Interview with Black Acid at Leeds Festival.
What made you start Black Acid after so many years with Death In Vegas?
Richard Fearless: I wanted to do something that was the complete opposite of Death In Vegas. That has always been a studio based band built on recording, whereas Black Acid is pretty much 100% about playing live in a rock'n'roll band.
Has it always been an ambition of yours to be a frontman in such a band?
Richard Fearless: No, not at all. I've been in New York for about five years now and while I was over there a few things happened to me and I tried to pick up a guitar and write songs that are heavier. Initially I was looking at a couple of vocalists to sing the songs but then it felt a bit weird to have someone else singing about things that happened to me.
Apart from the very limited seven-inch single ('FUR/Glitter In The Gutter') earlier this year, are there any plans for Black Acid to release anything else in the foreseeable future?
Richard Fearless: Yeah the next record is coming out soon on a French label, April 77. They're actually a clothing label but they've just put out records by Neils Children and The Willows. We're not in a hurry to sign a major deal just yet. I was with BMG for 13 years so I'm not quite ready to tie myself down again at this moment in time.
Who would you say influenced the guitar-based sound for Black Acid?
Richard Fearless: Originally our old guitarist was Oliver Ackerman from A Place To Bury Strangers, and when I put the band together it was based around his style of guitar playing as well. Whenever I've seen A Place To Bury Strangers I've always felt they had a Ron Asheton/Stooges vibe missing, so this was meant to be it, but then as we started getting off the ground, A Place To Bury Strangers started doing really well in Europe so Oliver had to leave Black Acid, but we're still using his Death By Audio pedals which help us create that "wall of sound" effect.
Do you think your sound is more accessible to an American rather than UK audience at present?
Richard Fearless: I don't know really. I mean we have come out of that whole New York art rock scene which is quite thriving. Saying that, not everything that comes out of there is good, which is why we try and steer clear of being grouped in with it in some ways. I think what makes us fairly unique are the production techniques I can bring to the field as well as the songs.
Your first UK show was for the Sonic Cathedral club night. How do you feel about being typecast over here as part of the new shoegazing scene?
Richard Fearless: When you hear the album I don't think you'd be able to slot us into any genre. I'm sure every band says that but I genuinely believe that to be the case with Black Acid. I mean, the fragile bits sound really fragile while the hard parts are really full-on and intense.
Do you see Black Acid becoming a full-time day job for you in the future?
Richard Fearless: I don't know. I mean I'm heavily involved at the minute on the production side with the new Oasis and Kasabian records. I hope this works out because I've put so much time and effort into Black Acid, and at the minute everything feels really new and exciting so I guess I'll continue with this and see where it goes or until it doesn't feel right any more.
Which brings me onto Death In Vegas. Are there any plans for another record?
Richard Fearless: I've recorded a new Death In Vegas album but it just needs to be mixed. I re-scored these psyche/surf films that were filmed at the Barbican a couple of years ago and worked on it in the studio for about 8 months. We rehearsed it and performed it a few times but as yet haven't actually released it. That's basically what the next Death In Vegas album will be. I just had to have a break from it - Death In Vegas is something I've been doing since I was a teenager.
So there are no thoughts as to when it might surface?
Richard Fearless: No. Whenever I guess?!?
Will you be taking Black Acid on the road?
Richard Fearless: We keep getting these great tour offers. The Kills and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club both offered us support slots but we had to knock them back because we haven't got a label to finance stuff like that on a large scale. We did The Raveonettes support a few months ago and I paid for that myself. Maybe when the next record comes out we'll get some more interest. Black Acid is still in its early stages at present.
I suppose in some ways this is like being a teenager all over again and starting afresh with a brand new band?
Richard Fearless: To an extent it is. The excitement of just playing shows is something I never really got through Death In Vegas.