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Interview: The Black Gasolines
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Bradley: I started off with a harmonica, heavily influenced by Elwood Blues from The Blues Brothers Movie. The first time I heard the harmonica solo of 'Everybody Needs Somebody' I was blown away by the charisma they got, and by how such a little instrument could lift up a whole room.
After that, I got my first guitar from my aunt who bought it a couple years earlier but never managed to play it.
And with that, all the gates were opened and The Black Gasolines were born.
If the music would never have crossed our paths we probably would be doing other projects in the culture industry.
Lukas: I’ve always known that music was my thing from an early age on and there was always a urge to do something bigger than myself, so I always tried to start a band and after a couple of failed attempts, we started The Black Gasolines and I’ve never looked back.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
We stay in the creative vibe.
Justin is busy writing his own book. A Bio/Poetic story about the things he has done till now. Lukas is designing websites and apps, Matthias does acting in a local theater community and Bradley fills his time with writing poems and drawing sketches.
All of us are regularly at other band concerts to get inspiration and start a mosh pit. (Haha)
How long has your band been around?
The band was established in the summer of 2016. After a couple of drummer changes we found Justin, a steady drummer with an extravert sound and playing style.
Matthias joined the group in the summer of 2021, being responsible for the classical dramatic key parts and forming the perfect quartet.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
All four of us are based in different environments. While Lukas is living in the heart of Kortrijk city, Bradley is based in the calm countryside only 20 minutes away. (Bradley): I remember at the start of The Black Gasolines Lukas and I often sneaked out at night and got to the field behind my parents house. We stayed there for hours writing songs and jamming our guitars. In summer, we would also use the roof of Lukas' house to write. Those places were, subconscious or not, a big inspiration for the way of songwriting.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
We never really thought about the name.
It just came up in a brainstorm.
We just needed a name for events to put on the poster. As simple as that.
Looking at it now it started to have a meaning over the years. Gasoline is not black, just as we don't identify ourselves as just a rock band. It has something extra to it, something weird but also relatable.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We did the support act for 'The Sore Losers' , a band with a pretty big name in Belgium. We played in a big venue in Ypres. We were lucky there was already a big crowd when we started to play and had one of the best shows of our lives.
Maybe even more memorable was our London Tour in 2019. Where we played in great places with a lot of history behind it like Fiddlers Elbow and Amersham Arms.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
The Ancienne Belgique in Brussels is definitely still on our bucket list. It’s one of the most famous venues in Belgium where a lot of our heros played in the past. Also festivals like Rock Werchter and Glastonbury are big dreams for us!
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Keep trying different things!
You always have to evolve. Keep pushing yourself to new limits. You can only know if things will work out if you try it. Also, the songwriting process can be hard sometimes. Don't think too much when you write. Even if you start with a chord progression that sounds like an existing song you should keep going and finish it. If you keep working on it, the vibe will be whatever you want it to be!
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
It’s only a failure if you give up. We definitely had our difficult times where we played for empty venues or even couldn’t find any. But at those times, you just have to force yourself to go further because when you are at rock bottom, the only way is up!
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
For me (Bradley) it would be The World's End. I wrote it when I first broke up with my first real girlfriend. There is so much emotional value in the piece that it almost brings me back to that time every time we play it. It was also the first step of us to make into the Theatrical Rock genre.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
We like to play all the songs. It's always a full experience to play it.
But the song Furthermore gives a real nice vibe. It shows the mood of the beginning of the set/album. Very energetic combined with a happy and hopeful mood.
But still after all those times people keep requesting 'Save me, Emmely' the first song of our debut EP Dopamine Rush that came out in 2018. We never expected to play it ever again. But sometimes you have to do things to satisfy your fans (haha)
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
We don’t really have a standard creative process we always use. Most of the time, one of us finds an idea and in rehearsals we jam to it. But other times someone writes a whole song on their own and we refine it together.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
We like to think that our music changes something in people's lives. Even if it's only a little thing. That's the real goal we have. Connecting with people who feel the same as we do. Who also gets excited by listening to our songs, or can find themself in the lyrics or vibe of a song.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
There are always disagreements if you work with different people. Every family has them and needs to get through them how hard it even is sometimes.
But that's what makes it beautiful too.
If there would never be a little competition or an exchange of words the whole process would be boring and you won't evolve in the future. Sometimes we just listen to each other and try working out things. And other times we just let it rest and let time go over it. But at the end we always agree like a real family.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We would like to get to the bigger stages. Having the opportunity to show the big crowds what we have. We already started with writing our next album. We have a lot of ideas for new songs where we can show the evolution we already made since 'It Took A Lifetime' came out.
Also finding a label or booker would help with growing our career. Next to that, we just keep working even harder than we did before!