Magnetic reflections: looking into Black Mirrors

We were aware of the buzz building up around Belgian band Black Mirrors so eagerly anticipated checking out their new EP release with Napalm Records. Fair to say that Funky Queen more than lived up to the praise gathering around its release, revelling in the myriad of flavours behind its bluesy rock ‘n’ roll. Offered the chance to find out more about band and release we fired questions at vocalist Marcella Di Troia and guitarist Pierre Lateur.

Hi guys and thanks for talking with us.

Firstly can you give us the background to Black Mirrors; its beginnings and how you all met?

, c Nanna Dis 2016

Marcella: During summer 2013, I wanted to create a female band. I found a drummer and a bass player but found it difficult to find a female guitar player. I was looking for someone who could play like Pierre the actual guitar player. I was fond of his sound. I couldn’t find a girl who could do that. So, I asked Pierre to join the band. After some jamming, we wanted to work harder and to start to write our own songs but the girls didn’t have time to invest in the project. So we forgot the idea to have an (almost) female band and invite two old friends, Gino and Edouard to join the band as bass player and drummer. We used to play with them in other bands before Black Mirrors.

We recorded our first EP and did our first gigs with this line up late 2013.

What inspired the band name?

Marcella: The name Black Mirrors came up with the TV show Black Mirror, a really cool English series which shows how technology is progressively changing our world. People are more distant to one another by being connected to the virtual world. We do not want to judge anybody, it’s just that we are witnesses of that change in our society and it touches us.

You sound is seemingly bred in garage rock but, as your new EP Funky Queen shows, flames with much broader rock ‘n’ roll diversity. What are the kinds of inspirations which have lit your musical imaginations most prominently?

Marcella: All the bands we are listening to were influenced prominently by blues masters such as Bessie Smith, Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, BB King, Muddy Waters, Blind Willie Johnson… So I would say the blues.

Pierre: Apart from the blues, we have a lot of different influences like the stoner scene, the late 60’s and early 70’s rock music like Jimi Hendrix, Led Zep, Janis Joplin and even the early Pink Floyd, the revival scene like The White stripes, Rival Sons and The Black Keys, some elements of soul/funk music and a bit of desert-blues like Tinariwen.

The Funky Queen EP has just been released through Napalm Records; how did that link-up come about?

Marcella: During summer 2015, we were invited to play in Germany at «Out and Loud» festival. Napalm was there as they opened the festival with a Napalm label night. Some of Napalm’s bands played there and they found us a slot to play. That was our first contact. We stayed in touch with them for a year and last summer we sent them our new songs. They liked it and Napalm offered us a deal.

It is being described as the band’s debut EP but am I right in thinking it has a self-titled predecessor released in 2014 which new fans to the band will want to know about?

Marcella: Yes, you’re completely right! Three years ago, we released our very first EP. We recorded it a couple of months after having started the band because we wanted to play live shows as soon as possible. This first EP is now sold out.

How would you say the Black Mirrors’ sound has evolved over its first handful of years?

Pierre: The basic sound didn’t change that much. Since the beginning, we wanted to create a music which will be a mix of all our influences. In 2013, our songs were already a mix of blues/rock, stoner and a bit of psychedelic music with a vintage approach.

But if we speak of the sound more specifically, the guitar sound became wilder with the years and our first drummer left the band. He was replaced by another one who came with his sensibility, approach and specific sound. So these two elements influenced a bit the final result.

With all artists, there is a specific intent fuelling their first steps. What was the driving force for Black Mirrors?

Pierre: Nothing more than being happy and thankful to play together. We are friends for such a long time and we’ve started the band to enjoy creating music together. We never had a big statement like « We want to play this kind of music, like very pure blues or a specific kind of stoner. » It was always about playing anything we had in mind without thinking too much. Maybe it’s the reason why there’re a lot of different influences in our music.

Listening to the EP there feels like there is a strong collaboration between the band in its songs birth and character. How does the band’s songwriting generally work?

c, c Nanna Dis 2016

Pierre: Most of the time I create basic ideas like a riff or two and show it to Marcella. We work together on a first version of the song, she composes her vocal part and we work on a basic structure. We show this draft to the band. With them we give the tune his final form. We often create new parts, remove others; jamming around the sound. Because of all this process, the song’s final version is sometimes totally different than the first idea.

