
Sophia: We do like to go to a gig.
Joe: And art gallery.
Sophia: We like a fry-up.
Joe: Hmm, a Stockport fry-up.
What’s the best gig you’ve been to together?
Joe: Father John Misty.
Sophia: No, Liam Gallagher at the Ritz.
Joe: But then Noel Gallagher at the Apollo
What’s the difference between London and Manchester?
Joe: I look forward to going to London, but I know that if I moved there I’d hate it. I love Manchester. There’s no better place.
What makes Manchester so special?
Sophia: The thing with Manchester is that it’s a people city. We’ve got amazing music culture and an amazing film culture, amazing bloggers [laughs]. It’s the vibrancy behind the city.
Joe: For me, it’s the music scene. I think that’s a massive part of us doing so well as a band.
What are your favourite places in Manchester?
Joe: I love Corbieres. Not on a Friday, because it’s too busy there.
Sophia: I like Ezra & Gil on my own. It’s a proper ‘me time’ place to go. Get a poached egg on sourdough.
Joe: How indie was that answer?
Sophia: It wasn’t avocado!
Joe: I’m more like – get me a bacon and sausage sarnie and I’ll eat it walking to the next place.
If you were to have the superpower of being invisible in Manchester for a day, what would you do?
Joe: I’d watch [Manchester] City’s training. Pep Guardiola – I’d go there and be like ‘What are you doing?’. Apparently, it’s dead secret.
Sophia: I’d be really sly and go to all my mates’ and family’s houses and see what they’re doing.
Joe: You have the power of being invisible and you’re like ‘I’m gonna go to my friends’. Would you not sneak backstage into gigs?
Sophia: It depends who was on on the day.
Joe: Taylor Swift’s playing the Etihad Stadium.
Sophia: Maybe I’d go and have a side stage view. I wouldn’t overstep my boundaries.
Joe: You would with your friends and family, but not Taylor Swift. Fair play. [Laughs].
Are you two similar?
Sophia: We’re stubborn.
Joe: We have a lot in common, but personality wise, we’re definitely different.
Sophia: When we like something, we really like it and when we dislike something, we really dislike it. We’re not fickle. I’m quite a pedantic person, and I don’t think you are. If we’re getting a train, I want to be there ten minutes before that train is going to go. Joe wants to be there the minute it leaves the platform. It’s just little things like that.
Joe: Sophia would be sat on the platform freezing. If I’m on my own, I’d get there as the train is pulling up. I like things running seamlessly.
What’s the best thing about your job?
Joe: Getting free tickets to City [laughs]. I’m joking. I do love City though. For me, it’s travelling around the world with your best friends.
Sophia: Working with designers that I’ve just dreamed of wearing, never mind working with.
Do you think people have misconceptions about your jobs?
Joe: I think people underestimate how much hard work it actually is. They think it’s all partying and drinking. When the reality is, there is a lovely amount of that, but also, you’ve got a gig the next day, or you’ll have to get onto a flight to Japan the next day. It’s such hard work especially in this day and age with social media. If you have one bad gig that could be filmed on fifty-odd phones. That could ruin anyone’s career.
Sophia: I think blogging is one of those things where people only see it from the side of your Instagram, but then the other side of it is that you’re running a business and you’re a one-man band. It’s an amazing job, but it’s 24/7. It’s definitely not for the faint-hearted.
If you had to do a different job, what would you do?
Sophia: I was always into fashion. I worked in merchandising, so I’d probably still do that.
Joe: I’d be at my old job again. I used to be a tailor. I did love it. My family always did that, so I thought I could always carry on with that. My dad wasn’t a tailor, he sold haberdashery back in the day. I was always fascinated by it and my mum’s always sewing, making curtains, things like that.
What are your top styling tips?
Joe: My personal one is – I hate navy and black together.
Sophia: You shouldn’t walk out of the house in anything that you don’t feel one hundred percent comfortable in. You’ll only get regret. I think you should take inspiration from other people’s style but always dress like you. Invest in staples. Always spend a bit of money on a navy crew neck jumper, a Breton top, the perfect pair of jeans that fit you right, and then work everything else around that.
