Interview – Blake Hazard



Let new music spread this holiday season! Tunes are soon to be shared among many a family member and who else better to do it than a talent like Blake Hazard? Known for her solo work and her sublime efforts as part of The Submarines, her style is sure to win over listeners all over. To add onto that musical skill, Blake has been hard at work with even more stellar projects and was eager to share her adventures to date.

Her organic album, ‘Possibilities at Sea’, has been the treat this fall with notable tracks such as Before the Ice and Hey. The musician had much to say on these releases. “… They’re both songs from my new album, ‘Possibilities at Sea’, which was recorded essentially live here in Los Angeles. I worked with my friend, producer Thom Monahan, to make what I hoped would be a really organic album, mostly played by a band all together in one room. We basically did just that, with minimal overdubs. It was tough to resist adding layers to it all afterward, but we kept it minimalist. Then, I asked friends to remix some of the songs from the record… It was great to hear the songs played with that way; rearranged and re-contextualized after the fact.”

Within this album the aesthetic musical exploration varied here and there. “Though it’s a sort of back to basics approach, taking the risk of playing things live and letting the songs speak for themselves without much embellishment felt new and fresh to me. I’m used to playing around in the studio; layering, adding beats and sounds. I mean, I actually really love doing that. This was a bit more like taking away a safety net. In a way we had to say, ‘who cares’ about being cool here… It was a kind of rejection of a more stylized sound. I wasn’t totally comfortable with that at first, to be honest, but I like what came out of it.” It definitely paid off in the end, as many listeners will agree!

The enthusiasm in the craft never ends with the ambitious future on the horizon. “I’m excited to make a new record, already. I’d like to tour a bit and I’d love to make a new Submarines album. John is working on a solo record now, and I hope after that we can devote some time to the Submarines.”

As her discography grows both as a solo artist and as part of The Submarines, she has many favorites pieces, both past and present. “These new songs feel really immediate and honest, with no sort of lazy moments in the writing… I feel good about that, even if it feels a bit overly vulnerable at times. I’ve loved each project I’ve done for different reasons… Making ‘The Eleanor Islands’ with Sam Cohen was awesome. [It was] just very creative and Sam has such interesting ideas, he’s really inspiring to work with. The Submarines records we made will probably always be the things I’m most attached to, especially ‘Honeysuckle Weeks’, our second album. It was just a beautiful, exciting time, and I think it all comes through in the music.”

Performance goals seem to grow after each successful hurdle in the music world. “… I’ve been lucky to play some amazing venues, with some lovely people. [However], I’ve always felt like I’m just getting started, in a way! I’d love to do more shows the way we’re playing the new songs, with the band I’m playing with now [who are] all really intuitive and great listeners. I’d love to play The Greek Theatre here in LA someday because it sounds and feels amazing, there, I’ve spoken a dream out loud, ha-ha! I love watching the La Blogotheque concerts and tiny desk concerts. Ah, I can’t narrow it down! I’m a huge music fan, as well, and go to lots of shows. You can’t help but let your mind drift to what it would be like to play the venues you go to to see bands, so, I’ve had lots of those flights of fancy.” Dream on with ease Blake, it’ll happen before you know it.

Not every show has been a success, however. “I do occasionally lose my voice, and those are always the hardest, when your body just won’t make the sound in your head. Otherwise, falling off the stage at the Troubadour was probably the roughest! It was during an encore and I came back out of the dark on stage with tears in my eyes and a huge bruise down my side, but I don’t think anyone noticed.” Professionalism at its best.

With 2018 arriving ever so soon, musicians cannot help but notice how modern music is evolving with rapid speed. “There’s so much going on. It’s exciting, awesome and overwhelming. I love checking out new music and all the kind of new media things some people are doing around their music. Finding a record I love, whether old or new, just lights me up all over again… In terms of the industry, I just honestly hope people will be persuaded that music is worth something again, monetarily. There’s so much new music out there and streaming gives us access to check out bands in a way that was impossible before, so that’s progress… If you listen to something a few times and you love it, buy it! Otherwise, I don’t really know how the current model can sustain itself.”

Genre-wise, the world of musical niches is hard to configure. “I’m not sure what my genre is. Maybe singer-songwriter, but then you strip things away, add beats and it’s something else. So really, I think my genre is love songs… I think love songs will never go away, as long as there are human hearts.

Music is not the only medium this artist takes part in. “I love to paint, specifically I love to make paper dolls. I had a show of them last fall at my friends’ store, Virgil Normal. It was a blast and I mostly made dolls of friends of theirs. I’d like to make a book of dolls and have another show soon.” Day off activities are easy to choose from as well. “[I also enjoy] long runs, museums and great food. I haven’t been on tour in a bit, but those are the things I’ve always looked out for, also sleep!”

Creativity never stops for the busy musician. “Today I’m going to work on a song I’ve had in my head for a bit, and work on a paper doll that was commissioned through my PledgeMusic pre order campaign. I hope to go up to Griffith Park for a hike later too.”

Jam on.

Give Before the Ice a watch and a listen below: