The Black Maria recently entered the studio to record the album which will follow their Victory debut, Lead Us To Reason. The album will be their first without guitarist Kyle Bishop who parted ways with the band last December.
Let’s just start, you’re currently one-man down?
Yeah actually, well… we’re two-men down.
What about Kyle leaving, are you replacing him?
Yeah, we’ve replaced him with Scott who used to be in a band called ‘Far From Heroes’
So what else would you like to talk about?
Now that Kyle’s gone you’ve completely left the ‘Grade’ association out. How’s that past connection always settled with you?
I think we left the ‘Grade’ association behind a long, long time ago because the only people that kind of associated that was media, reviewers and the message boards and punknews.org (laughs). Basically that’s the only place it ever gets brought-up anymore.
We’ve outsold ‘Grade’ as far as record sales go but really they’re a great band but that shadow that was cast upon us. We’ve ran far-away from it. When we started this band we wanted to make sure that we didn’t use that coat-tail as an out gig. That was really important to us. That’s why you probably saw it wasn’t mentioned very often; the association. We wanted to really do it ourselves.
One of the things that people have to realize - especially one of the hard times I have with the punknews.org’s message board - is that the bands out there that are getting big have all their ‘schticks’ that’s great but the reason why I was looking forward to this interview is that we’re a band that’s done this since we’ve all been twelve-years-old. We’re an honest band we do it because we love it.
We don’t have any ‘schticks’ we don’t have any gimmicks, we are what you hear. And when we play live, you can see us play in front of five people or ten-thousand people and we’ll still play the exact same show. All we care about is that people get their money’s worth for the show that is really important to us.
Definitely been playing lots of shows, run through this year quick…
We got some great tours, we got really lucky. We got to open-up for ‘Chevelle’, ‘Alexisonfire’, ‘Rise Against’, ‘Goldfinger’, ‘Sum 41’, ‘Eighteen Visions’. It was an awesome year.
And you have more as far as recording plans coming-up soon?
Yeah we’re going to be taking some timeout, writing for a new record coming-up.
On Victory again?
Of course, it’s the best label in the world.
You lyrically don’t hold much back, going from references to how much you love then how much you really hate, do you agree with me …?
Well yeah kind of, I just really wear my heart on my sleeve. I’ve always tried to not candy-coat things or paint things to be something but what they really mean…? I don’t want to paint a picture that’s not real. I’ve always been someone that’s always wanted to be honest. I don’t think on this next recording I am going to be as emotional or be writing about girls or love or hate. As an artist, I think I’ve grown a lot from seeing the world touring I’ve matured a lot as a writer. On this next record I’m going to kind of skew away from that side of things. It seems everyone’s writing about it and we’re a rock band.
We’re not punk band we’re not an emo or screamo band. We have never claimed to be any of these things. All we have said is we’re a rock band. That’s what I listen to. I don’t listen to emo bands, I mean I think some bands are doing it great but I am twenty-seven-years-old. I am a grown man. I don’t listen to songs about girls and girls breaking your heart all the time. And I know on the last record there’s certain parts of that in our music but that’s because deep-down yes, it is a part of life and you need to look deeper into what I am saying in the songs because they’re not so cut and dry. Even the songs that are kind of about relationships and I guess you could say have that emotional side there’s still a different texture to it then what is necessarily right on paper.
Before ‘The Black Maria’ you pursued solo career work, is that something you still do? Or would still consider doing?
Possibly maybe once I am done this but right now ‘The Black Maria’ is where my heart is. It’s been a whole lot of my time. I’ve really not lately been that inspired to do the singer/song writer thing. I think it was great but I think once ‘The Black Maria’ is done I will probably take some time-off of music just to be normal. Have a normal life so I can make money and move-out of my house.
What record can all you guys agree on when driving?
Anything by ‘Every Time I Die’ literally ‘Gutter Phenomenon’ was the best record of last year. The new ‘Dillinger Escape Plan’. Anything by ‘Faith No More’ oh and ‘Elton John’… Of course, we were listening to his greatest’s hits not too long ago there is so many wedding songs on that record if you go back and really listen…
How was it to share a tour bus with ‘Atreyu’?
