The Blackout

By paul

Can we have a bit of an introduction of who you are and what you do:
I’m Sean, I do singing, shouting and general campness.
I’m Gavin, I do singing and butchness.
I’m Rhys, I play bass and… err… that’s it!
I’m James and I play guitar (sort of!).

Sort of?
J: No, I do really play guitar!

Which has been the best show of the tour?
S: London, Mean Fiddler ‘cause we had like a thousand people singing our songs back to us which was f*cking incredible.
G: That was the biggest headline tour we’ve ever done and it just blew us all away! It was amazing.

Tell us a bit about the new album:
S: It’s 11 tracks of pure brutality with angelic melodies and beautiful guitar riffery and mediocre bass playing and err…
R: Thanks!

How does it compare with the previous release?
S: I think the songs are more structured and we’ve kind of grown a bit I think since the mini album. Anything else boys?
G: Yeh, when we wrote this one we actually sat down to write an album, with the last mini album it was more like a collection of songs that we’d gathered over the 2 years of playing or whatever. We actually sat down and thought about what we were writing a lot more with this one.

Where did you get the inspiration for the name of the new album ‘We Are The Dynamite’?
J: We are actually made of dynamite! It’s a little known fact…
R: All 6 of us are made of dynamite!
J: Botton line, so we called it ‘We Are The Dynamite’.

Have you always been made of dynamite?
J: Not always, it came on during puberty, It was a bit awkward for a couple of years. We thought they were pubes but they were fuses, and then some dufus decided to light them with a lighter and so we spent 2 years exploding!

In new single ‘Beijing Cocktail’ you claim to be able to make “any girl fall in love with you”, is that true?
S: Yeh, I can. It’s quite easy.
J: Drugs say yes!
S: I think Rohypnol makes that answer “yes!” [laughs]. No, no I can! All I have to do is sleep with them and they realise they don’t need anybody else forever!

For the readers that don’t know, how did you guys get together?
J: Four of them were in school together. I think it started off with Sean and Matthew deciding that they wanted to start a band, then they got in Gavin as a singer (don’t really know why!)
G: ‘Cause I’m awesome.
J: Oh that’s right, yeh! Erm… they knew Rhys was a bassist so they got him in as a bassist and they knew Gareth from the next town over who played drums, so they started a five-piece band under a different name. They played around a couple of times, then they decided they wanted another guitarist and I was wondering about going “Do you want another guitarist?” [adopts Andy from Little Britain voice] and they went “Yeh!”. Then we became a six-piece, changed the name, and started writing new material in 2003, and that’s how The Blackout started, in 2003!

Did you ever think you’d come this far and that The Blackout would be so popular?
S: YEP! [laughs]. We don’t even see ourselves as popular. We’re just 6 Welsh idiots playing music and sometimes some people come and see us. Like it’s a dream come true. It doesn’t matter how many people we play to, but every night on this tour there’s been a couple hundred kids and it really, really, really does mean the f*cking world to have people come watch us.
G: We can play in some crazy place like Aberdeen which is in the very other end of the country and like 200 hundred kids will come see you. Alright we’ve played there once before, but it just is mindblowing. We’re always just so incredibley grateful that people come and see us. We don’t mean that as some kind of empty statement, we genuinely- it just blows our minds!
S: The other day we got offered to play a festival in Holland, in Denbosh, and we were like ‘Oh, it’s gonna be pretty shitty because nobody knows us’ but we turned up and it was like 300 kids, who all knew our stuff and we were just unbelievably f*cking blown away by it!
J: We played Holland once and that was like last year, as a support act.
R: They were like singing the intro to our new album when it hadn’t even been released yet!
G: It was being released the next day, so, someone had been illegally downloading our album.
S: Bloody Dutch!
J: [Puts on accent] There’s no rules! The only rules are there are no rules! Go crazy! Release dates? We don’t have to adhere to them here!

Outside the Mean Fiddler on Saturday there were hundreds of kids afterwards mobbing you, this has come quite quick, how does it make you feel considering 18 months ago before GIAN not many people knew who you were?
S: It’s f*cking amazing that kids wanna hang around and speak to us and stuff. It’s just kinda mindblowing! Like people come up and say like “You’re my favourite band!” and we’re like “What? What’s wrong with you? The world is full of amazing bands and we are your favourite one?”

