2011.06.07 - Swan (BlackRain)exclusive
Hello, friends! It’s been a long time since we posted our last exclusive interview with Swedish girl of rock’n’roll Mia Klose and now finally we’re back with some new and interesting shit for you all!) Our first conversation in this summer turned out an interview with a frontman of the French sleaze rockers BlackRain, Swan. The guys recently released their third studio album entitled «Lethal Dose Of…» in a February 2011.
Not many of you know, that before BlackRain started to play in a glam-rock style, they were a heavy metal band, that has released a demo-tape called «Twilight, Rain and Darkness» back in 2003 and after that – a self-titled album in 2006. Soon the guys realized that they want to play a little more rock’n’roll than heavy metal music and correct their style a little turning their heads to sleaze-rock.
In 2008 the band under the prime supervision of Chris Laney records their second album «License To Thrill», filled with the glam rock hits including «Rock Your City» - a song that has become an anthem of all the BlackRain fans all over the world. The band immediately gets the top reviews in the music magazines as Burn! and Rock Hard, some music journalists call BlackRain «one of the brightest hopes of the new wave of glam rock».
The guys begin playing shows and create the big fan-base all over the world.
All BlackRain fans been waiting to hear the new album from the band for three long years. The third highly anticipated record «Lethal Dose Of…» was out in February 2011 and soon got the good feedback from the most of reviewers. Album’ s special edition included alternative and live versions of some of the new songs and the new-recorded version of «Rock Your City».
Now BlackRain is at one of their periods of their career. They become popular on the sleaze metal scene very fast, they already have at least two albums they can be really proud of and a base of devoted fans. Still this band has a lot to say to the world and they have all the opportunities to become a really big band in the future!
Swan, the BlackRain frontman, found some time to sit down and answer our questions. The change of music style, the new band’s album, a collaboration with Crashdiet, an hard partying life experience and a lot of other interesting things – that what we’ll talk about in this interview with Swan. Let’s go.
We were playin' n partyin' every night n we realized quite fast that we enjoyed much more to play rock n roll than heavy metal!
Q:What is going on in the band for now when u just released your new album «Lethal Dose Of…»? Are you planning on tour or just some concerts? Maybe filming any videos for songs from «Lethal..»? I think «Get a Gun» or «Addicted to Failure» would be the good choices!
A:Well, we just played 19 unplugged showcases in Fnac CD stores, we got that unique chance. Thanks to Wagram, our French distributor. It was our first acoustic experience n it has been a total blast!! I guess none of us expected so much fun.
You can check out videos of the tour on our YouTube chanel "rockurcity".
We're now waiting for some gig confirmations here in France as support act for some famous bands, n also waiting for a tour that should take place next fall!
We made a first video already for "Overloaded" n will maybe make another one if the record company needs it!
11th December we'll play together with Crashdiet n Kissin' Dynamite in Paris, that's gonna be fuckin' awesome, a pure sleaze glam night, here's a link to the facebook event, you'll be able to find all the infos!
Q: In some interview I read that you were going to put out the «Lethal» in March 2010, and now I see it took more time to make it, cos the first songs of the record appeared at yr Myspace a lot time ago. What happened, what problems there were?
A: Actually it's not about problems! Since a year we've met people from the music industry n changed almost all the team around the band. We have a new Producer/Manager, he gave us the opportunity to get back to the studio to re-mix the whole album n to add some more songs. The album has been mixed n mastered first by Beau Hill (Ratt, Alice Cooper, ect) but the result wasn't really what we expected...! We changed our label, been switchin' from "Listenable Records" to "SPV Records", had new booking agent, new press agent, it took much time to build that structure n we were so busy, we didn't even realized that almost a year went by since the first shot with B.Hill!
But we're back on track, the album has been released in France in February, you can find it in every store I guess n we're more than satisfied cuz the sales are good!
If I'm right SPV should release "Lethal Dose Of..." in Europe very soon. I also heard they wanted to work on Japan n U.S.A as well but I don't know what has been decided exactly.
Q: Why weren't you happy enigh with the work that Beau Hill has made?
