Welcome back Talley! What have you been up to since the release of “Scared” back in January?
I played my favourite music festival, Denver's biggest and best, the Underground Music Showcase. It's been a bucket list dream of mine for years. My first live show as Talley was July at a cool little dive bar in downtown Denver, followed by this festival. We had a great turnout and support for both, even though I had a "technical breakdown" (really just me making a stupid mistake with my volume knob on my live mixer) in the middle of the show, but I had this absolutely incredible backing band made up of some of the most talented musicians in Denver, and they covered for me by jamming for almost 6 minutes while I figured out what I had done. Most people didn't notice, and those who did were super impressed, so, that was a learning experience. I'm excited to be playing live again. I didn't realise how much I missed it until I was onstage, looking into the faces of fans and friends.
We checked out your latest release “Still Mine”! What was the writing process like for this song? Can you dive into what it means to you?
I'm so glad you like "Still Mine". That's one of my favourites. I wrote that at a coworking space called Converge here in Denver, years ago. I'm obsessed with writing about the painfully ambiguous space between someone being close to you and pushing you away simultaneously. This whole "Ghosting" phenomenon is fairly new in our culture, and psychologically/emotionally devastating, I believe. People need to stop doing that, but likely never will; "Still Mine" is about that juxtaposition. "You can't have me, but you're still mine". I want you, I don't want you, you know? Stay near, but leave me alone. I've never understood why people do that, I think I'm loyal to a fault...but perhaps we all do it to some extent. It has been a source of suffering for me in the past, and I've dealt with it by writing about it quite a bit. People write about love, and heartbreak, but I like the space in-between that nobody writes about. It's real life, man. Stylistically the song is set in the 1950's and early 1960's doo-wop ballad style (think Brian Wilson) with some modern synth and electronic arpeggios throughout. There's an underappreciated Beach Boys album called "Today", and the B-Side of that record has 4 of the most lush and gorgeous heart-wrenching harmonised ballads ever written by Wilson. This is pre-Pet Sounds. I got that vinyl in a tiny record shop (no longer around) in Amarillo, Texas when I was like 18, and I've worn that B-Side out. I think this had a huge effect on "Still Mine", subconsciously, along with synth sounds you might hear in an ELO or Yes, or Styx song. It's a lot longer than songs I write now, but I loved the sort of Space Age DooWop landscape I created. The cover art, done by the very talented Anthony Robackouski, perfectly encapsulates this with a couple in a classic car at a drive-in theatre that's being surrounded by 1950's style UFO's. I've worked with Anthony on everything I've done with visuals for my music for over 12 years now.
What has been one of your most memorable or life-changing achievements as an artist so far?
Most of those have been in Indie Filmmaking, so to be honest, it was getting a couple of my short films into festivals and winning awards, and winning student awards and scholarships at my alma mater film school, one of the most renowned in the world. I did do the music for those films as well, so I guess that ties in!
How are you able to blend modern indie rock with 60’s/70’s rock and still make it sound contemporary and fresh?
Great question, I love that, and thank you for asking. There's a real compliment embedded in that question; I've been told by quite a few people that I've somehow found a way to make music that sounds new and old at the same time. That's all I've ever wanted to do with sound. I think it's just a cacophony of influences. I listen to and watch everything. I mean EVERYTHING. I probably absorb 15+ hours of new music and cinema/TV every week (new as in new to me but perhaps very old, and also brand new releases every week.) I don't sleep much; I'm an addict, for better or worse. But the blend of the 60's/70's/80's sounds with modern electronic and indie rock music is very intentional.
What are your main aspirations as an artist going forward?
It's simple: I want to make a living doing this. I just want to be fully independent, no label, no contract, supporting myself with my dreams. It's been a hard and long road, but I feel like I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel, as it were. On a personal note, I suffer from a mental disorder along with some addictions I'm working through that makes working for myself as a truly indie musician far more difficult; but I'm growing and progressing, and learning every day thanks to pathfinders like Leah from Savvy Musician Academy and Suz from The Rock/Star Advocate.
What other projects are you working on through the end of 2019?
I'm already putting together a new live show wherein I project on a screen behind me montages of classic films I've edited together that are perfectly synchronised to my newest music, which often uses samples from Cinema and Television. So far I've sampled Hitchcock, Black Dynamite, Monty Python, and a forgotten classic 60's Disney Buena Vista film called "In Search of the Castaways". I'm about to sample some Mad Men right now, actually. My current musical hero and influence in this style of music is an artist from Australia called "Pogo". Check him out on YouTube, if you're already not aware of him. He remixes sounds from films to make original music, but I'll be doing more songwriting and vocal/instrumental performance while influenced by his style of remix for samples from films. It's a lot of technical work, but I'm learning a lot in that area from a brilliant Denver local producer called Reed Fox of Moon Magnet Studios. Live, I'll perform the instruments and sing while somewhat theatrically interacting with the projections behind me. It's an idea I've had since I was 15 that I'm only now figuring out how to do. I'm also releasing a full cover album of artists that I think more people should be aware of like The Walkmen, Grandaddy, Dolores O'Riordan, James Blake, Arcade Fire, British Sea Power, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, etc.
Check out Blake Talley's recent music here, and don't forget to connect with the artist on his socials below!