INTERVIEW: THE BLACKOUT

The Blackout

Welsh rockers The Blackout are no strangers to partying – their infectious and high-adrenalin tunes bursting through our subsequent eardrums since they were introduced to the scene in 2006. With only a couple of weeks to go before ‘Start The Party‘ hits the shelves, we sat down for a quick chat with vocalist Gavin Butler to talk egos, Soundwave 2013 and working off the Christmas fat.

By Meghan Player

2013 has just begun and you’re already jumping into the New Year with your album release [and heading to Australia for Soundwave] – that’s a pretty incredible way to start the year, no?
It’s a lot better than sitting in the housing whining about the weather. Although I’m guessing Oz is looking pretty good at the moment. It’s felt like ages since we’ve toured so we’re really looking forward to sweating off our Christmas fat.

There is already a lot of hype around ‘Start The Party’ – an album of anthems that offers exactly what the title promises – what are you hoping fans and music lovers alike take away from the release?
A good time really. We want this album to be for house parties, rock clubs and general enjoyment. If people can escape for a while and forget about the shit that’s going on then that’s our job done.

Did you approach making the album differently to previous ones?
Not really. With the last few albums we’ve got into a very productive way of writing. We all bring in ideas then thrash them out in my garage and then start to pick them apart and try and better them. Then Sean and I will get melodies together which sometimes means a big a change again. Then we go in to preproduction and Jason Perry says “It’s all crap. Start again.”

That last bit might not be true.

How much do you think the band has changed since your debut in 2006?
Contrary to the vibe of this next record I think we’ve matured as people and song writers. Ego has been lost and musicianship has taken over. The song is focus of attention – not a solo or a vocal melody. We’re more comfortable doing what we want to do too.

There’s a great quote from yourself that the album is “about enjoying yourself and not worrying about things” – was this idea as important to the band as it is to those listening to it?
When on tour we usually enjoy ourselves so it’s normally a given. But there can be times when you’re feeling down on tour and you need that kick up the arse. We always try and have that positive mental attitude so I think it’s not surprising that it’s in our music.

The Blackout have been a band that I’ve always associated with, in essence, “a good time” – from the punch-your-fist-in-the-air anthems to your energy and enthusiasm on stage – has it ever been a challenge to build on that energy and enthusiasm each time? Is there a secret to it – or is it simply born out of you just really loving what you’re doing?
There have been a couple of occasions when I’ve gone on stage either tired or down, but the crowd manage to snap me out of it. That’s probably only happened 2 or three times in the last 8 or so years. Playing music is something I love doing so it’s rare that I’m not in the mood for it.

Is it important for the band to capture that live energy in your albums as well?
First and foremost we’re a live band. It’s what we started doing and what we love the most – so to make a record or song that somehow couldn’t be pulled off live seems a bit redundant to us. So all our songs are written with playing them live in mind.

Wales has a fantastic music scene – especially with a lot of unsigned, independent artists – are there any local bands that have caught your eye recently?
I think the UK in general had an amazing year last year with some home grown talent doing very well. It’s great to see. Bands like Canterbury, We are the Ocean, Blitz Kids, Twin Atlantic, the list goes on.

You’ll be heading to Australia in February for Soundwave, are you looking forward to returning to our shores again?
Very much. The last time we were there was for Soundwave 2011 and it was one of the best tours we’ve done. It maybe a bit cliché or stereotypical but Australians are so laid back and generally great to get on with. Every night we went out and it was a blast.

How will the rest of 2013 look for the band?
Busy, busy, busy. We take a few weeks off after we get back from Soundwave, then hopefully we’ll be hitting the festival run harder than ever.

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Many thanks to Gavin for taking the time to chat to us. A special thanks to Helise at Shock for her help.
For more information on upcoming tour dates: check out – http://theblackout.net

‘Start The Party’ is released on January 25th through Shock Records.

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