A: It's a big adventure, the fact is B.H contacted us for the mix of "License To Thrill" album; it was too late cuz Chris Laney had the deal already. It seems like he's been following the band via internet cuz he emailed me again before the mix of "Lethal Dose Of..."
Since his prices were very honest n he got such a great reputation we wanted to try with him.
But the result wasn' t that good, he could have made something better if we would gave more money hehe but we couldn't afford it so we didn't know what to do at that point!
Then we had the chance to meet our new producer, went back to a good studio in Paris n been re-mixing everything, we did our best n I think the album sounds great that way!
Q: Let’s clear some things about the new album! Is «Get a Gun» a cover of industrial black metal band Count Nosferatu Kommando or it’s them made a cover version of BlackRain’s song? If the song is a cover, why did you put it at the number 1 at the tracklist? Though this is a very strong song with great fukkin lyrics! I think, one of the best on your album! And if this is a cover version – why did you choose it, how did u know about this band at all? I don’t think they’re much popular even at the black metal scene for now.
A: "Get a Gun" is a cover from The CNK. They' re good friends of us n they asked BlackRain to make a cover for the re-edition of their first album, we chose that song n were so happy with the demo version that we decided to keep it for the album introduction! We also like to play it first at our gigs, there's a nice energy in this cover I think!
The CNK have a good fan base in France, they're probably well known cuz of their singer that used to be frontman in black metal band Anorexia Nervosa.
Q: What «Dead Boy» and «Addicted To Failure» songs are about? If I got it right, «Addicted» is about suicide of someone or something like this. What influenced you to write these ones?
A: "Dead Boy" is about a negative relation between 2 persons, I can't tell much more...
"Addicted to Failure" is about drugs problem, not a suicide but it's describing the comportment of someone that got too far with that, when you are trapped in a vicious circle, mentally not strong enough n physically half dead. It's a kind of look from the outside, ain't no funny song...
Q: There’s a ballad on the «Lethal…» called «Shining Down On You». Its alternate version reminded me a lot about Pretty Boy Floyd ballads, it sounds like just a song from their classic albums, really great and romantic. Was it influenced by some love story from real life or it’s just another ballad with no story behind it?
A: Thanks, it's nice to know you enjoyed the alternate version n funny you compare this with P.B.F since it's not really a big influence for us. We thought it would be interesting to record a different version, we were just curious to hear the way it would sound when we play the song like a ballad.
All the lyrics from "Lethal Dose Of..." album have been inspired from true stories, of course the romance is a big part of rock n roll history hehe!!
Q: You decided to re-record «Rock Your City», but why? I think the 1st version had more energy of fun and night parties in it and the new one sounds a little raw.
A: Yea I totally agree, sounds rawer in the new version! Well, we wanted to re-record "Rock Your City" the way we play it on stage, n also wanted to put again in the album the choirs ooooooh hey hey hey hey! It's a way to engrave the theme in the mind of auditors, everybody usually sing this at our shows, it's the party shit!!!
We inserted the theme in introduction, before "Get a Gun" n also at the end with "Rock Your City" just to make sure everybody got it!!
Q: Let’s get back to your roots. On your first LP you played more true heavy metal stuff, why did you change your style later to more sleazy sound, what made you do it?
A: It's nothing but an evolution, our influences changed a lot n we've been leading to play just what we like to play you know!
I guess it started while our first tour in Japan, we were playin' n partyin' every night n we realized quite fast that we enjoyed much more to play rock n roll songs. It's kinda the reason why "Kenny Big Balls" left the band few months after the tour, the new direction we wanted to take didn't fit at all with his personnal tastes.
We found everything we love in rn'r, the music, the attitude, the way of living... n I can tell ya it's not always what it seems, you gotta be very strong to lead that kind of life, I easily understand that it doesn't fit to everyone!
Q: Tell us ‘bout your collaboration with Crashdiet. I heard somewhere that you wrote some tunes for their latest album, what was it? Cos I also know that Johnny Gunn of Peep Show has written some lyrics or maybe even music to some songs of Generation Wild.
