Dusky with a nonchalant like style, if you haven't already heard of Puma Blue it's time to listen up. Having just finished his first European headline tour (and a very successful one at that), Puma Blue aka Jacob Allen is gifting our ears with some restorative and exciting new sounds. After coming across his music through a photographer (music that I can't quite seem to categorize) I was eager to find out what the BRIT graduate was all about. Musical heroes, a dive into videography and some instrumental developments, read what one of the most exciting new songwriters has to say for himself. Oh, and if anyone happens to own an ondes martenot - get in touch.
You've had an exciting few months releasing lots of new music and you've just come back from your first European headline tour. How was it playing to your fans further East?
It was beautiful. I love travelling to these places which feel foreign, but being able to share moments with strangers during the shows because music is such a universal language. It was a trip seeing the response from European fans as well, I didn't know if anyone was even going to turn up.
You've mentioned Jeff Buckley as being one of your biggest inspirations, something we can hear through the occasional flushes of falsetto like vocal lines. Is there anyone else who has helped shape your sound?
For sure. I think everything you take in and listen to shapes how you sound, but for me some of the more profound influences on my music have been D'Angelo, Radiohead, J Dilla, Deftones, John Frusciante, Billie Holiday, Burial, Elliott Smith and Portishead.
Did your experience at The BRIT School have a big influence on your approach to writing and recording?
Not so much the way I write, but I learnt the basics of how to produce at BRIT, yeah. I'd started messing around with Cubase and FruityLoops before, but I learnt the software I use now there. Also, BRIT just encouraged me to think with my left-brain; to keep takings creative risks and keep my ideas outside of what feels comfortable. That's when I'm happiest as a songwriter or producer, when I'm just experimenting.
Are there any other projects or ideas you're interested in exploring in the future?
100%. I put together the video for my song 'Soft Porn' last year, and it woke up the sleeping dream in me to get involved with film. Whether it's as a writer or a director or even an editor or something, I have so much love for cinematography and storytelling, I'd love to follow that. I'd wanna make something along the lines of a Vincent Gallo or Wong Kar-wai film. Equally though, doing something with Eric Andre or being a voice in something like Bojack... I'd be deep into that.
You recently released 'Want Me' as part of your 5 track EP 'Swum Baby', a track that features a dusky sax solo. Can we expect to hear any more experimentation regarding the instruments you feature?
Absolutely. The live set up has been two guitars, sax, bass & drums for a few years now, but when it comes to recording and production, I don't think there should ever be any limitations. I've been writing more songs on keys recently, and planning out string and trombone parts for a few songs. I'm obsessed with the ondes martenot, but I don't know how I'd get my hands on one.
What are your plans for the future, and what is the dream?
I'm putting out a 2nd EP later this year, and I've got another UK tour in October, then after that we'll see. The dream is pretty much everything exactly as-is. I'm really happy just doing what I'm doing now. I hope my music reaches more people and whatever, but I'm just content to have reached anyone at all.