Joe: Yeah, I agree with that. I hate cheap belts, like pleather that are all cracked. Just don’t do it.
What outfit do you feel most confident in?
Joe: I’ve got a black denim jacket. I’ve had it since I was like seventeen. It’s just a Topman one. I’ve re-dyed it about seven times, cause every night out I’m always struggling for what to wear and the black denim jacket comes out and I’m like ‘yeah!’.
Sophia: I feel like my most comfortable when I wear dungarees. Dungarees, converse and a striped top. If I was a cartoon character, that’d be what I’d wear all the time. When I can, I like wearing the Charlotte Olympia slippers that Joe got me. They were everything I ever wanted.
Joe: I’d been roaming around London looking for them. I surprised her with them, but I’ve held them against her to this day. If there’s something that I really want I’m like ‘Charlotte Olympia slippers!’. I do use them against her – I’m not all nice.
What can we expect from the new Blossoms album?
Joe: It just sounds mint. [Laughs]. Because the first album stemmed from 2013 to 2016, for us it felt like a ‘best of’. ‘Blow’ was written three years before ‘Getaway’ so that album felt like the songs that were the best of our career up until that point, whereas this one feels more knitted together and I’m really excited about that. For me, it sounds dead 80s. It’s really poppy. I’m proper into it.
If you formed a musical duo, what would you be called and how would it sound?
Joe: It would sound like Taylor Swift meets Arctic Monkeys.
Sophia: I was thinking Sonny and Cher.
Joe: I’m a drummer for a reason. I’m sorry to break it to you Sophia, but you can’t sing either.
Sophia: I trying to get you to duet The Pogues with me in the car. We can’t just purely be a Christmas band.
Joe: It’d be dead poppy. We’d get the lead singer of my band, Tom [Ogden] to write our songs. We’d be one of them outfits. It’d be me on drums. Actually, you’re quite good on drums Sophia. I did give her two drum lessons and she was mint. Sophia was well better than me after my second ever drum lesson. I was like ‘You’re gonna be good’, but she wasn’t interested after two. [Laughs].
Have you got any more collaborations together coming up?
Joe: No. Never again. [laughs]…Sophia designed our last lot of merch.
Sophia: I thought ‘What t-shirts is my wardrobe lacking?’ [laughs] and I think I know what teenage girls want so I asked you if I could make them.
Joe: That was quite a cool collaboration. I think we’re probably going to do that again.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Sophia: My mum told me, ‘You can’t find happiness with others before you find it in yourself’. I feel like, especially with me and Joe, we’ve kind of gone out there and done what we needed to do with our free years and we’re very supportive of each other. Sometimes when you’re in a relationship where you’re uneven, you can sometimes lean too much on a person.
Joe: With the band, I was working, and I said to my mum and dad ‘Look, I might have to leave work’. I thought they would have turned around and said ‘Get in the real world’, but they said ‘Go for it!’. I think that was the best piece of advice. If you’ve got a dream or some sort of passion I wouldn’t wait, I’d do it as soon as possible…And learn a skill. I learned how to make clothes – use a sewing machine and all that. No one can take a skill off you.
Who do you look up to?
Joe: I really look up to my Mum and Dad – them two as a couple. I love the way they are together.
Sophia: I’m one of four sisters. All my sisters and my mum have played quite an integral part in who I am. Women I look up to – Tay Tay, Taylor Swift. Power woman of all power women. I think it’s such a great time at the minute though because women are coming into their own. I feel like we’re all supporting each other and we’re all girl crushing on each other and it’s pretty amazing.
Photography – Richard Lister
Creative Director – Oliver Lilley
Models – Sophia Rosemary – sophiarosemary.com & Joe Donovan – blossomsband.co.uk
Stylist – Steven Spencers – stevenspencerstyling.com, wrappagency.com
Assistant Stylist – Jade Kewley- wrappagency.com
Makeup – Louise McCann – louisemccan.com
Hair Isobel Hinks – Sassoon Salon Manchester
Assistant Stylist – Ella Palmer
Writer – Bethany Lee
Location – FiveFour Studios – fivefourstudios.com
Jewellery – @onie_jewelry
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