Blacklisters Interview - May 2012
by Jodie Humphries
Following the release of their debut album, âBlklstrsâ, Billy from the band Blacklisters took a few moments out to have a chat with Live-Music-Scene. Here it is in its pure, unedited and raw form.
1. How would you personally describe your sound?
As following the foots steps of world class indie trailblazers Kasabian.
2. Tell us a bit about the band
We are four men of healthy breeding age, one from Scotland one from Reading two from Leeds. We came together countless years ago and tried to be a good band, after lots of trying we managed to do something we would regard as close to that. We all work when we are not doing the band; Owen our Bassist is the Director of the IMF, I am the worldâs first female Free Diver, Alistair our Drummer is head of international communications for Mecca Bingo LTD and Dante our guitarist is the president of Guatemala. We fit the band around our duties in our different fields, but as you can imagine we are very busy men.
3. How has the feedback been so far for the debut album?
Really good so far, I think we have had pretty much posi vibes from everyone who has reviewed it. We have had one that hated it, said it sounded like Linkin Park, which either shows that the reviewer has no other points of reference or that we are totally deludedâŚ..For the record though I really wish we did sound like Linkin Park, thatâs real rock music that is. Powerful, visceral, realâŚ. Shit.
4. How did you get involved with Brew?
We sent them demoâs every week for three years, they love getting demos. No, we are lucky enough to be friends with them and I guess they saw the potential for us being able to work with them as we saw that working with them was the perfect fit. Since we have been with Brew our band has gone from strength to strength. Good boys.
5. What can people expect from a live show from you?
Everybody comes on sets up their stuff and then we take it in turns to cry until itâs time to go home.
6. Whatâs the best gig you have ever played?
We played with Scratch Acid, who are massive heroes of ours, on one of the only two dates they did in the UK, that was great. Live at Leeds, just gone, was one to remember stage invasions and all sorts of stupid went down. My personal favourite though was for an event at the Brudenell Social Club based on the book âOur Band Could Be Your Lifeâ, where a bunch of bands learned songs by each of the bands in the book; we did âBig Blackâ. I fucking loved it.
7. Tell us a random fact about the band
Our Bassist can bench everybody in the band laid on top of one another.
8. How would you describe the current Leeds scene and how do you feel that you fit into?
The Leeds scene is brilliant; I think people would be hard pressed to find a better one in the country, especially for heavy stuff. I have talked about it in other interviews a lot. I think it has always been strong. When we were starting out, there were so many amazing bands you literally couldnât move for them. It was so eclectic and exciting and inspiring. These days I think it has thinned out a bit but that doesnât mean it has got worse. Band like These Monsters, Humanfly, False flags, Post War Glamour Girls, Hawk Eyes, Hookworms, Lone Wolf, Black Moth and of course everybody knows Pulled Apart By Horses are making a massive racket and I guess that keeps people wanting to be involved, and that I think is the key, people wanting to be part of it keeps it alive. As for where we fit I think we have managed through a lot of strong friendships with other brilliant people, promoters and bands to be part of it and be involved in it, at one point we were on the outside looking in and furiously jealous of everyone involved.
9. If you could have an ideal line-up for a gig who would you have play?
I would leave Blacklisters and join Linkin Park then Iâd do a duet with Fred Durst whilst playing his home made porno on the big screens to the world, oh and it would be part of the Queens Jubilee with Brian May, on top of the Houses of Parliament, not playing guitar just hanging out thinking of Mercury, youâd be able to see that in his eyes.
Or it would be Me, Chris Martin from Coldplay, Serge from Kasabian, a Barlow, Ken or Gary either will do, doing slam poetry in a bath.
10. If you could play anywhere in the world, where would you play?
I think we would like to go pretty much anywhere. A tour of war zones? Play only oil rigs for a year. I think what we want is to have new, better or different from the norm experiences. So we pretty much will tread any territory we havenât already.
11. Do you prefer the recording or the live experience more?
It depends on which of us you ask, I prefer playing live, in fact I would go as far to say I hate recording and love playing live. I am not very good at recording for some reason my voice doesn't hold out for very long. When we record or play live though I could scream for hours and be totally fine, it is psychological or I am just stupid. Our drummer especially loves recording, he studied it so really digs the whole process. Itâs a pretty intense thing to do, long hours and a lot of endless listening but I don't mind the endurance part of it, I like hearing it come together and the others getting takes down, itâs just the bit where I have to do it I canât stand. Live you can just do what comes naturally, do what you want, fuck it all up and it doesnât matter, I get a lot out of playing live.
12. Have you ever read anything about yourselves that was untrue?
Everything I say in every interview I do is 100% true.
13. Whatâs the best review of the band you have read?
There was an amazing one for the Live at Leeds just gone by Marcus Clark for Plus One Magazine, where you could feel his excitement as the night wore on and it became clear that what was happening was something special. Most of the reviews for the album have been great; itâs amazing when people get what we are doing. I think sometimes the irony and the humour is lost in the aggression in what we do. Some people just think weâre angst filled and miserable when that couldnât be further from the truth.
14. How much time do you spend on social media for the band?
I fucking love the internet. But most people use it for totally the wrong reasons, it is not a âmy life is shit, please give me a cyber-hug, god Iâm so desperate for love, why canât somebody, just anybody love me, even if it is just liking my pathetic cry me a river status toolâ itâs for being stupid on, for saying dumb shit on or telling people youâre doing stuff. I spend most of my time on twitter reviewing service stations with Paul from Hawk Eyes whilst we are on tour, telling people about the fantastic footbridge at Trowel Services on the M1 is what the internet is really for. So to answer your questionâŚall the time.
15. How often do you rehearse each week?
We try to get in two a week although recently cos we have been so busy we have done less just so we can maintain a lovely time all the time.
16. What are you currently listening to?
I tend to either listen to bands of people I know, have met, have been recommended by people who know my tastes or obscure noise rock from the late 80's, itâs not cause I like the joys of the circle jerk or listening to friends but more cause I am excited by the brilliant music that people I see and then befriend make. At the moment I am listening to Divorce from Glasgow, Them Wolves from Birmingham, God Damn from Birmingham or Wolverhampton, Hookworms from Leeds, These Monsters from Leeds, and Hawk Eyes from Leeds. The drummer from Divorce put me onto Shorty an ace band from the late 80âs Chicago scene; Black Mothâs new album is incredible. I have a stable of bands I always listen to, it includes Shellac, The Jesus Lizard, Kong and Bigân but I always want more and I would like some suggestions if people want to tweet me @blacklisters or @billyblklstr
17. What was the first CD you ever bought?
Snowâs 'Informer' although that was on 7â so on CD it was probably âBoss Drumâ by The Shaman, great tune, great band
18. What would be the ideal future for Blacklisters?
Ideally we will be Elton Johnâs backing band for all upcoming shows and television appearances. Itâs all we really want and hopefully not too much to ask.