RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW MELKSHAM ARTIST BLAKE
Hiya Blake thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.
What made you decide that music is a thing for you?
My dad was a reporter and he interviewed John Lennon in 1969. I found this out after Lennon was shot in 1980. I became an instant Beatlemaniac and realised that music was everything.
Introduce us to the members and your musical history.
I joined my first band at school as a singer. We mainly did Joy Division covers. I then taught myself how to play the guitar and started writing songs. By the time I was 27, I had figured out how to do it! I recorded my first album, ‘Solomon’s Tump’, in the flat I was living in on a Tascam four track playing all the instruments. A tape of this found its way to a London indie label and me and my then band, Karma Truffle, got signed. After the band split, I began recording at home again. During lockdown I released an album called ‘1971’ and to my good fortune the Subjangle label asked me to release it on CD with them.
Name me your 3 favorite Albums?
Wow, OK. ‘Bare Trees’ by Fleetwood Mac, ‘Choochtown’ by Hamell On Trial and ‘Dog of Two Head’ by Status Quo.
The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in. How do you feel you are doing?
Ha ha! Terrible. It’s a nightmare promoting your own music. You feel insecure about it and most musicians just want to create and perform, not run a business. Sadly, without the money to pay someone else to do it on your behalf, you have to try and gain knowledge of music marketing as a necessary evil. It’s soul destroying, though.
What is your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?
It’s a disaster for most musicians. People should be paid properly for their art.
What makes you stand out as a band/artist?
I write sixties-influenced rock and pop music and I’m certainly not alone in that, but I think I have a unique sound due to my particular mix of musical influences. I’m a fairly prolific songwriter so there’s quite a lot for people to choose from in the music I’ve released. Hopefully there’s at least one song that someone might dig when they explore my catalogue!
I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.
My latest LP, ‘Plainsongs’, was recorded on analogue tape at a studio in Bristol earlier this year. Unlike my 2022 album, ‘The Book On Love’, which I recorded by myself at home, I recorded this one with my band live in the studio. It’s a much punchier record as a result. I really like using real drums when I can.
Talk me through the thought process of the new tunes.
I had written the title track last year. I conceived it as a medieval plainchant, and it gave birth to the idea for the artwork to have a monastic vibe. ‘Plainsongs’ is also a play on words about the fact that the songs were recorded in as simple and direct a way as possible. Four blokes in a room together with drums, guitars and some mics.
What was the recording process like?
It was straightforward. We had rehearsed and performed the songs a lot before the sessions began so it was just a case of getting them down on tape as quickly as possible, largely because of the cost of the studio time!
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
I only had a day to mix the album, so there’s little things I would change if I had the opportunity, but nothing major. Part of what I set out to achieve with this LP was to not obsess forever about the songs but try and capture the live sound of the band. I think we achieved that.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?