They are one of the biggest rock bands to come out of South Wales and after being named as the Kerrang! Best Live Band in Britain, The Blackout seem to be at the height of music success.
These six South Wales Valleys boys Gavin Butler, Sean Smith, James ‘Bob’ Davies, Matthew Davies, Rhys Lewis and Gareth ‘Snoz’ Lawrence have celebrated their almost 10 years experience in the music industry by embarking on their biggest tour to date.
Now, The Blackout’s guitarist Matthew Davies has taken time out of their headline tour to answer a few questions for South Wales Rocks.
How was The Blackout formed, and did you expect to get this sort of reaction from your music?
“The band formed 10 years ago after I left my old band. Sean and Gavin were friends at the time and had come down to watch what ended up being the old bands last practice with me in it, but some how the three of us and the drummer started messing around and playing a few covers and it was just fun. I ended up leaving that band and me and Sean decided to start our own. We asked Gavin to join too and started the search for other members. We found Rhys through the internet and Snoz was a friend of a friend so we asked him to join too, and then finally Bob joined a few years later.
We never expected any success from it. The band was just something an excuse for us all to hang out and not be bored at home and somehow, 10 years later, we’re still together, still having fun, still making music and playing to people. It’s more than we could ever have dreamed of.”
Who or what has been an inspiration for the band’s music?
“The biggest inspiration was probably seeing Lostprophets doing really well and also being from Wales, which made us think that if they could do it then there was nothing stopping us from doing it too. Band wise we all like different stuff from Glassjaw to Queen to Bon Jovi to Metallica to loads of pop music, so we’ve always tried to incorporate everyone’s different tastes when writing songs just to keep everyone happy. That’s how we’ve ended up having ballads like Silence to heavy songs like Riot. We never really dismiss people’s song ideas that they come up with.”
What has been your favourite moment of life in The Blackout?
“That’s a pretty tough question. The whole experience has been amazing and it’s hard to pick one single thing. Each time you do something for the first time is always special though, the first time we went to Japan, or Australia, or headline an iconic venue, or play a festival. They aways stick out.”
I hear you all have matching tattoos, is this true and what are they?
“Yeah, we all have a matching tattoo on our right ankles. We had them back in 2006 after a day off on the Lostprophets tour in Nottingham where us, Lostprophets and Dopamine all we went go-karting, to the cinema and for food and just had a generally good day. We were going to get tattooed that day too but we couldn’t find anywhere open so we all had it done when we got back from tour. The tattoo just reminds us all of a good day spent with good friends.”
What has been your favourite gig/performance so far?
“Probably the Roundhouse and Birmingham Academy shows on the tour we’ve just done. Both were so good, the crowds were insane throughout the entire show and it just made playing the shows so effortless. They’ll both be shows I’ll remember forever.”
How is the current tour going?
“The current tour has been amazing. It’s been the biggest tour we’ve done to date in the UK and its the been the first time that we’ve been able to take out lighting and sound production, so we were able to put on a complete show, something we’ve always dreamed of doing. The kids at each show were also mental so it made the shows incredibly fun to play.
We’re in Europe at the moment and right at the end, we only have one show left. Although it’s a shame it’s come to an end we’re also excited that we’re getting to go home and catch up with our sleep, eat normally and see our families and girlfriends.”
What is next for the Blackout once you finish this tour?
“We’re in the middle of writing a new album, so we’re going to spend the end of the year and beginning of 2012 finishing it. We’re planning to record in March and put it out in the summer some time. Then just start the cycle of playing festivals and touring again.”
How does it feel to be named Kerrang! Best Live Band in Britain?
“It’s a bit weird. When we first heard that was their angle for the cover we were all pretty shocked that they’d called us that. But then at the same time we feel like we put everything into our live shows and we’re very proud of it, so it’s flattering to be recognised for that.”
How did you find performing at Merthyr Rock and do you have any plans to come back and perform in Merthyr anytime soon?
“Merthyr Rocks was awesome, the show was really fun and made even more special by it being a home show for us. We were really nervous when we first heard about Merthyr rock, with so many other festivals this year struggling or being cancelled and it being Merthyr Rocks first year, we didn’t know if it would be a success, but the whole event turned out better than anyone could have imagined.
We’d love to play Merthyr again, it’s just difficult to find somewhere to play and then fitting it into our schedule, it will probably have to be a festival warm up or something like that.”
To all The Blackout fans out there, don’t forget they will be performing at Cardiff University Students’ Union on December 30.
The Blackout Official Website