Humphrey Berney admits it has been a risk, but something the band needed to do both in terms of seeking out new musical challenges and also reaching out to a wider audience.
Blake’s new album Start Over, released on February 11, really does mark a new departure; and Horsham gets an early chance to see what it thinks when the foursome play The Capitol on Friday, February 8.
After making their name in the classical cross-over market, Blake offer as their fourth studio album a collection of contemporary harmony pop featuring original songs and a few carefully-selected covers. Having formed in 2007, recording and performing as a classical group, they are now effectively releasing their first pop album.
“The music industry is an interesting and challenging place,” says Humphrey – a place you can take nothing for granted. “We are lucky enough to travel a lot within the UK and we are also very busy on the international scene, and we are very proud of what we have done.
“We have been going for six years in March, and a lot of bands have either imploded or exploded or just vanished long before six years. We are very happy that we are still able to keep going.
“But what we decided with this new album – it has been a couple of years in the making – is that we wanted to challenge ourselves and evolve the sound. One of the main changes is that this is mostly original material. On this album, ten of the songs are songs that have never been heard before. We were working with an American team. That’s how the project started out. They sent us 12 songs that they thought would challenge us, and we took them and turned them into Blake songs. It’s a very different sound – not classical in any way. It’s very much an original harmony pop album.”
Over the past six months they have been introducing some of the songs into their live sets – which has been nerve-racking, Humphrey admits. When you are doing the classics, you have something of a head start in that people will know the music before you begin. With original numbers, you are taking a leap into the unknown.
“But I would say that 99.9 per cent of people liked what we were doing.
“It was something we felt we had to do,” says Humphrey – something which should broaden their appeal.