TheAussieWord catches up with local talent Blackchords! Join me for this very special exclusive interview! Blackchords featuring Nick Milwright, Damian Cazaly, Nick Cheek & Tristan Courtney.
What can you tell us Aussies about you? How and where did it all begin?
N.M – Damian and I met a few years back at a mates place when the idea of playing music for a living was still very much a pipe dream. We started jamming and I think that both of us thought. “alright we should definitely continue doing this,” We continued playing and writing some tunes. We picked up some players we’d met around on the open mic circuit and soon enough the first formation of Blackchords was made, and so was the idea that we could do this for a living. After many a gig playing terribly at some terrible venues, mixed with some great nights and great gigs, we shed (and also added) new layers and players to the group. After taking off and spending some time in France to try and get some new experiences and to figure out what my next step would be I returned to Australia to play some shows and began jamming with Nick C. on drums, a long time friend of Damian’s and a fellow Tas-wegian he quickly became a permanent fixture in Blackchords. Soon after that though our Bass player, Jay, took off for a new career as a Dad so we were back on the hunt for yet another unit to add to the line up. It took us some time and some tours before the clouds parted and sent down our keystone in the form of Tristan “trigger”,“Pistol Whip” Courtney. Since that day, 2 years ago, we have essentially just been like the Brady bunch!
What first got you interested in music?
NM – That’s an easy one. Music got me interested in music. Listening to music, listening to songs. I can’t say exactly why music was the thing that I chose to pursue as a career. Perhaps it was leather pants and codpieces that were all over the film clips being played on “Rage” when I was growing up?
Who inspires or influences your quest to make great music?
NM – Who influences me to make great music? Radiohead, David Attenborough, John Lennon, Steve Jobs, Haruki Murakami, The Beatles, Leslie Nielsen, Spike Jonze, Freddie Mercury, Albert Einstein….There are probably about another hundred or so to add to the list so I wont name them all. But all these people (or groups) have done the seemingly impossible thing of pushing through the endless barrage of irrelevant distractions that life throws at you, to create inspiring and life changing things…. These are the things that inspire me to continue pushing forth.
Are there any tours or gigs planned for the future?
NM – At this stage we are working on release dates and tours for the album. But we have just locked in some dates in late May to coincide with our single release. It’s been a while since being on tour and I think that all of us have very itchy feet to get back on the bus.
What are some of the biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist?
TC- To make something that stands the test of time, so you can listen back thirty/forty years from now and be just as proud of what you created as when you first created it.
What can fans expect from you in the coming months?
TC – Lots, we have the first single out from our new album in May and our sophomore record will be out not too long after that. We’re very proud of everything we’ve put down so far and are just putting the finishing touches to it. There’ll be lots of shows and opportunities to see us play all the new material from that record, both in Melbourne and across lots of Australia.
Success, what is the secret to success and what has been your biggest career highlight so far?
TC –I think it’s about knowing what success means to you and working towards that. It’s easy to get caught up in the popularity rat race. For me our biggest highlight was playing to full houses at the Great Escape festival in the UK and playing a support slot to a sold out Sydney Meyer Music Bowl.
Which current stars in the industry do you highly rate?
TC – I really enjoy the bands and artists that have gone out there and made great records on their own terms and are consistent performers. Listening back their old albums, as well as their new ones, still sound really fresh and energetic. Local bands like The Drones, Nick Cave and all the guys from the Bad Seeds, further afield bands like Elbow and electronic artists such as Four Tet, Bibio and Caribou.
How would people best describe you and your music?
NC – Never found this the easiest question to answer. I don’t think there has ever been a standardised answer for us. I would say our sound is based around mood and melody, with shades of light and dark, soft and loud. We’re not pop, but not really rock, and I don’t like the term ‘indie’ as it really contains no useful description of sound, but we do get put into that category quite a lot. As a band really concentrate on the songs and the craft of shaping a song into the best it can be. We take our music seriously, but at the same time really enjoy what we do and like to have a joke and a laugh in the process, whether it be recording, rehearsing, touring, and all the other bits in-between.
Tell us a bit about your first EP or album?
NC – Our Debut self-titled album was released in 2009. It was a great experience for Blackchords, and was quite new and exciting to be working at that level. It is an album that I think we will always be proud of, and definitely is indicative of where the band was at the time. It did quite well for us, we toured Australia and also had the album released in the UK, where we have visited twice now.
Do you have any exciting projects in the works?
NC – Well, our 2nd album is almost finished, so that is very exciting. It was recorded earlier this year and has been a long time in the making, but we are really excited and proud of the songs and the sound and cannot wait to get it out into the world. The first single from it will be out in May and we will have some shows coming up to launch that. We are very much looking forward to getting back on the road with the album in hand.
The industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now?
DC – A lot of the sounds on the new album are very different from those in the past. So I see use evolving with those concepts and incorporating different techniques and approaches to our sound. It is a snowball effect with creativity… A while back we wrote a song for a film called ‘blame,’ so possibly in the future we’ll do more collaboration into other creative projects. Also we’ll be doing a lot more touring both at home and overseas.
Name a few of your favorite Aussie artists.
DC – I guess all the classics that we all seem to have grown up on. From INXS and Paul Kelly, to The Triffids and the Go-Betweens. And extending in more recent years to the Drones, the Panics and the Temper Trap.
The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what it means to you in getting your records out into the public eye?
DC – I think there was quite a dark time in music for a while… where the dollars in the Industry seemed to shackle the creative control on Musicians. What is exciting with the speed of the information age is that recorded music has no locational boundaries anymore. Regardless of the budget your working under… if somebody likes your music they can be almost anywhere in the world and listen to your song on YouTube/Facebook/soundcloud etc… which is great for talented musicians who have the drive and the sound but not necessarily the budget to propel it to a wider audience. For us some songs from the first album made it onto Television in Australia and America, which gave us an audience outside of our usual fans. It was great to get some feedback from people in the states to our music as well.
Thanks for the interview! What can you leave fans with here on TheAussieWord blog today?
Did you know Salvador Dali designed the chuppa chupps logo? and we’re showcasing some songs from the new album on the 14th April @ phoenix public house in Brunswick, supported by Pony face and Howl at the Moon.