By: Vaughn Lowery
As of late, we had the opportunity to speak with a Londoner artist, Art Block. His project has been supported by producer Ian Barter (Paloma Faith, Allman Brown, Hannah Grace) who recently worked on an album with British fashionista and singer Gabrielle.
What inspires your music?
I am inspired by the spiritual and emotional. Sometimes I feel my music is coming to me from a higher place and I try to draw upon that. It’s almost as if I’m just a channel for creativity. A few of my songs have been inspired by the memory of my mother who passed away many years ago. I would like my music to heal others.
And this new project?
The songs on Extended Play were written during lockdown when the whole world just stopped. It was a worrying time but also a time for reflection and appreciating beauty. The songs are some of my most personal yet, delving into dark aspects of my childhood, exploring my love of London where I was born, then returning to other themes of introspection and love. Love hopefully is the most powerful emotion radiating through the songs.
What’s next for you?
I am hoping to collaborate with some new musicians, remix songs and write something new. I’m constantly writing these days as if I’m on the cusp of a creative wave. I’m looking forward to playing live more too.
If you could collaborate with any artist, who would it be?
I admire Marcus Hamblett’s work as a session musician and artist. Also Jay Chakravorty with his electronic and strings compositions which mold the old with the new.
Do you write all of your lyrics? if so, can you elaborate on your creative process?
Yes, I do. I think I have already touched upon it above. I hear melodies first and try to find the best words to match them. Sometimes it takes several drafts before finding the right words for a song. Experience also has a transformative creative power.
Describe your sound and genre? List your top five influences and song?
My sound is in the alt-folk and classic alt-rock category. Some have compared my music to Thom Yorke or Nick Drake, which is a huge compliment!
I don’t really have a top five influence, I listen to everything from Wu Tang Clan to Rachmaninoff and everything in between! I suppose Pink Floyd have been an influential band over the years and more recently Bear’s Den or Ben Howard. I’m also a Depeche Mode fan, which probably explains my electronic influences.
How do you feel about the music industry overall? Do you think artists should still sign with major labels?
The music industry is very fickle and focused too much on commercial products rather than nurturing talent. There are too many people doing the same thing and the market is over saturated. People have low attention spans leading to two and a half minute songs designed to please Spotify’s algorithm.
Whether artists should join a major label is up to them. They can provide more bandwidth and resources than doing it by yourself. But as I say above many of these companies focus solely on making a profit. It might be better in the short term to remain an independent artist where you keep most of any revenues you are able to generate. Labels are also known for dropping artists quickly who don’t sell enough records.
Is there any advice that you could offer to aspiring recording artists?
Write as much as possible and listen to the best in your genre and watch what they do.
Are you aligned with any humanitarian endeavors or organizations?
Not formally but as I mentioned above I would like my music to heal. There’s a lot of pain in the world, mostly caused by ourselves, which music can help to alleviate. There are circumstances beyond our control. But at the same time there’s so much we can do as individuals to bring positive change in the world.