The Black Lanterns
It's not a problem that the cover of The Black Lanterns 7 track CD is a bit misleading: it suggests Americana to me,
what with the cloudless sky and the Californian desert sand, but the music you hear is punky-metal from Yorkshire.
The Black Lanterns have managed to capture the sound of a live band: a live sound with a total lack of studio polish. This is a real band - with real tunes - that's not trying to shift product. They are noisy and dirty and riffy: it's too heavy to be punk and too punky to be metal. Nevermind! What you get is 20 minutes of music that you can't ignore: as you listen over and over again you realise how much is going on here. The name obviously points to Sabbath, and if that's what you're thinking you won't be disappointed, but other references could be Killing Joke, or even some of Discharge's poppier moments!
No Class talks to The Black Lanterns: Scott Donny Rogers on Vocals,
Mark on Bass, Jonesy on Guitar and
Matt Fortune on Drums.
What influenced the band's name?
Mark: It's an old English folklore term for a hangman's noose! I like to think of it as an ode to 60s psychedelic bands also.
Donny: It's the name of some evil undead zombies with superpowers! All of the DC superheroes that have died are reanimated as undead flesh eaters!
Jonesy: It was the only name we all agreed on.
Does Twitter help you as much as fanzines?
Mark: The band scene is very different from when we all started out originally. We all went through the sending letters, calling up zines/stations. It used to take weeks or months - if it got there in the first place - now any band can get in contact with any zine, online zine or radio station straight away, which has to be a good thing especially with the industry crumbling.
Donny: It does, yeah. I am just crap at it!
Jonesy: I've never been on Twitter and intend to stay out of all that shit.
Have any of you signed record or publishing deals in the past?
Mark: Me, Matt and Scott were in a band previously called Seal Team Six. We came incredibly close to being signed to Warners. After three more demos - them wanting a 'hit single' - we decided not to be fooled by big business again. Something me and Matt decided to take to our band Falconetti, which was also DIY.
Donny: I have only ever signed a benefits claim.
Jonesy: I've always kept it DIY. Keep businessmen out of the punk scene.
Is Grail your own label?
Donny: Yeah, it's our own label, I originally was naming it after 'Guild', which is a noisescape project of Mark's, but got the name wrong!
Is the CD released commercially?
Mark: The CD has been released as a commercial CDR. I don't believe in demos: everything should be release quality.
Donny: It can be bought by anyone who wants it, and is available to buy from our site. We are looking into having it available as a digital download too.
Which record companies are you hoping will be interested in you?
Mark: I would like to get various bits out on small labels, including vinyl, download, tape, etc..
Donny: I would love to be on Epitaph or someone like that, but I am more than happy if we get interest from small indies like TNS etc. That'd be great.
Jonesy: People Like You, Fat Wreckords, Hellcat, anyone like that would be great.
What influence have Clegg and Cameron had on your tracks?
Mark: I prefer Compo, Clegg and Wally, really. I never voted for them: so much for democracy.
Donny: Clegg is that old guy from Last of the Summer Wine, right? James Cameron has a bit of an influence, especially Terminator 2! In seriousness, I don't want those liars involved in our music.
Jonesy: They have made Britain the depressed place it currently is, it comes out in the music.
What are your songs about?
Donny: Mainly reflections on loss, and life in general with a little bit of warped social commentary. I would like more songs about Beavers and Raleigh Choppers if I am honest.
What influence does your geographical location have on your sound?
Mark: It's grim up North.... I think you can hear that.
Donny: Yep, as Mark said, you can tell from the sound there's not a lot of sunny weather involved in us! We rehearse in a huge old Mill in Queensbury: home of the inventor of Cat's Eyes and also the Queensbury rules for boxing! It gets very cold and wet up there!
Jonesy: The grey, wet, misery of the North seeps through.
What are your ambitions for the band?
Mark: Good gigs with good bands and to enjoy it. Get some records out and tour.
Donny: Open a restaurant that serves grilled road-kill and have a drag artist perform Barbara Streisand songs all night.
Jonesy: I just wanna play some more gigs. I would love to play some festivals, especially Rebellion festival.
Where did you record the CD?
Mark: All the recording was done in our rehearsal room in a massive mill above Halifax. We had the experience to do it ourselves so I pulled a load of decent mics and pre-amps together and we did it in two days. Onto my Mac, running Logic.
Donny: I don't know any of that stuff. I did vomit a few times during the session though.
Jonesy: Mark did a sterling job, I just mainly turned up and played the guitar.
Are you fussy about the type of instruments, gear and effects pedals you use?
Mark: I'm not fussy, but we do have our own sound and settings that make The Black Lanterns sound how we do. I run a distortion through a Jag bass. Jonesy has an on-off switch....
Donny: I sing through Mark's old bass amp and some knackered up old PA speakers. It does the job.
Jonesy: I get my sound through my amp and only use an on-off pedal. I've got the same fucked up guitar I've had for years.
Do you gig often?
Mark: We're currently sorting more gigs from March 2012. Any promoters please feel free to get in touch. Some of the other bands we have played with are also our friends such as Bleed, Dolphins, Himself. We've also played with Humanfly.
Donny: We are looking at playing with Gods of Hellfire, Lifer and Doomchild in March next year. I love playing with metal bands, they are always loads of fun. I would love to get on the bill with The Gallows, Goldblade, The Black Lungs or someone like that!
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