Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Black Rooster Black Shag (music)

An unexpected Facebook message alerted me to the first Eastbourne gig by a new band, Black Rooster Black ShagThe joint creation of award winning Canadian-Kiwi songstress-bassist Mirika, and acclaimed British-Australian troubadour-producer JJ Symon, their debut single, Amsterdam, is a gorgeously dark production, both aurally and visually. Having watched the YouTube video and loved the song, I wanted to find out more about the band ...

tE: With such global roots, how did you and JJ meet and decide to work together?
Mirika: Well it all happened very quickly, but over a long expanse of time. JJ Symon was playing as a solo artist in New Zealand when we first met and we worked together in Melbourne Australia when he produced ’23 Kilos’ an album I recorded as a bass/drum two-piece called Kit and Con. Kit and Con supported JJ Symon on his European Tour and, you know how some people finish each other’s sentences, well we were finishing each other’s melodies! We both had to admit that these songs we were humming into our mobile phones as we toured together, were better than what we were writing individually.
JJ Symon We were due to head out one Friday night to a mate's gig and it just started bucketing down with rain, proper torrential, biblical rain. We were in my apartment at the time and we were essentially trapped on the eighth floor with nowhere to go, and as we watched cars sinking and people swimming by down the street, we started talking about our favourite music which is when we discovered a shared love for garage rock, post-punk blues and 50s inspired harmonies. By the times the rains had stopped, Black Rooster Black Shag was born.

tE: Which musicians have particularly inspired your songs?
JJ Symon: I wouldn't say these artists inspired our songs, but musicians we feel a kindred spirit with are Tom Waits, Pixies, The Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth, Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Royal Trux, The Slits and the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

tE: What inspired the visual style of Amsterdam?
JJ Symon: In our 'downtime' we've always loved watching old films, especially black and white classics from the 'noir' period. We took that simple, monochrome feeling and not only injected that into our visual side, stage clothes and film clips, but also tried to use some of those minimalist theories and techniques in the music as well. The idea of using the dark or negative space to shape the light and central image was something we tried to infuse into the songs. Mirika: We worked with Phoenix Films to create the Amsterdam music video. Because Amsterdam is the place we decided to really push Black Rooster Black Shag when our solo commitments were finished, we really wanted to lead with that song. It’s such a part of our story and the video had to be more personal as a result. You won't see so much of us in the next video though-it is in the editing room now and it is going to look mean.

tE: What do you hope is next for Black Rooster?
JJ Symon: At the moment we're very focused on playing shows and promoting our music to as many receptive people as possible. On the back of that we're looking forward to releasing our debut album which we finished recording 2 months ago and to start touring nationally, and across Europe. And maybe to get on some festival line-ups in the new year.
Mirika: The response has been incredible, especially for such a new band with only a few shows under our belt. We just need to get in front of more people and let our reputation build based on our talent and the excitement of our live shows. We are fortunate that current artists such as Drenge, Temples and The Wytches are creating a really exciting UK rock scene and we are excited to be a part of it.

Busker's Bar, Tue 17th Sep, from 20:00.

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