More than a year ago, producer and musician Erik Blood decided to leave Seattle for Los Angeles. The move caught some by surprise because Blood had very deep roots in Seattle's music community. He worked with the Moondoggies, THEESatisfaction, Shabazz Palaces, and Tacocat. And he released two brilliant solo albums, Touch Screens and Lost in Slow Motion. Why did he leave all of these achievements and connections for a life in LA? His answer: He and his boyfriend simply fell in love with the City of Angels.
Fair enough. But has the move affected his music and his music career? The answer to the latter is no. Blood is still very much a part of the Seattle scene, and he has yet to break into LA's. In fact, when I spoke to him in mid-May, he was in Seattle recording Tacocat's new album and putting the finishing touches on a new album he produced for Shit Ghost, 2: Photos of Bread.
"I'm up here a lot," Blood admitted. "But I do need more work in LA. And this is hard, because so much of the work there is industry stuff. Yes, I would like to work in the industry, but I don't want to make it my whole life. And that's a problem. There are people in LA who are willing to do whatever it takes to get those jobs."
Blood also thinks that, though the LA scene is huge and has lots to offer, it's not as happening as Seattle's. "In Seattle, if you go to see a show that's got a rock band, it may have a hiphop act and an electronic act on the bill," said Blood. "That doesn't happen in LA. If you go to a rock show, you are going to see three rock bands... Any indie rock band in Seattle is like, 'Hell yeah, I want [the rapper] DoNormaal to open for me.' In that way, Seattle is cooler."
But what of Blood's music? Has it changed? The answer is yes. His LA music is different from his Seattle music—which in my mind recalls the frosty, even futuristic melancholy of Harold Budd's The White Arcades, the soulful saudade (nostalgic longing) of My Bloody Valentine's MBV, and the painfully beautiful melodies of Cocteau Twins' Heaven or Las Vegas.
His new work, some of which he will perform at Neumos on May 24, is not frosty at all. One might even describe it as almost happy. According to Blood, some who have already heard his latest music "say they can hear the sun in my new stuff." This is true. A sun that's nowhere in Blood's Seattle work is suddenly there in his Los Angeles songs.
Nevertheless, the longing has not evaporated. One of his new tunes, "Long Ago Now," opens with the echoed and cheerful clap of Prince's "Mountains." But after three or so opening bars, Blood takes a completely different melodic path from Prince's song and he begins singing about a snow-covered wonderland that he saw in some unreachable, very distant past. The LA sun might make Blood happier, but the transplant continues to bear the same melancholy Northwest fruit.