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Black Moth - Interview

  by Paul Waller

published: 3 / 4 / 2014

Black Moth - Interview


Paul Waller talks to Harriet Bevan, the singer with stoner rock band Black Moth about their forthcoming tour with Uncle Acid and the deadbeats and second album which will be coming out soon

With the stoner rock and doom scene in England continuing to flourish as the decade draws on, it takes a certain quality of band to rise above the heap of fuzz-pedalled Sabbath obsessives. Black Moth are such a band. Since the release of their 2012 debut ‘The Killing Jar’ the group have played shows continuously and have notched appearances at both the Download and Reading festivals onto their collective belts. Now that there is a high profile support slot with Uncle Acid & the deadbeats booked, plus the prospect of a sophomore album being ready to go, we contacted Black Moth vocalist Harriet Bevan. It would appear that it is perfect timing for us at Pennyblackmusic to get the lowdown on the Leeds riff-mongers before they break huge. PB: How old were you when you discovered rock music. Did you instantly feel it was for you? What were the bands that turned your head initially? HB: I distinctly remember my dad getting his record player out one day, and off went the Erasure CD and out came all his vinyl collection from his student days. That was when I heard my first riffs, and I think it was Led Zeppelin. I continued to be obsessed with 60's pop for most of my youth (Diana Ross and the Supremes was my first love) until puberty loomed and a friend’s cool older sister played me some Nirvana. A mosher was born. PB: Black Moth rose like a phoenix from the ashes of the fine Leeds underground garage band the Bacchae. What inspired you to take a heavier approach to your music? HB: We were already doing some pretty raucous stuff that I would consider heavy in another sense. Our biggest influence was always the Stooges! But when Dom joined us on drums, the songs we were writing started to get increasingly heavier in line with his drumming style, and we quickly realised that these were the ones we enjoyed playing live the most and a more cohesive sound started to form. PB: Who approached who to release the record? I personally think that New Heavy Sounds did a great job with the release? HB: They did a brilliant job. We're so lucky to have them as our label as Paul Cox and Ged Murphy are indisputably the good guys of the industry- they're endlessly supportive and creative and we enjoy a close relationship with them. I can't even remember how we met now...I think we played one of Paul's Artrocker club nights and kept in touch. New Heavy Sounds are a consistent presence as promoters of heavy stuff in London and across the UK. PB: 'The Killing Jar' is ridiculously solid for a debut LP, yet now you have had time to reflect is there anything you wish you could change? HB: Why, thank you! Nope, never look back! PB: Were you happy with the critical response it got? HB: Delighted! I didn't actually see one really negative review, so unless they were expertly hidden from me by the label it was all posi-vibez. It was a dream to finally put out our first album after years of playing together, soe were really stoked when it landed as well as it did. PB: The artwork is fantastic on 'The Killing Jar'. What sort of input did you have? HB: Ged Murphy takes a big interest in visuals ,and I think it was him who suggested Vania Zouravliov. I instantly fell in love with his work and thought it suited us perfectly. It has a similar feel to John Baisley's work but with added sinister overtones. The piece we chose seemed like it was made for 'The Killing Jar'. PB: There are elements of doom, horror, classic rock and even grunge on the LP. Belonging to no particular scene hasn’t seemed to have done the band any harm at all. HB: I couldn't think of anything I'd want less for the band than to get holed up in a narrow scene. I feel passionately that allying yourself with a genre closes so many doors, and the world of music is far too thrilling and special to limit yourself to one path. It should be a gigantic off-road adventure. PB: What did producer Jim Sclavunos bring to the table? I note that the vocals are quite high in the mix, which helps in separating it from lots of the stoner, psych and doom bands around at the moment. HB: Jim is a fantastic creative force, a formidable whip-cracker and I also regard him as a mentor of sorts. He won't settle for anything less than our best, and has a very good idea for the bigger picture when we are all bogged down by the finer details. We've just recorded our second album with him and he feels like part of the gang now. I don't know if the vocal levels are entirely down to him or whether that's just our style. I guess a lot of bands of the styles you mention use the voice as another melodic layer rather than necessarily leading the melody and most of ours err towards the latter. PB: You have achieved a certain level of success but do any of you still have day jobs? You play very frequently now. Has it been difficult to adjust from a ‘normal’ life? HB: Abso-bloody-lutely! It's extremely difficult to make a living from playing music these days until you really are one of the mega-stars. It's extremely difficult, in that case, to balance with any pretence of a 'normal' existence. All of us have day jobs. I was working for a very interesting publication ( www.thinking-in-practice.com ) until we were offered this all-too-tempting tour support with Uncle Acid and the deadbeats. Sadly this meant I had to leave. So if anyone wants to hire me in a few weeks time that'd be just great! PB: You have had time to reflect on playing Reading and Download now. How do you feel they went? Positives and negatives please? HB: Positives all round...really. There's nothing quite like the purejoy of the festival vibe. Sure the sound is rarely as good as indoor venues, but that's more than made up for with party spirit- the crowds were unreal for both and the power of that interaction is the best feeling...one of the things you chase. PB: The upcoming tour with Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats sounds like another of those dream come true moments? How did you feel when you received the call? HB: It was a no-brainer. Everything else in life just had to sort of stop and make way! They are an excellent band for sure, and we've been pining for another European tour since last year's trip to Italy with Red Fang. PB: And the new album. Has it the same feel? Any clues as to what we should expect? HB: It is officially in the bag! It's a weirdo for sure, and we had to really "face our demons" and all those cliches to get it done but we're all super stoked with the results. The "difficult second album" indeed..All the cliches! The label seem pretty excited about it, which I think is a good sign! You can listen to 'Tumbleweave' online now for a taster of what's to come! https://soundcloud.com/new-heavy-sounds/black-moth-tumbleweave PB: Thank you.

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