Humphrey Berney talks about Blake’s tenth-anniversary album ahead of Horsham concert

Blake
Blake

Brit-Award-winning vocal trio Blake return in 2018 with a special UK tour, celebrating ten years together.

Among the venues they will play are the Capitol Theatre in Horsham on Thursday, May 3, and Clair Hall in Haywards Heath on September 8.

It’s a tour that comes on a high, with Blake’s new tenth-anniversary album hitting number one in the classical charts.

“It is really exciting,” says Humphrey Berney. “An anniversary makes you think, and we really have had an amazing time, and for the album, we wanted to get back to our original more classical sound as well. It has been great. The album has been really well received.

“It has been a long time in coming. It’s a crowd-funded album through our fans and supporters, which has been lovely: it has been like a vote of confidence. We were the first in the classical world to do a crowd-funded album. We did our previous album that way, and it was great that there were people out there that liked our music enough to want to be part of making the album. We were able to offer people various experiences like watching the recording.

“We are an independent label. Ten years ago we were with Universal Records, but with our third album we became independent. We are our own label and we are our own bosses, and financially crowd-funding is a good way forward for a small outfit like us because it makes the whole experience more engaged, not just for us, but also for the people that support the album. We get amazing feedback from the fans, and it just makes sense from every aspect for an independent label to do it this way.”

Blake famously formed through Facebook and got off to an extraordinary start, things very quickly escalating into a major record deal.

“It has been ups and downs since then. We were very fortunate to get off to the start that we did. It gives you experience of something that you want to continue, but also it puts pressure on what you want to achieve, especially when you then take away the major record label. But in doing that, we have learnt a huge amount about the actual mechanics of the record business.

“We have tried lots of things. Some of them have worked very well. Some of them haven’t. But in doing this new album, we have put together everything that suits us and everything that our audiences want to hear.”

Along the way, Blake has also gone from quartet to trio: “I came in originally two years into the journey and then four or five years ago we became a trio when Jules (Knight) left.”

But in hindsight, it now seems a blessing, Humphrey says: “It allows us more space on stage physically and musically to do our own things individually, and it has worked very well in allowing us to bring in other artists. We have done some amazing duets with people like Shirley Bassey, and I don’t think we would have been able to do that if we had still been four. Five would have been a bit too crowded on stage. So in many ways it was a blessing. It gave us new energy, and I think that is all part of the reason we have been able to continue towards this big anniversary. It feels like a milestone, something you can look back on.”

Tickets cost £23-£47. Call 01403 750220.

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