Building up a significantly sized following on the live circuit in Brum, Black Market Empire‘s beefy rock has recently being given the Blue Whale treatment with the band coming in to record the brooding ‘Unconditional’. Lead singer Shaun Ponsonby gave us the inside scoop on BME’s colonial conquests:
You’ve been described as ‘Merseybeat’ by The Hearing Aid. Although it was a complement, how does a proud Brummie band stomach that?!
“It was definitely took as a compliment. The Beatles are the greatest pop band of all time and they will always be an influence to the music we make. We are all hugely proud of our wonderful city, though because of it being so unashamedly multicultural and musically diverse Birmingham does not have a typical representative sound.
“I can see how we were described as that but we do have so many types of songs and sounds that it is difficult for us to be compared to bands or genres but obviously it is a reviewers job to do so.”
What other Brummie bands do you rate and why?
“There are many Birmingham bands at present who we are all into. One gig that we are all looking forward to for different reasons is the gig at Rainbow on May 21st involving The Castilians, Swamp Meat and The Rivers Presley Set. My new favourite band currently are absolutely The Castilians, I always knew Dan and Matt’s talent with The Big Bang with Scott and even back to You:Delinquents but the new band is really my thing.”
“Anthony is digging Swamp Meat and Tom and Kurt are really enjoying The Rivers Presley Set. I always look out for any band to do well from Birmingham, it was great for the City when Editors broke through and I was on the front row watching The Twang‘s rise though are they a Birmingham band or Black Country? I have never been afraid to admit growing up following and still being a fan of Birmingham’s Ocean Colour Scene. Also Tantrums are quality and have only gotten better in recruiting Anna. Barnsey too plus The Filthy Habits also deserve a mention.”
Tell us a bit more about ‘Unconditional’, the tune you recorded with us at Blue Whale. What bands were you listening to at the time of writing and recording? Or where did you draw influence from?
“‘Arizona’ and ‘Cold Desert’ by Kings of Leon were two songs that around the time of writing I could not stop listening to although they do not have the tempo change. Though musically the song was built up over a few weeks from a guitar riff in the studio, we were playing the light riff and then going into the heavier busier part but without it having any structure or lyrics. I took it away and eventually came back with a song.
“The reverb and atmosphere created in the tune is just down to us working at what sounds good in the studio and giving the song the time and effort it needed.”
Lyrically, what does the song touch upon? Is it a piece of advice to someone or is it more self referential?
“I have never really had to speak about lyrics to any of our songs before and this song probably means more to me than any other of our songs. I don’t want to go into it too much but it is an ode to someone special. It is basically about the thankless, difficult job of bringing up a child with learning difficulties. Hope the songs makes sense to you now.”
What do you plan on doing with the recording? Any plans to release it?
“The initial plan was to get the song recorded to a higher quality as possible to what it deserves and after listening to the initial mix I feel that we have achieved that at Blue Whale, plus we had a good time recording it with Ben and John, which is a bonus. We will put it up on the Myspace as that is the first point of call where people will go to listen to our music before seeing us live. We have no plans at the minute for a release but will be looking to do something when we have a few more done.”
Black Market Empire play The Flapper on 19th June, supporting Dogs followed by an acoustic performance at The Sunflower Lounge on 4th July.