Undisputed personifiers of contemporary psychedelic rock, The Black Angels’ name is one that continues to soar.
The name, derived from a Velvet Underground song, may be a gentle nod to the past. It represents though a band whose eyes are firmly fixed on the future.
Now a quartet, the band’s fourth album “Indigo Meadow” came out earlier this year. Overflowing with the same ground-shaking, ominous riffs and haunting melodies that saw 2010’s “Phosphene Dream” achieve widespread critical acclaim, shards of light cut through the darkness like never before on this record. A sign of the band’s constant evolvement, according to guitarist Christian Bland.
“We’re constantly evolving and changing.’Phosphene Dream’ and ‘Indigo Meadow’. We worked with a producer on both those and I think the songs were a little bit more structured than on the first two albums, which were kind of free flow.
“Both methods are fun to do so maybe this next album will be a combo of both styles. I’m sure we’ll work with another producer; it’s nice to have somebody else’s ear on it other than our own and to help push us along into other creative areas.
“I’m always writing new stuff and I know Alex is too, so whenever we will come together we will bring these ideas that have been in our head and try and flesh them out and see where they go.”
The band are currently in England following a handful of dates across Europe and play Manchester Gorilla tomorrow night.
“It’s been good,” said Bland. “We did two festivals in the Netherlands and then two shows in Germany. Then, Brussels. It’s nice coming to England. It has a different feel to the United States.
“This is maybe the sixth time we’ve played Manchester. Some of my favourite bands are from Manchester. I love Oasis.’ Definitely Maybe’, I love that album. ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’ is amazing as well. ‘Gas Panic’ , that song totally influenced ‘The Black Angels’.
“We’ll take a little break in October and November; probably start working on new songs for the new album. Touring is tiring and it’s always nice being at home. Whenever you’re out you want to be back and when you’re on tour you want to be back at home.”
Although not a mainstream mainstay by any stretch of the imagination, psychedelic rock has been enjoying somewhat of a revival in recent years. A revival The Black Angels are more than happy to be a part of.
“There seems to have been a revival which is pretty cool,” said Bland. “Our goal is to bring back that kind of 60s sound into the present day, make it relevant again. A lot of people call us revivalists. I guess it’s true because we are playing in that kind of vain but we want to add more than that.
“I’m a big record collector. I’m constantly going to record shops and searching out new and old music which I haven’t discovered yet. That’s one of my main inspirations. When I’m home Ill wake up, throw on a record, get fired up and inspired by it, pick my guitar up and go and create something.
“The music that gets me most inspired is 60s and 50s stuff. That’s my favourite time. There’s so many 60s bands that I’m still to discover. I’m constantly finding new stuff that either wasn’t widely released or that’s from different countries. I listen to new stuff that was more than likely influenced by that kind of stuff. Clinic is a huge influence as are Wooden Ship and The Raveonettes.”
Making that sound as current and as relevant as it once was will always be an uphill battle though admitted Bland.
“It would be amazing if we could make that mainstream but that’s kind of an uphill battle.
“I guess it’s not commercially viable. Not sure how we’re going to top the Lady Gagas and the Justin Biebers. Growing up when I was a teenager I was buying the albums that I heard on the radio. When you’re spoon fed it, like it is now, it’s almost like being brain washed. Then all your friends like it and it’s cool. You really have to try and discover the music on your own. It’s a totally different thing.
“I remember playing in Houston in the early day to like 100 people and then we’d come back and there’d be 300 people. Friends of mine at the show when there were 100 were like ‘no, I don’t want all these people to know about you guys’ and we were like “man, that’s the only way we can keep coming back’.
“That’s the way we make money and are able to come back.”
After Manchester, The Black Angels play Electric Ballroom, London, on Wednesday before finishing the European leg of their tour in France and Italy.