Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
BE: We are a grunge-fuelled prog monster from Blackpool. Our music definitely comes under the “rock” umbrella, but any and all ideas are considered when writing. In our music, you can hear a range of sounds including punk, metal and grunge; reggae and blues; and sprinkles of whatever we fancy!
No influences are out of bounds when we are coming up with new music. The word “progressive” is used when describing out latest material because we have been experimenting more with song structures and ideas that we hadn’t yet explored. While we try not to be genre-specific, we are sure there is such a thing as “the sound of Black Eddy”.
Lyrically we dig into the darker sides of life, particularly political and mental health issues, and we aim to provide a ray of hope and to be fun as well!
PD: Tell us a brief history of yourself.
BE: The band started in 2012 in Blackpool when founding member Chad Battersby heard that other founding Jamie Cook had started writing again. We had one jam and decided it was good so we fleshed out the line-up with James Ashburn and Steph Hall. We never had a genre in mind and just tried to write music that we loved. That ethos has been sustained through all line-up changes.
The name of the band comes from Upper Black Eddy in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. James got married there, and it was agreed to take the band name from there so it would always be associated with that event. This inspired the idea of us creating our own fictional town and independent state of Black Eddy: a place where all of our darkest, strangest and most nonsensical thoughts aren’t hidden, but accepted and confronted.
The current line-up (the best!) came together in November 2014 after we decided that the average IQ of the band needed to be substantially reduced. This is when we really started to develop our sound. Performances became “looser”, we started interacting with (and abuse) each other a lot more on stage and audiences started to feed off the energy of “four mates having fun on stage” – a typical comment we get. Since then we have always approached gigs with the attitude of “everyone is there for the same reason, but for 30-40 minutes we happen to be the ones holding the instruments”. We’ve built a following in our home town, and we get a great reaction when we get to travel further afield.
Our wonderfully weird band members are Jamie on vocals, Jay on guitar/backing vocals, Luke (Winty) on bass and backing vocals, and Thom on drums. While each quarter of Black Eddy is master of his own domain and left to be creatively free, we listen when one member has an idea for another’s part. This line-up that has released all of our official music
We’ve written and released 2 EPs to date and have our third ready to drop in 2021. These three releases form our “Road Sign Trilogy” where the titles make up what you would expect to read on a sign when arriving in our fictional town: Black Eddy:
Welcome to Black Eddy
Home of the Mad and the Shameless
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
BE: Too many to mention! We’ll pick a few musical and non-musical influences each. Let your ears decide what else you think has influenced us when you hear us:
Jamie: Musical: Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails, New Model Army, Pantera, Elton John, Billy Joel, NOFX, Rancid and David Bowie, Frank Sinatra
Non-Musical: Naked Lunch (the film), Joker, 9gag, Monty Python,
Jay:Musical: Nirvana, Deftones, Pig Destroyer, Converge, Black Sabbath, Rage Against The Machine, Converge and Bob Dylan
Non-Musical: Hunter S. Thompson
Winty:Musical: Slayer, Mr Bungle, Dead Kennedys, Pig Destroyer, Emperor, Black Sabbath, Manowar, Gorgoroth, Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, System Of A Down, Infected Mushroom, Cardiacs, Jon Gomm, 90s dance music, our local music scene and anything interesting that pleases my ears!
Non-Musical: Doom (1993), Bottom (TV series), Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir David Attenborough, J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter was a great world for me to visit as a child). Finally, anyone who finds themselves forming bad habits / becoming addicted to substances / falling on hard times but manages to seek help and / or pull through. It’s not easy and you’ve achieved something important!
Thom:Musical: Slipknot, ABBA, Metallica, Slayer, Napalm Death, and anything that catches my ear
Non-Musical: Bottom, British comedy
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
BE: When people talk about music, more specifically alternative music, we want to be part of the conversation. We would love our music to get out in front of as many people as possible. Maybe one day a band will list us as an influence! Playing Rebellion Festival in Blackpool is definitely on our bucket list!
By creating the fictional world of Black Eddy and its local mental health institution “The Coop Insane Asylum” (CIA), we hope to create a fun world where people can escape from it all for a while. Ideally, it will serve as a fun way for listeners/readers to temporarily tune out of whatever is bothering them mentally, and as a platform for people to talk about any mental health issues without fear of persecution. As we say in our song “Cerement” from the upcoming third EP: “You are not alone”.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
BE: We don’t have a “formula” as such. Jamie has written most of the lyrics to date because the others are usually wandering around trying to remember where they’ve left their instruments. Song themes include politics (“NO!”, “Nibiru” and “I Wanna Die in a Shower Of Bullets”), discovering your identity (“To the Girl in the Nirvana T-Shirt” and “We Are Unique”) and mental health issues (“Cerement” and “Writing My Own Eulogy”).
