So, for those who don’t know you, what are Black Market Empire all about?
We’re a four piece guitar band from Digbeth’s back streets. Our sound is an upbeat, aggressive, essentially British pop sound, designed and crafted to make audiences and listeners move their feet, smile like cats and raise a glass.
And how did you all first get together?
I (Shaun) put the band together when the previous band I was playing with called it a day after critical acclaim, an NME cover, a publishing deal but unfortunately an EMI record deal did not materialise. Tom and Ant I knew well from mutual friends, I was desperate to get involved in making music with them when the chance was there having been aware of their talent. Al joined the band at the back end of last year which has really took the band to a new level. I feel like we are very much a new band with a fresh sound.
Looking forward to The Lines gig?
We are all truly buzzing to play with The Lines and to be back playing on a stage where so many of our heroes have played before and a venue that can help our music reach a wider audience.
In an era of over-produced pop, it must be refreshing to see a line-up of ‘proper’ bands can still pull in the punters?
Absolutely, hopefully it will be us heading the bill in the near future at the 02 but at this moment we are very happy to be sharing the night with some proper talent.
There’s quite a classic, bluesy feel to your sound, but with a raw, modern edge – where do you draw your influences as a band?
I think that that is a fair and accurate assessment of us as a band, our influences are drew from classic bluesy and modern edgy bands.
I grew up on a diet of The Beatles and Stones after buying Oasis’s What’s the Story (Morning Glory) & Paul Weller’s Stanley Road in the same week and going back.
Our influences as a band include the above mentioned bands plusThe Clash, The Jam, The Strokes, The Libertines, The Stone Roses plus many, many more…
Tell us about the plans for the single release next month?
We’re releasing a new double sided single Vultures and Scared Of You And I on iTunes in early June. We had planned this for May but we’ve decided to make a few tweaks to the recordings. We’ve been very happy with the professional sound and quality of the recordings provided by Dave McCabe at Muther’s Studio where we rehearse.
Has it been refreshing to have a little break to just concentrate on writing and recording?
It has, it was much needed to be honest. Having recruited a new bass player has given us a fresh approach and the new songs but we can not wait to get back to doing what we do best and playing in front of big audiences.
Has it taken your music in new directions that you weren’t expecting?
I think the new songs are a staggering progression on our earlier material, possibly new directions but without losing who we are. We’ve been compared to everyone from the Buzzcocks to Joe Meek recently and we’ve been surprised by the new fans we’ve gained recently, people who previously had said they didn’t like modern indie bands have now become staunch BME fans. Local DJs who’ve played Vultures out have said the crowd have been singing and dancing along on the first play…
And what are the plans for the rest of the year?
We have a busy year planned which will include the previously mentioned single release with headlining local dates soon to be announced, followed by a national tour with the possibility of some European dates and a few festival appearances. All being well a second single to be released this year.
For those that haven’t seen you before, what can we expect on May 5?
Expect a high tempo set of sing along heartfelt catchy, guitar driven indie and a couple of decent hair cuts too…
For more information on Black Market Empire see www.facebook/blackmarketempireuk.
Brum Notes Presents The Lines with The Rainband, Black Market Empire and The British Kicks is at the O2 Academy 2, Birmingham, on Saturday, May 5. Limited number of tickets still available from here.
Photo by Damian Burcher