A Quentin Tarantino-esque atmosphere, specifically, "Pulp fiction" blankets Blake Collins's latest release, "She Gives You That Look."
Blake Collins is an American/British indie rock singer/songwriter who boosts passionate vocals that are fixed to honest and personal lyrics. Blake Collins sound is in the same arena as The Beatles, The Beach Boys, and The Kinks. He's also been compared to solo artists like Elliott Smith, Emitt Rhodes, and Harry Nilsson- bottom line, BlakeCollins has that "it" factor like all of the artists mentioned above.
"She Gives You That Look" puts on a mood instantly. The entry of the electric guitar is suddenly bathed with a crash of mystic symbols as Blake steps into the piece and emits a nostalgic, familiar voice of prominent male singers from decades past. The groovy tambourine rattles away with a sexiness that feeds into the song's lyrics, which inspires a sense of intrigue, lyrics like "you know that your love is true when she gives you that look."
"She Gives You That Look," transports your musical senses back to another era; the swinging era of the '60s, and when a song is able to capture not only a mood but a musical sensation of a past generation- that's one to take note of. Blake Collins is sure to surpass your expectations, check out his latest hit, "She Gives You That Look."
We fell in love with your latest release "She Gives You That Look." You really made the listener transport into another music era while putting forth an original sound. What was your vision for this song?
Thanks so much for those kind words about my song! I guess I would say that, at first, I had a somewhat-formed vision for it. Like so many of my songs, this one kind of just popped into my head one day, out of nowhere — the melody and tagline first (“You’ll know that your true love is true when she gives you that look”) — without any real determination from me to sit down and write something. I love it when that happens when a song just finds me. Sometimes it’s a fully formed song and at other times, it’s partially formed and then it becomes a sort of a puzzle for me to figure out.
In my mind, “She Gives You That Look” (or, rather, the fragment that popped into my head) had an energetic 1940s swing band groove – haha! The final version definitely doesn’t sound like that! Once it started taking shape with a structure and completed lyrics, I explored the arrangements on different instruments and tried different kinds of vocal harmonies until, eventually, it became the song you fell in love with.
“She Gives You That Look” is the first single from my upcoming full-length album. I think it fits pretty well with the vibe and feel of the other songs and the overall vision I have for the album as a whole.
You've got American and British backgrounds, both entities playing a major role in shaping rock n' roll as we know it. What do you try to take from each background and fuse into your music?
Right. Historically speaking, American rock n’ Roll music influenced British music in the mid-20th century, and then vice versa. Back and forth, back and forth. I love the cross-pollination.
I can’t really speak to the whole of American music, but where I’m from — Los Angeles, California — there is a rich history of amazing “local music.” I love The Beach Boys, who embody the soul of summertime, and the late Emitt Rhodes, who wrote absolutely perfect pop songs and really pioneered home studio recording. Thinking of LA music, there’s also The Doors, The Byrds, and the whole 1960s Laurel Canyon scene in general. I think LA songwriters must, in some sense, absorb the magic of this local music, or at least know that they are creating music in a place with some deep rock and pop music heritage.
And yeah, I also have British heritage. Growing up, my family would travel to England to visit our relatives in London quite often. I love it there. It’s a different rhythm, a different hue. I’m much more in my element there than I am in Los Angeles. There, the weather suits my clothes, to borrow the line from Harry Nilsson’s “Everybody’s Talkin’”.
Sorry, I don’t know if that answers the question, haha! But I guess my songwriting reflects my experiences in both of these musically rich places. My hope is that “She Gives You That Look” — and my music in general — is accessible and enjoyable, regardless of where you’re from. Or when you’re from, for that matter.
You mentioned you write from personal experiences. What does that give back to you through that expression into your music?
I’ve written a lot from personal experiences, sure. I’ll learn something, experience something, or be confused about something, and funneling it into a song is just the natural thing to do; it always has been. There’s always something personal about what I write, in a way, but it’s not always that I’m trying to encapsulate a specific experience or message just for myself. I may be inspired by a specific event or experience that starts off personal to me, but by the time the song is done, it’s not personal at all; rather, it has become a story or experience that, I think, belongs to anyone. And then, yes, there are the personal songs, the reactionary songs. Music is very therapeutic, isn’t it? Writing songs and playing music has always helped me to process what I’m going through and otherwise connect to the present moment, much the way someone might do with their therapist. Writing music is a good therapist.
How has your music evolved from where you started? Is there anywhere you'd like to take your sound in the future?
Well, I started writing music at a very early age, so my music has definitely evolved since then. I’ve learned so much about music by listening to music, of course, and by collaborating and performing with others, so my music has evolved this way, too. Listening to music is an activity for me, like playing it or writing it. What I mean is, I am actually studying when I listen to music. And as my musical interests have evolved, the music that I create has evolved, as well.
I’m also lucky to have had so many opportunities to provide music for film and TV, which is cool because it’s different from how I write my songs. Composing music for film and TV has allowed me to explore so many different styles, from classical to electronic, from jazz to klezmer. But because it’s me interpreting these styles, they end up sounding like me anyway. I mean, I’ve worked on projects where I’ve been told, “we need a hip hop beat,” or “this scene takes place in a dance club, so write a dance track,” or “make it sound like surf music played by a garage band.” I may not really know how to create this kind of music at first, but it ultimately ends up being my own version. What’s been great about these little assignments is that I then get to apply what I’ve discovered to my own songwriting and producing, either for myself or for others. So, this, too, has helped the evolution of my music.
Looking to the future, I can’t tell where my songwriting may take me, stylistically speaking. I have written a lot of music and songs, and they’re all definitely held together by the common thread of my style and approach. But I will say that I certainly look forward to releasing more music — singles, EPs and full albums — improving all the time, and creating a document of my musical exploration and evolution.
What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020?
Oh boy — 2020 has definitely been a year like no other, so there has been plenty to respond to, creatively speaking. But what has kept me especially inspired this year is the lead up to “She Gives You That Look,” then its release, and the fact that it is a lead up to my full-length album, which I’ll be releasing on all major streaming platforms in the fall. Releasing the single has been awesome, and people’s responses to it have been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. So, the excitement and engagement of others has really heightened how excited and inspired I am to release the full record.