My HeadBangers this week I’m leaving the North and going down under to the south coast of New South Wales, Australia. Yep that’s a long way, but it’s so worth it. Check out the interview below, as always mine in blue and Rob the bassist in black, let’s get to it…
I love their sound, they play Metal/Hard Rock and I can hear some Thrash in there.
This is from a few years ago, but it is one of my favs. Between the voice and the instrumentals I’m hooked.
The band started in 2013, is that correct? What brought you 4 together? What made you want to start the band? Yeah I know that’s 3 questions in one, I always get excited when I do an interview, hell what can I say…
Yes that’s right, we launched Carbon Black back in 2013. It’s hard to believe we’ve been at it for ten years! It’s a little complicated, but all four of us have crossed paths at certain points in the past, prior to this band. Obviously my brother Steve and I have been musically active together a lot, and having that foundation makes things come together easily. Steve and Damon had a band together back in the late 90’s called Demigod. Damon and I were in a band called Nekrofeist together for a couple of years, just prior to Carbon Black. Jon is a very disciplined singer, I recall the first time we rehearsed together we were amazed because we had never heard someone doing vocal warm ups before! Haha! I think we started Carbon Black because we still have music inside us that needs an outlet, and while you’re working with like minded people it makes sense to work together, doesn’t it!
I have to say Jon has a great voice, it’s very powerful, rough, and at the same time you hear every word and I love that. I always ask the questions about the name of the band. Why Carbon Black? What does the name mean to the band?
I can take responsibility for the name, haha! Carbon Black was the title of a song I wrote lyrics for in a previous band, a tune about domestic bliss. The other guys were more eager than me to use it as a band name, I took some time to come around to the idea though. The title or phrase goes way back to my high school years, from a notebook I have where I jotted down ideas and things that inspired me. I loved art class and particularly drawing with charcoal. In the range of shades the darkest charcoal was called “Carbon Black” so it was obviously my favourite. The name went into the notepad and the rest is history. It has taken on its own meaning now, and if you ask each of the guys we would have a different take on the name and what it really means. That’s a good thing, I reckon. To me it boils down to strength through adversity, that’s Carbon Black in a nutshell.
You know with all the bands that I have interviewed, 99 percent of the time the name has deep meaning to the band and that’s something that I like to dig into. It says a lot about the band, and you carried that through school, that’s history Rob and there is nothing better to fans than to know the how and why of it. It give the fans a connection with the band, it does me too. I love digging into band history, it is what makes you. Ok I’m rambling lol, next question…
What is the band’s process for coming up with new music? Is it primarily one person that comes up with the idea, or more of a collaboration?
We don’t strictly have a set process for coming up with new material, but it is always collaborative. One of us will start with an idea, like a riff or melody. In Steve’s case he might have a cool drum pattern. From there we will come up with ideas and develop it – either in demo form via email, or sometimes in the rehearsal room. In the case of ‘We Remain’, those songs were written and recorded throughout lockdowns when we couldn’t get together, we couldn’t rehearse or play shows. A lot of our frustrations came out in those songs, and it shows! They’re fun to play live and they kick our asses! As we stand currently there’s an EP on the shelf ready to go – that was recorded alongside the last album. For brand new material we have four instrumental demos with rough arrangements that need vocals developed, so you could say we’re almost a third of the way there. These things take time.
Well you guys are headed in the right direction. When I heard your music, I was like, I wonder if I can get an interview. I’ve had a few bands from Australia on the blog and I was told that I have my own “Dingo Squad” down there lol. I can’t wait to hear your new music, it’s like fine wine, it takes time…
What lies down the road for Carbon Black? Would you like to tour outside of Australia? Do you tour locally there?
We’re currently rehearsing for a bunch of winter shows in Australia while also making plans for our tenth anniversary. There’ll be some shows and new music to go with that, too. We would love to perform internationally in future, that is a big goal of ours. Europe, USA, Japan and South America are the big ones where our music will go down well. Australia is a very small market but we have a great following at home and we generally book our own shows.
If you get the the US I will definitely get there, I would love to see all that energy in a room. I love to study the audience, the band, how it all interacts. I’ve been to a lot of gigs, and I’m not the screamer lmao, I’m the one who is quiet, filming it all, I’m like a student, I love the rush the interaction, watching the fans and the band, there’s nothing better my friend…
Your bio says you play groove-based metal and rock. What made you choose this genre?
We squeeze many different elements into our music, we aren’t really tethered to a particular style or genre. Not in my mind, anyway. Our previous album ‘End of This’ (2018) was a lot more diverse musically and we spent a lot more time on trying different tunings and building atmosphere in the songs – tracks like ‘My Own’ in particular were developed in that way. Perhaps it’s a product of Covid-19, but as an album ‘We Remain’ is a lot more focused and aggressive. The reviews have been extremely positive, and every release is a reaction to your last, so we will see what the future brings! These things are always easy to dissect in hindsight, aren’t they? Musically we drift towards heavier music with a groove because that’s what we enjoy playing, collectively. That’s how we express ourselves, and it gets our message across. With our latest album we have really defined our sound now I think, but that shouldn’t mean we’re shackled to a certain template. Not at all!
That ability to express yourselves and change it up makes fans love a band even more. Keep them surprised, we love it.
Is there anything you would like to say to your fans?
We really appreciate the support and interest in our music – it makes it all worthwhile! Thanks for sticking with us for ten years, and keep an eye out for some surprises coming up very soon! If you’re at a show, come up to the merch table and say hi!
I’m sure everyone will, I know I will. I had one other question, I’ve never asked a musician this one, but I’m going to start, and you are the first one. I am a vocal and bass lover. There’s nothing better to me than a range of vocals, and the bass, what can I say that sound goes right through me. The question is what made you want to play bass?
I’ve always been drawn to the bass since I was young, but it wasn’t my first instrument. I started on piano at a very young age. My first bass hero was McCartney for sure (Wings era), but in my latter teenage years I grew to follow guys like Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath) and Billy Gould (FNM). Finger players, like me. I’ve been lucky to have met some of my idols, like Rob Trujillo (before Metallica) and jazz/session legend Anthony Jackson. Dave LaRue was a super nice guy when I met him in LA years ago. I picture bass as a big, thick strand of melodic and rhythmic yarn that stitches all the song components together. Music without the bass is lifeless to me, when you see these duos that don’t have a bassist, or even worse some kind of digital processor, I lose interest altogether. If the drums are the heartbeat of a band, the bass is the circulation!
You know it, I couldn’t agree more. Now let’s meet all of the band:
Jonathan Hurley (Vocals)
Damon Bishop (Guitar)
Rob Giles (Bass)
Steve Giles ( Drums )
My HeadBangers, what do you think? I am all in with Carbon Black and can’t wait to hear more from them. One thing that impressed me the most was Rob who did the interview. I’ve done a few and the reason I like doing written interviews is that I feel it gives a person more time to really think about what they want to say. I’ve watched interviews and sometimes is just a laugh vest and playing around which there is nothing wrong with, but for me it has to be more in depth. I like to hear the history and why of it all. I have to thank Rob so much for taking time to really spend time on his answers. Really he said so much in them and it makes me want to do more interviews. Some people give a one or two sentence and that’s it, but this guy gave us his all and I so appreciate it. I know good things are coming their way and can’t wait to hear the new music, which I will update on the blog. Thanks again it was a pleasure having you guys from down under on.
That’s it for this week my HeadBangers. Join me Wednesday for Hump Day and next Saturday for the weekly band. Until then don’t stand to close to the fire if you can’t handle the burn…..