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Interview: James Blunt on Some Kind Of Trouble and 'perfect pop songs'

"I think I've always focused on albums. I don't consider myself a singles kind of guy. My albums have always sold more around the world than singles. My first record, Back To Bedlam, sold something like 11 or 12 million copies. Yes, it was driven by a single, particularly in the US, but as an album it did quite nicely.

"I get what you mean, though, but in point of fact, I do make albums, and then I leave it up to the record company to figure out which songs they think will work out there. I wouldn't have a clue what works on the radio, so I'm quite happy to leave it up to the record company to do all that. If I had to pick a single, I'd get it massively wrong."

Overall, Some Kind Of Trouble is way more uplifting than your first two records. Was that the plan all along?

"I don't believe I thought it out too hard. I just didn't want to repeat myself with slow, melancholic songs. Still, it was a little bit of a puzzle: I didn't know how the album would play out. It wasn't until I hooked up with Steve Robson that this new kind of enthusiasm and playfulness started to come about. For me, playing the electric guitar had a lot to do with it, too. Stay The Night is an exception in that it's very acoustic driven, but if you listen to the rest of the album, there's a lot of electric guitars on it."

What led to your decision to play more electric guitar?

"The truth is, I started on the electric when I was 14 years old. But what happened was, I started traveling a lot when I was in the army. It's difficult to bring an electric and an amp in a tank, you know what I mean?"

Actually, no, but I can picture it. [laughs]

[laughs] "Right! Well, it's impossible, trust me. There's no room, there's no sockets to plug into, and plus, you're in a tank. But I found I was able to bring an acoustic with me, and that really impacted my first batch of songs. Lately, for recording and performing, I'm playing a Nash electric, which is a Telecaster-type model. The company is based in Los Angeles, and they make really wonderful guitars."

What kind of amps do you like to use?

"On stage, I like Marshall Bluesbreakers and Fender Twin Reverbs. In the studio, we had all kinds of amps. It really depended on what studio and city we were in. Whatever was sitting around, I'd give it a go and see if I liked it. I know I used a Fender Blues DeVille, which I liked a lot. So yeah, on stage, I go for the Bluesbreakers and the Twin Reverbs. In the studio, there's no one or two definitive amps."

You still do play acoustics quite a bit. Gibsons seem to be a favorite.

"That's right. I have a J-45, which has become my workhorse. I have a Gibson 12-string, too, which is really wonderful. It's very warm-sounding and forgiving - I can bash all about and it'll still sound terrific."


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