James Blake

By
Photography David Burton

Published July 26, 2013

Since the release of his self-titled debut album earlier this year, James Blake has gone from a shy bedroom-recording-artist known for producing feather-light electronica to a critically beloved, internationally recognized—dare it be said—pop star. The rush of sudden success has been a big leap for an introvert who recorded his much-lauded album alone in his London apartment while finishing up his college studies at Goldsmiths, and somehow seems even stranger when one considers that Blake’s music—subtle, elegantly produced dubstep buoyed by Blake’s own delicate voice—is much more appropriate for intimate headphone listening than getting crazy at the club. “I think it would take me a year of not doing what I’m doing now to really make sense of everything that’s happened to me,” admits the reticent 23-year-old who’s originally from Enfield, London. Since the release of James Blake (Universal Republic) in February, he has been on an extended victory lap around the globe, a job that now requires him to bring the intricacies of his music to massive festival stages. “The tiny little scratches and blips from the record are still there, just in different incarnations,” he says of his live sound. “I’ve played piano and sung all my life, so it wasn’t too weird for me. It’s been very exciting, very stimulating.” Having now established himself as arguably the world’s most famous dubstep producer—a genre previously not widely known outside of the U.K.—Blake is eager to move on to new projects . . . Even if those projects are quickly becoming old ones. “I’ve already done what I’m going to do next,” he says. “I finished a new record about six months ago, actually. I’m ahead of even myself. Since I take my computer with me everywhere, I never have to stop making or thinking about music.”

PHOTO: JAMES BLAKE IN LONDON, JUNE 2011. SHIRT: A.P.C. JEANS: DIESEL. SPECIAL THANKS: THE ALBERT.