Indie rocker Francis Alban Blake just released his new album "Passages" and to celebrate we asked his to tell us about the Leonard Da Vinci single "Blisters". Here is the story:
The song Blisters came to me on a dark damp and misty Dutch winters day. I say came to me, because like with 99% of my songs, it more or less happened in a short stretch of time. I had just bought a Korg MS2000 synth for in my studio and had brought it there, but I was in the situation where I actually had to drive home for dinner - my wife had already rang to say it was on the table- but I couldn't resist the urge to plug this new purchase in and check it out. Since I'm a guitarist first and a piano player last, I was surprised to find myself touching the keys and instinctively playing this rather vague melody. It made no sense to me and its rhythmic pattern and feel when I moved my fingers over the keys made it something real fun and addictive to play. Mesmerizing. I recorded it on my phone so I wouldn't forget.
Turned out: I couldn't forget it, because it was still in my head when I tried to get to sleep. I went downstairs because I wanted to know which chords would fit if I'd follow the melody on it if I'd play along on the guitar. Knowing that would help me fall asleep eventually I figured. I was surprised. The keyboard melody sounded catchy, but the chord progression was far out (strange).
The next morning, I woke up and realized I had dreamed about Leonardo Da Vinci. In my head images of a sun-laden Florence (one of my favorite cities), climbing a sandy mountain and blisters on my heels lingered. I know that sounds pretty vague, but that is what dreams are, right? I arrived in my studio, made a pot of coffee and jotted down "the Blisters of Leonardo Da Vinci". Immediately new thoughts were sparked and what followed was a really long write. The result was not particularly cohesive, but once I got my guitar and played the strange progressions and sang the words along it all magically fit.
Suddenly the words did make sense to me. I realized the song was about Leonardo Da Vinci's urge to be who he really was and how it related to my own struggle in this respect. I now recognized it as inspired by Freud's reading of Da Vinci which I love (read here.).
"I guess I am what I make" had struck me as a cryptic line at first. Not any longer: when you are an artist, you are what you make. So whatever you make, you better make it a resemblance of who you are. And so this song changed me, because it made me realize that I should embrace the strangeness of my creations instead of being ashamed of them as I had been so often in the past. Blisters really helped me "to fall into place"!
So the song is dear to me, but I had never thought of it as a single until several people who had listened to the record told me that Blisters in particular got stuck in their heads. "That's a proper single" they were telling me. "Really?" I asked, "Blisters... a single? Well why not?". So here you go, here you find it singled out.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen and watch for yourself below and learn more about the album here