Monday, May 21, 2012

"Hey Lover" by Blake Mills

ARTIST: Blake Mills
SONG:"Hey Lover"
WRITER: Blake Mills
ALBUM: Break Mirrors on Record Collection
YEAR: 2010
SITES: Blake Mills, Record Collection
BUY: Break Mirrors - Blake Mills

I stumbled onto the music of Blake Mills quite by accident, while digging around looking for something else (I do a lot of digging around for this project). Since that day, I've heard his name from about fifteen different sources. It's funny how that happens. Aside from being an artist, he is also a guitar man and record producer.

The nice people at his label sent his album to me and I immediately connected with this song. How refreshing it is to hear a love song that actually celebrates love. I recommend listening to it in your car while driving with all the windows down. 

BA: Hey Blake! Thanks for taking the time to talk about “Hey Lover." It’s been on heavy rotation over here for the past week or so. 

BM: Happy to hear it!  

BA: I read that your album Break Mirrors was recorded in bits and pieces, on down time from your work with other musicians. When was “Hey Lover” tracked? 

BM: Pretty shortly after a European run with Jenny Lewis, which was in late 2008. Met my girl on that tour. I remember the song, for whatever reason, coming together quicker than any song I'd previously written.  

BA: Am I correct in my understanding that you played everything except for drums? Tell me about how the track got built for the album.  

BM: Ya, it just started with the acoustic guitars. That was like the canvas for everything else on the tune. Stuart Johnson and I sat down together and played the drums for that song, but I remember it was after things like vocals and bass and electric guitars were already recorded. That method turned out influencing the whole pattern and feel of the drums. That guy is one of my luckiest breaks, Stuart. Not many guys can stand for that raggity-ass tempo stuff and not throw the sticks through a fucking window.  

BAThe song has a certain sunny-ness that makes it feel different from the rest of the record. Was it written in the same time frame, more or less? 

BM: More or less. Most of the record deals with things prior to meeting the person that "Hey Lover" is about, so I suppose it denotes a bit of scene-change. Act 1 to Act 2, so to speak. 

BA: What was the initial jump-off point for the song? 

BM: C major. 

BA: The lyrics seem to float in and out of being conversational with your partner, and then also about her. I like the collage of imagery and sentiment it creates.    
“And I'll never tell her when she plays a song I've never heard because I always learn the music then forget the words” 
Did “she” smile when she heard that? 

BM: Well, to be clear, there are also some lyrics that are most definitely NOT about her as well. But you're absolutely right, it does jump all over the place. It was a strange time for me before Danielle came along. 

BA: And Danielle Haim, for whom the song was written, is singing with you on the choruses, right? 

BM: Ya, I think she liked the song, but I've made her sing it with me so many times now; she's gotta be ready to trade it in for a new one. 

BA: I checked out some of the live versions of this song online, and came across Dawes performing it for The Voice Project. Was it cool to hear your friends and former band mates playing it their own way? 

BM: That was flattering, yes, but it was also a heavily motivating experience for me. I've always gotten so much support and confidence from those guys, to just keep writing, recording, performing. High-fives with those guys forever. 

BA: What other music were you listening to when you wrote “Hey Lover”? 

BM: The Drones, mostly. 

BA: What’s your favorite song right this minute? 

BM: "Something Fine" by Jackson Browne. It's almost unwritable, it's so good.

BA:  I agree. The man's a genius. Thanks for the chat – and good luck with the album. I really enjoy it.   

BM: Thank you! Take care.

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