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

Defeat – You Know What You Are EP

Defeat pic

And so it continues, the emotion twisting sounds of Defeat have returned to voraciously crawl through ears and into the psyche. The UK duo have already increasingly trespassed into and seduced the senses through their previous encounters, each bringing evolution to their music and breaching new creative plateaus whilst suggesting there is more to come. The band’s new EP, You Know What You Are, is the realisation of much of this promise yet in turn it gives the feeling that they have still come nowhere to exhausting their potential, even though it sets the loftiest marker yet for the band in sound and invention.

Hertfordshire hailing union consists of vocalist Anthony Matthews and the master of synthetics Gary Walker, two school friends who have continually played together through previous guises from those days onwards. Each exploit has been a stepping stone to Defeat, and the breeding of a sound inspired by the likes of Nitzer Ebb, Depeche Mode, NIN, Front 242, Front Line Assembly, and Skinny Puppy. As Defeat, the pair swiftly lit attention with the release of their Outbursts! EP in 2012. Its emergence around a year after Matthews and Walker were truly able to concentrate on Defeat, lured an increasingly number of eager ears and appetites, backed by a subsequent remix EP entitled simply Defeat Remixed. It was debut album [Seek Help] in 2013 that pushed the band most forcibly onto the European EBM/ electro-industrial map though with its raw and magnetic atmospheres around angst soaked explorations. It was challenging and infectious, a fusion of dark climates and virulent electro pop digging now taken to even more experimental and striking depths with You Know What You Are. There is still that expected and inescapable catchiness, each track whipping up vivacious energies and anthemic temptation but equally they devour the most imposing and darkest corners of emotion and life.

YKWYA_cover     The EP opens with Want and instantly has ears intrigued and hungry as pulsating bassy electronics rap on the senses before being joined by a fiery melodic coaxing, It is a restrained but pungent start, rhythms quickly building up a head of intent and steam leading to a purposeful stride where the always expressive tones of Matthews invite and provoke. His delivery is part monotone, part dour, and all thick persuasion, the perfect temper and compliment to the bubbling electronic tenacity and haunting shadows respectively. As with previous encounters, the band’s sound stirs up welcome thoughts of Fad Gadget, the fusion of light and dark, invasive tempting and compelling contagion similar as Defeat sculpt their own unique incitement of dark pop.

The following Twist is just as dynamically gripping and texture entwining. Theatrical, gothic kissed keys spark the imagination first, the lure never relinquishing attention as a more caustic electro breeze joins the play. In no time the song is sauntering along with thickly jabbing beats, fizzy electronic tempting, and the narrative shaping delivery of Matthews. Things only blossom further as Walker infuses a great blistering of guitar, its presence adding to the sinister ambience evoked and fuelling the encounter. As its predecessor, there are moments of clear pop within the hazy almost portentous embrace of the track, those enticements boldly seeded in the eighties electro/synth pop which has also been a ripe influence on the band’s sound and songwriting.

Resist comes next and dares you to comply with its title, but to no avail as a Numan-esque smog wraps ears first before volatile electro sounds and rhythms rigorously simmer in an expanding provocative landscape of sour melodic tension and vocal prowling. There is always drama to the sound and narratives of Defeat, but possibly this song is their most incendiary on ears and imagination yet, thoughts especially running with its rich persuasion to create their own dark exploits alongside that of the song. It is a transfixing proposition matched by the outstanding Attention Seeker. This is a predator of a track, every beat carrying menace and each syllable a spiteful leer whilst synths cast a web of diverse colour and enterprise; even its addictive swing and spicy melodies seem to have a carnivorous grin to their tenacity.

The song is an invigorating and intoxicating anthem contrasted impressively by the next up Care For Me, a track uniquely individual but a match in magnetism and invention. Whereas Attention Seeker was open in its antagonistic charm, its successor embroils itself in another intriguing imposing caress of sound and reflective exploration. Spatial melodies seep from keys whilst guitars bring a raw fiery texture to the immersive croon, and within it all Matthews slowly releases deep rooted angst and emotional torment in the dark intimate tale.

The industrial air of Goodbye is an early hook which only thickens its bait as the song and vocals create an aural dystopia within an increasingly more rugged and inflammatory infection soaked stomp. It forces its dance upon feet and emotions, chaining their submissive enlistment into its ferocious staging of riveting sound and menacing intent. The track is a pulsating gem, at its heart pure slice of rock ‘n’ roll and in its increasingly psychotic character, pure inventive, belligerent devilry.

You Know What You Are is completed by a quartet of mixes, Ruinizer bringing the Bye Motherfucker Bye Mix of Goodbye, Paresis offering the Blackened Mix of Want, and Cease2Xist casting their Self Loathing Mix of How Pathetic, a track from the band’s Outbursts! EP. The cream of an enjoyable quartet though is the Shaken Not Stirred Mix by X-KiN of Twist, which features the exceptional vocals of Veronick. It is a gloriously fresh slant on the song with the lady’s voice enthralling as it takes centre stage.

Defeat have returned with yet another impressive step in their songwriting and sound whilst, as suggested earlier, implying that there is plenty more still to be unearthed in their imaginations and creativity. So whilst enjoyment boils over with You Know What You Are, anticipation is already on the rise again.

The You Know What You Are EP is available now digitally and on CD @ https://defeatmusic.bandcamp.com/album/you-know-what-you-are

https://www.facebook.com/Defeatmusic     http://www.defeatmusic.com/

RingMaster 23/05/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net