James Blake talks working with Kendrick Lamar and Frank Ocean
Blake also confirms that he has new music coming
Blake is credited on both Ocean and Lamar’s recent albums (‘Blonde’ and ‘DAMN.’ respectively) and recently covered Frank Ocean’s ‘Godspeed’ live.
Speaking to The Fader, Blake said that working with Lamar came about through him sending him music over email: “I did send him a bunch of music and I was just hoping that he’d listen to it. I’d met him a few times before and they came to our show in LA. We’d been in touch various times and he’d come to the studio and listen to stuff and we got on and I sent him some music while I was on the road when I was in Mexico. I got an email and he said, ‘Can you turn something in tonight?’ I sent him a thing that I’d done and he took the chords and that became a part of ‘ELEMENT.’”
He continued: “I think that that was not the most organic way, sending music to someone by internet and it ends up in a tune but I just knew that I could trust them with my music because they have a flawless record of production, that unit that Kendrick works with. Sounwave and the rest have a really good understanding of how music works and I was really excited about to hear it. When that got sent back I was like, “Oh God. We should do this again.” We’ll see about the future but hopefully we’ll be able to sit down and piece things together. Either way actually, it’s something great and firm about that happening that way.”
Of Ocean, Blake said: “He’s such an idiosyncratic. He’s so instantly recognisable. It’s not just his voice it’s turn of phrase. That’s just something remarkable that I have learned a lot from… We’re quite different in a lot of ways. But the songs that I’ve had input to on his record, I don’t really know in what part of the middle we met. He’s an anomaly, it’s quite hard to describe that relationship, so I’m not gonna try.”
Blake also opened up about his future plans, saying: “I feel very good. I feel very free. God, that’s a big word isn’t it? I feel like I have license musically to go wherever I want to and that is an unbelievable privilege.”
He added: “I have some new music, and I am going to release some of it this summer. I’ve just been making tunes. Is it going to be singles or a project? I think I’ve probably got a few single tunes but I don’t know if they’re singles… At some point I would like to release a record but at the moment I feel no need to rush myself. I’m not in part of a touring cycle… I’m writing as much as I can. I’ve been producing hip-hop things but I can’t talk about those yet — they’re collaborative productions and beats.”
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