Whether or not we like it, sometimes escaping the sturdy grasp of popular culture is impossible. It’s everywhere. With the advent of all these newfangled electronic devices it’s just inevitable that every now and again we’re going to run into a few facets of it that we just can’t escape. It’s here, it’s now and it’s forever.
And just try looking into the eyes of somebody you care about and explain to them with a straight face that you’ve never heard of James Blunt. In fact, hum a few notes to “You’re Beautiful” right now and try to seriously come at us tonight to tell us that it wasn’t stuck in your head for the rest of the day. We sing it to our dogs, we sing it to our cats – hell we even sing it to… wait no, actually, fuck our fish, those things don’t have ears. (Yes they do, we just can’t see them.) The point is, much like most popular culture, James Blunt is everywhere.
But we dig James. He’s an extremely nice guy with the manners of a true English gentleman. To boot he carries the accent of a dreamboat wherever he goes and has more talent in his pinkie nail than we’ve had in all of our past lives put together. Luckily for us he’ll be visiting next week to croon away our withered and sullen hearts.
Before James Blunt’s May 12 appearance at The Gothic Theatre, however, he carried about with us as we asked him some relevant questions to his life. Tickets are still available and can be found HERE.
James, we have a feeling everyone is fairly excited for you to get to Denver soon.
I’m looking forward to get to Denver. I will be doing the practice before I get there. I’m playing in Atlantic City right now, and it’s a pretty interesting place. I’m literally on the waterfront right now.
Are you getting any gambling done? Are you a gambling man?
I gamble with many things in life, but not money, so no.
Let’s first talk about you new album 'Moon Landing.' Do you find now after so long that you’re using the same tricks and experiences for writing songs or are you finding new things?
I hope new things. And I don’t think I would call them tricks either. Music is about emotion and emotion is supposed to come across as genuine. For me, on this album at least, I’ve been writing songs because I need to, because I want to, out of a passion. Songs come from an experience. An experience makes me feel strongly, and I write a song. Like any kind of conversation you feel passionately about, you’re just kind of in a free flow of expression. With a little bit of experience and time now, I hope these are the strongest songs I’ve ever written.
You went with a space theme for the album and we’ve seen online photos of you performing in spacesuits, is that what we can expect?
You know I think it’s quite funny, because, what we’ve been doing is taking around this massive moon landing production – which looks phenomenal – but it costs me a bomb! This tour is the biggest production I’ve ever taken on the road, and the logistics behind it is incredible. And then what we’re finding is that coming to the states, by the nature of what goes on, the shows are much smaller. And so you can’t fit the screens and can’t fit the lights in. So instead it is so much more about the music.
So you’ve had to strip it down for the states?
Yeah, which actually, we’re doing an 18 month tour and arenas start to look the same the world over. But to come into places and play venues of character in America is really special because Denver and its Gothic theatre is supposed to be a really special and interesting building, so the event will be something different. I know it’ll be a real treat for me and my band.
Exactly that. Ryan and I are great friends and we’ve written before. I jumped on his tour bus around Europe when he and One Republic were touring there. I was a groupie. We wrote ‘Bonfire Heart’ on the road and the song’s done well for me which has been great.
Is there ever competition with one another?
What’s really weird is, I really think it’s only in the media world and the record label world that people make it a competition. That’s purely based on charts and record sales because record labels want to make money. Someone like Ryan and myself, when he sees a song that we’ve written – or a song that I’ve written without him – up on the charts, he calls and says, ‘It’s amazing and fantastic and well done,’ and I do the same for him. Because music’s not a competition. Music is about connection and it’s only people who are interested in sales, and therefore money, make it a competition.
Do you feel the radio has power over the charts still or has the Internet taken over?
You know, the Internet is great for certain things and for getting visibility, but I think the radio is still the way and how most people get to hear new music from. I think online they may research it a bit more, but the power of radio is still huge.
Is that the same worldwide?
As far as I can tell, but what I know is that where I have great radio support then I’ve got large numbers of albums sold and my audiences are much, much bigger. Even though I have a large fan base on Facebook, without radio support it doesn’t translate into anything substantial.
We just checked out the video for “Bonfire Heart” before you called: It looks very organic and free – but first, are you an avid rider?
I love motorbikes. I much prefer two wheels to four. I’ve always enjoyed that sense of freedom. I started riding motorbikes legally when I was 16 before I could drive a car. And in London, I don’t have a car, I only have a motorbike. What an amazing opportunity when making a video because every man dreams of going across the states on an American motorbike. So I got the label to pay me to do that.
It looked very much like Colorado, but you were in Wyoming shooting it?
Yah, it’s a pretty amazing part of the world up there. All those people in that video were not actors. We just asked people to join in as we went past. That final scene of the video… what we didn’t realize was that in the bar was a wedding taking place. That wedding spilt out and asked us what we were ‘doing with your cameras and your lights.’ I got out my guitar and played to them and spontaneously the bride and groom – surrounded by their friends – in that car park had their first dance of their marriage. That’s what we filmed and that’s what became our music video.
When you come to Colorado you’ll be here the day after Mother’s Day, so we assume that a few people will be treating their mother’s to your show. Deep down, are you yourself a mama’s boy?
Everyone needs their mother! I come from a close-knit family. I went to a boarding school at age seven. I was sent away from home because my parents traveled a lot. My father was in the Army so they were in different countries. So I left home when I was seven years old basically, but I’ve grown up and joined some schools away from home, university away from home, the army away from home, and now music obviously where I travel the world. But I know that that constant of a family – of a mother and a father – is incredibly important, and the support that I get from my own family makes what I do possible. I would have a terrible experience without that.