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'We Only Wear T-Shirts. Zero Pants': Adult Life With Noisetastic Leeds Mob Blacklisters

Wednesday, 28 October 2015 Written by Ben Bland

With ‘Adult’, Blacklisters have once again released one of the albums of the year, repeating the feat after unleashing their debut, ‘BLKLSTRS’, on an unsuspecting world back in 2012. Stereoboard caught up with the band’s frontman, Billy Mason-Wood, to discuss power ballads, sad angry men…and Phil Collins.  

So, what were Blacklisters up to in the three years between ‘BLKLSTRS’ and ‘Adult?

We became the greatest street dance team known to mankind. We are called T-shirt and we only wear t-shirts. Zero pants.

What’s ‘Adult’ about lyrically? Is it actually a record based around being a grown-up? 

I hate writing lyrics, it bums me out. I always want to be Morrissey and they come out more like Eddie Vedder. So I try not to try anymore so that I don’t sound like Eddie Vedder. None of it is about anything really. For me lyrics are just there for the sake of it, it could be anything and for large periods of time the songs are just yelps moans and crying until we have to record and then I bite the bullet and turn my crying into words. Also, nobody knows what I’m saying anyway, even if I’m really proud of something I’ve written, which every so often I am. People just assume it’s about Elton John or something equally as stupid. 

I feel like the new album really solidifies the sound you had on the first album, but it feels a bit heavier to me. Was that something you were working towards?

Yeah, that was definitely something that seemed to be happening naturally. I don’t think we set out to make a heavier album but it just worked out that way. The riffs we were coming up with, maybe the sound that had developed from playing so much live dictated what we were making. I like the idea of your album being just a record of what you came up with in that time. It certainly wasn’t something we shied away from. 

‘Adult’ has been described as “the greatest Phil Collins album of all time”. That’s an enormous claim to make. How would you sum up Phil’s contribution to music and influence on Blacklisters?

His consistent spiritual guidance is as necessary as food and air.

Phil Collins is my third favourite former Genesis drummer. Would he get a gig behind the kit in Blacklisters?

He is currently our drummer.

The third track on the album is titled The Sadness of Axl Rose. Why is Axl so sad?

Axl Rose was the king of the world in 1991 and grunge happened, and then suddenly everyone hated him. What a fucking mindfuck that must have been. To be a hero and then be vilified in the space of a year. That has got mess with your head. Poor Axl, I actually quite feel for the guy. It must have been shit.

You’ve said in past interviews that Blacklisters aren’t an angry band but a “joyous and deranged” one – like the Jesus Lizard. What would an angry Blacklisters sound like?

God, I’d hate to imagine. It would be a miserable experience, full of ‘fuck you mum and dads’ and moaning about feelings. Jesus, being alive is weird enough without having a 34-year-old man trying to tell you how sad he is. 

How important is humour to the band? The song titles, especially, are frequently amusing. Is this something that the four of you really bond over as a band?  

It depends on which of us you ask probably, for me it’s probably the second priority after the songs being good. Engaging with the audience is the best part of being in a band for me, however you want to do that. Stupid song titles let people know that you’re not that serious. We do have fun coming up with song titles, either over the top ones or dumb ones. The amount that I try to get through that are seen as too stupid beggars belief.

If Blacklisters were asked to appear on a power ballad covers compilation album, what power ballad would you choose to cover and why?

Any of the Power of Love ones. They are all great.

You’re part of the amazing Leeds music scene, which is particularly strong on the noisy front. Who are your current favourites from the city? 

I fucking love Leeds for the amount of amazing bands it churns out. For my money everything happening at Chunk at the moment is pretty special. They have Irk, Super Luxury, Cattle, Pink Rick, Bearfoot Beware. The list could literally go on and on and on. In another 3 or 4 years there will be another load coming through. It is a magic place Leeds, but you have to engage with it and the musicians in it to get the most out of it. 

I love watching Blacklisters live, and you’ve played with a lot of great bands over the years, from Future of the Left to Pig Destroyer. If you could host an ATP-style weekender at the Brudenell, which bands would you invite to play with you?  

I’d just have Brian May do a guitar solo for the whole festival.

Blacklisters Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Sat October 31 2015 - BRISTOL Stag and Hounds
Sun November 01 2015 - BIRMINGHAM Hare & Hounds.
Fri November 27 2015 - LIVERPOOL Maguires

Click here to compare & buy Blacklisters Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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