Despite the fact that James Blake released his album with little notice, The Colour in Anything was a long time coming. Blake took three years after 2013’s Overgrown and worked with a number of collaborators, experimenting with new textures and sounds. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, the artist revealed that two elusive individuals in particular really helped shape his third album: Frank Ocean and Rick Rubin.
When James Blake first met Rick Rubin at Coachella, he apparently had no idea who Rubin was. “He was side stage; at first I was like, ‘Wow, that’s an amazing beard.’ […] Then I was like, ‘Oh, wow, he doesn’t have any shoes on. That’s unique’,” Blake told Rolling Stone. Then, after bonding over their mutual love for Band of Gypsys and Blake’s favorite Jimi Hendrix record, they carved out what Blake’s approach should be: less restrained than what he had done in the past.
As for Frank Ocean, Blake admitted that Frank had a “huge influence” on the way that Blake wrote his record and melodies, specifically Frank’s newer music. Speaking of Ocean’s new music, Blake says that “it’s better” in comparison to Channel Orange. “He’s had time to mature. It’s really cool to watch.”
James Blake also discussed his Radiohead problem—that is, his music was constantly being described as melancholic. Addressing those who label his music as such, he explains that “just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it’s depressing,” urging listeners to be more objective.