Blue House Sessions on making music in lockdown

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Blue House Sessions | Jay Farrar

Karlis and Oli, two music students at Falmouth University, are Blue House Sessions. Based in Penryn, the two started recording covers in their sitting room over lockdown and have since surpassed 100 followers on Instagram. They spoke to the Anchor about their innovative new project.

Just to start, could you guys introduce yourselves? How did you meet, and how did you start Blue House Sessions?

Karlis: We’re both uni students, both living in Falmouth.

Oli: Up at Glasney [student accommodation], in First Year, we were on the same course and started a band with a couple other people.

What inspired you to start recording in your living room?

K: I think the idea sparked this year because we lived together, and it was easy for us just to jam together. I guess, because of COVID, we can’t play live, and we can’t jam a lot with other musicians.

O: One of the biggest inspirations was wanting to play with other musicians.

So, would you say it’s quite difficult to source collaborations because of lockdown?

K: The people who’ve been involved with the Blue House Sessions are all friends, we’re just using all the connections we have.

O: Because we already have quite a few connections, it’s been fairly easy for us to find people.

K: I guess it’s a different setting for us to collaborate now, because before you could just do it live, and it was easier to adjust things and change something if you don’t like it, but now it maybe takes more time if you don’t like something. The process is just longer and slightly different, but the feeling is still there and that’s the most important part.

Blue House Sessions | Jay Farrar

With your collaborations, you both just play a few instruments, and you have to source other people for vocals, etc. So, what’s the process when you’re choosing songs?

K: We start with the song. Obviously, we both have our main instruments (drums for me, and keys for Oli), and then we just go from there. It’s kind of like, we pick the song, and if that song needs bass or that song needs guitar or vocals, we just think of people we know who might be able to do that song and fit it nicely.

O: We just pick the songs and find what’s most achievable for us. And then we go, like you [Karlis] said, if we need certain people for the song…

K: … And if we need vocals for the song we then think about what kind of vocals and what kind of people we know who can do them. Who’s singing? How do they sing? Would they be a good fit for the song?

Would you say there’s a theme that connects the songs you choose to cover? Is it more to do with your own personal music taste?

O: I guess it is personal, because we do have a pretty similar taste in music, so everything just aligns in that kind of way.

K: I think it’s just the music we listen to on a daily basis, anyway. It’s the songs we love.

With your setup, is that something that took a while to organise? Does it get in the way of living in the house?

K: I think, for us, it doesn’t really get in the way.

O: I think the others are okay with it.

K: It’s just about the housemates. It’s not like we’re living by ourselves in this house, there are two more people. But as far as we know, they’re okay with it, and we’re happy about that.

O: We didn’t have a drum kit to start with, and that was a big issue. But as soon as we got that down, you [Karlis] got all your mics and stands and stuff.

K: At first, we were a bit worried that it would be too loud, especially with the housemates, the neighbours, or whatever. I guess over time we realised that it wasn’t as bad as we thought it was gonna be, and the volume’s okay. No-one’s been complaining.

Karlis and Oli | Jay Farrar

Do you rehearse much with your tracks, or is it a spontaneous thing?

K: We do rehearse, yeah.

O: When we have a new track, we will get it to the point where we can record it without too much of a hassle.

K: At first, we rehearse by ourselves just to understand how we can support the track just with our instruments, but it’s also about deciding whether we want to play it exactly how it is in the original, or do we want to change things slightly, and how do we go from there? When we have our own initial ideas, then we get together and we say “we’re gonna do like this”. Then we send the files over to the other collaborators and see what they come up with.

To finish up, what are you guys thinking about for the future? Are you gonna continue the band once COVID’s over, or are you thinking of maybe releasing an EP soon?

O: I mean we haven’t thought about anything (*laughs*).

K: I think at this point, soon we’re gonna release our full session, which is our last one for this season. We’re gonna have a short break, then we’re gonna come back. We might continue the same way. We might continue slightly differently. We might release audio files separately, because at the moment we only have full sessions on YouTube, and it’s not like you can listen to it on Spotify.

O: We definitely would like to continue.