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Stereoboard Talks To Leeds Noisemongers Blacklisters About Their Brilliant Debut AlbumÖAnd Sting

Thursday, 31 May 2012 Written by Ben Bland

Firstly, congratulations on your debut album! I for one think it is brilliant and I know lots of other people are saying the same thing. How does it feel to be getting such a positive reaction?

ImageItís a bit fucking weird to be honest. I think when you write an album you donít really think about people listening to and thinking about it and then having opinions about it. Itís amazing to get people saying nice things about the thing we made. Thank you for being one of those who liked it!

You are part of a great scene in Leeds, along with the likes of These Monsters and Hawk Eyes, for example. How much of a help has that been to you?

Thatís a good question. It is probably the best thing that has happened to us. We wouldnít be doing half the things we are doing without the friendships that we have with bands around Leeds. I think there was a time before we were even about that most of the now established bands in Leeds were in other bands with other members of now established bands. It makes for an interesting family tree but I think there is an ethos from that, of helping each other out, of being friends that are in bands rather than being in competing bands first and foremost. It has led to Leeds being such a great place to be in a band. Hawk Eyes opened the door for us. I mean the drummer at the time, Matt, saw us once and booked us for a gig, took me out and made me meet people. He even introduced us to Brew. I know most of the bands in the current crop of the ďLeeds SceneĒ personally, some of them are my best mates. Thatís not me blowing my own popularity trumpet, itís just a reflection on how close it is and how supportive it can be. I think that if you are in a band, you should try and make
friends with and help out as many other bands as possible and try not to compete with each other. That will only make you get angry and sad very quickly.

How did the formation of the band actually come about?

We all competed in the Kumate against Jean Claude Van Damme and sadly lost to his brutal jumping split kicks. It just seemed like the logical thing to do after that. United by defeat and self-loathing we formed a band, but how different things could have been if he hadnít been able to withstand my sinning bird kick.

'BLKLSTRS' is one hell of a noisy record. What is it that appeals to you about being really fucking loud?

We definitely like the aggression, there is something really joyful in loud music. Itís not just about making a racket though. We spend a lot of time making the songs the way they are, trying to get them to move right, to keep the energy up in each one.

Your live shows are delightfully chaotic. Is that deliberately the case or do they just turn out like that in the end?

I donít know really itís not deliberate in a cynical way, we donít plan it. But we intend it to be as chaotic as that if that makes sense. We want it to get to the point where everything is right on the
edge of right and wrong. Wrong = strong.

What is that you think makes 'BLKLSTRS' stand out from other albums of a similar ilk that are around at the moment?

I think there is a lot more of a Sting vibe to what we do. All our songs are essentially Fields Of Gold.

I know you are a big fan of bands like Big Black, for example. Are there any surprising influences that contribute to your sound or at least your general musical philosophy?

Well our Guitarist is in an awesome Blues band called Dan Beesley and the S.S.S.S.S so we are not just noise rock to the core. There is a lot of stuff that we listen to that isnít a direct influence but
makes an impression. Early on we all listened to a lot of Devo; itís where we got our love for using different time signatures from, but you wouldnít say this band sound like Devo in any way. I tend to listen to a mix of bands I know and bands I find by hunting. I havenít listened to the radio on purpose in years, I have no idea what a chart is anymore. I am always up for hearing new things and if people want to let me know some stuff then please do I need feeding.

Lyrically, Blacklisters songs are often rather cynical, to say the least, in tone. Is there anything in particular that inspires the lyrical content of the band?

Not really, it can be a bunch of things. Cynicism is pretty accurate, I am not that cynical in real life but the songs can be. All the lyric writing starts with something I find funny or that I think takes itself too seriously. Then itís a matter of letting those ideas run with themselves till they run out of steam, that can be quite quickly if your write a song called ďClub Foot by KasabianĒ. What the fuck do you do then? That oneís loosely about having a guy tied up in your cellar.

This album has obviously only just come out but with such a promising reception having been received you must be excited about what the future holds. What are your ambitions for the next year or so?

We need to get on with writing our second album, with everything getting so busy writing and rehearsing have taken a back seat, so it will be good to get some consistency back. I think in general
we want to keep on doing new and more exciting things. We have all sorts of things in the offing that may or may not come off, but who knows, we take things as they come. We arenít the sort of band that are gonna dominate the world, but we may bring a bit of joy to some little pockets here and there. I just want to play an ATP festivalÖ

'BLKLSTRS' is out now via Brew Records.

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