MUSIC INTERVIEW: Black Peaks
Brighton four piece Black Peaks have just released their debut album Statues. With huge support from Radio 1, the quartet are set to become one of the biggest British bands around. We caught up with frontman Will Gardner to talk about their debut album, Download Festival and more.
Can you put the last twelve months for Black Peaks into words?
Twelve months? I can’t believe how quickly everything has happened really. Especially how we’ve just done another Maida Vale session, it’s completely bonkers. Mad.
You’ve built up a lot of hype for a band that’s only released a few singles. How does the support and anticipation for Statues feel?
Mad, again. It’s crazy. I just can’t believe how many people have been so amazing and supportive and coming out to see our shows, it’s been phenomenal.
The whole process of getting this album out has been drawn out and it had to be delayed. What’s it been like trying to get this album out?
Yeah, we all know that it is part of the process, delays do just happen.
You’ve been streaming the album before the actual release date. Is that because you can’t wait for people to hear it?
No, we’re very good friends with Remfry from the Independent and he thought it would be a good way of getting a bit more hype for the album, people being able to actually hear it a few days before. We’ve found more people are actually buying the album because they’ve been able to hear it first.
What’s the initial response been like?
Yeah amazing. Nobody has said a nasty thing yet which is quite good. Nobody has been like “it’s rubbish, I’ve waited a year for this?”
Looking through the YouTube comments for your singles, there doesn’t seem to be that much hate out there?
Man, go to the Saviour video and check out the negative comments, they are hilarious. Honestly, it’s really worth it. They are some of the funniest things you’ll ever hear. There’s some like “what, their haircuts doesn’t make sense with the music they play.” “It’s just hipster honkies with moustaches playing heavy rock music.”
How have the UK shows been going for you?
They’ve been amazing, we sold out the Borderline yesterday. That was pretty surreal.
How have the crowds reacted to the new songs that they may not know?
That’s a good question, but yeah, they’ve been going down really well if I’m honest. I think a lot of people have really listened to the stream as well because they know a lot of the songs that aren’t out yet, so they must have really listened.
You’ve got some festival appearances lined up, including a slot at Download Festival. Are you nervous or excited for a show of that size?
Yeah man. I’m so excited, it’s going to be insane. Donnington is going to be absolutely out of this world. I remember going when I was 16, and now we’re going back there to play ourselves it’s so good. So good.
Does it feel unreal to be playing the same festival as someone like Black Sabbath without even having an album released yet?
Yeah man. I remember going to see quite a few bands like Gojira, a couple of other bands that played the same tent that we’re playing which is just mental. It’s going to be really fun.
What was the writing process like for Statues? Was it natural or was a lot of it planned out beforehand?
We planned a lot of it to be honest. When we knew we were going to do an album we went and demoed a hell of a lot of material first and tried a lot of stuff out. Yeah, there were a few songs that didn’t make it for various reasons. We had all the demos done, it was like we had already recorded it once before, we went and did it, then we went and did it again so everyone knew exactly what they were doing, so we were very over prepared.
How long have you been working on this album? Because it feels like you’ve been around for a while now.
Yeah, I mean, we recorded the album a year and a half ago so a long time.
You’ve got a very diverse sound shown from the singles you’ve released. Who are the band’s influences?
Quite a lot really. The big ones are like Mastodon, Tool, Mars Volta, Oceansize. Trying to think of who else for me, Deftones. They’re the main influences I guess, then a lot of other stuff in between, like Thrice, Sikth, Converge, Dillinger Escape Plan. A lot of different styles of heavy music, and I guess a bit of Radiohead. They’ve definitely influenced us a lot as well.
For someone who has never heard any of your music, how would you describe the album?
It’s really dark, heavy, quite pretty. Someone said recently that it was like a dark fairy-tale which sort of sounds a bit lame, but it’s kind of true, does that make sense?
You had the chance to work with Jamie Lenman. How did that come about and what was it like working with him?
Yeah man, he actually came to see us, kind of by accident. He came to see another band. It was ridiculous. He came to see us a couple of times after that, and we started chatting. Then we kind of became pals, then we gave him a ring and asked if he wanted to be on the album. Then he said yeah, now he’s on the album and it’s insane.
Was he part of the writing process or just a feature?
No, we wrote a new song on the album when we were in the studio and we had this whole section and we were like, “why not just leave this whole section for Jamie and let him do his thing.” So yeah, we left a whole section at the end of the album just for him to do his thing really, and it worked. It was unbelievable watching him do his thing in the studio, ridiculous.
Do you have a favourite track from the album?
Yeah, Drones is the rounded favourite of the band. It really encapsulates our sound I guess and us as people. The beginning is really mellow and chilled, we spent a long time trying to get these soft drones and stuff like that, and then it gets really heavy. That sort of encapsulates us really and we love playing it live. When we play it it’s like “yes, this song is awesome.”
So the album is released, what’s the plan for the next 12-18 months?
Tour the hell out of the album. Play some festivals, tour around Europe. Maybe go to some crazy parties if we can. Yeah, we’re just going to tour the hell out of the album until everyone has heard it.
Have you announced all of your UK festival appearances or are there still a few surprises?
There’s still a few more, you’ll definitely see us around the UK.
You’ve had so much support from radio, do you think you’ve set yourself such a high bar with the singles you’ve released?
Not really. Radio 1 have been amazing really, they’ve been so helpful. Every producer at Radio 1 has just been like “yeah, love these guys. They sound different.” After Glass Built Castles we were very worried about the next single would do, and then it didn’t do fantastically. There was a gap for about 3-4 months and the album was finished and ready to go. So we released another single and it went mad. It went absolutely mad. And we had two songs on playlists for like 3 weeks. It was insane, absolutely bonkers.
You mentioned Maida Vale earlier, how was playing that?
It was such a buzz, it was so good. We were all dancing around the studio, I kind of wish they had cameras in there. You would been able to see us jumping up and down. I want to do it again.
You wore a Lonely The Brave t-shirt during that performance. The British music scene seems to be doing really well at the moment. You’re one of the big up and coming bands, are there any other bands you’re checking out?
Yeah, I mean, especially the bands from Brighton. Marmozets are doing insanely good. The Physics House Band are coming back with vengeance, they’re going to be absolutely massive. Arcane Roots, one of our favourites, they’re huge, I think they’re going to be the next Biffy Clyro, maybe even bigger. The Xcerts are huge, they’re doing insane as well. Architects, they’re just smashing it.
Are Architects the kind of band that you aspire to be like in terms of British heavy bands.
That’s a good question, I think we have the potential to overtake them, dare I say it. But I don’t know if we will, who knows. Because we’ve had such support from radio, but who knows. But I mean, they’re a huge band, they’ve just double sold out the Concorde 2, which is ridiculous. They’ve just sold out two nights so they are huge.
Thanks for taking the time to chat to us and good luck with the album!
Interview by: Jordan Dilley
Statues is out now via Easy Life/Sony Red