Sad Sack Surrealism: Hue Blanes

 

I AM ALWAYS SUSPICIOUS OF EARNESTNESS.

LAST WEEK MR.BLANES’S MANAGEMENT REQUESTED AN INTERVIEW ON MY INFREQUENTED HACK BLOG.

I TOOK THE CALL REGARDLESS OF ITS POTENTIALLY FATAL IMPACT ON MY CAREER AS AN UNEMPLOYED PERSON POSING AS A NEW-AGE DRUGGED-OUT SOMETIMES-JOURNALIST.

POUND RECORDS IS AN INTERESTING PLACE. THE BRAINCHILD OF A TALL HAIRY MAN WHO USED TO BE A SCREAMING CARNI BANDLEADER, MARTIN MARTINI. I NEVER TRUSTED HIM UNTIL HE RETIRED FROM THE STAGE AND I STOPPED SEEING HIS POSTERS ON EVERY POLE IN NORTHCOTE. HE WAS A LARGER-THAN-LIFE EGO-DRIVEN EVERYWHERE CHARACTER. IN BEWILDERING CONTRAST, THE LABEL HE RUNS IS SO UNASSUMING AND OBSCURE, WITH A ROSTER OF BROKEN ACOUSTIC OUTSIDERS, ALL OF THEM SEEMINGLY UNRELIABLE AND DIFFICULT TO KEEP A TRACK OF, IT IS AS IF HE’S DETERMINED TO GO BROKE. THAT IS MY IGNORANT UNDERSTANDING OF IT. AND I THINK IT’S A GOOD IDEA. ADVOCATING POVERTY.

SO IF YOU’RE IN THE MOOD FOR BEING INCREDIBLY MOROSE AND SELF-INDULGENT I WOULD RECOMMEND YOU SWIFTLY PURCHASE THE LATEST LIMITED RELEASE BY POUND, THE HUE BLANES ALBUM, HOLIDAY. FEED THE POOR.

HUE BLANES PLAYS MUSIC FOR PEOPLE WITH A SLOW HEART RATE. IT DOESN’T REALLY SOUND LIKE MUSIC FOR CITY-DWELLERS NOR COUNTRY FOLK. IT’S A KIND OF OLD PEOPLES MUSIC BURPED OUT FROM THE INSIDES OF MODERN, TECHNO-LOGICALLY STRAIGHT-JACKETED, SELF-LOATHING CIVILISATION. IT’S A FAR AWAY WORLD FROM THE LIKES OF FELIX REIBL, THANKFULLY (EVEN THOUGH HUE IS GUILTY OF BEING A SIDEMAN TO FELIX’S EMPIRICAL SIDEMAN, HARRY ANGUS). HUE’S ABSURDIST, SIMPLE LYRICS PICKLE OVER THE TOP OF MOSTLY GENTLE AND ELEGANT BUT SOMETIMES ERRATIC AND BRAINDAMAGING PIANO. IDIOSYNCRATIC AND SELF-OSTRACISING.

I’M INTRIGUED BY THE RECORD BUT AFTER A FEW LISTENS I’VE CONCLUDED THAT I MIGHT ENJOY IT MORE IF THE PIANO HAD NO VOCALS OVER IT AND IF THE VOCALS HAD NO PIANO UNDER IT.

I SENT HUE SOME  QUESTIONS… BUT FIRST, THE BRAIN OF IVOR CUTLER SEEMS A FITTING INTRODUCTION…

 

LETS GET THE BASICS OUT OF THE WAY…. ANY SPECIAL DIETARY NEEDS?

I need food fresh from the garden , made from scratch , no packets, no supermarkets, no cost, no wank. The Japanese know what they are doing, the Greeks and Italians close second, the French are lost in Eggs and Cream and blue steak, the English are pretending. 

I AGREE ABOUT THE JAPANESE. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE TYPE OF WEATHER?