Nothing too incredible but we did learn how to make a bong out of an apple that was the most we got from that tour (laughs). No we learnt a lot when we were on that tour and they were really great dudes we had a blast on that. They’re totally normal guys. One of the things they always talked about was how ‘man we’re just normal guys, we fart and puke…’ Cause out in the UK people flip the fuck-out at that band, I mean really. They’re awesome dudes man and I have nothing to say but good things about them.
What would success for you within this band be?
Being able to support myself financially and having a fan-base that loves us for who we are. That appreciates us for being us. We don’t care about any scene or being a part of any new scene. We just want every person that loves, really loves music to be our fans. Once I start seeing that ‘scene kids’, ‘rock kids’, ‘metal kids’ whatever… I want to take everyone of those motherfuckers and make them our fans. And when I see that, then I’ll know I’ve succeeded. When I know there is so many various people, within various scenes that like us. I know we’ve accomplished what we’ve set-out to do because we’re not a part of one ‘genre’ or ‘group’. That’s why we’ve done so many different tours because other people see that in us. Hopefully, the kids continue to see that in all our events.
What really is entertainment for you guys?
What that song specifically? Because for that song specifically it’s when you’re in a situation and someone absolutely loves watching you fall to pieces. Everything that they do is just to fuck with you. That’s for that song. ‘To watch me fall apart at the knees and grovel like a…’ to watch me fall to pieces and actually love that, to feel most powerful when you’re destroying someone else’s power but… When we were on tour with ‘Tap Root’ we had something called ‘Club Tap Root’ so that there was entertainment for us. Porno’s quite entertaining. ‘March of The Penguins’ is quite entertaining, any UFC Fighting Championship and Jason Bagel are very entertaining to us.
Would you record a song or songs you couldn’t play or pull-off live?
I think maybe… yeah? Cause sometimes on a record, songs come-off as if they’re for the record… Like ‘Organs’ I find that song doesn’t necessarily work live but it sounds great on the record. It’s one of my favorite tracks but when it comes to playing it live it’s not the most exhilarating one to me.
In your songs ash you throw in ‘those sins of generations of swine’. It’s a good one where did that come from?
I don’t even know what I was talking about in that song (laughs). No really, it’s just everything that we do. It’s all the negativity and hate and that just surrounds us on a day to day life. It seems like the biggest sin to me is that people can’t appreciate beautiful things in life. It’s just constantly ignorance, gotta be the toughest guy in the world, too many people revolve around negative. No one can really say how they feel to someone’s face it feels but you will always hear the negative, the negative, the negative… And I think that that’s piggish and I think that it’s awful no one has enough balls to stand-up and say ‘this is what sucks… these are the things that bother me…’ If you have something to say, please stand-up and say it. I think it sucks that some people can consume their lives with negativity everyday. Just enjoy life man, its not that long.
You’re out headlining these shows by yourselves do you miss those bigger tours you’ve been supporting when out tonight playing a smaller venues like this?
I don’t know man we didn’t do much headlining shows until now near the end of this record and I’ve got to say I am enjoying headlining shows more. Just because it feels like your real fans are there. If there’s a shitload of people like tonight or ten they still freak-out and I love that. We always bring the show. It was cool though with ‘Chevelle’ in front of five-thousand people and your controlling that but really it comes down to, its just amazing to be doing this.
If you had to pick between a kegger or wine tasting?
I do mixed martial-arts so I would have to say kegger cause I have also a lot of friends who play sports and we got to quite a few sometimes.
Do you get more bummed if you have to stay in a hotel or house?
Depends who I’m in the house with and it depends who I am in the hotel with. This is going to cause such a ruckus on the message boards (laughs)
You’re put on the spot you have to pick between a punk show or hardcore show?
Neither. Neil Diamond. No, really it depends who’s playing. I love some punk rock more than I love hardcore. And I love some hardcore more that I love some punk rock. As far as music goes if it’s got a hook, if it’s unique something with passion. I love that kind of stuff I don’t care what it is. It could be Hip-Hop or Classical music if it’s passionate I am there man.
You want seal this one?
Yeah I just want to thank everyone who’s supported us over this past year it’s been a blast and for everyone who does want to talk about us whatever way it’s good because that means you’re thinking about us.