A: Yea I've been mostly workin' with Peter, I used to go quite often to Stockholm n been stayin' at his place everytime so we started to compose some stuff together (when we had time between parties haha)
They didn't use the material tho, some of ya may know about "Caught In Despair", we made that one together. I gave em another song they should use for the next album, as we've been talking about it last time they played in Paris.
It's been a great collaboration, I learnt many things by workin' with em, I really hope we'll make this happen again in the future.
Q: Now, when you become rock stars, I think you’ve already met some of your rock idols at the shows, maybe even played with them at one stage, share it with us, who was it, how did it feel like?
A: We had the chance to play as support act for some nice bands yea!
Last year we played with Europe, we knew we would make the show the day before haha, our manager called us, since we were on our way to some party, we had to drive back home, caught our guitars n the train to Paris! But everything turned out fine, it was fully packed n the crowd well received the band!
Anyway the best memories for all BlackRain members is the show with Alice Cooper! The gig was awesome n we had the opportunity to meet him after the concert, you know, it was like playin' a scene from "Wayne's World" movie haha. A.Cooper is a fuckin' cool guy, I would even call him Mr Nice guy hehe!!
Same for Papa Roach, even if the show wasn't good ( the organisation was awful...). Jacoby was one of the nicest man I ever met, I hope we'll play again together in the future!
It's always a great n constructive experience to share the stage with such bands, we're now waiting for some more confirmations for similar gigs n obviously the goal is to get to the next step!
Q:What bands from France you know that play the same style as you, that you can recommend to all the glam rock fans there? Cause I just don’t know much of them from France, would be interesting to know out some;)
A: Maybe you don't know about em cuz we're almost the only one haha.
You should check out Rackel Traxx, they're from Marseilles n just released their first album, it's real good, the singer reminds me of Steve Summers from Pretty Boy Floyd, it's 100% Glam!
There's some other sleaze bands but they don't have any records out yet.
Anyway I have the feeling that scene is growin' up so you better keep an eye on France hehe!
Q: What’s your point on the reunions/famous bands that continue with the new singers? Do you think Axl should not continue with GnR? Crashdiet?
A: Hahaha, I don't wanna get involved in such discussions... People like to talk shit about that kind of things even tho they actually don't know a shit about it. It's crazy how much people enjoy to pretend to tell you the way you should work, the way you should talk, the way you should look, what's good n what's wrong... But who are they? Most of time they're just jealous like hell n nothing but losers.
We're just discovering what music business is all about, if you're not into this, if you're not behind the scene you can't imagine what it's like. Everything is so complicated, if you didn't follow the story from the inside you can't have a strong point of view.
I don't have to say if Axl should stop or not, I just feel disappointed that Slash n Duff aren't in the band anymore but that's the way it goes. I know that Guns n' Roses still kick ass on stage, like Loaded or Slash's Snakepit.
Regarding Crashdiet, Martin is a great composer n they found an awesome singer, it couldn't be better, the alchemy is perfect!
Q: Has it already happened that someone of your band has been noticed by some passerby as the BlackRain musician?
A: Yea sure! Since we're pretty often in the rock magazines in France it happens sometime n it's pretty cool, we always love to talk with fans!! On the last acoustic tour we usually stayed at least an hour after the showcases to sign posters / cards / magazines ect n just to talk with everybody, we really enjoy this contact.
Q: What are you listening to? Do you like any hardcore styles of music (emocore/metalcore, etc.), maybe some death or black metal, thrash? Just interesting.
A: Everybody in BlackRain has different influences, we listen to quite a lot of music, from Elvis Presley, Creedence Clearwater Revival to Emperor n Immortal! Frank is also listening to death n industrial metal, Max likes pop rock bands, we have a wide register.
Max 2 n me been listening a lot to In Flames n Children Of Bodom, also Sepultura n Slayer, when we started the band we were covering these bands n almost the whole "Kill Em All" album of Metallica!!
Q: OK, guys, thank u very much for wasting yr time on us, hope to see you in Russia one day! Till then will be seeing you live through fukkin YouTube!))
A: Thank ya for yer interest n I'm really sorry it took so much time to answer but we've been extremely busy...! Hope to cya in Russia for a killer gig!
Full fuckin blast!!
This interview was made and taken by: Alexis Coma & R.Rock