What do you think makes you stand out amongst the competition?
G: James’s sideburns at the moment!
J: Yep!
S: I dunno! We’re genuine people, at the end of the night we’ll always go out and just f*cking hang out with whoever wants to hang out with us or party with anyone. We’re not one of these bands that hides away, or like doesn’t appreciate the kids or whatever. Like I’ve said before, we are just 6 ordinary people, we are no better than anyone who comes to see us. Like we’re no better than the sound guy- apart from our sound guy, we’re better than him!
S: He’s the lowest form of life! We’re no better than anyone.
J: That’s the thing, there’s no reason for us not to talk to anyone because why’s there any reason for anybody on the planet not to talk to somebody else? Like if somebody comes up to me and asks if they can have a picture with me, I’m like well I don’t know why you’d want a picture with me, but of course you can have one!
S: Unless cameras actually do steal your soul and then I am dead meat!
G: I am straight to hell!

What’s your best memory of your year so far?
S: We were in the Kerrang Awards aftershow party and I walked into this little dude with long hair, from behind I bumped into him from behind and I turned around and went “Oo! Rob Flynn from Machine Head!” and then I walked off. That was quite funny. For me, personally I think our Mean Fiddler show just to hear the kids singing the songs back to us. At one point I went so cold, so excited cold that I couldn’t move! It meant the f*cking world to me. We’re so used to supporting bands I guess, that we didn’t realise that those kids were there to see us!
G: We haven’t done much this year really. We’ve pretty much been in the studio all year. Well-
J: We toured in the Spring and then that was pretty much it, like we didn’t do any of the major UK festivals or anything, so we were a bit worried that people might have forgotton about us or whatever. But, just that show on it’s own- if that show had been the only show that would have made our years I think ‘cause it was just awesome!

Any moment when you’ve been particularly star-struck by anyone?
S: I don’t particularly suffer from being star-struck… ever! But last year at Download I saw Wes Bowland from Limp Biskit, but he’s got one of those faces that I couldn’t tell whether it was him or Michael Jackson! And either way I was quite star-struck! I was like if that’s Michael Jackson, holy f*cking sh*t! He wrote Thriller! But if it is Wes Bowland, he’s one of my heroes ‘cause I used to love Limp Bizkit. Turned out it was Wes Bowland so I had a chat with him, told him I loved his work. I think I scared him a little bit!

Where do you see yourselves in 5 years time?
R: Probably still playing!
S: Either still playing or all living on yachts because we’re billionaires. Not due to the music! Just due to one of us winning the Lottery several times.
J: I’m gonna go for either together, or apart.
R: Yeh, one of those two.
G: Either friends or enemies!
J: I’m pretty confident I’m gonna be right there.

What’s the reaction been like to your fame at home?
J: Fame!? Home!? [LAUGHS] Ahh… that’s funny. When we go back to where we live, people don’t give a f*ck. Well I wouldn’t mind an open top bus…
[Diverts off topic discussing The Blackout winning the FA Cup]
S: There seems to be like a thing in our hometown where if you start to do well or slightly better than somebody else, you get hated for it.
J: There’s no reason for it! There’s no reason why somebody else couldn’t become successful at the same thing or something else. We’re not doing it at the expense of anybody else, but people kinda get resentful of the fact that you’re trying to do something with your lives.
G: At the same time a lot of our good friends are so proud of what we do and all our families are. The majority of the people back home… around our age group I’d say to be honest. People younger than us knew us I think it’s ‘cause they knew us and saw us doing well and are probably still stuck working in Tescos and stuff.
J: But that’s not our fault!
S: Sorry that your band can’t write songs! That’s how I feel about that.
G: We’ve been lucky to get where we are. I can’t see why people are resentful of that so…

