We caught up with Blanke at HARD Summer and discussed new music, career milestones, his ÆON project, and more!
When listening to a set from Blanke, you’re bound to hear a wide range of sounds. From heavy dubstep to melodic bass, drum and bass, midtempo, and more, Blanke has amassed quite the fanbase over the years, and they appreciate the diversity in his sets. As his name derives from a “blank canvas,” one can truly see his creativity and desire to keep pushing boundaries shine through in all that he does, with seemingly limitless possibilities.
This Australian-grown, Denver-based producer has seen quite the whirlwind of shows as of late. From a milestone performance at ILLENIUM’s Trilogy show in Colorado to festivals like Lollapalooza Paris and EDC Las Vegas along with Lost Lands and Electric Zoo on the horizon, Blanke shows no signs of slowing down. Recent releases, like the dreamy drum and bass track “Drift” with Britt Lari, have also catapulted into the hearts of fans worldwide as he continues to successfully pivot among multiple genres.
We recently had the opportunity to catch up with Blanke at HARD Summer. From his new music, summer shows, and production process to his drum and bass-leaning ÆON project, appreciation for fans, and more, it truly was a pleasure chatting with Blanke. Keep on reading for the full interview!
Stream Blanke, Britt Lari – “Drift” on Spotify
Thank you for coming and taking the time to chat with us! You just got off the Green Stage here at HARD Summer and played a killer set. And you played Lollapalooza this weekend, too. How would you compare the two festivals? Have you noticed anything different in the crowd?
Yeah, HARD Summer is a lot more EDM focused, albeit broadly represented still, so I think that makes a big difference in who attends. Lollapalooza was an all-ages thing as well, with artists like The 1975, Kendrick Lamar, and Billie Eilish headlining, so you kind of get an array of literally everybody when you go, which is really cool. But here at HARD, it’s diehard dance fans. I played HARD in 2019. It was one of the craziest and one of my favorite sets that I’ve done, and today was the same. It just leveled up. I was stoked.
And speaking of festivals, you’re also in the middle of a bunch of summer dates across the US and Canada, and even internationally at Lollapalooza Paris and Rampage. Do you have any standout moments from the tour so far?
Yes, honestly, HARD Summer this year was insane with the new venue. I’d never been to the LA Coliseum before, so it was really cool to come out and be playing in a stadium like that where it’s this big bowl, like the Super Bowl. The energy was awesome, and the sound was amazing.
Earlier this summer, you also hit a massive milestone in your career playing ILLENIUM’s Trilogy show in Denver, where it was your first time playing in a football stadium. It was also the biggest headline EDM event in the US. How did that feel for you to play that show?
I mean, just being a part of that was next level, especially doing it with William Black because we did a B2B – calling it William Blanke – and we’d only done it a couple of times. We have both sort of come up a lot because of Nick [ILLENIUM], so we were super grateful.
It just felt like family; it felt like a part of the journey that was so effortless and just part of what we’ve been doing for the past few years. It was super cool to be able to do that with a friend, do it with Nick, who’s also a friend, and I think that was the sentimental part of that. Obviously, playing in a football stadium was next level. I think at the time that we played, there were probably about 25,000-30,000 people, but yeah, the cap ended up being 50,000+.
The energy must have been off the walls in there.
The energy was cool. And a lot of the [ILLENIUM] fans there were fans of us and knew us. It feels like we connected a lot to that crowd because of our connection with Nick. So it was a really good transfer of energy back and forth.
Yeah, it’s great to have that support from Nick as well.
Absolutely. Yeah, I owe so much to that guy. I met him in Australia, and then coming over here, him putting me on all these huge shows from the get-go when I moved over in 2019, I wouldn’t be as far as I am now without him.
Your most recent release, “Drift,” is such a soothing, satisfying dose of drum and bass. I was checking it out, and I absolutely love it. What was it like collaborating with singer Britt Lari? How did you two come together to create that?
