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- Posted on Feb 8th 2010 6:02PM by Wendy Gould
Describe the sound of your music in your own words.
Our sound could be described as rock 'n' roll with some influence from country, blues and old pop.
What are you musical influences?
We're influenced by a few bands and performers. Some of the main ones are the Band, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and the Beatles.
How did your band form?
It formed with me and our old drummer back in 2004, and that was kind of the band's embryo. Alan Schaefer, our guitarist, joined up a little later with an old bassist and we all started playing together.
Who came up with the band name?
Back when we were in this embryonic stage our friend asked us to play for her. At that time we didn't have a name, so we came up with one on the spot. We kept trying to come up with something that had "The Black" in it, and she suggested just leaving it at "The Black." That's how she booked us, and we've been the Black since then.
Have you done any tours?
Our first tour was in Europe in 2004 when I was a guitar technician for ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. I would set up their guitars and piano, and sometimes hop on the piano and play with them at shows. Since Alan was living in France with his girlfriend at the time, we got together and played opening gigs for Trail of Dead. The Black was just being born then.
What happened next?
Well, we continued to tour with Trail of Dead and realized that we were actually kind of good. We stopped touring with them and then began doing our own tours around the US.
Is this the first year you'll play at SXSW?
We've played, officially, for two years now. Last year, we weren't formally a part of the festival because we forgot to apply, but we did play unofficially.
What are you looking forward to most about this year's SXSW festival?
Just the general energy of the whole thing. You get to play music and there's endless amounts of things happening the whole time. There are also lots of friends that come to town from all over the country, so you get to see your musician friends play together. It's also great to see new bands play.
Do you have any fan favorite songs?
There are a couple of songs. One is an earlier song we wrote called 'Cell Block.' Another fun one we like to play is 'Eshu Blues.' Eshu is the name of an African trickster and we all have a really good time playing it. A new song we've been playing is called 'Now I Am Here.' It hasn't been released yet, but we've been playing it for a few months and we'll play it at SXSW.
How do you create your music?
I write the songs and Alan writes some songs, and the band kind of arranges it and puts the flavor into it. The players are really sensitive to music and are good at taking the form of a song and ornamenting it to make it live and breathe.
When your band isn't playing gigs, what are you up to?
At the moment we all work pretty hard doing outside jobs, and Alan is in graduate school. We also play a lot -- all of us play in various other bands.
What's the most bizarre experience you've had as a band?
Once we got booked for a show, but when we got there it ended up being a talent show. We decided to play at an open mic somewhere else. The locals thought we were great, and some guy said he wanted to give us a $20 tip, but he had to go get it first. We ended up chasing him around for hours just for $20. We never got our $20.
Where do you see the future of the Black?
When our album comes out, we'll probably go on tour again. We'll hit the road and play all over the US. That's really the band's ultimate goal: just get out and play our shows so we can put this music out there, then come back and make more music and do the whole cycle again. We'd like to tour Europe again, too.
Wendy Gould is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.