It’s been almost a year since the release of impressive debut LP “Failure” by France based chaotic hardcore band BLACK TURPENTINE, and somehow we haven’t tracked them until now. The record’s bleak tone calls back to the shadowy likes of many metallized hardcore greats and proves that the genre have lost none of its visceral vitality and genuine feel when composed smartly and performed with a well-measured sensitivity. In anticipation for the new release from BIRDS IN ROW, “Failure” is a real treat that will certainly warrant repeat listens. We have teamed up with the band to say hello, ask about their work, see what’s up in their local grounds and learn about their future moves.
BLACK TURPENTINE are: Franz – guitar/vocals; Ben – bass/vocals; Max – drums. The “Failure” LP was recorded and mixed by Mathieu Souyris, and mastered by New Alliance East.
Hey there guys! How are you? How’s Bordeaux?
Hi Karol! We’re fine thank you! Bordeaux is one of the French biggest cities, very famous for the wine and the vineyards all around the city. :)
Bordeaux is located in the South West and it looks like a little Paris! There is a hardcore and punk scene here with a lot of fastcore/powerviolence/d-beat bands and a few hardcore/beatdown bands. Also, there are some small underground (literally) venues to play in the heart of the city.
Awesome! You’re fresh off your show in Le Crès. How was it?
It was chaotic and fun! To be honest, it’s the first time we go out so far away, especially for a single show, but we don’t regret it cause it was wild. Despite the last minute cancellation of one local band, some young and older local kids have come to the show to dance and stage dive. That’s all we want!
Was it a forerunner of a longer tour you guys want to arrange sometime in the coming months?
For sure! With our recent first album, we look forward to spread our noise in all the universe, but for now we plan a few shows in the north west of France in the next weeks. We also try to book a tour in Spain for the coming months (any help is welcome).
Tell us a bit about your connection to your local scene, your previous projects, so we could better understand your background.
Franz (guitar/vocals) and Max (drums) were in the same local punk rock band called Filth Filter in the late 2000’s. After their split, Franz was in a noisy/hardcore band called Burnt a few years ago. For my case, I didn’t have any band for a long time during my studies cause I moved frequently in different cities. But now I’m based in Bordeaux and I also play guitar in a local hardcore punk band called SMASH IT!
I’m getting this feeling we are inevitably experiencing limited physical activities in venues, spaces for direct networking between independent artists these days. How do you think the modern digital era, social networks and online bands activity affect the good old punk ethics and the very fundamentals of this community? Is that something you think about? Also, given this inevitable clash of the online vs offline world, how do you balance between both and how thriving is your local scene?
I think social networks and online activity are great tools to spread our music and to maintain contact easily with people we meet at shows and bookers. Also, in a small scene like we have in Bordeaux, it’s necessary for bands, bookers and venues to use these tools to exist and to bring people at shows. Of course, human and physical interractions can’t be replaced by social networks… Inevitably, the easy way of these new tools can limit direct networking these days, but we continue to live real things and physical activities at shows. Obviously, it’s more important to us to share a good moment with 20 people at a show than to have 2000 fans on Facebook. I think bookers, bands and people have to consider internet and the social networks just as tools to promote underground activities and to live great things in real life.
What online tools do you use to market, communicate and optimize your online presence?
For now, we just use Bandcamp and YouTube for audio/video stream and Facebook to communicate about our news and upcoming shows.
Ok, so it’s been 8 months since you released your first proper record. How do you feel about it now that it seasoned a bit?
We’re proud of it! It’s not so simple to find a good studio for this kind of heavy/noisy hardcore in France, so we did it in a DIY way with Mathieu Souyris, a friend involved in two locals post hardcore bands. He did an amazing job on it. We didn’t want an “overproduced” sound and we love the heavy and dirty way we chose. We have some positive reviews and feedbacks about it and we appreciate that. It’s good to finally have a proper record to spread our noise and to find shows outside of Bordeaux.
Tell us about the content side of ‘Failure’. What issues do you tackle in your lyrics?
All the band members write lyrics and we don’t have rules to follow about this. But the lyrics are mostly introspective like in the song “City Lights” which talks about to overcome personal and family issues in life, to pursue a lifegoal and to be constantly curious about the world, to always look far away… We don’t have political contents but we talk about our vision of modern society in some songs. For example, “The Masses” talks about mass media and the negative effects they have on people. Everyday, we have to deal with the overload information and this song is about the necessity to always think than just being passive.
Lyrics wise, would you like your records to necessitate each other? Are there some topics and issues that you’d like to continue or explore more on your future releases?
For now, we don’t have plans about this. Actually, we’re writing new songs (instrumental for now) and I think we’ll continue this way about the lyrics. We love that free speech and the fact we’re all involved in the process of writing lyrics. We don’t have specific topics or issues for now and we’ll probably continue, in a spontaneous way, to talk about how fucked up is the world.
So you already plotting a new record?
Not yet! We’re just composing some new songs for now.
Ok, so to conclude, what are you up to now in the coming months? Feel free to wrap it up with your plans, other projects you’re excited about this year, some cool new music worth checking out, and anything you feel is worth mentioning before you go. Thanks!
We’ll continue to spread our noise in the coming months! We plan to take the road and to play shows in different cities, to meet new people and to bring our vision of chaos in more places. We’re excited about that!
About other projects, I (Benoît, bassist) will release an EP this year with my hardcore punk band Smash It! We’re also excited ’cause there are new DIY bookers in our city. There will be more hardcore and punk shows in the coming months in Bordeaux. We hope the audience will be there to support the local scene!
Thank you Karol for your time and your interest about us.