Chichester Cathedral is precisely the kind of venue that pop-classical cross-over stars Blake love to play (Saturday, July 2, 8pm)
As Stephen Bowman, one of the four-part harmony foursome, explains: “Cathedrals definitely tend to suit the type of music that we bring to people, which is often very large, very grandiose.
“If we are singing classical, it will be quite powerful and uplifting. If it is more pop music, it will be very anthemic.”
And along the way, the boundaries between them will be blurred, one part of that cross-over appeal: “A lot of people that might have read about Blake will think that it is classical music, but when you look into the type of music that we chose, it is almost 50-50. The one thing that links it is all is that it is four-part harmony singing.
“It allows us to make some pretty wild juxtapositions. One minute it could be something huge like Nessun Dorma and then with the next song, it could be something like Bridge Over Troubled Water, two entirely different musical sounds - and that’s great fun for the audience.
“It means that they don’t have to sit there politely. We very much encourage the audience to embrace all the different types of music that they are listening to. But that’s how it is. If you look at anyone’s CD collection or what they have got on their iPod, then it is bound to be a lot of different things. People have got varied tastes and always have had.”
There are some places Blake wouldn’t go: “Rap, for instance. We would never go down the rap route. Four-part harmony with rap wouldn’t work! And obviously we don’t go far down the electronica route, but basically we can go all the way from Puccini to Simon & Garfunkel and The Beach Boys and even Snow Patrol. It’s very eclectic music, all linked by a very direct rapport between the four guys.
“We have known each other for 20 years. We are very good friends. We know how to push each other’s buttons on stage and we know how to enjoy ourselves.”
Other bands in a similar vein have been too scripted, Andrew feels: “We just know each other very well. We know how to banter. For us the joy of live music is the spontaneity, and for us the chat between the four of us is a very big part of the show.
“It’s difficult for a lot of groups because they have been placed together by some pop Svengali somewhere, with someone saying ‘You go with him and him’, but with us it is just not like that. We are simply four guys that have a lot of fun, and as a result of that, we just don’t have the pressures. It’s not about someone trying to steal the lead. It’s four-part harmony. There is no lead. The harmony is the emotion.
“We have our ups and downs. We have our tiffs like brothers. We shout at each other and then five minutes later everyone is fine and we move on with it. The point is that there are no underlying issues. There are no cracks. There are no problems in the foundations. The foundations are strong.”