EMQ’s with BLACKLIST-9

EMQ’s with BLACKLIST-9

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Los Angeles, California based Groove Metal band BlackList-9. Huge thanks to them all for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Josh: Hi! I’m Josh May and I am the bassist for Blacklist-9. I joined the band in January of 2019.

Lonnie: Lonnie Silva, drummer. BlackList-9 was started in 2013 when my son Kyle was frustrated that he couldn’t put a band together. Kyle asked me to start a band with him and after several weeks of asking, I listened to what he had written and gave it a shot, and here we are!

Kyle: Kyle Silva, I play Guitar

Max: My name is Maxwell Sorg. I do vocals for the band. Kyle and his Dad started the band. They can tell you more than I can. I’m just the singer! Haha!

How did you come up with your band name?

Lonnie: When we decided to change the name, I was watching T.V. and a commercial for the show, “Blacklist” came on. So, I started adding different words and numbers to it. Counted to nine and that was it!

Max: Kyle talked to a burning bush in a cave. And then came out a virtuoso guitar player and with the name tattooed on his chest.

Kyle: Sure? Lol.

What Country/Region are you from, and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

Josh: We are from Los Angeles, CA. U.S.A. The rock scene in LA gets a bit more love than the metal scene because it’s easier to digest for the crowds coming out to support friends. Easier on the ears, haha! That said, there is a growing underground metal scene going on in and around LA. We are experiencing it up in the San Fernando and Antelope Valleys. Some killer metal acts are cranking out heavy goodness.

Lonnie: Born and raised in California, USA. Living close to Hollywood, you’d think there would be some kind of metal scene, but it seems the only bands that are playing most of the clubs are tribute bands.

Kyle: California Native, J-May hit the nail on the head with his response about the metal scene here.

Max: Originally, I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area. If you weren’t traveling to San Jose, or San Francisco for shows, the scene was chaotic for all the wrong reasons. Most shows were put on by a few production companies who booked acts from around the area, and without regard to what genre they fell under. A lot of times we’d have a hardcore metal band, followed by a “Foster the People” sounding indie band, followed by a three-piece punk band. All talented, just it never felt like an actual scene, so much as an open mic night for all the local bands.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Josh: Our first full-length album, “Mentally Ill, Legally Sane” through Eclipse Records. Available on all streaming services.

Lonnie: Our latest release “Mentally ill Legally Sane” on Eclipse Records. We released two singles and videos for the songs, ‘Madness’ and ‘Legally Sane’.

Max: I released an EP with my last band Malice Coy in October of 2019, I played guitar on the project. It was actually due to that EP that I started taking singing lessons at the Musician’s Institute. It was a ride to say the least.

Who have been your greatest influences?

Josh: My greatest influences are Rage Against the Machine, Led Zeppelin, Igorrr, Kyuss and  The Gaslamp Killer.

Lonnie: I’m influenced by Carl Palmer from “ELP” John Bonham, Alex Van Halen, Peter Criss and a big fan of Vinnie Paul!

Kyle: Dimebag, Francisco Tarrega, Adam Jones, Jim Root, Dave Matthews!

Max: In no particular order: Chris Cornell, Phil Anselmo, Corey Taylor, Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl, and the sound my garbage disposal makes when there’s no food in it.

What first got you into music?

Josh: Music has been a part of my life since birth. Both of my parents are musical. My Dad plays guitar and sings. My Mom was a piano teacher for many years, and played guitar and sang as well. I started playing the saxophone when I was 9 then moved to guitar at 11 and drums at 14. I played bass any time I could get my hands on one.

Kyle: Good old Jimi Hendrix

Lonnie: Growing up my parents always had parties on the weekends, and blasting music from the 50’s to the 70’s, just dug the music!

Max: Not to get too dark, but I was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma when I was 11 and went through 4 months of chemotherapy. The two albums I listened to on repeat through the process were “Dookie” and “American Idiot” by Green Day. I listened to those records over and over again, singing all the words until they were ingrained in my head and I could recite them without even hearing the song. I watched all the concert footage I could get my hands on, and saw them when they came to AT&T Park in 2006, on the American Idiot tour, with Flogging Molly (another great band), and Jimmy Eat World. It was my first concert and from there, I guess you could say that show started it all.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?

Josh: I would love to collaborate with Igorrr from France. Gautier Serre is a musical genius and being able to tap into his consciousness and collaborate on a song, or songs, would be magical.

Lonnie: Van Halen

Kyle: Chad Grey

Max: Jeez, do I have to pick one? Probably Dave Grohl, I’d love to do a ProBot II with him or something.

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose, and why?

