Perth hardcore band Blkout got off to a slow start, but 2009 saw them escalate to a level beyond what anybody could have expected from them, releasing a 7" and an LP of raw, unforgiving hardcore. Multiple tours (with the likes of Rise & Fall and 50 Lions), Blkout have returned with a new 7" titled No Justice No Peace. If this is the first you’ve heard of the band, prepare to be educated in true, unadulterated hardcore. Vocalist Scott Angel answered a couple of questions for us.
Introduce yourself and what you do in Blkout?
Yo, I’m Scott and I sing in the band.
You’ve just released your new 7” ‘No Justice No Peace’. How do you feel this record has been received?
We started selling the record midway through the last tour, but it wasn’t officially released until a week after hardcore. Naturally no one really knew the songs when we played them on tour (besides the one song that we chucked up on Myspace, but who even looks at that shit anymore?) but people seemed to like the songs and get down or whatever. As far as how the record’s been received I don’t really know…. I don’t read or look at any message boards or anything like that so I don’t really know overall, but the few people I’ve spoke to like the new songs and the direction that the band is going. I don’t think we’ve strayed too far from the sound of the last record, but I think we’ve definitely improved our songwriting.
Do you think the recent line up changes have had any effect on Blkout’s sound? What have the two new members brought to the table?
I don’t think it’s really changed the sound so to speak. Bursky joined the band because he liked the stuff we were playing already, and he wanted to be a part of it. We don’t want to change the band in to some rock band or something because at the end of the day we’re still just a shitty hardcore band and that’s what we want to keep playing. I think Burskys songwriting has definitely helped us grow us a band and fuck with some new crazy shit we would have been too scared to try before. That guy kills a guitar. We recorded a new song that isn’t on the 7" which will be coming out on a compilation soon that he wrote which is pretty crazy, and the demo versions were even crazier.
You guys are spread all over Australia now, how do you coordinate writing and practising if you live in different states?
Well definitely don’t practice as much as we should. We always get a day or two to jam shit out before a tour so that helps. As for writing new material it’s easy as shit these days with the internet. We can record some rough shit and send it over and he’ll be able to get it straight away, make some changes and send it back. Songwriting is a long process and we don’t want to rush anything this time like we’ve done in the past, and I guess this slows us down and gives us time to look over things.
You’ve just finished your tour with 50 Lions and Persist, and played both Hardcore 2010 shows for the second year in a row. What were the highlights of this trip?
Playing hardcore for a second year in a row was cool. I think we played a lot better this time around too which is cool. Last year we’d just got off a long ass flight from Europe and all of us were dead tired. The highlights as far as shows went would definitely be the Melbourne show at the Arthouse which was fucking cool and of course Hardcore. Non-musical highlights would be the food and the whales chilling and splashing about in the ocean when we were in Newcastle. Abordi trying to fight a truck driver, that was scary but looking back pretty funny. I was half asleep and I woke up to him yelling out the window and Madball was playing loud as shit, I think that maybe had something to do with his rage. Matt in Nowra, that guy was cool. He only drinks Coke and vodka.
Tell us about the ‘Without a Fight’ video, where does the riot footage come from and why did you choose this for the video?
The Riot footage was taken from doco ‘Berkley in the 60’s’. Basically we ran out of real footage and time for the clip and thought that it fit well enough with the topic of the song.
Your 2009 LP ‘Total Depravity’ confirmed your status as one of the top hardcore bands in Australia, have you received any attention from abroad?
We toured Europe with Miles Away in June/July last year which was cool. We only had the first 7" and the 2012 7" out at that stage but Total Depravity was already recorded so we were pretty much playing just songs of that record. We definitely want to get back over to Europe as soon as we can and hopefully America at some stage. We’ve spoken to a few bands who are cool to take us out so we’ll see what comes from it. Obviously we don’t expect the response over there to be massive but we wanna see places and even if we’re playing shows to kids who have never heard us before that is still cool.
Lyrically, what are you trying to communicate through Blkout?
We’re not trying to push any particular messages or tell anyone what to think or believe in. I just write lyrics about what I see going on around me really. The subject matter of Dirt and Bones is pretty obvious. I grew up in a suburb that had a pretty vivd contrast of rich and poor living side by side, so I just wrote about how it was, what I saw and how that came about. There were aboriginal families living in complete poverty in their own country, with no other way to live in this society forced upon them which totally sucks. The new record is still along the same lines, a lot of the lyrics are about how I see the world, a lot of the injustices in the world which I see and have dealt with.
What are the inspirations for the sound and image of the band?
I don’t think we have any particular inspiration for the image of the band. We’re all in to different things so I guess it’s just a mix of what we all like and what we think looks cool. I guess I’ve always had an involvement with graffiti and stuff before I was in the band, so that shows through a bit I think. I think we try to stay away from the typical hardcore image but I’m sure we still have just as much of that as any other band. As for the sound, I guess it would be a lot of early NYHC, as well as a lot of classic rock and metal bands. I haven’t listened to much new hardcore at all recently, so I kind of feel a bit out of touch, but I still love hardcore and the bands that got me in to hardcore still get me skied and I still like hearing new bands. I guess not having the internet at home makes it tough huh? Still no excuse really.
The artwork for your records/tour flyers etc is awesome, who designs it?
My friend Julian does a lot of the logos for our merch and stuff, well all the graffiti-oriented stuff. Ash does all the layout for our records and flyers and stuff. He’s real good at what he does so I guess we’re lucky to have him in the band to do all that for us right? haha.
Is the state of Australian hardcore better or worse than when you first became involved in it? What has changed?
I guess when I first got involved in hardcore, in Perth at least it was a lot less image orientated. People didn’t give a fuck how they looked and that was cool. Shows used to get pretty crazy too, but I guess the people that were young and at shows have all grown up or whatever. Hardcore’s not really about age though is it? So people shouldn’t think they’re too old to mosh or whatever to a new band if they like it. Two of my best friends are in their late 20’s and they still go fucking nuts at shows when they hear something they like and that’s fucking cool. It’s like you have to wear a uniform to a hardcore show now or something, it’s stupid. There’s still a lot of good bands coming through, and it’s cool to see that a few of the bands that were around when I first got in to hardcore are still around. I think it’s amazing that hardcore bands, or at least heavy bands are getting massive now, selling out big venues and getting in the charts. That says a lot about how far Australian hardcore has come. Anyone who has anything bad to say about bands like Parkway Drive or Amity Affliction for getting big are out of their fucking mind. Those dudes are all still legit as fuck, doing what they love, and haven’t changed a bit. How many other genre’s have bands that get big without changing to fit the market? Pretty much none. Let’s use The Who in the ’60’s as an example. They went from some mod band to weird hippy shit because that’s what solids records at the time. These band’s haven’t changed a bit and have put in years of hard work. All in all Australian hardcore has come a long way.
Thanks a lot, do you have anything else you want to mention?
Thanks heaps. Go buy our new record. Check out Refrain from Perth, and keep supporting what Australian hardcores got going on.