James Blake Interview

Drum and Bass | Sunday 8th January 2012 | Annalisa

James Blake Interview January 2012

"We’re bringing out a few new tunes for the UK shows and they won’t be played anywhere else until then!"

London based experimental dubstep artist who we've seen make crazy videos and mix up his DJ sets with fantastic live acts. James chatted with us about touring, new releases and he reveals who he would take with him to a desert island!

Hey James! You were touring recently, where did you go?

I’ve been everywhere really, we’ve just come back from Japan.

Japan! How was that? Was it a different kind of crowd?

It kind of was. I got a strange and amazing kinship with the crowd in Japan. I think in England we might have more in common with the people of Japan than we might think.

Yeah. I think with the whole new bass music sound, I can see there’s quite a connection there.
Yeah definitely, there’s a real connection with the music culture thing and I think even in personality and the general vibe there are more parallels than we are led to believe by the lack of education on the subject. Like we don’t learn a lot about Japan over here but I think it’s just an amazing place.

You recently released the Enough Thunder EP?
Enough Thunder was largely done just between recording really, it didn’t happen at home in Enfield in the same way that the album did. It was for me just a collection of songs that I’d been working on that I really liked and I didn’t want to just save them for another album, you know.

So are they more of a live band sound, do they have a lot of vocals on them?
Well yeah some do have vocals. They’re all my vocals that I’ve sampled into my production.

You recently collaborated with Bon Iver...
Yeah we did a song together which was great, he’s someone that’s always been a big influence for me so it was great to finally do something together. The tune came out in August this year.

Is there any one else you’d like to work with?
I think at the moment I mostly just want to work with my band and see what happens with that. I’ve been working with them on the live shows but it would be really nice to get them in on the record as well, the next record. It would be a good idea to get them involved in the more electronic beats as well, it could really give it its own unique feel.

Yeah, of course. So what do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t making music?
I don’t know. I suppose I’d be a virgin! That’s the Peter Crouch approach to that question isn’t it!

Haha! How far do you want to have come with your music in 10 years?
I think the goal, if anything, is just to keep being able to compromise and do a mixture of making people feel real tangible emotion about music but also make them dance sometimes - or most of time, or together, or all of the time! It depends what kind of stuff I’m doing but I don’t separate emotion from dancefloor.

How do you think your music has changed since ‘Air and Lack Thereof?’ Was that the beginning of this whole sort of dubstep-side to your music?
I’m very much conditioned by my surroundings when I’m making music and if I’ve spent a lot of time in clubs then I end up writing clubbier music, which was the case when I wrote that song. If I’m spending a lot of time going round on a tour bus then my music reflects that. There’s gonna be an EP coming out on R&S Records that will feature three much clubbier tunes. Hopefully that will go down well! I’m really excited because it means I’ve got some more new material to play and I’ll be playing a lot more DJ sets.

If you were trapped on a desert island which three famous people would you bring with you?

I’d need a story teller... Probably Arlo Guthrie. Also someone to play music with... I’m thinking dead people. I’d probably want to get off this island wouldn’t I? So I think I’d also bring Christopher Colombus. The third person would be... Bear Grylls!

If you were invisible for a day, what would you get up to?
I’d probably be a bit scared and would be worried about when I was gonna turn back to normal and not be invisible anymore. I’d want my solid status back! Maybe I’m not quite as adventurous as these questions are hoping!

Have you got an exclusive for The Guestlist Network?
Well we’re bringing out a few new tunes for the UK shows and they won’t be played anywhere else until then! Some stuff that will go down well in Manchester’s Warehouse Project.

So they’re gonna be pretty epic then?
Well we’ll see!

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