Blur’s Alex James says indie music is dead but ‘spirit of independence’ has transferred to food

Bassist and cheese farmer discusses his dual vocations

Blur bassist Alex James has said that the independent spirit he assosciates with the music world is dead but lives on in the food industry.

James, who runs a cheese farm in Oxfordshire, recently spoke to the Daily Express about the similarities and differences between his two vocations.

He said: “That culture of independent music that I grew up with has disappeared really. All those bands that I used to see when I went to school, such as Gaye Bykers on Acid, it’s really hard to exist like that now.”

“The small ones are definitely disappearing but if you can make pickled onion in your garage, rather than be a garage band, you’re in business, and there’s a market for interesting artisan foods,” he added. “The spirit of independence has been transferred to food.”

James continued: “I’ve been incredibly lucky, because food just took off and British food has been the story for the past decade. Switch the telly on now. It used to be music programmes but now they’re about food.”

The musician also compared playing with Blur, who released ‘The Magic Whip’, their first album in 12 years, in April, to yoga: “Blur and playing bass doesn’t take up much of your brain. It’s a bit like doing yoga. It’s the one thing I really do know how to do, while with the rest of it I’m winging it.”

James spoke at an event celebrating the launch of discount supermarket Lidl’s new 48-strong beer range, for which he is an ambassador.


Meanwhile, in an interview published last week, Blur frontman Damon Albarn discussed his complicated feelings towards playing gigs with Blur as well as how some of the band’s biggest UK hits translate to an American audience.

Asked if he still enjoys playing with Blur, Albarn said he tries “to avoid it like the plague” but admits he can’t help but enjoy himself once he steps on stage.

“As soon as we get off, I say, ‘Never again,'” Albarn said. “It’s very strange. There has to be some sort of psychological paper that explains that emotion of trying to not do something; and then doing it, and then loving it; and then as soon as you’ve done it, trying not to do it again.”