Photography by Max Montgomery
'I Was Frustrated', ' I Can't Go Dancing ' - said James Blake to Billboard Magazine. The English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer from London first received recognition for a series of 2010 EPs including CMYK and Klavierwerke, and subsequently released his self-titled debut album in 2011 to critical praise. His second album Overgrown was released in 2013, bringing him to international attention. In 2016, he released his third album The Colour in Anything and his fourth album Assume Form in 2019, both receiving positive reviews and the latter becoming his highest-peaking album in the US Billboard 200, at number 21. James Blake now released his brand new unexpected EP named "Before" and it's safe to say that had it not been for this extended stay at home, the EP wouldn't exist. In fact during quarantine, James spent a lot of time watching Dj sets on Instagram Live, and believes that house music in particular has a “uniting tempo” and that the four-to-the-floor rhythm pattern especially brings people together -- “whether it’s on or off the dance floor" he says to Billboard. He found incredible comfort in the music he makes and consumes “You could look at it with a sick sense of humor, that I would drop an uptempo EP at a time when no one can go clubbing,” and he's a veteran of the London club scene. His Instagram recently included a series of throwback photos from DMZ in 2011 of what he calls a “fixture of dance music, dubstep specifically,” which took place annually at the Brixton, London club Mass where he shared the lineup alongside DJs such as Mala, Coki, Loefah and Pokes.
This EP it's a vibe that all of us quarantined clubbers can appreciate right now. The music video for "Before," was directed by Ryder Ripps and it features visual of a group of professional dancers interpreting Blake's song from their homes to unexpectedly stirring effect. Watch below.