Can you give the readers some insight to the background and themes to Funky Queen?

Funky Queen, which opens our EP, is about addiction. Funky Queen is the queen that confronts everyone with one’s own demons.

The second song is Kick Out The Jams, a MC5 cover. We wanted to put it on our first EP as it’s represent very well the general energy of our music.

The Mess is a song about messy feelings you get after you broke up a very bad love relationship. Sometimes, you’d rather not see things than to be destroyed for your entire life.

And finally, Canard Vengeur Masqué to end up…It is a song who talks about the missing of one of your parents after a divorce, the way you can feel forsaken in this situation as a child.

Funky Queen has a great cover to match its sounds. Who is behind the artwork and indeed the band’s excellent logo?

Pierre: It’s Sebastian Jerke, a German artist who worked with My Sleeping Karma and Colour Haze to name a few. We really like his job. We got in touch with him and he appeared to have several great ideas for the artwork.

Apart from the likes of Front 242, dEUS, Soulwax, Enthroned, Triggerfinger, Steak Number Eight, and the excellent King Hiss, I cannot say we know too much about the Belgian rock scene. It is a healthy place right now, especially in its underground?

Well, it depends if it is in the French speaking part of Belgium or the Flemish part. We think Flanders gives more chance to underground music. Just by seeing bands you named, most of them are from Flanders. We are coming from Wallonia where the rock scene is a bit shy. Unfortunately, you barely see a rock band as highlight on a festival poster in Wallonia.

What is next in the immediate future of Black Mirrors?

Going on tour with Horizont and ’77 and record our full length album.

Once again our big thanks for sharing your time with us.

Check out our review of Funky Queen @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/black-mirrors-funky-queen/

http://www.blackmirrorsmusic.com/   https://www.facebook.com/blackmirrorsmusic   https://twitter.com/BlackMirrorsmus

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

77 – Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll

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    Band name and album title does not hint at but immediately tells you exactly what you are getting into once you climb on board with the new stomp from Spanish rockers 77. Their album Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll is bred, sculpted, and delivered in seventies hard rock revelry but one which offers a fresh take on the nostalgia pushing adventure whilst wearing its inspirational heart on its muscular sleeves. The ten track release is not the fuse to heated blazes in the passions but it certainly romps along with confidence and accomplished mischief to make an encounter which lingering friendship with is a given.

Formed by brothers Armand (vocals and guitar) and LG Valeta (lead guitar), 77 has earned a fine and eagerly offered reputation for their easy to access sounds. With Dolphin (drums) and Raw (bass) completing the line-up, the band release their third album on the back of the acclaimed High Decibels. The new album continues the passion driven creatively instinctive bruisings the band has come renowned for whilst slipping in some new spicery and exploration, though ultimately the Listenable Records released offering feeds expectations rather than avoids them. It is not an album to leave you opened mouthed in awe and surprise but definitely it teases and takes ears on a feisty fun ride, which is always welcomed.

     Produced by Fred Estby and Nicke Andersson, Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll lets rip with its title track, the song instantly loadingnoname up on the ear with honest unfussy rock riffs and a tempting if familiar hook. The vocals of Armand ‘croon’ in   a pleasing if expected style whilst the group clad anthemic chorus soon has the voice joining the already engaged feet in the simple yet infectious opener. It is a song you know before you have heard it but still makes for a satisfying introduction which sets down the template for the upcoming party.

Both the following Don’t You Scream and Down and Dirty continue the eager start, the first with a taunting groove and additional blues kissed teasing from LG around another irresistibly contagious chorus whilst the second gets down on the liquor soaked blues floor and slowly, in comparison to its predecessors, singes the senses with continually to impress guitar enterprise, though each expulsion of its invention seems to be over before it and the listener has time to draw breath.  The pair hit the spot without dodging assumptions of what is coming but such the craft and passion in their veins it is hard not to enlist in their persuasion.

Highway Rebel passes by next without igniting any real flicker of energy in the passions for an admittedly strongly designed if uneventful presence before handing ears over to the album’s pinnacle. Jazz It Up is a delicious stroll, a track from its first note courting a swagger which has song and band swinging their wares with a wantonness that is pure addiction. The insatiable grooves have hips in their naughty hands throughout whilst the melodic blues toxicity conjured by LG is icing on a very tasty resourceful cake.

