Bumbershoot musician Erik Blood hopes for a city that's safe for gay couples holding hands | KUOW News and Information

Bumbershoot musician Erik Blood hopes for a city that's safe for gay couples holding hands

Sep 1, 2016

This weekend’s Bumbershoot music festival features headliners like Pretty Lights, Andrew Bird and Washington locals, Death Cab for Cutie and Macklemore. But there are also artists you might not have heard of, like Erik Blood.

I thought this city would be safe for us.

Oh darling tell me if I’m asking way too much ... 

Blood grew up in Tacoma. He came out as gay when he was 16 and moved to Seattle a few years later. The lyrics above came from his 2009 debut album.

Blood said this song was written at a time when gay people didn’t feel very safe in America.

“We were just getting over George W. Bush, and the public attitude towards homosexuals in general in America was one of indifference and particularly an indifference to violence on the streets and in the workplace,” Blood said. “It still wasn’t a comfortable time for me to walk down the street with my boyfriend holding hands.”

In that first album, Blood also wrote about dreaming of a place where he could do that as a couple.

We’re holding hands and no one cares.

This country that has hated us for reasons so innocuous.

I won’t support the war on me.

I have to take this chance to leave so let’s go.

Blood said the U.S. has made some big changes for LGBTQ rights since he wrote those songs nearly a decade ago.

Gay marriage has been legalized. Seattle has banned conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth. But he said there’s still a ways to go in overall attitude toward the LGBTQ community.

He said back in the-mid 2000s in Seattle: “We’d watch friends get beat up on their way home from hanging out, and sadly that’s happening again.”

This summer a transgender activist was beaten on Capitol Hill after attending a fundraiser for victims of the shootings at a gay Orlando nightclub.

“Trans women and gay kids getting beat up at night on the street in the neighborhood that they live in, which is just not cool,” he said. “It’s again coming back to the feeling I had when I wrote that song. It’s just frustrating.”

Blood released his latest album, “Lost in Slow Motion,” earlier this year. It sounds a lot different than his first album, much more atmospheric. He said this album was inspired by a 10-year relationship that recently came to an end.

What does he want people to get out of his music?

“I want them to dream better,” he said.

Erik Blood performs on the KEXP Gathering Place Stage at Seattle’s Bumbershoot music festival at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.