“I’m conservative when it comes to risking infection,” says Blake Ortiz-Goldberg, AKA Blaketheman1000, as he waves a wounded hand in front of his webcam, half-laughing. He’s showing off a bite mark, Zooming in from his Brooklyn apartment, where a fake (we assume) Monet hangs on the wall behind him.
Ortiz-Goldberg says all this having recently been the victim of a dog attack. The combative canine, though, is his housemate’s sweet Spaniel, Henry, who went mad at the sight of a napkin and bit the musician. “He turns into a monster when he gets hold of napkins,” he says with a “go figure” shrug.
The unpredictability of this opening interaction feels representative of what Ortiz-Goldberg and his music are all about: being uninhibited, having a good time no matter the circumstances, never taking things too seriously. And don’t worry, reader, the bite didn’t get infected.
The 26-year-old Southern Californian has methodically been releasing music since 2018, before suddenly reaching prominence online in 2021. That’s in part thanks to his compulsively replayable tracks, but also a result of association with the widely memed Dimes Square, New York’s two-block wide cool kid hotspot nestled between Chinatown and the Lower East Side.
Over the last couple of years, Ortiz-Goldberg has carved out a reputation for dropping self-referential tracks that are nihilistic and irreverent in equal measure, packing humour into occasionally sincere lyrics that elevate the banality of everyday life.
“Ibuprofen /Perfect for the pain /High as fuck on a Manhattan bound train /I don’t look at people when they talk I just smile at the walls” he sings on the hyperpop-leaning Ibuprofen. Then, on Blake 2, the pitched-up, distorted track that made Ortiz-Goldberg blow up: “Hold me while I cry /You’re impossible to please /I’m as fragile as a teacup /I’ll never leave”.
While he remains tight-lipped about possibly performing live in the UK – and about basically anything concerning releasing new music, aside from the words “very soon” – we spent half an hour talking rubbish with Blaketheman1000.
10% If you’re cooking to impress someone, what would you make?
My birthday is on 29th December, over that awkward period between Christmas and New Year’s. I never want to throw a huge party, but during the pandemic, you could only hang out with, like, 10 people. So I decided to make dinner. It went really good and I had a really fun time. It was fun going to the store, buying groceries, to work on something and then be like, “here, everyone!” So now every year I make dinner for 10 friends. In the past, I’ve made meatballs in the pressure cooker, which is an impressive one. This year I made the Carbone spicy vodka rigatoni that’s all over TikTok. That’s right, I made TikTok pasta.
20% What’s the most pointless fact you can share?
Have you heard of that new pasta shape? It’s called Cascatelli. It doesn’t happen frequently that a new pasta shape emerges. In fact, I think it’s been, like, 100 years since a new pasta shape has been widely accepted by the pasta community. You can get it at any grocery store but it sells out. It’s a big thing.
30% What’s a piece of advice that changed your life?
One of my friends offered to buy me dinner and I did the thing that was like: “No, no, don’t worry about it.” And he said that [even though] it feels polite to decline when someone wants to do a nice thing for you, really, the most polite thing is to just be like, “Wow, thank you, that’s really nice!”, and take it, because that person has already decided they’re willing to do the nice thing, since they offered.
40% So now do you just let everyone do really nice things for you?
I guess I never try to perform false politeness. I just accept it.
50% If you ruled the world for a day, what would go down?
I don’t think I’d want to rule the world for a day. One time I was riding a ferry, and I saw all these shipping containers. It dawned on me that no one understands all these moving parts that happen at once. I don’t understand all the parts and I wouldn’t want to try. I’m in charge of the things I do, and that’s enough. I have dogs and infections and songs to worry about. Supply chains? I don’t know, man.
60% Ruling the world would be the one offer that you would refuse, then?
Yeah. I could give a really righteous answer, like: “I’d pass this law!” But I’m not a leader. There’s this song my friend Mark wrote, and it goes: “I’m not quite a leader, I find a type of comfort in the crowd”. I relate to that.
70% What’s a bad habit you wish you could kick?
Procrastinating. I’ve lived here a month and a half and I still haven’t unpacked my boxes. I’m pulling T‑shirts out of boxes every day.
80% What’s stopping you from unpacking?
I’m doing other stuff and I don’t want to unpack. Tomorrow, tomorrow…
90% What is your biggest pet peeve?
When trains are delayed. Or at the gym, when the thing I want to use is taken and I’m just standing there.
100% What’s the strangest DM you’ve ever received?
Nothing really stands out, but it’s always novel to me that people are interested enough to even message me. Since my music has gotten popular on the internet, logically, I understand it. I’ve played in Montreal, Toronto, Philly, Miami, LA. I just can’t believe that people from places I’ve never even played are listening to the music and DMing me.