Artist of the week

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Blank

-Who are you?
My name is Henry Ascroft, and I produce music under the name 'The Blank'

- Why did you choose this pseudonym?
There's a not so funny story behind it. Me and a good friend were discussing over a few days what we would call ourselves of we ever released music properly. And I kept saying how my mind was going 'blank.' A few more days later he just started calling me 'blank' as a joke. But it just stuck. That was 2 years ago, an here I still am!

-Why do you make music and what does it mean for you?
I make music, as an escape. I have a very active mind, but as with most people, my day job doesn't really take full advantage of that. Music is... It's a way to fuel my creative energy. 

-Your song “Burn “is pure sex. What’s the story behind it?
Well iv not yet heard it described that way! Haha. But the story goes that this singer Steffaloo, she had to shake some dust or something... Only joking. Basically steff came into contact with my music through her brothers blog and asked whether I wanted to do a song with her. And, as any sane producer would, I accepted. It actually took a while for me to create something I felt was worthy of her amazing vocals but I came up with a track, and it all came together! We've been in contact since and I was lucky enough to collaborate with her on my latest EP plastic dreams.

Plastic Dreams cover
- Talking about your album "Plastic Dreams".
Plastic Dreams... I suppose Plastic Dreams was quite an experimental effort. For a while I was shy of using my voice on tracks, and I would hide behind effects and such. But I decided to go for it, and that's where tracks like 'Falling' came from. I also used my guitar playing (lack of) skills on there quite a lot. But plastic dreams, in a nutshell is just me being me. Something that I hadn't expressed in music since then. And it seems to be well received. It spent a brief time on page one of the bandcamp best selling ambient albums. Up with Thrupence and Sango. Which was a (plastic) dream come true. And it's been pretty high in the charts since. So thanks everyone for the support!

- How would you define your sound?
My sound is quite varied I'd say. The differences between my releases are enormous. 'Burn' and say, 'home', to take 2 tracks, are completely different types of music. My music Is futuristic I'd say.

-What genres and artists influenced your music the most?
Genres id say the entire future music / minimal movement that's going on right now. As for artists, the obvious ones are people like James Blake and mount Kimbie. But I try to draw influences from anyone and everyone. The growing number of bedroom producers out there nowadays means there's just so much to listen to!

-You come from Australia. What do you think about the music coming from your country and how how do you see yourself in relation to them?
See people get this wrong all the time. I'm actually English. I have lived In Perth for about 4 years now. But I'm 100% English. I'm sure some of my Aussie fans are now disappointed haha. But in the Australian scene at the moment, there's such a diversity of brilliant music, coming from every city. I think what's happened is because the popular radio stations are so terrible, people have started moving farther from the mainstream music. And there is a great sense of support, it's an ever growing community. In relation to this, In Australia as a whole, I don't really think I'm one of the more notable artists. But when people mention perth artists, my name comes up now and again. So I'd like to think I'm contributing to Perth's sound as a whole.

-What's your favourite artist and song?
My favourite artist. Wow that's a hard one. I have no real favourite. But as for someone who has always inspired me, is have to say Burial. I think the fact that he remained anonymous for so long is brilliant. And his music is so pure because of that. And the same goes for favourite song. No real favourite. There are a few contenders. But if I was to choose I would lean towards Jamie xx's remix of Reconsider by the XX.

Suburban Dreamer cover
-Who do you think are the most relevant musicians nowadays and who are you listening to the most?
I'd say people like the XX, Jamie Woon, Frank Ocean. The XX and Jamie Woon because they have taken a unique sound and have made more people aware of it, they have done a lot for the whole post-dubstep/future beat/minimal scene. And Frank Ocean because he has pretty much single handedly kept proper RnB alive. Obviously I'm not downplaying people like the Weeknd, Drake and even Miguel. But Frank Ocean has kept very true to his style I mean nostalgia/ultra and Channel Orange could be put together into one album. He reminds me why popular music used to be so good.

-How much does the live element matter in your music?
In times passed, not a lot. But more recently I have been trying to develop my music into something that could be played live. That's why iv started using my guitar, vocals etc... And reduced the role of synths and layering. It's a lot more stripped back and minimal, and I hope that soon ill be at the point where I can show people that live element in some way.

-If you could pick an artist or a band to play with on a stage, who would you choose?
Probably Ed Sheeran. I know that seems 
like a very I obvious choice considering the artists iv just mentioned. But I think Ed has a very pure element to his music. If you watch the set e did for the iTunes festival, it is literally just him and his guitar. And I think for someone that popular to do a love show that is so basic is something to be admired.

Twenty Eleven Dreaming cover
-What do you think about the music industry nowadays?
I think that the music industry has done almost a full circle, not long ago people had all but given up on it. But now the vinyl is back on the rise and there's so many small independent labels starting out.

-What is the message that you'd like to express to the people who listen to your music?
I like to express a message of self reflection. The music I make is influenced by my life. And so is like to think people can find something in it for them.

-What is your favourite book and movie?
I'm not much of a reader. And not much of a favourite chooser so I couldn't even come close to answering that question.

-How and where do you see yourself in ten years from now?
Hopefully still alive! Haha. But honestly I don't care too much as long as I'm happy. I'd hope to have released a vinyl by then. That's always been a dream of mine. 

-Pc or Mac?

-Beatles or Rolling Stones?
The rolling Beatles. Am I allowed that?

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