The Black Keys - Interview with Dan Auerbach

16 May 2006

The Black Keys are two young men hailing from Akron Ohio and producing a kind of raw, dirty blues rock that would make the devil change colour. Comparisons to The White Stripes and The Kills are common place and quite unfair, so no further mention will be made of this topic. I caught up with Dan before their sell out gig at the Night & Day in Manchester, he is an amiable 21 year old who answered every question enthusiasm as though it was his first ever interview.

Q. Paul Weller recently dubbed Major Record Labels 'Scum' and added that The Jam would not have made it in this day and age as they did not have an instant hit the first two albums sold slowly. Is his a true reflection of the music industry and are you worried?
A. Yeah, it's all major label bullshit. We spoke to a few major labels, but decided not to go with them because independent labels can do the same thing. We are not worried because we are signed to an independent label (Epitaph).

Q. Is the Bass a dying species?
A. (Dan emits a wry smile at this point) I like the bass. I played bass on the album (Thickfreakness out on Epitaph records).

Q. There is a tinge of poetry in some of your songs for example, 'Midnight In Her Eyes' & 'I Cry Alone' do you read much and how often do you write material for your songs?
A. I don't really read much at all. The more I write the better it gets, I try to write everyday.

Q. The nature of your set up is very close knit and intimate with there just being the two of you. Do you have many "creative differences" or flare ups and how do you resolve them?
A. We have been playing together since school so we understand each other. We just talk our troubles out.

Q. What music are you listening to of late?
A. Oooh I listen to so much. Rap (old school mainly), Neil Young (Decade) an eclectic mix really.

Q. What do you want people to take out of your gigs? How do you want to leave them feeling?
A. We just want people to enjoy and we give no schtick.

Q. Many indie & alternative bands are hypocritical in their criticism of manufactured boy and girl bands, as they are manufactured themselves with the use of drum machines, pre-recorded vocals and guitars. However, this cannot be said of you and Patrick, so go nuts?
A. (Dan smiles modestly at this point, before replying) Major labels will jump on anything from the Datsuns to boy bands, it's the way they operate.

Q. What makes you angry?
A. Nothing really, except for selfish people.

Q. You have expressed an aversion to Celine Dion in past interviews; do you still feel the same way?
A. I'm okay with Celine Dion. She can do what she likes as long as it is not in my house.

Q. You have been touring incessantly for the past year. What has been your fondest memory?
A. Just playing shows where everyone is satisfied. I don't get to many places, I haven't been out of this building since coming to Manchester.

Q. Do you think there is a danger of your band becoming too big for the venues that you currently play and that you relish playing in?
A. We love playing the small basement type venues, but we have played in front of 12,000 people in a support slot and that was ok. You need to be prepared to take things to the next level. I like shows in old style theatres and would like to be able to progress enough to pull it off.

David Adair

(Published 16/07/2003)

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