Wednesday, 29 September 2010

James Blake: An Interview

Abandon Silence would like to wish a huge thank you to everyone that attended our show last Thursday at The Shipping Forecast in Liverpool. It was an absolutely huge success, with James Blake's headline set striking such a precedent for this Autumn that it is hard to imagine anyone beating it. Further thanks are given to our fantastic residents, Rich Furness and Horza, who once again absolutely killed The Shipping Forecast. Their opposing styles but awesome DJ skills make them residents that we are very proud to call our own. Guest KillaHurtz also deserves special mention for working through the tough test of following on from James Blake, which he handled superbly.

Luckily we were able to catch a few words with the man himself about the release of his new EP, Klavierwerke, out on R & S Records on the 10th October. It is pretty interesting to see his views on his own categorisation and the motives behind some of his decisions. We have also been able to, via FactMag, include audio of the title track of the new EP. I hope you enjoy, here is a picture of me looking very smug with James Blake, plus a few nice pictures from the evening below. To see all 129 pictures taken by the brilliant Robert Keith Seeley, click here.

So, here goes...

Abandon Silence (AS) : First and foremost, did you enjoy your Liverpool debut last Thursday? The Abandon Silence crowd seemed to really enjoy your set.

James Blake (JB) : I loved it yeah. It was nice to make my Liverpool debut and was chuffed at how open minded and nice people were, before during and after the set.

AS: We are fast approaching the release of your second EP with R&S records, titled Klavierwerke. How does this EP differ from any of your previous releases?

JB: I started to use my vocals (albeit in adulterated forms) a bit more candidly on this EP, so I feel a really strong connection with the music. Secondly, the piano samples are from the same recordings, not separated but equally bastardised and manipulated. I fell in love with the sound of the piano again on this EP, but this time in an electronic context.

AS: When you approached the creation of the Klavierwerke EP, which records/artists influenced you? Are these the same artists that influenced all of your work so far?

JB: I think the track that brought me to this new sound was 'Baves Chords' by mount kimbie, and possibly certain beatless burial tracks. I wrote Klavierwerke in a slightly different headstate, with memories of Berghain fresh in my mind.

AS: Klavierwerke is your second release with R&S records, as you help with it's remarkable re-emergence. What attracted you to work with them? Im sure there were other offers..

JB: The two EP's are so different that it takes a label like R&S, with their huge range of output, to release them consecutively without hesitation. I was excited to work with them because they've been reborn, and their reputation precedes them. Their audience base is also really diverse, which means it's reaching people that might not otherwise have heard it. I'm good friends with all the labels i've released on and I send them all my new stuff, so it's a matter of where it fits really.

AS: How did it feel to have your first full solo EP release, CMYK, given universal acclaim by critics? Had you expected it?

JB: I just wanted to make a track that brought out the euphoria i'd experienced listening to pangaea and joy orbison sets, and in doing so I made something that took on a life of it's own.. A while later it was incredibly surreal to hear it on Radio 1 and the like, but then the day i'm not suprised, humbled and delighted by people liking my music might be a very sad day.

AS: On the tracks that you have released, there has been a great variety in moods and atmospheres. Do you pick and choose your styles from production to production, or is it just natural?

JB: It sounds obvious but whatever I'm feeling at the time should be captured, or I'm doing something dishonest. Therefore the atmosphere is always changing and my music (like life) goes through phases.

AS: You appear to have been placed into the 'dubstep' genre. With such a difference between your music and the productions of other 'dubstep' artists such as, say, Borgore, how does it feel to be categorised side by side with such opposing sounds?

JB: I like to think I placed myself in the dubstep genre. When I started doing it I was listening to Mala, Coki and later Mount Kimbie, none of which are really categorised side by side with people like Borgore. I'm happy to play nights alongside people like Borgore because for me, opposing sounds make interesting nights, and make it easier for my music to have a clear shot at the runway.

AS: Finally, I ask all artists that I interview this question, which three records are you loving right now?

Joanna Newsom - Have One On Me
Tallest Man on Earth - The Wild Hunt
An unnamed dub by Blawan who released on Hessle, and who is one of my favourite new producers

Finally we would like to thank James wholeheartedly for being an excellent guest at Abandon Silence last Thursday. It was a huge success and was most certainly memorable in part for his epic set.

James Blake - Klavierwerke (128) by factmag

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