Thursday, August 10, 2006

RFC Interview: BLEU

After a two year hiatus from touring, musician/producer BLEU is making his way back to Chicago with a headlining show tonight at the Elbo Room. This Bostonian melody maker, whose unique vocals and keen sense for power pop composition, has been likened to Queen, ELO, Jellyfish, and John Lennon. He is currently working on a new album "A Watched Pot" which we can only hope will be released sooner than later. I had a chance to ask him some questions before he embarks on his summer tour. You've recently made the move out to L.A., what triggered this change of scenery? It was time for a change of pace, I've been in Boston for a long time and it's been absolutely incredible. I'm gonna miss it tons but, I'm a firm believer in mixing things up. There are untapped opportunities for me in California, plus the weather's pretty swee-heet and I have a bunch of amazing friends and musical co-horts out there who've been proding me to join them for years. I'm excited, there's a furtive power-pop scene and lots of good sushi. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's been 2 years since you last played in Chicago. In a nutshell, what's been happening in the life of Bleu? Ooof..that's a big question. Basically, I've been doing what I always do (except play chicago of course): writing, producing, mixing, making records (for myself and others, as well as side-projects), and performing (albeit more locally). I lived on an alpaca farm for a while too, helped birth a couple! Nutty. You are currently working on a new album entitled "A Watched Pot", how would you describe the sound and mood of the new album? When can we expect a release? I have no idea when this record will be released, unfortunately it's in limbo right now. As far as the "mood" of the record, well I guess there's more "soul" influenced stuff this time around, but still lots of singer/songwriter and pop elements. It's perhaps a bit more "mature". Basically, I consider it to be the best productions of the best songs I've ever written. This is the record I always wanted to make. Besides the new Bleu album, you have been keeping yourself quite busy, producing The SnowLeopards' new album, and working on side projects, one being the cleverly titled L.E.O. , an ELO inspired band. How much of an influence has Jeff Lynne had on your work? Are there any other great influences on your music? Yes. I have been very busy with other stuff while i'm trying to free "a watched pot". I'm proud to say that the L.E.O. record is coming out this fall on Cheap Lullaby Records. It's a really neat collection of songs; performed by a sort-of power-pop collective that used Jeff Lynne as a jumping-off point. I'm a huge fan of his and other quirky producer/musicians like Jon Brion, Mutt Lange, Daniel Lanois, etc. You have earned quite a reputation for crafting songs with a great pop sensibility, how do you approach the songwriting process? It's always different, sometimes I start with a lyrical idea, a hook, or a story-line; sometimes with a musical idea, a melody, chord progression, or even a groove. Some songs are extremely personal, while others are just meant in the spirit of fun. I guess the only over-arching theme is my love of the art (and craft) of songwriting, everything i do is directed towards that. Who have you been listening to these days? Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Puffy AmiYumi, The SnowLeopards, the Wizard of Oz soundtrack, new Tom Petty (produced by Jeff Lynne). What can we expect from your live show? A little of everything. I'm going to do some very intimate acoustic stuff, some of my eBand (with the various loops, and what-not), and some full-band rockers. And I'll be playing plenty of new and old songs. I'm really lookin' forward to it! I'm definitely looking forward to it as well. You can catch BLEU and his friends The Everyday Visuals, who will be his backing band tonight at the Elbo Room, tickets are only $5.


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