The American/British Indie-rocker Blake Collins makes music with imaginative lyrics, tempestuous vocals, and a distinctive 60's British vibe.
With "Your Love Is Good," —the second swanky single from his anticipated full-length album—our Brit-rock songster fashions a more affluent and nostalgia-inducing sound. His folky, nostalgia-futurist approach borrows deliberately but selectively from among a distinctive pop-rock lineage, with the stimulant sing-along hooks of the past, and a more recent digital-era clarity.
"Your Love is Good" is a track with pristine cohesiveness, and brilliantly rendered character from the heart of a Beatles partisan, manufactured from the effectiveness of twangy guitars, an Abby-roads-reminiscent reverb, and a sing-along provoking hook.
The dance rhapsodies of this single harbor blithe melodies and lightly carbonated hooks that could click into place on any of our music playlists, and remain there, irreducibly adhesive in the way it promotes a replay. There's no concealing the British-vibe when the band's instrumentation hugs Blake's top-line with a mid-tempo vintage washiness from the drums, a subdued but wholesome bassline, and the alluring guitar riff that festoons each transition from verse to chorus.
The measure and feel here operate in part from the smooth stomping clap-supported rhythm, but it's the top-line melody that takes reign over the vibrations in our minds, producing a rush that could only be obtained when Blake Collin's voice blesses the microphone.
Hello Blake, welcome back to BuzzMusic. What's an aspect of your creative nature that you think you'll always be aspiring to develop, and what fuels that evolving push for you artistically?
Well, I think my learning and growing as a whole person is automatically linked to my growth and development as an artist, so I’ll always be aspiring to develop in all areas. It’s a perspective or worldview, and as I grow as a person, that learning and experience go through the creative filter. Of course, I hope to be always growing and improving as a songwriter and musician. But in addition to writing music, I also love to write stories and poetry and make visual art. Lately, I have come to really enjoy the video as a medium through which to express myself creatively. So, I hope to develop and grow in all of the above, really. There’s a synergy going on between these various creativities and they do overlap sometimes. I would be interested to discover what kind of deeper conversation is happening between my creative outlets.
Can you run us through the recording process behind this single? Where did it all take place, were there any producers involved, and what inspired the hook?
That’s a good question. For this one, I’ll start at the end and end at the start. I wrote “Your Love Is Good” in a backward kind of way, actually: it wasn’t going to be a song for myself, or my album, at all. Instead, I started writing it for another musical artist with whom I was going to be paired for a songwriting session by his management team. I approached it like an assignment and tried to write a song that sounded lyrically and sonically like his work (I’d heard his music before). But when the songwriting session fell through, I never actually got to pitch it. So, I scrapped all the inauthentic lyrics and musical arrangement ideas I’d started with and reconnected with my own voice and instrument palette. I started from scratch and it evolved naturally. Once I stopped trying to force a round peg into a square hole, so to speak, I completed “Your Love Is Good.” I believe that by reclaiming the song like this I created a space for the guitar hook to at last find me. And I’m glad it did because I love the guitar hook.
No, no producers (other than myself) were involved in “Your Love Is Good,” as you have heard it. Like I did with my first single, “She Gives You That Look,” and the other songs on my album, I wrote, recorded, and mixed “Your Love Is Good” at my studio residence. The way I structured the recording sessions for my album is such that, from song to song, I decided upon the arrangement and then committed to recording specific instruments in small bursts: for example, I focused on recording just the bass parts, a song at a time, until I finished all the bass recording; all the songs with percussion I recorded until I had all my percussion tracks; and so on. Because “Your Love Is Good” is part of a whole album, my recording it in this way encapsulates it alongside the other songs as a snapshot in time, documenting the specific moment, and makes it sonically cohesive with the whole. If the album is a sculpture, each song represents seeing that sculpture from a slightly different angle.
What would you say distinguishes you most, apart from the influences you channel both sonically and aesthetically?
Well, the way I learned to write and record music early on has shaped how I write and record my music today. When I started making music as a teenager, all I had was an old reel-to-reel tape machine and I had to contend with all the kinks that came with working on vintage machinery. Working under serious limitations (not least of which was the fact that I could only record up to four tracks!) led me to discover how to get the sounds I wanted from my gear and my environment, how to perform on different instruments to achieve raw, emotive takes, and how to optimize that finicky tape machine. Ultimately, I learned that limitations lead to finding new ways of solving problems and I still approach my music this way: I love experimenting and finding new solutions, I don’t use unnecessary instruments or sounds, and happy “mistakes” can often add to the overall character of a song.
Were there any challenging encounters you faced during the writing process for your upcoming album, and can we expect more songs like "Your Love Is Good" on the anticipated record?
As to the challenges I have encountered in making my album, there have been a good number of those. But it’s that working under limitations thing again: you find new ways to solve the problem. And it usually works out the way it’s meant to. The songs on my album have definitely been brought to life under limitations and as a result of my finding new solutions.
Then there have been the typical challenges of making a record: song choice, song order, arrangement, and keeping up the energy to see it all through. My EP, “A Bell Locks In,” was more pastiche: it was a taste of different styles, different moods, different instruments, and was therefore unified in its inherent variety. But for my album, I wanted to make a record that worked as a whole piece, sonically, energetically, and aesthetically.
So, can you expect more songs like “Your Love Is Good” when the album comes out? Yes, you can! It’s an energetic, rockin’ fun album and I’m equally excited about the other songs on the record as I am about “Your Love Is Good.”
Where do you look for inspiration when creating new music?
Looking for inspiration is like trying to watch your own reflection blinking, in my experience. I don’t really know how else to answer that – haha! Inspiration is elusive and it’s never twice the same: at this point, creating music comes most easily and naturally when I’m in the general flow of creativity, open and receptive, and connected to the moment. Then, inspiration usually finds me, like water taking the path of least resistance. I guess this also applies to situations like that writing session I mentioned earlier, where I wasn’t even trying to write a song from my self, but by being in that creative energy it all came together and I ended up with a single. So, sometimes a song doesn’t spring into being all at once; it just needs a little more time to gestate.