Black #5 released one of 2004's strongest debut albums 'Last Few Hours'. If you've been wary of newer rock bands
then fear no more as Black #5 successfully take classic rock influences plus bands like Pearl Jam and produce their own sound.
Well worth checking out at - www.blacknumber5.com
|1. What are you currently up
At the moment we're really starting to get into touring; now that the
album's on general release, we have a reason beyond restlessness and
girls to get out there and start taking it to people. So we're
snatching what time off we can whenever, and spending as much time as
possible just gigging ourselves to death.
We also have a radio session in London with Total Rock that will be
recorded as the B side to a single out early next year.
|2. Could you take us through some personal highlights of the debut
release Last Few Hours?
In all honesty, I think that the highlights have really been
individual ones for us all; obviously, there was no huge media
fanfare to herald the album, so there was nothing like a release
party or Virgin opening its doors at midnight. That's the next
So the highlights have all been low-key affairs. I think we pretty
much all got a buzz from seeing the CD actually on sale for the first
time; it was just great to see it in a rack, on a shelf, near
Sabbath. Low-key or not, that's a pretty damn good moment, when you
really acknowledge that what you're doing has a purpose after all.
|3. How did you come up with the lyrical ideas on the album and how
does a song take shape within the band?
Although it sounds really cliche, the lyrics really do come from
everyday life - Armies, for example, is just about being stuck in a
small town and trying to summon up the courage to leave and do
something different. This Petty Trial really is just about the little
problems that face us each day.
I think at this stage in our career, being still fairly young, we're
very wary of tackling any really big subjects; we'll get to it in
time, but truth be told I feel that the small subjects are often
microcosms of the bigger things, and they're a lot easier to tackle
when they're in a singular, intimate form.
Really, I think most of the lyrics speak for themselves; they're not
dumb and obvious, but they are all about something and they're pretty
accessible to anyone who wants to take the time.
At the moment, we have no real system for shaping a song within the
band - we tend to learn the songs fairly quickly and loosely, and
then just play them to death on the road. That way, I think we get a
more realistic portrait of what works within the context of the song,
and they evolve more naturally and democratically.
Right now, for instance, we have a new song called "Everything's Set In Stone", and
we're just playing it over and over, every gig; different position in
the set, slightly different speeds. We're all improvising within the
song, trying to feel out what's comfortable, what works. And even out
of only about half-a-dozen gigs, it's mutated so much, we love it so
much more. It's my favourite time for a song, when every time we play it, it gets better.
|4. How did the band sign with Headroom Records and also get Pat
Grogan as producer?
Well, Headroom were recommended to our manager by a couple of people.
They came to see us and it was basically the story of the record
label coming up to the band after the gig and saying "we want to sign
you." The deal they offered was brilliant, honestly comparable to
that of a `big' label, and it was them who got in touch with Pat. We
listened to what he'd done before, met and liked him - we also met a
number of other producers - and took it from there.
|5. How have you built-up the bands profile and what would the band
like to have achieved by this time next year?
We've been very lucky in terms of the team that we have working on
us. We've got a brilliant management, superb record company backing,
a great PR company, an agent who works his socks of, all the things
you'd hope for. For ourselves, we've just gone the way pretty much
every band does; we've been touring round, most every gig that will
actually benefit us, just trying to give every person that comes to
see us a couple of good memories and a fun night. Word-of-mouth may
not be the fastest way to get a buzz going, but it's worked for
hundreds of years and, frankly, it seems like one of the most honest
ways we can play the game.
|6. What have been the most memorable live shows for you and why?
Aside from the obvious temptation to simply count up how many girls
came to say hi afterwards, I think we'd all agree the "Gig in the
Park" this summer gone by was fantastic - we played with The
Stranglers to about 3,000 people, and it was just a really fantastic
|7. The highlight(s) and the low point(s) so far for Black #5?
The highlight would pretty much have to be getting the album out; the
live shows are what it's all about, but to actually release something
real is what we've all been hankering after for years and years.
Low points, I think we've been pretty lucky. Of course, there always
have been and always will be awful gigs, gigs where you'd quite
happily give it all up and become a paperboy. But on the whole,
tempting fate aside, we've been incredibly lucky.
|8. Describe a typical Black #5 fan
This is actually quite a tricky one. Normally, of course, with the
music we play, we'd appeal almost exclusively to rock fans of our own
age. But we did a few gigs with Nazareth recently, and we actually
got a fantastic response from their fan base too; it seems like
everyone sees something different in us. We've had middle-aged
housewives buying the album for "Madeleine", and at least one ten-
year-old hijacking their elder brother's copy. So I'm not actually
sure we have a 'typical' fan. In fact, I would describe all our fans
|9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
We're all keen scuba divers and extreme ironers. Except that's a lie.
We all share a good deal of our downtime together, just hanging out.
But individually we all have our own interests too, of course. I
spend a good deal of my time reading, Dale loves the technical aspect
of things and does a lot of work for PA and audio companies, Neil is
the wanderer among us, and Dave loves to paint. Looking at it like
that, we're actually a pretty well-rounded band. Of course, we still
spend most of our time watching TV, sitting in vans or talking
|10. Message to your fans?
We were asked to send a message about a year ago, and all we could
come up with was something on the lines of "We're going to give it a
shot; we ask that you come with us, and we won't forget you". Now it
looks like we actually might do something with this chance, but the
message is basically the same...
To all those who have been with us, who are just joining us now, we
thank you and love you, and we will not forget.
Interview © 2005 Jason Ritchie/
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