We recently caught up with the excellent Black Years for a chat and to find out a little more about the band. See what happened below!
Could you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
Neil: Hey, I’m Neil and I play bass for Black Years. The band was formed about 2 years ago and this line-up has been together for over a year. We play no frills punk rock n roll and worship at the church of the riff.
Rich: I’m Rich and I do vocals. As Neil said, we’re a no messing, no gimmicks punk and roll band from Chester.
What’s in store for this year when it comes to Black Years?
Rich: We just finished tracking our new EP, Black Years II and in many ways, we’ve seen this as a debut, it was a chance for us to branch out, try new things and really redefine what we thought we were capable of as a band. Hopefully we wont be as lethargic with a follow up record now!
What went well about 2013?
Neil: 2013 saw us cement the lineup with Tom coming in on drums for us. He’s the hardest hitting drummer weve seen in ages and I suppose it helps that hes an alright bloke too! We played some ace shows with some top bands and made some new friends along the way. New music was written and I feel we really finally found our sound as a band.
Rich: 2013 was an interesting one! We played a bunch of shows with some great bands, made some new friends and finally got a drummer so yeah, the best thing that came from 2013 was Tom without a doubt. He’s enabled us to push harder where we’re strongest, particularly with song writing. He’s got such a good ear for what a song needs when it comes to drums, never over or underplaying, just accentuating the song and making sound as huge as possible.
And what perhaps didn’t go to plan?
Neil: We perhaps didn’t do enough as we planned at the start of the year, but real world stuff has a habit of eating into band time! We all work full time jobs and we don’t have any rich parents to pay for our amps and transport so needs must.
Rich: Not having rich parents and not releasing any new material for sure. I’m always fired up by playing shows but the writing and recording process and creating artwork are probably some of my favourite moments being in this band so to sit on new songs for so long has been a killer!
Where do you see the band at this time next year?
Neil: We’re really looking to step up our activity this year so were hoping to have released an EP that people rate and more importantly play a tonne of great shows around our fair isle and possibly get over to mainland Europe at some point.
Rich: Pretty much with Neil on this, hopefully we’ve released a follow up to Black Years II so that next time we talk I wont have to say sorry we haven’t released anything again! Touring Europe is a big one for us, so many of our friends have great times over there so we’re champing at the bit to get out there and impress with our knowledge of other languages! ZUT ALLORS!
How would you describe your live show to someone who hasn’t seen you yet?
Neil: We try to keep everything as honest as possible and do live shows the right way. Meaning that there are an absolute tonne of riffs & plenty of energy. If we’re playing to 20 or 20000 people we want folks to come away knowing that we put absolutely everything into what we do.
Rich: It’s honestly a pretty simple show, 4 dudes playing ballsy rock, the occasional stage dive and a sense of humour. We’re not going to have pyros or do backflips off amps but we will make your booty shake and your head bang. More importantly WHY HAVEN’T YOU SEEN OUR LIVE SHOW?!!?!!
What would you say the best show you’ve played has been?
Neil: We played a show in North Wales last year that to be honest, we weren’t expecting a lot from, but we were happy to be proved completely wrong as we got a really good reaction from the folks that braved the cold to come out and watch the bands that were playing. Rich ended up hanging upside down from the ceiling and someone stamped a hole in the stage. It definitely wasn’t me though….ahem.
Rich: I’d have to go with our show with Deaf Havana in Liverpool. We did what we always do but something just clicked that night, great energy, great crowd reaction, sing a longs and too many stage dives. It was a freak night where everything goes perfectly.
Any interesting gig stories?
Neil: Far too many to write here. Ill list some key words + phrases instead.
Christian Book Shops
Up against a fruit machine
£100 pounds please
Oh and I met my now fiancée at one of them!
Rich: I’m going to say getting back from Africa, playing with The Smoking Hearts and then those guys crashing at mine, drinking duty free and watching Wrestlemania 6 until about 6am. Neil’s stories are far more exciting though…well, exciting if you like poop.
Once you’re a world-famous band and can have anything on your rider, what would you choose?
Neil: Eternal wifi, Strawberry Ribena, Funions and clean socks.
Rich: WiFi and Kenny Loggins to help me with vocal warm-ups every night.
If you could collaborate with another band or musician, who would it be?
Neil: Bad Rabbits all day long (check out their album American Love seriously, thank us later.)
Rich: For me, I’d donate a kidney to work with GlassJAw. Getting Daryl on a song would seriously legitimise all of the bad decisions I’ve made in my life and I’ve made many. LOOK MUM, I’VE MADE IT!
And if you could get another band to cover one of your songs, who would it be and what song?
Neil: Major Lazer would do a pretty ace reggaeton remix of Lovers.
Rich: Lil Wayne on Bourbon Legend. To hear Weezy baby go “no future, no hope yeahhhhhhhhhhuuughhh” in his own autotuned as fuck style would blow my mind.
And finally – if Black Years could put their name to any product, what would it be?
Neil: Lamb Bhuna. You know that song “we built this city on rock & roll”? well this band was built on Bhuna.
Rich: Black Years bourbon. I like bourbon. if we produced it, I’d get some free. Bourbon.