Blue are one of those rare breeds of band that began before social media and who are still going strong, this week they will release their 6th studio album “Heart and Soul”.
It’s been seven years since Blue’s last album together so we caught up with Antony Costa and Duncan James to find out all about Heart & Soul and why the a seven-year gap between releases.
“I think everything is about timing and I think we just weren’t ready to come back and do a kind of album until now. Really, I mean, we wanted to do it for the 20th anniversary, a couple of years ago, but then, of course, COVID here and everything was put on the back burner. “
“But um, you know, we just decided to continue to try to make this album even though it was really difficult times. We were going into studios on our own, we were recording from homes. We were, you know, very discombobulated as a band. Because we weren’t able to be in the same place at the same time because of the COVID rules. But we prevailed.” says Duncan as we chat over zoom. And they certainly did prevail as the album is full of the music fans of the band will love, while being progressive enough that it has a place in today’s charts and will likely expand Blue’s loyal fanbase further.
“We still managed to make this album I think we’re really proud of it. I think, you know, it’s safe to say this is one of the best albums we’ve done in the last two decades. So we’re just very, very proud of it and we’ve kind of taken it back to our roots taking it back to when we had songs like rising fly by and stuff and, and I think we’ve kind of taken the music back to that kind of era really, but with a modern twist on it.”
Creating Heart & Soul was a long process but one the members of Blue relished and enjoyed despite the restrictions placed on them by covid.
“It took us two and a half years. We really finished it roughly nine months ago. As Duncan was saying we started recording in January 2020. And obviously, we were just doing our thing, and obviously, the pandemic hit. “ Antony explains. ” So it would have been much more earlier but with all the rules and all the rules changing and yet, you know what a tier one and tier two and yeah, see your friend on a Tuesday. You can’t see him on a Wednesday pro process of this album was quite surreal because we were all individually in the studio by ourselves. So most of the songs you hear but two or three it was all done remotely in the studio on our own with the producer.
The fact that Blue has been recording music together for over twenty years meant the process of recording and being in the separately wasn’t overly daunting as they know each other and their voices so well.
“That’s the beauty about Blue we know each other’s voices so well. We know how to blend and how to make our voices as one so to speak and make that blue sound.”
“I think as Antony said like we know each other’s voices so well you just hear a song and you just like well, I can hear on the first verse I can hear Lee sing in the pre I can use Simon on the chorus I can hear myself in the middle eight. you just kind of know really and I think we just when we listen to a song, we just don’t have a conversation about it.” Duncan continues ” And it was because I think that’s the beauty of us working with each other for 20 years. We know. We know our voices so well. I mean, for instance, you know, you got to work every day with the same people the same team, you know, who’s you know, got their strengths and their weaknesses because you know, your team don’t really work the team for decades. And that’s what we’ve done. You know, we’ve two decades in we’re still together still the original members and we know each other so well. And that’s What’s lovely about Blue.“
Having the bond they do is apparent to see, especially as talk turns to Blue’s first single off “Heart & Soul”, which was a track called “Haven’t Found You Yet”, which Antony wrote, is rightly very proud of and Duncan can recall being in the studio in Sweden and hearing Antony work on the track and being blown away by it.
“I just remember coming out of my session and I just had Anthony in the studio doing and yeah, and I remember thinking that sounds amazing. I kind of wandered in and I was like, This sounds great. And he was like listen to this chorus for me and I was like, that’s amazing. And then we were just like, well, that’s going on the album and that was kind of a benchmark .”
Antony continues “It was an honour to have the first single so to speak. And, as Dunc said it set the benchmark and the thing is it just came out of nowhere. It wasn’t an idea that I had when going into the studio. I just vibed with the producers, Ronnie and Anna. And it just happened. I think from that if the ball just kept rolling and you know Dunc went into the studio and wrote some good tunes. And yeah, and the other two as well. So that’s the best thing. again, that’s the beauty of Blue. We can work with other people. We’re still creating that Blue sound.”
“I’ve never personally had a song I wrote for Blue become the first single. So to be able to do it in this era of out you know that so to speak, come back. I’m very very proud and I’m so pleased that they liked that song as much as I did.”
“Heart & Soul” is an album which is pure Blue. It’s the sound everyone who has listened to their music over the years and a body of work that the band members are excited to release.
“It’s been the first album that we’ve done in a couple of decades that I’ve been really excited about, I think no disrespect to say the colours album but the whole process of colours wasn’t the most enjoyable. It wasn’t the most creative. It was just basically an album of covers that we were kind of, we were kind of made to do and I think you know, we threw in some original songs because we just love writing but this whole process has been completely different style completely different. ” Explains Duncan “We’ve worked with people that we worked with 20 years ago. Hugh Goldsmith came back on board to a&r the whole album, who was the original a&r for blue back in the day. We know we just it just things just felt different this time. It’s it felt like a lot more of an actual process that we’ve enjoyed from the beginning. Right you know, starting in the writing camps in Sweden, to the finished product that we’ve got now with be with BMG. And I think that this whole process has been, it’s been a lot more enjoyable. We’ve really enjoyed it a lot more even though we had to do it through COVID is made it a little bit more special. We’re just really excited now for the fans to hear it all around the world and we’re really proud of this album.“
When we asked why the name “Heart & Soul” Antony tells us “So when we heard the song, come forward to the table. Because a friend wrote and produced it. It was it just felt right naming the album Heart and Soul I don’t know why. It just screams out album track album, you know, album name. So yeah, I don’t think there were many arguments or disagreements with naming an album for sure. It just felt right.“
The new album will be released via TAG 8, under BMG, Tag 8 is owned by Bros star Craig Logan, BMG is home to some of the biggest artists around including Louis Tomlinson, 5SoS and Steps, all of whom have been in the industry years, with loyal fanbases and who as artists have been with the major labels in the past and value the creative control that BMG believes is an artist’s fundamental right.
“BMG has been great. They’ve been so fantastic and for us, it’s been lovely to work with them. Having Craig Logan sign us, was a huge honour because we’ve all been massive fans of Craig. Obviously, he was in Bros. So he was the OG boy band, and he also manages one of my best mates Anastasia,” Duncan says” so having him sign as to his label tag eight at BMG was a real honour actually, having Craig at the helm just felt like we were in safe hands. The BMG machine is so well-oiled. They’ve done such a fantastic job with bands like Steps, etc.”
Next up for the band is a UK tour which starts in December. “We’re doing the first three singles. I think that gives a really good indication of the album”, Antony tells us” because you’ve got an up-tempo, you’ve got a mid-tempo, you’ve got a classic boom, blue ballad. And you’ve got you know, real real good concepts on which fans will love live. Along with the nostalgic tunes. So they’re the ones that were really looking forward to doing and showing the audience what, what it’s all about.”
You can presave/preorder the album and find out more about the band’s tour, here!