Josh: I would love to play Knotfest Roadshow USA. Slipknot have done an excellent job with their festival. Another festival that comes to mind is Rock In Rio. Traveling to South America for the first time would be a blast!

Lonnie: Download!

Kyle: Rock on the Range!!

Max: Pinkpop! It’s a huge festival in the Netherlands, which I’ve never been to, and some of the greatest rock acts have played that festival. When you’re there, you know you’ve “made it”. Plus, playing with Gary Clark Jr. would be an absolute honour.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Josh: Great question! One time I was given a finger hand puppet haha! Forgot the significance of it unfortunately, but it sits on one of my shelves to this day.

Kyle: I wouldn’t say mine was weird, it’s was more heartfelt. We played a Pantera tribute show in Pomona CA after the passing of Vinnie Paul. The song we play at the end of our set was Domination. After we got done playing our set, a fan came up to me and gave me his Dimebag Razor blade piece. I remember he told me, “Dime would be proud”. That was the best feeling in the world right there.

Lonnie: Haven’t received any gifts from the fans but would love to see what they would send!

Max: You overestimate my popularity. It’s sweet, but slightly depressing!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Josh: Support local music and seek out new artists whenever possible. It’s easy to get stuck listening to the same ol’ genres. With the current state of the world, supporting local music is so imperative. Especially once the world opens back up again and live music kicks off.

Kyle: Don’t live your life in anger/hate. Life is too short for that shit.

Lonnie: Tell your friends!!!

Max: In the immortal words of Bill and Ted, “Be excellent to one another!”.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Josh: The one that really hit me hard was Chris Cornell. I had the honour of seeing Audioslave’s first west coast performance in my early teens, and they rocked it so hard. His vocals and lyricism are otherworldly. What made his untimely death even more tragic was that I felt he still had so much left to give the world musically.

Lonnie: That’s a tough question, there’s so many great people who’ve passed. I would have to say John Bonham. If you bring John back, there could be a possibility of a Led Zeppelin reunion!!!!

Max: Dimebag Darrel, taken too soon. Plus, being able to see a Pantera show with Dime would have been amazing.

Kyle: Since Max got Dime back, I’ll bring back Vinnie Paul.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Josh: Being able to take an idea from the mind and translate it through one’s fingers into an audible representation is so rewarding and takes a lifetime to master. What I enjoy most apart from creating music is sharing that music live with people. When something you’ve created connects with other humans and gets them moving, there’s nothing that tops that.

Hate is such a strong word. I’d say my frustrations with being a musician are that many children with musical gifts early on aren’t told that they can turn those gifts into a career. As a child, music was always represented as a hobby but nothing more than that. We have music and art in schools, but parents and teachers as a whole aren’t communicating that one’s life can be dedicated to such pursuits. However, with the evolution of music and technology, I feel like that is quickly changing.

Kyle: What I love is playing in front of people, I love seeming the smile on their faces when we play. It’s so awesome! What I hate is when equipment fails!! I’ve blown up so many amps, it’s a little fear of mine. Lol

Lonnie: When we play a live show and afterwards, they tell me how much they dig the band and compare me with a famous drummer. What I hate is setting up and tearing down the drums…Lol.

Max: I enjoy collaboration and when a song becomes fully realized. There’s nothing better than listening back and hearing the magic you’ve captured when a recording is done. It is a trip to say the least. Hate is a strong word. There are two things I wish that would change. One, I wish more musicians could make a living playing and writing music (thanks to the internet it is easier, but there are some parts of the music business that are antiquated and should be modernized). Number two is ego. I’ve met a lot of egotists in our line of work who believe they are the best at what they do and refuse to find things to challenge them to make them better. It’s important to keep striving and push past the limits of what you think you can do. Great artistry is not the result of stagnation and I wish more people would learn that.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Josh: The industry is so oversaturated on all fronts these days. It takes an insane amount of hustle and luck to breakthrough depending on your genre. If there was a way to vet groups coming up, and separate the wheat from the chaff, that’d be great. But do we need more gatekeepers in the music industry? I think not haha! If I could change one thing for sure, it would have to be artist compensation from streaming services. Excited to see what the Music Modernization Act (MMA) is going to do to bring balance to things.

Lonnie: Bring back physical albums and CDs! Being able to see the artwork and band photos on the album’s and CDs was always cool to me!

Max: I kinda brushed on this topic earlier. I really wish streaming paid more. Thanks to the MMA (Music Modernization Act) passed by congress, musicians will see a percentage of streaming royalties rather than the 0.00005% it is now. But it won’t be enacted until 2021. Also, Ticketmaster straight up shouldn’t exist.