 A rainy day in summer, a sunny day in winter. Opposite man, opposite man, I can walk as fast as you can. 

YOU SURE CAN JERK OUT SOME SMOOTH SHIT ON THE PIANO. THERE IS A TENDERNESS TO A LOT OF YOUR PLAYING. DID YOU STUDY MUSIC?

Uni was great but I reckon I learnt more away from uni. I now learn from my friends and other musicians that I play with. I’m constantly on the lookout for new techniques and ideas. Mark Gasser is someone I am hanging around with, look him up, he plays a Ronald Stevenson, Shostakovich tribute piece non stop for an hour and fifteen minutes without a break on YouTube, gets up from the piano like he’s just come back from the bathroom and says, “thanks,” in his Sheffield miners accent, then quickly departs the room like he hasn’t just played the most difficult piece ever written, perfectly. 

HUE BLANES BW

ACCORDING TO ONE OF THOSE INTERNET DICTIONARY THINGS THE WORD “BLANE” MEANS COOL AND CALM. SO YOUR NAME VEERS TOWARDS MEANING A CONTENTED BREADTH OF COLOURS. IS THAT AN ACCURATE REPRESENTATION OF YOURSELF?

I have lots of different moods and temperaments so yes I would agree. I get cold easily but I am not cool in any way. I don’t really like music that is cool. I like to let the listener decide if they connect with the music or not. I think I am one of the least calm people I know. Especially when I am preparing for a tour.

THE ALBUM PRESS RELEASE DISCUSSES YOUR PERSONAL ISSUES WITH MENTAL ILL-HEALTH AND HOW THIS NEW ALBUM IS PERHAPS A CATHARTIC VENTURE. IT SEEMS TO ME A BIT OF A FASHION THING, TO SING AND WHINE ABOUT DEPRESSION WITH EARNESTNESS. I WONDER HOW LONG PEOPLE WILL PUT UP WITH IT…

I think it’s impossible to imagine what someone else is going through and depression and other illnesses are culminations of childhood experiences and your adult self trying to deal with these issues finally whilst juggling new addictions like alcohol, sex, gambling, whatever. 

I live with a bi polar person and he’s suffered all his life. It’s hereditary. They don’t diagnose these illnesses in under developed countries because they don’t have the doctors to do it. People suffer everywhere, not just in our technological, lonely, and consumerist lives. 

I think getting off our ‘lonely devises’ (ipads, iPhones) and doing some real shit really helps. Digging a hole in the garden or going to a hardware store and getting plywood and nailing it to a wall is a real achievement because it’s real. The way to get over anxiety and depression in my opinion is to have 20% love and compassion and feeling sorry for yourself, and 80% just overcoming goals that you plainly set for yourself. The truth is I still get cripplingly anxious sometimes that I think I need to cancel a show or take medication, but the more I do things the less the cloud hovers over me. It still does these days, but less so. 

DO YOU THINK THIS CLEARLY EXPRESSED MENTAL ILLNESS SUBJECT MATTER IN CURRENT MUSIC MIGHT BE A PLAGUE?

I think people singing about their problems is always going to happen and people can relate to it but the real test is being honest about it and not making out the subject to be an image thing. I think when music is too positive you get songs like ‘Barbie Girl’, or ‘La Bamba’. Listen to those songs ten times then listen to ‘Natalie’. You decide.

SO WHAT MAKES YOU THINK PEOPLE MIGHT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR PROBLEMS IN SUCH AN HONEST AND VAGUELY-SATIRICAL WAY?

There’s two choices. The microwave lasagne that has so much preservative and flavouring that you could leave it on the bench for months and never be poisoned. What you might be missing out on is the fresh tomato, aged Parmesan with the burnt bits on the side of the oven tray that you may get a lot of value out of eating but with the risk of ingesting active bacteria and carcinogenic oven matter. Writing a song is easy and pleasurable and therapeutic and worrying about who’s going to like it and listen to it is out of my hands and not my concern.

