Blue Blood started out as a solo venture for musician Hunter Morris, who conceived the idea after his previous band, Gift Horse, parted ways. The Athens, Georgia-based Morris then spent a year working as a fly fishing guide on the trout streams of North Georgia, a creatively fruitful time that spawned the songs that now form This Is the Life, Morris’ debut as Blue Blood.
Morris ended up not going at it all by himself, though. Hank Sullivant, the guitarist for MGMT and the frontman of Kuroma, worked as producer/instrumentalist for the recording. Rounded out by J.J. Bower (Dead Confederate) on drums and Dave Spivey on keys, Blue Blood is a fine example of how an artist can create a new avenue through artistic exploration in the wake of a finished project. Morris’ vision was rich enough on its own; with the addition of players such as Sullivant, Spivey, and Bower, his initial idea has blossomed into a mind-enveloping collection of introspective gloom pop.
Morris tells PopMatters about the whole process, “I’ve never thought of myself as a great musician, but I really like writing songs and playing them well enough to get the point across. When it became clear that my last band had seen its final days, I was faced with having to make my next album without an actual band. This was an intimidating proposition, but it was also one of the most liberating feelings I’ve ever experienced. Fortunately for me, I have a friend and collaborator in Hank Sullivant [MGMT, Kuroma, the Whigs], who has the unique and impressive ability to hear what every instrument should be doing at every moment of every song.
“We did at least three demos of every song that ended up on This Is the Life, and each time we just kind of dug a little deeper. By the time we went in to record, we had maybe 80 percent of our parts written. This made Hank’s transition to producer much easier, and we were able to focus primarily on bringing out the key elements of the arrangements.
“Lyrically and thematically, the album is very much like the process of its creation—life is about learning from the experiences you gain along the way, and then figuring out how to not fuck up so bad the next time it happens. And it’s about enjoying the whole stupid process, which we absolutely did while making This Is The Life.”
This Is the Life is out now via This Is American Music.