10 Questions with Object Blue, the Multifaceted Musician with a new Project, ‘Grotto’
If you’re big on clubbing here in the capital, you’re probably well acquainted with Object Blue. Born in Tokyo but raised in Beijing, the multistranded musicians now resides in London. Before the pandemic, you could regularly catch Blue soundtracking the dancefloors of some of the city’s best venues – Corsica Studios, XOYO, The Pickle Factory, included – alongside tours in China, Australia and beyond. Away from the decks, the past year or so has brought Blue some revelations when it came to her own production work. “I had fallen into a writer’s block before the pandemic, and finally giving myself permission to make a non-dancy EP saved me from the 10-month stasis,” she says.
Her latest project, Grotto, came from an intense yet liberating few months of writing towards the end of 2020. The five tracks on the EP are more euphoric compared to her back catalogue, driven not by the dancefloor but the need to push herself creatively as much as she possibly could whilst locked away from the outside world. Unable to premier the tracks across a proper PA system, Blue turned to her wife Natalia Podgórska, who created a visual landscape to accompany the musician’s first virtual live performance, which can you can watch below. We caught up with Blue for a quickfire round of Qs all about Grotto, big smoke clubbing and what she has planned come June 21.
1. How have you kept yourself occupied since the clubs have been shut?
“Writing and releasing Grotto has been the most rewarding thing! I think I would have lost my mind without it. On a daily basis, I didn’t think I could get any more into cooking but here I am. I have homemade kefir, kombucha, yoghurt and pickles all manifesting simultaneously in my kitchen like a proper millennial lesbian.”
2. If you had to describe your sound to an alien in five words, what would they be?
“Practising metallurgy underwater with snacks.”
3. What’s one tune that you can guarantee will always get people to the dancefloor?
“Ausschuss – ‘Silk Law'”
4. If you had to choose a different colour to end your name, which would you pick?
“It would be “object claret”. I have a dear friend who I spent countless nights at Plastic People with — she and I have the same favourite lipstick shade, “Claret” by No. 7. I bought two extras when they were discontinuing it, still my favourite shade to wear five years later.”
5. What’s your favourite venue to play at in London?
“Corsica Studios for sentimentalism – going there weekly in 2015-2016 shaped me – and that bass in Room 2.”
7. What was your fondest memory from making Grotto?
“When I finished laying down the chords in ‘Procession of Healers’. I wanted this euphoric, cathartic synth to burst out to bring the track to its close. I usually am too lazy to write chords but this time I took my time and it was worth it.”
8. For the EP’s debut URL live performance, your wife Natalia Podgórska made the visuals, how was that experience collaborating?
“It was so fun and fulfilling! We’d been exhausted with the relentless monotony of lockdown, and this gave us a new breath of life. Having limited access to studios, equipment and props forced Natalia to digitally create the images from scratch – when the lockdown began again we had to abandon the idea of set building and having actors – and that made the visual world all the more strange and alluring, I’m in love with the result.”
9. You also made the costume for the performance, when did you first get into fashion?
“When I was thirteen I went from wearing my sister’s hand-me-down Abercrombie & Fitch to wearing stripy wristbands and studded belts fastened at the side of my hip, much to the disgust of my family and classmates. But I didn’t stop, I realised it feels so good and natural to wear what truly spoke to me. After the hot topic fever passed, I spent the next few years looking at archives of Alexander McQueen and Maison Margiela, and started thrift shopping when I moved to the UK. I’ll always love clothes.”
10. What do you plan to do first come June 21?
“Oof. Trying not to make any concrete plans because I don’t trust this govt to make medically informed, safe decisions! But one day when it’s safe, I want to hug my closest friends tight.”
Photography by Natalia Podgorksa. You can stream Object Blue’s ‘Grotto’ on all major platforms now.