It was great. Collaborating with her was amazing. She’s a really good songwriter with a beautiful voice. I’ve definitely been a fan of her stuff, and being able to collaborate with her was really effortless, honestly.
I made that song earlier this year when I went on a little getaway in the mountains. I live in Denver, so I went into the mountains in the middle of nowhere with snow everywhere, and I just locked myself away for a bit to write music, and that was one of the things that came out of it. I’ve definitely got a bit of a sentimental attachment to that song because of that. She was super good to work with, and the song came together nicely. It was something kind of different and a little bit unique for what I was doing. It turned out really well. It is kind of satisfying, like listening to it on a night drive.
I know, it’s so different from your other drum and bass tracks. I love the approach to it.
It’s a very Blanke drum and bass track as opposed to an ÆON:Mode drum and bass track. We kind of made it a little bit ambiguous as to whether it was an ÆON:Mode release or a Blanke release. It’s a little bit of both, you guys can figure it out.
Some of your latest releases from that project have been remixes of Ray Volpe’s “Laserbeam” and John Summit’s “Where You Are.” What made you decide to want to remix those tracks and give them the ÆON approach as opposed to Blanke?
The ÆON stuff gives me a really good outlet for music, especially with, say, house or dubstep. It’s so clear to me in my head what to creatively do with it. So, with ÆON, it originally was meant to be a live edit remix thing, but I ended up putting it out properly, and then it turned out to be what it is today. With those remixes, they’re humongous records, and no one had done a drum and bass remix of either of those yet. I was like, “I need them for my sets, so I might as well give it to everyone else too.”
Yeah, I was in the crowd at your set just now. When you dropped that remix of Ray Volpe’s “Laserbeam,” the crowd was going wild!
Oh yeah, every time. Props to Ray for absolutely crushing it. That was the most played song of the last year, and it works for me in my own sets. It’s super fun.
I saw you guys connected at Lollapalooza, I was watching your Instagram Stories.
Yeah, he was playing after I was. It was great to have someone on the same team. We have the same management. It was cool having the whole team there and being in a totally different place together.
Speaking of ÆON, will we get an ÆON:THREE eventually?
Yes, absolutely. Those will continue coming along. Working on a lot of really, really cool stuff in the drum and bass project. So we’re just trying to figure out where all that’s going to be placed and when it’s coming out, but I’ve got a lot of plans for how that’s going to be more of its own project eventually.
You do have a wide variety of releases, ranging from future bass to a chill drum and bass track — or even harder sounds, like “Deranged” and “Monster,” that came out recently. How do you decide what you’re going to make next?
No idea (laughs). Literally, it’s what’s inspiring to me at the time. Things like going to festivals, seeing other people play, what crowds are reacting to, and that sort of stuff is really inspiring. I take what I can from that.
My project has been a blessing in that I can have the opportunity to make whatever I want because I’ve set the project up to be that way. It’s taken a few years for people to really get around it, but I’m at the point now where I think people will expect that I’m not a drum and bass artist or a dubstep or future bass artist. So that’s kind of exciting and also daunting at the same time because I don’t know what I’m going to make next. It’s hard to have to decide sometimes, so I just kind of let what’s inside figure it out.
It’s nice being able to play whatever you want, then people come to your sets, and they kind of know what to expect, but they also know they’re getting a variety, too.
Yeah, it definitely helps with the diversity aspect of it all. Blanke itself is kind of what the name means. It’s kind of like a blank canvas. So it gives me the opportunity to do what’s inspiring me creatively at that time.
So, now we’re going to end on a fun one. You’re done with your set here at HARD Summer. What are you going to do now?
Good question, I’m probably going to eat (laughs). It’s always fun to see what vendors there are. I like to check out what’s around. I usually run into fans, so I’ll do a little [Instagram] Story and be like, “Hey, I’m walking around the festival,” and I’ll pick out people with jerseys and go say hey.
It’s really rewarding to go and see that fans are out there with the merch; I love connecting with them and doing meet and greets. So yeah, I’m going to go out there, find some fries or something, and just enjoy it.