The Blackout, Interview

28 June 2010

In terms of what bands set out to achieve, there can't be many who look at The Blackout and say 'could do better.' Now part of the huge American punk legacy Epitaph, with a slot confirmed on the Warped tour, they have a Myspace player count that would make your eyes pop out. Not bad for a few lads from a quiet part of Wales.

Vocalist Gavin and guitarist Matthew joined Contact at a baking hot Download to discuss mad fans and abnormally large testicles.

Hi Guys. Are you enjoying the festival?
Gavin: Yes, the weather is glorious! We were expecting three days of rain.
And have you seen any bands?
Gavin: We saw a bit of Killswitch Engage.
Matthew: We haven't had that much spare time to be honest.
Explain to us how you got started, and how '10 Minute Preview' turned into The Blackout.
Matthew: Okay well, I used to be in another band. We were rehearsing one day and my old singer had a bit of a strop and left - and Gavin and Sean happened to be there. S o we were just messing around playing songs with the old drummer and started from there.
G: it's sort of a school thing to do, you know? 'Have a band.'

Did you ever imagine you would reach this level of success?
G: No. Never in my wildest dreams. You hope and pray for it but you could never forsee anything like this. We had little goals for play a venue with a stage, or monitors (!) and we were lucky enough to meet most of them.

You had a lot of support from people like The Lostprophets. Do you try and do the same for other bands?
Matthew: Definitely. We like to help out as many bands as we can, whether it be a tour or just a little name drop.

Anyone inparticular?
G: They haven't paid us their subs this month!
M: Save Your Breath, Tiger Please, Revoker...
G: That's just the Welsh bands.

And why is it that this little alternative scene has sprung up in Wales?
G: Mutual boredom! Learning guitar or drums is something to do on a weekend.
M: You see so many other bands doing well and you say to yourself you've gotta practice more, work harder. I think that's what it is.
G: The Welsh mentality is 'everyone's the same.' So if they see someone else doing something they think 'well, we could do that.'

You have quite a young following, do ever have moments where you think 'this is crazy!'
G: Now and again. The signing today was crazy.
M: Tell them about those kids camped outside your Dad's!
G: Oh god, yeah. My Dad used to do all the merch for us and any returns had to go back to his address. So my Dad rang me up whilst we were away to tell me these kids had found out where it was and they were camped out across the road.
M: The funny thing was is that we were away on tour at the time, so they hadn't really done their research! 'Oh, let's just go to Gavin's house!' But the last couple of weeks have been particularly weird for me.
G: Me and my girlfriend went shopping to ASDA the other day and this girl and her brother followed us round. I wondered who they were pointing at and then I realised it was me!

This year you'll be playing to some huge crowds, is it easier playing to a big audience or more nerve-wracking?
G: I think it gets to the point with a certain number where it just doesn't make sense anymore.
M: You can't comprehend it.
G: At Give It A Name last year there were 10,000 people there, and you think 'I can't get my head round that!'
M: It's so bad it's not even scary anymore. When we played with Linkin Park we walked out in front of 26,000 people. That's just ridiculous! Download last year too, people as far as your eye could see.
G: We play a big show like any other show. Apart from some of the props. I want the AC/DC Rosie, tapping her feet in time!

And you've signed to Epitaph this year, well done! Are you feeling the pressure of being associated with such a big label?
G: With the last record we'd pretty much written it before Epitaph got involved. They loved the record for what it was, which we loved as well. They didn't want anything changing, and we're lucky in the sense that they just let us get on with the music side of stuff.

Are they supportive?
M Yeah, they just liked the record.
G: We had a few other labels involved at the time who were dictating what they wanted from us, telling us to change certain songs. So Epitaph was a really good thing for us.

Have you already got another album lined up?
M: We're about 4 weeks into writing it so it's early days.
G: We're working with Jason Perry, we're going into the studio October or November to record it.

A slot on the Warped tour can't hurt your US chances either.
G: Warped was starting again, completely fresh. There are a few people who heard of us through the internet but it was literally going onstage everyday and trying to grab as many people's attention walking past as we could. And I thought we did a good job, there were always more people at the end than there were at the beginning.
M: I think we can be proud of it.

Finally, I'm very sorry but I was instructed to ask you this! I was talking to Daniel Lloyd-Jones (Manager) and he said that if you didn't talk about someone's massive testicles, then he was ex-communicating you.
M: (Laughs) Is this about Sean's balls?

I've to report to him afterwards.
M: Well, never mind Sean's balls. I've seen Dan's balls and they're not that impressive to be honest!
G: When we went to sign with EMI he turned up in the shortest pair of shorts ever. And we were just like 'what the hell are you wearing?' And he said 'what's wrong? I paid 50 quid for these!'
M: We thought we should dress a bit tidy seeing as the lawyers were there but then he turned up in these ridiculously short shorts!
G: But yes, Sean has monumentally epic balls. There's always one in a band...
M: He should have a bra for them.

Natalie Kaye

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