Ten years ago, James Blake released his debut album. The English lyricist-producer has a self-described analytical brain, which he examines his old music and uses to improve it. Over the past decade, Blake has gradually established himself as one of the most prominent indie-pop musicians out there. His list of collaborators includes Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Bon Iver, SZA, Travis Scott and many more. He is an artist who, despite his rare compositions, only grows in height.
Now, with her fifth album, Friends that break your heart (Out of 10/8), he took the time to look back at his career and verify what had changed. Regardless of his long and impressive resume, the biggest difference Blake notices then and now is his self-esteem.
“I’m more confident,” Blake says Spin Above zoom. “As a person and as a writer I am more confident, which is great. It’s funny because no matter how much I try to make the songs more normal, in the end it’s for me. I want to listen to them and think they have reached their spiritual home. I want to feel relaxed in everything. ”
Much of Blake’s previous content, such as 2013-2013 Too old Or of 2016 Color in anything, instead of writing traditional theatrical pop songs, a sonic rabbit goes under the hole. His sample-based, electronic style has become one of the hallmarks of his music, but Blake, who tries to do something different with each record, wanted to lean towards a harder songwriting approach.
“I think it’s better songwriting, and it was conscious,” Blake explained. “I was really focused on the economy of words and the economy of structure. On this record, in my opinion, there is no song that slows down the pace of song writing. It only gives power all the way. ”
When it comes to playing these songs live, Blake finds that it’s a much easier process than his previous work. Older tracks did not have a specific structure such as “I Never Learned to Share” or “Timeless”. They had strong tracks, but they didn’t pay too much attention to a conventional verse-chorus format. Since he is ready for his current tour, he has discovered it Friends that break your heart Learning has been easy.
“The hardest songs to play live are where the songs stop and start and the structure is a bit weird,” Blake said. “Your body wants to do one thing, but the song tells you that you have to do another. I’ve seen this album so far live play, rehearsal, it’s really easy to play, which is a testament to the writing. I am really proud to have reached a place where songs are easy to translate. ”
Blake’s last album, 2019’s Estimation form, Was a collection of sincere love songs dedicated to his fellow actor Jamila Jamil. Recently, though, Blake realized that most of his favorite songs are not love songs. They tend to focus on non-romantic relationships with friendships and that’s where the album title comes from.
In the creative process, he found that in love songs many ideas can usually be applied to other types of relationships. He spent a significant portion of the lockdown on these relationships and, in Blake’s words, “it was just understandable.”
If Blake wants to take the audience away from this record, he just wants them to feel something. “When you listen to an album, you’re indifferent to what you don’t want to feel,” Blake says. “I hope it helps people reflect on the things they talk about in their own lives. I really like music as a kind of stimulus for conversation and a way to reach a decision about something or help in that process.