Q: ‘My Love Is Waiting’ is such an incredible song. Can you tell us what it’s about?
BLAKE: Thanks so much for that. Well, if I had only three minutes to play anyone anything from this new record, I’d pick the three minutes of that song. It’s the first one I finished for this new record––a brazen love song that dares you not to get out of your chair. It’s a wonderful thing to know that you’ve found the person you can love for the rest of your life, and I have. The recording and production of the track was inspired by more than just the power-pop and post-punk influences one normally finds in my music, this track has specific Easter-eggs in it connected to The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic” (a track I’ve been mesmerized by since I was a kid). I hadn’t intended an indirect homage when we recorded it, but there’s some juicy stuff in there if you hunt for it (spoilers: the synth arpeggio and the right-hand piano line towards the end, specifically).
Q: What first got you into music?
BLAKE: I started playing and writing music when I was five years old, and I honestly can’t remember anything else I ever wanted to do, I love music so much it sometimes frightens me. (There was a tumultuous 20 minutes somewhere in there when I first saw “All The President’s Men” as a kid and I wanted to be an investigative journalist.) However, I can admit that I would’ve overcome my fears of danger, fire, enclosed spaces, extreme speed and death to become an astronaut, and I would have overcome many of the same things to become the starting centerfielder for the New York Mets.
Q: How do you feel growing up in New York has influenced you and your music?
BLAKE: I’m one of the only people I know who was born, raised, and still lives in Manhattan. There’s no way one can be a native New Yorker––let alone a native Manhattanite––and not have it influence one’s music. Probably in ways I can’t even understand. I grew up a stone’s throw from CBGB’s on The Bowery and went to The United Nations International School on 25th Street for twelve years. I grew up going to Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall. It’s hard to describe how much I love New York, it almost hurts. A close friend and artist once said to me, “Blake you have no idea what it’s like to be from somewhere you’re not proud of.” I’ve never forgotten that.
Q: What is one of your favorite moments that you’ve had during a live performance?
BLAKE: The shows blur into each other but the emotion of them remains: for me it’s gratitude. I’ve performed over 200 times since 2016, across 150,000 miles of touring on both sides of The Atlantic. The residency I began at Rockwood Music Hall in New York City in 2016 changed my life, and my show. I became a “storyteller” on stage and not only did that change the show itself, but the relationship I have with my audience. They come for the songs, but they also come for the stories––and it’s brought us closer together. That show has sold out for six straight years now. My shows post-2016 are an entirely different animal than before then, and the success of them has changed my career.
Q: Outside of music, what do you like to do?
BLAKE: Someone smart once said that “creativity” is allowing yourself to make mistakes, but “art” is knowing which ones to keep. There isn’t any part of my life that doesn’t inform the music I make, or how I make it. I use everything. We artists are what we eat, and what we absorb we secrete. My music was recently referred to as “pop-rock noir,” a description I love. I watch a lot of old movies by great directors, and I’m sure those hours, like all my hours, have affected the music I make.
Q: Your album ‘Violent Delights’ is coming out on May 20th this year! Can you tell us what you have in store for us?
BLAKE: This new single and soon-to-be released music video which will accompany it are exciting in themselves, but I can’t wait for everyone to hear this new record. I hope it’s alright for me to say I feel it’s my best work to date, and the closest to what I’ve been trying to do as a record-maker from the very beginning. A great musician friend of mine characterized it as, “having an air of invincibility about it, an air we need right now.” I love how that sounds, and I hope she’s right.
Interviewed by Kaitlyn Westerman