James Blake: ‘Billie Eilish’s music got me through nightmare Japan trip’


James Blake calmed himself down after a nightmare Japanese festival gig by listening to Billie Eilish’s debut album for the first time.

The Limit to Your Love hitmaker, 31, is pals with Billie’s brother Finneas O’Connell, who co-wrote and produced their record When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? but initially refused to listen to it as he worried about the hype surrounding it.

However, he decided to give it a try after battling illness and fighting off insects to perform at the Mount Fuji Festival in Japan.

“It was really stressful – I don’t like bugs – and we were driving back and that record really calmed me down, but it also gave me a lot of ideas,” he tells Variety.

Gushing about the album, which is nominated for two Grammy Awards, and the track Bury a Friend in particular – which he says is the most interesting song he’s heard since Kanye West’s Yeezus.

“It’s so sparsely produced, and they gate the vocals so you can’t hear any noise – when a vocal goes out there’s just complete silence,” the star adds. “I don’t know whether that was conscious, but I found it really fascinating. Bury a Friend was one of the most interestingly produced things I’ve heard since Yeezus, which I think was some influence.”

He also praises the pair for addressing their sudden global success on their new track, Everything I Wanted.

“It’s so interesting how they put it out after (the album) to talk about what it’s like to rocket to that kind of success and get everything you wanted, and actually have it exacerbate your nightmares,” he explains. “I think the novelty of fame wears off quickly.”