The idea of citizenship, of literaly being a citizen, simultaneously gives you an identity and denies you of one. It strips the self of autonomy, while tricking you into thinking you exist within the loving arms of the state. Laurence Blake AKA Citizenn is far from anonymous. Having already released records on the likes of Kerri Chandler's Madtech label, Waze & Odyssey's Street Tracks imprint and Love Fever records, his brand of deep leaning house has won him fans throughout the scene.
Recently signed to Ralph Lawson's 2020 Vision, Blake's new EP BE is a churning set of dark club material: handclaps kick like a mule, 5AM eternal basslines clank through dank corridoors, and spectral vocal snatches haunt the edges of the dancefloor.
THUMP are super psyched to give you an exclusive first listen to Hercules & Love Affair's crackling, dubby, sensual re-rub of the title track. We also had a quick chat with Blake about the record.
THUMP:Tell us about the new name Citizenn- why the extra n and does this relate to a change in sound for you?
Citizenn: Before I started this project my namesake was more of an Akria derived afterthought and I hadn't really thought about the multitude of different things operating under this guise. In the same breath my Twitter account got verified and I started getting some quite irregular mentions - at first I thought people were writing me haikus or something, very, very emotional haikus. I realised they were actually lyrics from a pop-punk band called Citizen. That was the first of a fair few straws that broke the proverbial (also I swear I wasn't playing an all ages show in Delaware on a Tuesday…you'd have to be mad; Eastenders was on). I didn't want to stray too far from the original name however so after an intense round table discussion with a crack team of think-tank mercenaries I settled upon the extra 'N'.
It's actually silent.
As far as a change in sound, I wouldn't go that far - I'm still making music that reflects my outlook on life, hidden messages and emotive tones. Some real illuminati type stuff.
How did you and Hercules and Love Affair come to work together on this remix- you say Andy Butler is one of your heroes- was it all you ever dreamt of and more?
Ah man, I first saw Hercules at the o2 when they were touring their self-titled album many moons ago, and have been a huge fan ever since - I managed to catch up with Andy at their show in the Laundry, Hackney and we got talking. I was suppressing fanboy urges the whole time but I'm a Scorpio so kept it chill. He agreed to do the remix and the rest is history I guess!
Likewise the EP features vocals from SYF of Azari & III- tell us about this collaboration and how it came about.
I met Cedric after I played Circoloco for New Years Day and went to this insane afterparty and got chatting to him about possibly working together - again I'd been a big fan of this person and always wondered what it would be like to work with him. It just so happened that he was going to be in town for a while so we scheduled some sessions and got to work.
The finished article was put together quite quickly, Cedric is an absolute beast in the studio and we bounced ideas back and forth until we were happy with the noises coming out the speakers.
Previous cuts of yours have had that deep house feel to them, but this release is slightly tougher. How have your tastes change over the recent years, and how does this relate to your plans going forward?
I think drawing into the winter my tastes got a little more metallic - exploring a darker edge that I don't really feel has been fully realised with this release. I wanted to make something for the home/car and something for the warehouse / big room.
There were other versions I've made (3 in total I think) that are either a lot harder or practically ambient - I felt the two had the best balance, the warehouse dub doing my best impression of euphoric big room house, trying to stay on the right side of OTT. Gotta say though, it's working wonders on the floor.