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Blackbud - Barfly Interview

17 November 2005

Blackbud first hit the public conciousness last year when they won the chance to play alongside the likes of The Subways at Glastonbury 2004. We speak to them again on their latest tour.

Blackbud - On The Road

VF It’s been over a year since we last spoke to you just after you played at Glastonbury – so how have you all changed since then?
JOE – We have matured in both body and in mind!
SAM – Yeah, but really we’ve just sent the time maturing as a band. We’ve got our record deal and had the time to learn a lot about what being a proper band really is about – we’ve written a lot of new songs, and developed musically we’ve done some great tours. Initially the touring was like some big adventure, but now it’s just what we do. We’re in the middle of a two-week set of dates now, and then we’re off to Canada to record some more, so we feel like we’re always on the road these days.

VF Has touring allowed you to learn a lot about each other?
SAM – Being on a small bus together for so long means you can’t help it but find things out about everyone and yourself because everything gets pushed to the limit – perfections and flaws as well.
JOE – Mainly flaws in you guys’ case!

VFSo do you reckon you’ve learnt more about yourselves than about each other because of being so cooped up together?
SAM – We’re all honest with each other, so we tell the others if they are doing anything we think they need to hear.
JOE – Yeah- there’s no time for any bullshit.

VF You’re all still young, but have you already reached the point where you reckon that you are what you do? Do you all define yourselves as being musicians now?
SAM – I guess that for some people that could be quite a depressing thought – for some random businessman whose whole life is just their work. But whilst we’re musicians we’re all other things as well.
JOE – It depends a bit on whether you’re happy with what you’re doing…but for us if the band didn’t work then I think we would still be musicians. We wouldn’t just want to go off and work in offices.
SAM – The band is really a full on thing for us all right now though. The way our band works is so full on that even if you’re just sitting on a bus you’re there every minute in your mind just thinking about how things are going to work – the album or the next gig – we really do have our mind on the job all the time. It’s got to be easier to engulf yourself in something like being in a band than I would imagine it is accountancy or something.

VF From what you’ve said about being on the road so much how important is it for you to keep some roots in friends and family back home?
JOE – We rely quite a lot on having people to come home to. When we’re away for a long time it’s so intense that if we get home for a few weeks then even if we’re still practising we go full on into being around people we know.
SAM – It is hard though trying to get settled. Bob Marley said it – ‘your home’s got to be in your mind’ – you need to take a lot of your roots with you.

VF Marley was one of those songwriters who put a lot of what they believed in into their lyrics – how much do you think it’s important for bands to put political or social messages into their songs?
ADAM – Music and politics go hand-in-hand, but our songs are more personal and we write things that are slightly ambiguous and that can mean different things to different people at different times.
SAM – We all have our beliefs, but our music isn’t the way that we express them right now. Maybe that might change in the future, but right now we don’t think that’s the direction we should be going.
JOE – We might play LOUD, but we’re not shoving ideas into people’s minds – we just want them to appreciate our music for what it is.

VFYou’ve come a long way so far. How vital has it been for you to have good management?
SAM – It’s been the most important thing. We’re musicians, not lawyers or businessmen, and to some degree I think the two are mutually exclusive. The way that a musician’s mind has to work is just completely different from the way that the business side of the music industry operates. If we’d tried to negotiate our own deals or run our own tours then I’m sure we wouldn’t have got very far.
ADAM – Yeah, if there’s one thing I’d say to any other young band who are trying to make a go of things it would be to find someone you can trust to look after business for you. There’s a hell of a lot of bullshit out there and a million people trying to take advantage of you.

VF - How hard has it been for you to get interest when there is such a big scene going on at the moment with bands who have a very different approach to music then yourselves?
SAM – It’s right that there are a lot of bands around right now who rely on fitting into an image that goes along with the scene that grabs NME headlines every week, and that does make it harder for us as we have a sound that doesn’t fit easily with what people are increasingly used to.
ADAM – But we really believe that what we do is worth listening to, and we are steadily building a growing fan-base from the live shows that we do. Every time that we play we get new support, and I think this proves that what we have is something that people who love music should come out and explore.

VFOK, lastly, which of you is the dreamer, who’s the driver and who is the dosser?
ALL – EASY! SAM = Driver, JOE = Dosser, ADAM = Dreamer!!!


- Click here to discuss this on the Festival Forums!
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Article by: John Bownas

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