Cinematic, singer-songwriter Blair Jollands has released new album ‘7 Blood’. Talking to us, he reveals more about his fight with Lyme Disease which inspired the title track, the evolution of his sound, and talks about why he does what he does.
EP: What was the recording process for ‘7 Blood’ like? What was the inspiration for it?
BJ: It was recorded in London. Most of it was recorded in my studio in King’s Cross surrounded by different producers. The inspiration for the title track came from the time a couple of years ago when I was bitten by a tick, it was inspired by my fight against the Lyme virus. I was also working on a film called ‘Pylon’, by Jono Smith, a film about cyber warfare. So I thought it was interesting to explore the two viruses; biological and digital. And the name ‘7 Blood’ comes from a herb I pick up from a mountain side in Spain to fight the virus. So that’s where the inspiration came from in the first place.
EP: Would you say your music is mostly based off personal experiences or do you take creative liberties with it?
BJ: Generally, it’s based off personal experiences. I could read an article in the newspaper and borrow ideas from that. So yeah generally it comes from personal experiences.
EP: What is your personal favourite track off the album, and why?
BJ: ‘Not Enough’ would be my favourite. When you’re recording an album often the song you thought was going to be the best doesn’t turn out that way, and the song that comes out of nowhere ends up being the best. ‘Not Enough’ was that kind of track for me.
EP: Who or what inspires you both professionally and on a personal level?
BJ: Inspiration comes from simple things, like hearing a rhythm, movement, travelling or watching a great film. It can be from some form of escape, which puts you in a different zone for some time, and that’s when the gems come to you.
EP: Would you say this album is that kind of gem? Or has it been a long time in the making?
BJ: Yeah it is one of those albums that started and exponentially came into its own really quickly. Between my first album, ‘Hotel’ and now I’ve explored a lot of different genres and I think with this album I’ve kind of gone back to my roots.
EP: What made you want to go back to your roots? What inspired that?
BJ: It came from the quick and simple thought not to think about genres. It was just about working on the song without making it about this sound or that sound. It was being organic and honest really.
EP: How do you describe your sound? And how has it evolved?
BJ: I was signed to Boy George’s label and he coined a phrase. He said I was the bastard son of Jim Morrison and Desi Arnaz with a shot of tequila, and I thought that was pretty good! And yeah its slightly evolved. I’ve moved away from my influences, but there’s still an essence of it.
EP: If listeners could take away one message from your music, what would you want that to be?
BJ: I hope that they can visit an imaginary place with my music. I hope it offers some kind of escape from their normal lives. We all experience mediocrity at times, and life is often very normal, so I hope it offers a great escape. That’s not really a message, but it’s an experience.
EP: What’s been a really memorable moment in your career so far? And what’s next for you?
BJ: What’s next is a tour of Germany, and then New Zealand and Australia. So that’s my focus for now. Memorable moment would be when I was signed to Boy George’s label, and he would swap songs with Bowie. He sent him some of my songs and I got an email from Bowie, saying these are nice songs. That was a nice moment!
EP: Speaking of tours, I know you’ve toured quite a lot. What’s a personal favourite place you’ve been to? And are there any places you’d like to visit in the future?
BJ: A favourite of mine was Bolivia. It was amazing. The silk plains and the deserts. Argentina as well. A place I’d really like to visit would be Mongolia.
EP: Finally, what’s one question no one’s ever asked in an interview you wished you were asked?
BJ: “Why do you do it?”. That’s something no one asks.
EP: So why do you do it?
BJ:It goes back to my answer of escapism. You make so many sacrifices for the sake of your art form, so sometimes it’s like ‘why do I do it?’. I tried stopping for a few years because I thought there was nothing left, but I couldn’t stop it. Even if the road is tricky, I couldn’t stop doing this. You’ve just got to keep going with it.
Watch the video for ‘7 Blood’ below: