It’s fair to say Blacklisters are a band that have a lot of fun when it comes to creating music. With a debut album now under their belt, Tom Willmott of Noise Addiction spoke to them about what really goes through their minds when they’re producing their great sound.
How did the band first come together?
Us and Hawk Eyes played darts for who would be in which band. We lost and ended up doing this – how different things could have been. That would have been good, wouldn’t it? We started out in a bunch of different bands that sort of fell apart. We came together, started out playing blues in bars and then wanted to sound like a heavy Devo, if you can possibly imagine that working? It didn’t. It was a gradual thing how we ended up sounding like this.
How did you come up with the name Blacklisters?
Coming up with a band name is the hardest thing you can ever do as a band. It’s loads harder than writing songs, cause it’s the first thing people are likely to hear and so you put loads into wanting it to be the best thing and you kill yourself trying to get it right. In the end, I don’t think it matters and actually it’s the songs and the sound and the sort of show you put on that do. For the record, our name is far from the best name – it’s OK and it’ll do. We have all hated it at some point but then were past caring. Sorry – to answer your question, I got it from a Bob Dylan documentary and there was a bit about Senator McCarthy and his Blacklisters and liked the sound of it.
There are some very intense and heavy moments on your record that can compare to bands like Refused and Glassjaw. Are you fans of these bands?
Yeah, we hear that a lot, particularly Glass Jaw, but I don’t think any of us have ever listened to either of those bands. Not out of choice or hatred of them but just that we never really crossed paths with them. I like hearing comparisons, especially ones that you wouldn’t expect cause you’ve never heard them, like The Deftones, we get that a lot too. People hear what they hear, you can’t help that, I hear a lot of Sting in our songs. We are much more from the Jesus Lizard and Rapeman School of influences.
Is the title for the record meant to be the band’s name in text speak and why did you go for that?
We just wanted to copy Madonna as we think what she is doing right now is really inspirational.
You obviously had a lot of fun with some of the titles on the record, particularly track no. 5. What is the inspiration behind them?
Most of them are things that make us laugh. We are not trying to be pretentious, we just find stuff funny and we don’t want to pretend that we are these serious life-hating idiots when in general we do it cause it’s fun. Track 5, “I Can Confirm That Ruth Abigail Homes Is Not Dead And Is Planning To Make A Movie About Her Life”, came about because Barry Chuckle of the Chuckle Brothers was rumoured to be dead and Twitter was rife with it. So Barry came on TV and said “I can confirm that I am not dead and am planning to make a movie about my life”. Me and my mate Ruth thought it was a funny thing to say and so said it a lot and so the title was born.
From the people who have been lucky enough to hear this record, has there been a positive reaction?
Yeah, so far so good. It’s a weird thing because when you record an album you are in this little bubble and you have no idea what people will make of it and you don’t even consider the idea of people listening to it, if that makes sense. So it’s strange but really good when reviews start popping up and people are saying nice things about the thing you do.
You did a tour with Birmingham’s Shapes recently. How did that go?
Really good, they are brilliant people and a great band, one of our favourites. We have wanted to get to know them properly for a long time and so when the option of touring with them came up, we all jumped at it. Hopefully, we’ll sort something out again in the future. They are good boys – I miss them every day.
What is the strangest touring experience you’ve had?
Any time spent with Kong is a strange time.
I’ve noticed that Leeds generally has been producing some great bands as of late, such as Pulled Apart By Horses and Hawk Eyes. Would you agree and why do you think its happening?
I mean yeah totally, there are some amazing bands in Leeds, Hawk Eyes, Pulled Apart By Horses being the two most well-known. But they are the tip of the iceberg of what has been going on for years. Right now you have bands like These Monsters, Humanfly, Shallows, That Fucking Tank, Canaya, Hookworms, Eagulls, Normal Man, Cowtown and Runners. If people are interested in having a bit of a look, and I implore you to, people will find all sorts of incredible bands that have influenced all of the bands that are around at the moment – the bands that started the scene we all learned what to do in.
Finally, you’ve been confirmed to play at Hevy Festival and The Camden Crawl. Is there anything else exciting in the pipeline?
Yeah, but we are waiting for the announcements to be made. Keep an eye out cause there is plenty of stuff coming up over the summer and beyond. Oh Dublin Camden Crawl, we are playing that. That’ll be loads of fun, a little holiday, we are gonna wear shorts and Hawaiian shirts.
Blacklisters album – BLKLSTRS will be released 24th April via Brew Records. Read the review Tom Willmott wrote for the album HERE.