Black Light White Light are a psychedelic rock band who originally formed back in 2009. Their sound proved effective and played an important part in the resurgence of psychedelic rock. Drawing their inspiration from 60s bohemian psychedelic indie rock, the group managed to cling on to their roots. Even deeper still, we find another layer of dreamy pop melodies and soundscapes, promoting a more thought-provoking experience; reminiscent of classic psychedelic rock acts like The Byrds, Jefferson Airplane and The Seeds. With that in mind we can’t overlook the fact that parallels can also be drawn from the more British / Manchester leaning sounds, with noticeable comparisons to Ian Brown of the Stone Roses. most notably in lead singer, Martin’s emotive vocals.
Previously working closely with producer Rick Parker, (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, The Dandy Warhols, Von Bondies) the group’s notoriety has seen them tour Northern Europe and Italy and even perform at international large scale music events including NXNE Music Festival. Beyond this they have toured the UK twice and the US extensively, covering North Carolina to California. Through their travels they have shared the bill with some big international names including Crocodiles, Crystal Antlers and The Soundtrack Of Our Lives. The band have also worked closely with US producer Chris “Frenchie” Smith (Jet, The Dandy Warhols) and Grammy Award wining string arranger Davide Rossi (Coldplay, Goldfrapp), with support from Emily Lazar (Foo Fighters, David Bowie, Vampire Weekend, The Raveonettes, Morrissey).
Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?
We are great. The band is getting excited to play the first live shows for over a year in London in just about a week . Our first after recording a new album. So I’ll checking up on the gear and rehearse some stuff. Just had my pedal board totally rebuilded andf top tuned. And then I’ll make sure to stay warm and not catch a cold. It’s suddenly freezing cold here in Denmark again.
To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?
We’d like to see ourselves as a breath of fresh air in the psychedelic rock music founded in the 60’s focus on strong melodies and hook lines but drowned in a wash in reverb, tremolo and beautiful fuzz. Expect long, dreamy soundscapes as well as fuzzy pop tunes with an edge.
What are the 5 albums and artists that have influenced you the most?
It would be a lie not to include The Beatles on such a list. Revolver could be a choice. Soundgarden “Superunknown” Black Rebel Motorcycle Club “BRMC”Oasis “Definitely Maybe”Jeff Buckley “Grace”
What other artists do you really like at the moment and why?
The Brian Jonestown Massacre – for writing great music and for their uncompromising approach of thinking and realsing music. Tame Impala – one of the best sounding bands at the moment. Very talented in their song writing. It seems like a band that has been playing and releasing music for ages. They haven’t. The Black Angels – A great sounding live band on albums and live! And for all their efforts of pushing forward the psychedelic music scene to the people – not least via the Austin Psych Fest – an idea that is spreading like a fever.Jefferson Airplane – This band really knew how to make psych music sound like pop and vice versa. Can’t seem to grow tired of them. George Harrison – Listening a lot to his first solo albums make me realise that he was the beatle that made the best albums/songs as a solo artist. Timeless songs and still quite experimental in his approach never forgetting the good melodies. Nick Drake – to me he made the best albums ever with just one man and a guitar. I will never stop listening. So sad, longing and beautiful at the same time.Love – this band really new how to mix different music styles into a blend of something really creative and to me deeply infectious, big city boheme music. I dig it. The Soundtrack Of Our Lives – So far the best rock band ever to come from Scandinavia. Great albums and huge live. And still very inspiring thoug the band stopped excisting since last year.
What are some of the key pieces of gear you use to write your tracks?
My Gibson J-45 acoustic guitar. If a song can’t be played on that one it won’t be a Black Light White Light song. Besides that my Gretsch Tennessee Rose with the Bigsby which I use a lot in my playing live as well as on recordings. My TubeScream overdrive, Holy Grail reverb, Fuzz Factory, Space Echo and Line6 delay pedal are key elements to our current sound too.
What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?
We played a huge birthday party on the first stop on our US tour which was so close being cancelled due problems getting visas sorted out. This gig turned out to be amazing. Huge and very supportive crowd. Still remember standing at the merch table afterward being praised by some people as best band they had ever heard. Can’t get better than being told that!
What’s the worst gig you have ever done and why?
We played a show in London where the promoter had just really messed up in setting the bands together. Totally different styles and approaches. No one in the audience seem to understand what we we all about. I have never felt this misplaced playing live before and hopefully never will again.
What are your opinions on the following music genres?
The best music that is written is classical. It is indisputable. But the genre is so paramountly great that I have not been able to find time and a the right entrance to immerse myself properly. But that will happen.
Is a base for pretty much all rock and roll. Therefor a base for me and the band too. I dig all school blues like Robert Johnson and Blind Willie McTell, And I dig reinterpreted blues artists like The White Stripes, The Black Keys, The Kills and The Dead Weather who all have deep roots in the blues.
Soul is a lot. But to me soul is most of all Motown with Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations etc. You will definitely hear soul when you hear Black Light White Light.
Folk is everywhere. And I’m so glad it still is. An artist with a guitar can be as captivating as a whole band or orchestra. When it hits the spot it hits you with this indescribable feeling being sad and happy at the same time.
It’s about exploring some danceable music fields with dominant bass lines and pounding drums with only occasionally vocals. These elements you will to a certain degree in psychedelic music too. So though we are not influenced by this music style in the band you will find similarities in the approach to the way of presenting the music.
I had to Google this one so that pretty much says it all I guess.
Do you have any information regarding upcoming releases, projects, DJ mixes or collaborations in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
A lot of stuff should be happening the next months. First of all we have our second album done. It’s to be released hopefully later this year when we settle with the right partners to work with. We have a new EP “Manoeuvres” coming out in April ’14 with a selection of songs from that album. And then we are releasing our first single very soon. Besides that we have a special limited release planned for the coming album, which as far as we know never have been seen before. Can’t wait to present it. On top of this videos, showcases and concerts at home and abroad. We are finally moving out from the studio and into the world Again. Expect a lot from us and hopefully see it coming your way soon.
Finally, if you weren’t a musician what would you be?
A journalist, which I am actually. Haha. Or maybe I’d be a cook. Love good food & wine and to dig into the wonders of this creative world.