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Interview: BlackJack Love
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Me personally (Azza), it was my uncle who got me into music. I used to listen to tapes he made me, or we’d go to a record shop not far from us when I was younger. All sorts of music genre-wise too. So yea he really got me in to it all. I’d probably be sunbathing as it’s great weather today.
What do you like to do when you're not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like to paint sometimes, listen to old music, sports, few beers, anything really. I think trying to zone out away from writing/producing stuff helps sometimes. You can get drawn down into the rabbit hole by overthinking it. Some of the other boys have their own families, they like to get away for a break. You gotta step back from whirlwind every now & then, & a spark or an idea will just come out of nowhere.
How long has your band been around?
Blackjack Love has been around for a few years now, but I was on my own. Since I recruited the other boys (Matt, Sam & Nick) it’s been live for a year or two now.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re based out of Woking. In all honesty I don’t think coming from Woking has had much of an influence. I know there’s been a few big acts to come from there haha. We’ve all travelled around a bit, to places like America, Canada, Europe etc & I’d say that’s had more of an impact.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
I’ve always struggled with naming bands. So I kind of give up trying & let the universe do its thing. I was in Vegas playing blackjack & some American bloke just kept shouting “Woo, yea, USA. I love blackjack”. I was hammered & thought it could be a cool name. It has no sentiment to any of us.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
We played a gig in Reading in a venue, it was all like up close & personal which was thumping. The place was going off. That was pretty good. We haven’t really had a bad one yet! The worst I’ve had personally is with an old band, we was playing some punk festival headlined by UK Subs (we weren’t a punk band), it was so fucking awkward. The crowd didn’t want us there. Longest 45 minutes of my life. All the members of UK Subs were absolutely sound & well nice to us. But yea that was bad man.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you haven’t already?
The IndigO2 is a pretty cool place to play. The Boileroom in Guildford is a cool venue. There’s a few good places in Southampton that we’re great. Yea there’s loads we’d love to play, all round the world. Whisky-a-go-go or The Viper Room in LA would be quality.
If you could play any show with any lineup who would be on the ticket?
That’s a tough one! In no order.......
The Black Keys
The White Stripes
Queens of The Stone Age
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band?
If it sounds shit, it is shit, so start again. Also, don’t practice til you get it right, practice til you can’t get it wrong. That’s probably the best bit of advice I could give.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Write what you love playing. I think we’ve all been in bands before that have numbers that none of us wanted to play or didn’t enjoy. You gotta hear it over & over again for years, so it might as well be something you love.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
‘Before I Leave’ has the most emotional attachment for me (Azza). Somebody was helping me through a bad time when I wrote that.
Which songs are your favourite to play and which get requested the most?
My favourite (Azza) to play is ‘Carryin’ On’. I love playing that track. It’s a feel good number. Gets people grooving. Feels good to sing. The boys favourite is ‘Before I Leave’. It was the first track Brother Nick heard, that Matt Wonder had sent him. I’d say that actually gets requested the most, along with BANK R.O.B.B.E.R.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Usually I write a song on an acoustic, send a shitty recording of it to the boys & see what they think. If they dig it then I’ll finish it, we all meet up & jam it out. That’s when Matt, Sam & Nick all through their little bits of spice into the pot & it goes from there really. Other times, Brother Nick might come up with a riff & send it to the group, or Brother Sam will, or Matt Wonder will, then we go from there. Inspiration-wise, happenings going on in the world. Personal situations or experiences. Boredom. A lot of good stuff can be made when you’re sat there bored & you just create to entertain yourself.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I like to try tell a story in my songs. Or write a narrative but with a twist. I struggle to sit down with a subject matter in my head & write about it. I just noodle & then come up with a melody to let random words flow. Or, y’know, sex is always a good one to go with. Either/or.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Yea we do, but not over major things. We all have the same vibe. Same energy. Same direction. So it works well.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that’s coming up?
Get back gigging is the top priority! It’ll all fall into place from there, whenever that will be. Then just get on with touring, record a new album etc etc. Yea we’ve got a new single coming out in the coming weeks called ‘I Want War’. Keep an eye on our socials for more news!