Musically it’s a “free for all”. We’ve had songs grow naturally like bacteria from jams, songs written entirely by one person that are then fleshed out by the others, and songs where two or three people might collaborate and bring something to the table. After abusing and launching ad hominem attacks at each other in our practice room (that’s what friends are for!), we’ll put the songs under the microscope and fine-tune the details. We’re open to suggestions from each other as well and always follow the two golden rules:
If one of us isn’t happy with it, then it isn’t right.
Does it sound “Black Eddy”? If so then proceed!
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
BE: However we can! Mainly we use Facebook, but we are part of a great local community where we have people we can rely on to film, edit, record etc without leaving us completely destitute! Other bands that are part of our scene are a great help at spreading word about a show.
Sometimes we just get out there with a load of posters and some wallpaper paste. Nothing like a good bit of manual labour!
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
BE: Mixed feelings! On the one hand, it’s great that music is so accessible for so many people. It’s a good way to get into new bands, but I (Winty) always had a rule from a young age: if I liked 2 or 3 songs from an album, I would go out and buy it. That was my way of reducing risk of getting something I didn’t like at all whilst still supporting artists who appealed to me.
On the other hand, it’s one way that some artists make their money. You don’t have to make a career of music in order to create it, but if you’re juggling a full-time job, family, other hobbies etc. with music, then you end up with very limited amounts of time to create and release songs. Most artists need to play gigs and sell merchandise regularly in order to stay afloat anyway, but any extra income helps.
Most of the band still like to own physical copies of albums, but we understand that it’s old-fashioned now. You can also make the argument that it’s better for the environment to download music. Just try to think of ways you can support those who are creating content that you love though, because without support from regular people then a lot of great writers may vanish into obscurity for reasons beyond their control.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
Jamie – “Killing in the Name” by Rage Against the Machine. I just think the line “some of those that work forces, are the same that burn crosses” is amazing! It says so much in a short space. It’s a perfect lyric.
Jay – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana as it abolished hair metal, which is a hugely misogynistic genre and had no real musical substance as far as I’m concerned. With it came grunge which ushered in a new perspective on what actual music should be and it spoke to a previously unheard generation, who then had a reluctant antihero / a spokesman for generation X: Kurt Cobain.
Winty – “Angel of Death” by Slayer. It’s an obvious choice, but it did so many things for the metal scene. I’ve always enjoyed songs that address the darker side of humanity, and this one definitely accomplished that by telling the story of the unspeakable actions of Dr Josef Mengele. Musically it’s intense but whilst still retaining memorable hooks and is structured in a way that it doesn’t ever get boring for me. I’m a bass player but take influence from as many musicians as possible. Jeff Hanneman’s guitar playing has hugely inspired my style, and the breakdown riff in the middle perfectly demonstrates the kind of riff I’d be delighted to have pioneered. There is heavier, more extreme stuff out there and this song was a major stepping stone leading to where metal music is right now. It got audiences going crazy right up until Slayer split up. I’d love to write a song that can make people that passionate!
Thom – “Three Nil” by Slipknot. It’s hard to put it into words why. It just fuels me and pumps me up when I need it!
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
BE: Bands who turn up, play their set and then disappear without listening to the other bands. When we play gigs, we go as audience members as well, so it seems odd to us that some other bands don’t do the same. We’ve discovered some great new bands just by showing up early and sticking around after our sets. It’s understandable if a band has come a long way and may have work or family commitments to attend to the next day, but it can look bad from an outsider’s perspective. It can seem like they’re not interested in showing support for others. Then again, our scene is pretty tightly knit, so maybe we’re just spoilt!
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
BE: We played a local show as part of the Rebellion Festival fringe. It was a tiny venue when venues all over the town were putting on their own punk gigs. After a couple of songs, a random punk guy shouted “this is only the second day of the festival and these guys are already the best band!”. The whole crowd cheered in agreement. As we were playing, more and more people came in off the street and packed the place out, even shouting for an encore when we’d finished (we were more than happy to oblige!). At the end, a couple waited around for 20 mins just to have their photo taken with us. That was our favourite gig. Are you listening Rebellion?! We want to play the Introducing Stage!
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
BE: We are working extra hard on our third EP “Home of the Mad and the Shameless”. We’ve created a whole world based on Black Eddy being an independent state. A special package will be available for people to get along with the physical copies so they can delve into and explore this world. There are tonnes of artwork and some fun stuff being prepared for it. It’s definitely our best work.
A new music video is currently being conceived as well. This will accompany one of the songs from the new EP (top secret at the moment!) and will shed some light on the aforementioned world. We like to bring a little madness to the table! Our live performances also get this across and hopefully we will be able to do some sort of tour after the release. In Black Eddy, the asylum comes to you!
Other than that, we are always listening out for new influences and working on new material.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
BE: Our first EP “Welcome to Black Eddy” is available on:
Our second EP “Population 4” is available here: