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“Performing here feels like a homecoming!” Frome Times interview with Blake’s Ollie Baines

Brit-Award-winning vocal trio Blake return to Frome later this month as part of their special UK tour, celebrating 10 years together.

As the trio prepare to take to the stage at the Memorial Theatre, Frome Times caught up with band member Ollie Baines to find out what the audience can expect from the show; what his highlights are from the past 10 years; and just what exactly he thinks of Frome.

How is your 10th anniversary tour going?

“Well, we haven’t stopped touring since 2008! It’s been pretty constant. We’ve done 30 or so concerts already this year, although we’ve had a fairly relaxed summer – Humphrey has welcomed the arrival of his second baby, so that’s kept him pretty busy!

What are you looking forward to when you come to Frome?

“Frome is a lovely part of the world, all of the West Country is. I grew up in the area, near Malmesbury, not a million miles from Frome, so performing here almost feels like a homecoming. It’s also nice to get out of London. We tend to bumble down, stay local and try to have a nice lunch somewhere. Touring, driving around everywhere, is part of our lives, so if we don’t stop and soak up the local atmosphere, we miss out. Frome is nice and civilised, so we’ll be sure to make the most of the trip.”

What can the audience expect at your upcoming show?

“For those that have been before, they will know what to expect. But for those that haven’t, we are a classical trio that perform a large variety of music – harmonic versions of pop and musical numbers, through to famous arias and film themes.

“For our 10th anniversary album we collaborated with the central band of the Royal Air Force, who are celebrating 100 years of the RAF – they are a fantastic band! We recorded the album last summer, and it came out earlier this year and reached number one in the classical charts. We’ll be performing around eight or nine tracks from the album, which is almost half the show – lots of stoic English songs, wonderful musical numbers – lots for everybody to enjoy.

“People come back consistently to see us, they like hearing strong voices sing good songs. There’s also a lot of chat between us on stage, some great banter, all unscripted and irreverent – it helps to keep us young and the show fresh.”

What have been your highlights over the past 10 years?

“We have done a few gigs at the Albert Hall and headlined the Henley Festival with Shirley Bassey – it was an incredible space and setting. Abroad we have toured places like the Philippines and China – that’s been a real highlight of our career, seeing the world, having a job that takes us to so many places. We have also seen so much of the UK, I don’t know anyone who has seen as much of the country as we have. Favourite place in the UK? For me I love the south-west – it’s my home.”

What’s the strangest thing you take with you on tour?

“That’s a great question, and I wish I had an answer, but I don’t really – it’s our job touring around, spending time in cars on motorways. I suppose the most important thing I take with me is my sense of humour. Also we like to listen to a lot of current affairs when travelling and comedy. We just sit back and enjoy ourselves, soaking up the miles – anything to avoid getting tired of motorways!”

Blake – The anniversary Tour, comes to the Memorial Theatre on Saturday 29th September. Book your tickets via the box office, 01373 462795 or online: www.fmt.website

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