HUE BLANES TENNIS

AT THIS POINT YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO THE ALMOST CLOSING TRACK FROM HUE’S NEW ALBUM WHILST READING THE REST OF THIS INTERVIEW. PLEASE PRESS PLAY BELOW AND CONTINUE READING.

 

ANOTHER THEME ON YOUR ALBUM IS LONELINESS. WHAT DOES LONELINESS FEEL LIKE?

I always say that the man who is comfortable and happy lonely is going to be happy forever. But I get lonely and need support and love. I’m human that way. I do think that people are more lonely than ever because although people can text someone at the drop of a hat, a simple catch up is always better and finding someone to chat to face to face without a business motive or other motive is hard to come by. Loneliness is feeling like you are pathetic at that point in time. 

Let’s say for example it’s nye 2016 and you’re at home with your cat. If you are fine with that I admire you but I’d need to be around someone at that moment in order not to feel lonely. 

I WAS AT HOME WITH MY CAT LAST NEW YEARS EVE, BUT I REVEL IN PRETENDING TO BE REAL OLD AND INCONTINENT. YOUR TUNE “TREES” OPENS WITH THE LINE “WHERE ARE THE TREES TRYING TO GET TO”. YOU KNOW RECENT RESEARCH HAS DISCOVERED THEY ONLY WALK ABOUT A METRE AND A HALF DURING THEIR LIFESPAN?

Agreed, but I also think they are trying to get the fuck out of here. The earth is not a friendly place for trees you know.

IS THE ALBUM ESSENTIALLY ABOUT YOU WANTING TO ESCAPE YOURSELF? LIKE TRAVIS IN PARIS TEXAS AND MEURSAULT IN CAMUS’ THE STRANGER?

Yes. I find it interesting that we are not able to be outside of our head our entire lives. Not for a bleeding second can we just not ‘be’. I’m on the spectrum like everyone else. Me and my housemates call each other spectrumy cunts all the time. It seems to help lift our moral at home. 

DO YOU EVER WONDER IF, IN TEN OR 20 YEARS TIME, YOU MIGHT LISTEN BACK TO THIS ALBUM AND THINK GEE I WAS SUCH A SULKING LITTLE SHIT BACK THEN?

 I think that now. 

And… yes. 

But you have to be a sulking little shit first and then you can turn into a wise old dick. 

AND LASTLY, HUE BLANES, WHAT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY AS AN ARTIST?

To be a vessel of emotion, a messenger, a person who can turn nothing into something, good or bad.

HUE BLANES’ SOPHOMORE ALBUM HOLIDAY IS A SWIMMINGLY BEAUTIFUL PIANO PIECE CARESSED AND MAULED BY HIS PERFECTLY TASTEFUL YET QUITE UNFORTUNATE CHRIS MARTIN-EQSUE VOICE. SELF-REFLECTIVE AND DELICATE, DREAMY AND BORING, UNPOPULAR, CONSIDERED, AND SATISFYINGLY UNUSUAL WHEN YOU THINK ITS NOT GOING TO BE. IN A NICER, MORE SELF-RESPECTING WORLD I’D LIKE TO THINK THIS WOULD BE THE ONLY RECORD LIKE THIS AND BECOME SOME KIND OF CRUSTY RARITY. IT TAKES YOU TO A PLACE WHERE YOU’LL GO TO SLEEP IN COMFORT AND PEACE AND WAKE UP WITH A SORE BACK. OR THE OTHER WAY AROUND.

WATCH THE REFRESHINGLY MANIPULATIVE AND ELONGATED FILM CLIP FOR HIS TUNE FERNANDO BELOW AND FOLLOW THE LINKS TO GET A COPY OF THIS LIMITED RUN RECUD.

 

ORDER HOLIDAY HERE (LIMITED TO 150 COPIES).

CHECK OUT POUND RECORDS HERE.

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