Guest of Honour: James Blake about our drug policy and other things in Amsterdam

Guest of Honour: James Blake about our drug policy and other things in Amsterdam

Nov 25, 2011 |  by  |  Music
About the author
Born and raised in Amsterdam, lives to dance and dances to live on electronic music, has a small vinyl addiction, appreciates a little sarcasm now and then, thinks musicals are annoying and loves those moments where you lose track of time completely.

Last Tuesday James Blake had a gig in Paradiso. Indeed, the man of the daring, minimalistic, slow, hypnotising music with carefully placed silences and a bass that makes your whole body vibrate, with that touching voice that makes you shiver. I’ve had a (maybe not so) secret crush on him ever since I heard his voice in Limit To Your Love, so when I had the chance to unexpectedly interview him, my heart skipped a beat.

For most foreigners our city stands for weed and prostitutes, but what’s Amsterdam to you?
“For me Amsterdam means the Melkweg and Paradiso, though not every gig is as great as the one tonight. The sound system is really great in Paradiso compared to a lot of other venues I played at. It means being able to let your hair down, I really love the atmosphere. I think your drug regulation is great as well, not even because of the drugs. I believe drugs should be regulated everywhere. And it also means cycling, I wish more cities would be bike friendly.”

How would you compare Amsterdam to London, where you live?
“Amsterdam is a break from London. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t love London. I lived there all my life and still love living there, but Amsterdam is great. The canals are very different as well. We have them too, but your canal system reminds me of the grid system in New York.”

You made a comment in an interview that caused quite some discussion, saying that some dubstep artists ‘who you couldn’t even be bothered naming’ directly misinterpret the sound of ‘real dubstep’. Did you intentionally say this to provoke?
“It was never meant to provoke anybody. I wasn’t talking about other artists, I was simply talking about genres. The music of ‘those other artists’ is just more noisy.”

So would you say that your music is part of a different genre than music from, for example, Borgore or Skrillex?
“Well, we sound different, don’t we?! Besides, I played a set once with Borgore and I got really into it. So as far as I’m concerned my comment was just blown out of proportion.”

Will you marry me?
This in fact would’ve been my fourth question, but James said beforehand that he would only answer three (true, it actually were four already) because he was in a hurry. I couldn’t really argue with him, because our interview wasn’t arranged or planned but highly spontaneous. I’ll be sure to ask him next time though.

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