The swamp air of Stay Away From Water makes an excellent start to its arrival, a deltas blues essence washing over the ear which leads to a slight disappointment when the song clears its climate to present another clean rock ’n’ roll offering. Into its stride though the track proves itself to be another contagious, tempered charge through happy to accept ears whilst its successors You Bore Me and Take Me or Leave Me create their own equally appealing blues filtered temptations, the first of the two featuring LG on lead vocals. Neither provides anything truly new to get the imagination around but both enslave a healthy appetite and depth of passion for their smouldering suasion. They might not, like the album, have emotions raging but they definitely have strong appreciation swerving with eagerness to the grooves and enterprise offered.

Virtually Good and 16 Year-Old King complete the album, the pair the weakest songs on show yet still able to engage a more than happy to return appetite from thoughts and feelings. Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll gives exactly what it says on the tin and a sound rich for the attention of fans of bands such as AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, and Status Quo. 77 is a rock ‘n’ roll band and that is the tall and short of it, an intent which only gives satisfaction.

http://www.77rocks.com/

7/10

RingMaster 12/12/2013

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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77 – High Decibels

If you come across any other reviews of Spanish hard rock band 77 you would have read they more than carry an air and sound heavily influenced and taken from AC/DC. No argument from us at the RR regarding that, which is hard luck on the band as this style of music and their influences do not offer anything to ignite sparks or to go deeper than just the ear here. It has to be said though that High Decibels, the second album from 77 is an easily accessible and engaging release. It comes with no pretence or aspirations to be anything it is not, it just bursts with an eagerness to bring straight honest heavy rock n roll.

Released February 28th via Listenable Records the album is rich in 70s heavy metal with other touches of earlier rock. It is also low in originality but the band more than make up for that with strong tracks that take the better elements of the genre and sound and restyle them to their own compositions. Recorded with of Nicke Andersson (Imperial State Electric and ex-Nihilist, Entombed, and Hellacopters), High Decibels is an accomplished follow up to their debut album 21st Century Rock, and though It does not venture away from its predecessors sound or the influences that inspire the band it does have a better rounded feel.

The brothers Valeta lead the band with their creative but unfussy guitars; LG Valeta is never over indulgent in his solos and Armand backs up his brother perfectly with power and controlled play. Armand also continues his vocal delivery with a Bon Scott styling that goes beyond a mere impression adding to the overall homage of sound. Completed by the excellent bass play of Mr. Raw and the controlled but energetic drums of Johnnie Dolphin, 77 know how to create music and songs that grab hold and lead one into a world of solid and satisfying rock music.

The album is highly consistent with tracks like the opening title track, the energetic Are You Ready For Rock n Roll, and the chunky riff pleasure of Lets Beat It Up making the album more than worth a listen even if like us this is not music that one finds enthusiasm for. There are two central tracks within the album that ensures the release should be looked at. The first Backdoor Man has a neat blues vein pulsating through it and guitars that tease and beckon the ear wonderfully. Again the bass of Raw is a delight, his rhythms moody and provoking without demanding centre stage. The second of the songs is Gimme A Dollar and it is a gem, the one song that shone brightest of all. The fact that it has a hook and riff straight out of Buddy Hollys Not Fade Away does it no harm at all. It offers much more than that though and is a nice blend of rock n roll, blues and hard rock. If all tracks were like this they may have a convert on their hands.

Songs like This Girl Is On Fire and Meltin In A Spoon keep up the overall standard and AC/DC tribute, which is what it feels like at times, though the band do try to bring something new as with their mini epic Promised Land. It does not quite come off but is still a fine and interesting track with striking riffs and ideas.

One cannot fail to see hard rock and especially classic hard rock fans loving this and so they should. It has everything to excite their ears and beyond, but for us where the genre has no haven it is fighting a lost battle. To be honest High Decibels was enjoyable and if it was playing there would be no rush to turn it off for sure. The album will definitely also find favour with fans of their obvious idols, 77 making an album and music that is respectful and inspired by love of what AC/DC always do best.

RingMaster 16/02/2012

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