Tell me where the songs on “A Watched Pot” came from. Was it all saved from 2003 or are these new songs that reflect your experiences with L.E.O. and The Major Labels?
B: There are a couple of new-er songs on A Watched Pot..but even those were written before the inception of The Major Labels and before LEO was released…although, there are a couple of new performances (the vocals on “Kiss Me” and “When The Lights Go Out” and some other miscellany)..
First some history. How did your career evolve from the point after “Redhead” to wanting to be a musical producer and to this current album? What was the struggle for “creative rights” all about?
B: long-story-long….after the release of “Redhead” there was a long draw-out process of creating the material that became AWP, I was trying to figure out what direction I wanted to go in, and the label was trying to decide if I was bankable enough to keep on the roster…the label did eventually decide to let me make the record with John Fields (and Ducky of course) based on what they though were a couple of potential singles (which were “Go,” “Save Me,” and “Boy Meets Girl”)..and then they pretty much left me alone to make the record that I wanted to make..but very shortly after it was finished, I was dropped along with dozens of other bands (and employees) who caught the bunk-end of Sony’s ongoing downsizing. I had been working slowly on LEO already for a while (much to the label’s chagrin), so, I worked more on that and I had already been doing some production and co-writing..so..I did more of that…it wasn’t like I got dropped and said “I’m going to be a producer and co-writer now and start all these side-projects, etc.”…I pretty much did everything I was doing before (and a few things I wanted to do a little more of). The only thing I couldn’t do was release my next record. That was tough, but, everything happens for a reason, and it left me time to concentrate on some other rewarding aspects of my life. It was a difficult (and mostly just long) process to get the record back from Sony. I went through a lot of management (and lawyer, etc.) changes, which didn’t make it any easier, but mostly it was just hard to get them to pay attention and take the time to deal with the paperwork. Honestly, I have Stacey Peck (my current artist manager) to thank for having the perseverance to keep wearing everyone down until eventually they dealt with it.
L.E.O. was such a fan favorite here at Powerpopaholic. Although you have a few tracks that harken back to that experience (“No such thing as love”) this album feels more of a personal statement. Do you ever think we’ll get to see a L.E.O. Part II?
B: I never expected L.E.O. to be such a cult fave but people ask me this question all the time. And the answer is no (and yes?)…in a sense, I have already almost finished the follow up to L.E.O. but, it’s a conceptual follow up. I had always imagined creating a trilogy of records that are all homages to some of my favorite idiosyncratic producer/writers. The 2nd is LoudLion, which has it’s own cult fans..but, it seems, very few of them cross-over with the L.E.O. fans. I’ll finish that record and start the 3rd in the trilogy before year’s end. It will have some of the same collaborators as L.E.O. (and some awesome new ones,) and it will be an homage to… wait for it… Prince!
Tell me the story about “I wont fuck you over” and the confessional songwriting experience here. Did you want to go down a darker path for this album?
B: I think my writing has always been pretty dark (see “Terrible Secret” from Headroom or “You, Know, I Know, You Know” from Redhead, etc.)…but yeah, there are definitely some very real and personal moments on this record.
What do you find works best for your creative process when bringing a song together? Does it evolve from jams, riffs, lyrics ?
B: I don’t have a “method” for writing, I like to mix it up..but these days a lot of my songs start with a title or an idea of what i want to write a about.
Are you planning any live performances to support the album?
B: I’ll be doing a bunch of tour-dates to support the record…and in general, I hope to be playing more regularly. ( Note: check out the concert dates on www.bleutopia.ning )
What other musical influences have you picked up these past years from all the musicians you’ve worked with? Who effected you the most?
B: In terms of production, I’ve been influenced heavily by John Fields and Ducky Carlisle, as well as a bunch of the crew that they run with, Dorian Crozier, etc. And of course, as i’ve “studied” Jeff Lynne and Mutt Lange in the creation of those homage projects, they’ve become even more influential in terms of songwriting, those guys continue to be big, but, Mike Viola has also made an impact on me. He is easily one of my favorite songwriters of all time. Honestly, I can’t believe I’m in a band with the guy (but don’t tell him I said that).
What’s next for Bleu?
B: well.. I’m already done with a new record (titled “FOUR”). As I mentioned before, I’ll be finishing LoudLion, and starting the next album in that trilogy sometime soon-ish. I have some more cuts coming out on other people’s records this year and I’ll be doing a lot more production and co-writing (always) and we’re making another The Major Labels record in the fall… fun fun fun!
Thanks for the interview, I can’t wait to hear “FOUR” when it’s released!