A horrific crash left him unable to enjoy music. Now, his album is out

watoday– Melbourne DJ Jake Blood has earned his surname. The 38-year-old endured three hours of facial surgery late in July, after waiting seven years to fix scars left when he fractured his neck in a bike accident.

That traumatic crash had changed his life. It wasn’t just the physical injury: the accident left him unable to listen to, or enjoy, techno music for years.

But the music has come back. His debut album PRIX, made in lockdown, is out now: an ode to the seedier side of inner-city Melbourne. It is composed of icy stabbing synths and yawning spaces, hollow and distant sounds as if from behind walls. And there are, drenched in echoes, the hypnotic rave sounds whose absence has left warehouses and open fields eerily silent since February 2020.

There’s a sense of dread, a feeling Blood is familiar with.

“I wanted to tie in an atmosphere that I’d been feeling in Melbourne, trying to make it dark, icy and creepy, because that’s how I feel about riding my bike through the city in lockdown.”

After fracturing his wrists in 2009, Blood had to give up his full-time work as a barber. His career DJing dark acid techno sets at Melbourne’s coolest clubs and warehouse raves took off the following year (plus jobs as a busboy and bricklayer to help pay the bills), but came to a grinding halt, along with plans for an album, on a late night in Bright in 2014.

“It was around 9 o’clock at night and I went to go to this swimming hole that I hadn’t been to for years and years. I went for a bike ride and it got windy; I got a bit spooked because I hadn’t been up in the country for years, so I rode flat out on a road bike with skinny wheels, not thinking at all … and it just jammed in between two planks on the bridge and slammed me into the bridge.”

He woke up in a “massive, massive puddle of blood”, having landed face first, hard on the ground. After being taken to Wangaratta by ambulance, then flown to Essendon and finally Royal Melbourne Hospital, Blood was released with a neck brace bolted to his head.

He played some recovery gigs after the brace came off but discovered that listening to music triggered intense pain in his head. Plus, he wasn’t working enough to justify Melbourne’s rent market.

Blood had already been making monthly trips to Bright to work with his father building furniture: for the next four years, that became his life.

He moved back to Melbourne in 2019 to work as a barber in Prahran, a job that has been hectic during the intervals between lockdowns (“20 haircuts a day, back to back”). Though he arrived ready to immerse himself in the club scene, the pandemic put a kibosh on that. The time and inspiration to make PRIX has been the silver lining.

“I’m excited, but it’s a bit weird to have it announced when I’m just sitting at home by myself,” he says. In his Prahran apartment, his lockdown company has consisted of regular online yoga classes and the many pieces of equipment and instruments that are the tools of his trade. It was here that he made the bulk of his album, using an MPC2000XL sequencer, a bass, some digital synths, record samples and a tenor saxophone.

“I’ll always make my sounds on synthesisers. If I do use a record, I’m not using a riff. I steal a drum kick, or a nice chord, I’ll sample the last half of it and manipulate the hell out of it before I use it … aside from that, I made every sound on the whole record myself.

“I feel good because all these boxes are ticked in my life: a record out finally, barbering finally, but obviously lockdowns have really worn me down.

“The record sounds like walking around bipolar. It’s dark, it pulls you into an atmosphere. I walk around myself at night time, and my music is about walking around by yourself, in your own world, fragments of good memories coming back.”

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