|Label:||Light In The Attic Records|
The Austin psych-overlords have returned to the UK brandishing their BBC "Rock album of the year" Phosphene Dream. Armed with Beatles nostalgia, gritty-hazy textures and monster rock and roll, the five-piece look set to blow a fresh gust of sound into our airwaves.
Ahead of their sold out gig at Heaven, I sat down in the backstage arcade room with guitarist Christian Bland to discuss Black Key's mischief, air-borne panties, and writing the new album.
BR: Hello Christian... How is it you are so bare-faced?
CB. Alex would have been better to talk too, he has a monster beard, but I just can't grow one, it must be in my genes. I tried it once and it took such a long time, and it just came out real wispy. I even tried a moustache at the beginning of the tour but that just looked creepy.
BR: If a beard-fairy could grant you any facial fuzz in the world, what would it be?
CB. I'd want a handle bar moustache that grows upwards.
BR: Who's got the best beard in the world?
BR: In the past you have stated The Doors and the Velvet Underground as influences, would you have anything in your record collection that may surprise me?
CB. I really like Reggae, Peter Tosh and The Congo's 1st album
BR: You released Phosphene Dream last September, can you tell us about the writing process?
CB. We wrote 8 of the songs in Texas before we went to LA, and they were each about 7 - 8 minute songs, so we knew we had to shorten them down. Originally we thought we would stay in Austin and work with our producer from before, however our manager suggested we went to work with Dave Sardy (Oasis, Band of Horses.) So we went to LA and he sat and listened as we played and then suggested we chop out a piece here, or add this there. And from there we went on to write Telephone and Sunday Afternoon, two tracks with a Kink's and Beatles sound.
BR: Recently you've been on the road with The Black Keys and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, were there any lessons learned or backstage shenanigans you'd care to share?
CB. I guess lessons learnt are: continue to tour as much as possible. When you're seen live you become more real. And shenanigans...they were mostly the cause of Patrick (Black Key's drummer) he's crazy. I remember Alex and I were in our hotel room in Sheffield when Pat knocks on the door carrying vast amounts of fast food which he just chucks all over our room... so we ended up wrestling him and then I think later he threw the food out the window and then (so cliché) the hotel TV...
BR: Whats the dynamics like between the band, does it get tough to be together all the time on tour?
CB. Well early on we all moved into a house together when we finished college, and it made us feel like a family. Stephanie is our little sister, Nate is the most likely to go wandering off and I'll always be the first on the dance floor.
BR: What was the inspiration behind the video for Telephone?
CB. The idea was to be a mini twilight zone with a spin-off of the game 'Chinese whispers' (which we call Telephone in US) but shot in a mysterious evil way.
BR: 2011 looks set to be the return of blues/rock- Whats your take on the music industry at the moment?
CB. I think there's a lot of cool music out now, in my kinda style of true rock n roll. I'm loving Best Coast at the moment, I just saw them in Austin. I love the Dum Dum girls, Crystal Stilts, Crocodiles. There's a resurgence in garage rock, but not yet as mainstream as getting on the radio. I can sense that it is starting to come back, I think The Black Keys are at the forefront of this movement.
BR: Do people still throw bras on stage?
CB. A couple of nights ago I got some panties flying towards me.
BR: If the world was going to end tomorrow and you could tell our readers to go out and do one thing what would it be?
CB. Buy and wear a 'Listen to the Black Angels' T-Shirt.
Posted: Mon 7 March 2011