Friday, April 03, 2015

Blackout Interview

Having just released their self-titled second album through Riding Easy Records, the Brooklyn-based band of Blackout are riding high on the hot reception the new release has received.  We had a chance to check in with guitarist Christian Gordy about that, their past, and what they like to eat...
(Interview conducted March 23rd)

Ride With The Devil: Hi there, and thanks for giving us some time to talk with you as the official release date for your new album quickly approaches!
So as the story goes, Blackout originally formed at a cookout on the 4th of July.  Could you tell us a little more about how you came together there, and how the rest of the cookout received the performance?

Gordy: Well, Taryn came over with my friends Mamie and Rob Laakso (who also ended up recording both records).  It was the first time we’d met.  She had an agenda.  She had been wanting to start a band and knew I had similar musical style.  She basically stalked me out.  I was busy smoking a pork butt so we didn’t even talk music or anything.  Just had some beers and and dicked around in my backyard.  She hit me up the next day about jamming.  I still had access to my other band’s rehearsal space so we went in and the first time we jammed we wrote two of the songs off We Are Here, “Indian” and “Smoker”.

RWTD: Was anyone besides Justin considered for the position of bassist?  Were any other instrument additions considered, or was bass an obvious pick as the final piece from the start?

Gordy: Well, I talked to my friend Stephen Tanner from Harvey Milk about doing it (who is like a hero bass player to me) but he was just like “You guys can write the tunes and I’ll learn’em,” haha.  We wanted someone that was a little more involved and Taryn somehow convinced Justin to jam with us.  And it’s obviously worked out great.  We play together well.

RWTD: What sort of music did you listen to growing up, and would you say it pushed Blackout's sound towards or away from any of those influences?

Gordy: ZZ Top, AC/DC, Van Halen, and Rush were my original bible.  Then a little later I started discovering heavy shit like Slayer, Metallica, Anthrax, like anything on Enigma or Megaforce Records.  Then all that pretty, trippy British shit, then the big game changer for me was when i randomly picked up a copy of Melvins' Bullhead at Einstein A Gogo in Jacksonville, Florida.  That blew my mind...  I just like good music, but I especially enjoy playing as loud and heavy as I possibly can.

RWTD: I haven't had the chance to catch a Blackout show yet, but for myself (and the readers who have that experience to look forward to), does Taryn's experience as a film editor come into play at the gigs, or do you try to keep it strictly focused on the music?

Gordy: I think she has natural timing from being a film editor.  But no, doesn’t have anything to do with a show.  Though it would be funny if she had a laptop on her floor tom and edited videos between songs.  And me and Justin would take turns telling dirty jokes.  Actually that’s completely stupid.

RWTD: Aside from the heavy musical style, your noted affection for BBQ is another aspect setting Blackout apart from most of Brooklyn's current crews.  Apart from cooking up your own, what's the barbecue situation like in Brooklyn?

Gordy: It’s pretty mediocre.  It hasn’t gotten past decent for me, but i think once you cross north of the Mason-Dixon line, the atmosphere just doesn’t allow for great BBQ to exist.  I do enjoy Mabel’s in Williamsburg now and then.  Nice people and the brisket sammy with baked beans always makes me happy.  We try to BBQ as much as we can in my backyard to make up for it.

RWTD: What are the food picks for the rest of the band?

Gordy: We pretty much don't discriminate.  We all love to eat and drink.  So much good food in NYC... we are spoiled.  However sometimes we all get wasted and order Domino's.  It's pretty classy.

RWTD: How much do you find yourself having to compromise with the food available while you're on the road?  Have there been any tasty surprises along the way?

Gordy: We will sniff it out, go outta our way and spend our last dollar on great regional eats.  When we were in Ottawa we ordered a pizza.  Then got a flat the next day.  It was also easter.  If you’re in Canada don’t fuck around with Easter.  Jesus hates pizza there.  Since both Taryn and Justin worked at Hooters...  We are going to try to hook up a sponsorship and hit up Hooters in every city.

RWTD: How did the recording process of the self-titled album compare to the making of We Are Here?

Gordy: It was basically the same.  Same engineer (Rob), same studio.  We drank way more tequila on this one.  And we had one extra day to track.  2.5 days total.

RWTD: Are there any bands in particular with whom you'd want to do a split, both on the Riding Easy roster and elsewhere?

Gordy: It would be such fun to do a split with any other Riding Easy band.  Everyone kills it.  I think musically The Well and Monolord go really well with what we're doing.  We cover "The Chain" by Fleetwood Mac and have this great idea to do a split with our friends in Skullshitter.  They would also cover a few songs.  Hopefully we make that happen one day.

RWTD: How have you felt about the reaction to the new album so far?

Gordy: Man, I’m just psyched it’s seen the light of day... and pretty overwhelmed by all the glowing reviews and props from our buds.  Good stuff.

RWTD: What are Blackout's plans for the future at this point?

Gordy: We wanna travel.  Eat all the food.  Meet all the people.  Drink all the beers.  West coast in may.. east coast later this year, then Europe?  fingers crossed.  Also working on new material for the next record, which is already starting to happen.

RWTD: Thank you very much for your time, the dirty heavy rock, and keep on hitting crowds with the power of Blackout!

~ Gabriel