You’ve received some pretty positive feedback so far, not only from the press, but from Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden, is that correct?
S: Well yeh, he doesn’t f*ck about does he! He knows! He knows! He’s in Iron Maiden for f*cks sake!
J: When you’ve been in rock as long as Bruce Dickinson has, you know what life’s about don’t you! [LAUGHS] You gotta take the man’s word as gospel, that’s how I see it!
S: “Merthyr Tydfil’s finest!” And I’m sure he knows every band that’s ever come to Merthyr Tydfil-
J: I’m sure he’s scoured Merthyr Tydfil for every band- present, past… or future!
S: He seems like a top laugh. I’d like to sit down and have a drink with Bruce! Or he could take me up in his plane.
J: The thing that got me most about that was the fact he didn’t just play the single-
S: He played the single and then he played a track off the album, which means at some point he must have listened to the album. We’re thinking about touring in February, perhaps we’ll ask can we take Iron Maiden out! Opening, ‘cause we’re thinking of having Korn as main support.
J: The only thing I’m worried about with Bruce Dickinson is whether he’s actually gonna realise at some point that our album doesn’t contain any [Starts making thumpety thumpety thump noises] bass lines, other than that I’m made up for the boy. Good luck to him!
S: I can see a future for Bruce Dickenson!
J: I reckon he’s gonna do allllright!
G: That kids gonna go far!

If When Reason Sleeps had lasted would The Blackout still be where they are now?
S: No, because When Reason Sleeps could have taken over the world a lot quicker! No, When Reason Sleeps was always going to fall apart anyways I think, because there were too many big personalities in that band. I have no idea! It’s a weird question.
J: It’s just one of those things that we’re never gonna know.
S: Until we get back together and smash The Blackout into the ground, because I hate these guys really. I will never know! I have no idea.
R: I think both bands could have co-existed easily.
J: The thing was When Reason Sleeps was taking a lot of Sean’s time.
G: If Sean left us we wouldn’t have stopped and quit.
J: No, no, no…
S: But it wouldn’t have been as good for a start!

If you ever get super rich would you ever buy out RMs in Merthyr and turn it back into the glorious rock club it once was?
G: That’s Rob Lloyd that isn’t it!
S :In a f*cking second
J: In a heartbeat!

If you did buy Rm’s would Sean or Scott DJ ?
S: Sean would, Scott wouldn’t because he only likes 80’s music and that sh*t.

Or could we get DJ Steve and Jolly back, and put song requests into the basket like the good days?
S: Me and Jolly would do it and Steve would be the security!
J: You’re not allowed to walk in unless your f *cking trousers are below your arse!
S: Renegades of Funk would be played every night and everybody would have to breakdance like what happened every night.
G: I miss them days…
All: Yeh…

Is it true that both Snoz and James really love Arsenal Football Club?
[Snoz shouts from outside] : Noo! That is wrong!
J: That’s as sickening and disgusting as Rob!

Cover versions, be it full ones like My Generation or snipits like Fresh Prince and Davidian, which is your favourite to play/sing?
S: My Generation is always fun because kids f*cking love it. We’ve played it some nights when the kids have been awesome, so it’s kind of up to the crowd.
J: We don’t do it anymore, but I did enjoy doing the end of Davidian.
G: Yeh, I liked that. That was fun. Awesome way to end it.
J: It’s the best end! We couldn’t make up an end to a set that’s better than that, because it’s the best end to a song that’s ever been written!

Any thing to shamelessly promote yourselves or anything you have to say to the readers?
S: I’d just like to say err… Gav pointed out a question on the punktastic forums about me sleeping with somebody’s girlfriend in Glasgow and I never slept with her, I’ve never even kissed her! I’d just like to say, why would you go and publicly make yourself look like a fool by saying Sean slept with your girlfriend because that obviously means that I’m better than you and your girlfriend would want to sleep with me! Which is ridiculous!

Is that wrong?
Yes! It’s completely wrong because 1: I’m rubbish in bed, 2: I’ve already got a girlfriend and 3: She thinks I’m rubbish in bed and 4: She’s probably looking for another boyfriend! Don’t write rubbish on the internet that you don’t know is a fact is how I feel about it!
Erm… [silence] the album’s out in the shops, [LAUGHS] go and get it! It’s called ‘We Are The Dynamite’. Come see us on Taste of Chaos! If you hate us we’re super glad we sparked an emotion in you. Sorry we haven’t got as much character as Tool. Erm…good day to you!

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]