Kyle: Literally what they all said. Lol.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Josh: One of my favourite albums has to be “Evil Empire” from Rage Against the Machine. Hearing it in its entirety for the first time blew my mind as a kid. Funky, soulful, heavy, unfiltered. It was an album that I fell in love with twice. Initially the rawness, power and funk of the music attracted me. Once I entered college, I was able to understand the full scope of Zack’s lyrics. The metaphors, political views, etc… I even wrote an essay on Track 8. off the album called ‘Without A Face’, which chronicles the plight of immigrants crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. and existing in a world where they are hated by the very group who benefits from their physical labour.

Lonnie: First Van Halen album!!!

Kyle: Pantera – “Far Beyond Driven”.

Max: Again, just one huh? “Superunknown” by Soundgarden. I think I listened to that album for a year straight.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs or Downloads?

Josh: I grew up on cassettes and CD’s, eventually moving to downloads because it was easier and cheaper to listen to music that way. Having matured (mostly) since then, I absolutely love vinyl. The warmth, depth and tangibility of the records can’t be beaten. Plus, the album art really comes through when it’s 12.375”.

Kyle: Vinyl when you’re just sitting at home chilling, CD in the car driving, and downloads when training. They all have their purpose.

Lonnie: Vinyl, you can hang up the album’s and it makes your wall’s look great!

Max: The hipster in me says Vinyl, because nothing replaces those little cracks and pops. But records get so easily worn or warped. I mostly use Google Play for my stuff because I have access to pretty much anything at any time, but I will buy CDs to support the artist. I bought “The Shape of Punk to Come” by the Refused, and “Hello Exile” by The Menzingers, because I wanted to read the liner notes to feel that much closer to the songs.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Josh: I had a blast opening for Quiet Riot in August last year! It was a rush coming off stage and having QR’s guitarist Alex Grossi give Kyle and I fist bumps for our closing song.

Kyle: We opened up for Vince Neil at the Rose in Pomona CA and played to a 450+ crowd, that’s the most I’ve played in front of and it was the best experience.

Lonnie: Back in the late eighties (wow I’m dating myself) I did a show called the L.A. street festival. They estimated the crowd to be around 10,000 people.

Max: Played the Nickel City Arcade when I was in my first official band Seventh Day Breakdown. We got used to having nobody there, but magic was in the air that night, because at least 50 people showed up and were bouncing up and down creating utter chaos. By the end, I saw the whole room looked like a moving mass of people. I threw my guitar up in the air, and let it crash to the ground (it turned out to be fine) and sling-shot a mic over my back, we trashed the stage and left to thunderous applause. Best audience ever that night, never happened again. But that’s what creates those magic moments.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Josh: Creating in some other way while enjoying the great outdoors. I love astrophotography and shoot the night sky whenever possible. I collect vintage mushroom art. Getting out into the wilderness is one of my favourite past times. It’s how I reset the mind and body.

Kyle: I be a fighter, mostly a Boxer. I love training, I love the sport. If I didn’t find the guitar first before the Gloves, Boxer most likely.

Lonnie: I’d be driving a 320-mph funny car. I’m a huge drag racing fan. I have gone 5.98 seconds at 213 mph in a dragster! Fun, fun, fun!

Max: I would like to go into guitar making, carpentry type stuff. I love working with my hands.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Josh: I would love a blend of philosophy and humour. A group of people that enjoy nuanced discussion as well as fart jokes haha! I’d invite comedians Duncan Trussell, Joe Rogan and Jeff Ross. A nice mix of intellectual comedy and good old-fashioned roasting. On the philosophy side I’d invite Naval Ravikant and Christopher Ryan to add flavour and inject fascinating insight into the discussions. Talk about a party!

Kyle: Joe Rogan, Mike Tyson, Tyson Fury, Tech N9ne and Corey Taylor.

Lonnie: Eddie and Alex Van Halen, Peter Criss, Les Claypool and Maynard James Keenen.

Max: Henry Rollins (Black Flag, The Henry Rollins Band), Billie Eilish, Emily Armstrong (Dead Sara), Alexis S.F. Marshall (As the Sun Sets, Daughters, Fucking Invisible), and Greg Barnett (The Menzingers). We can all talk about song writing, poetry, and good novels to read.

What’s next for the band?

Josh: The pandemic has levelled the playing field for every musician. We are doing what we do best, keeping our heads down and focusing on the next album. We have some killer tracks and are beyond excited to share them with the world!

Lonnie: Well, we just announced our new singer Max Sorg and were currently writing new material. We have over 20 new songs and we can’t wait to show the world!

Max: We’ve been rehearsing and hashing out new material while COVID-19 has taken its toll on the country. We’re in talks of taking some new demoes to the studio. I’m really excited to get to be a part of the process with them. It’s all very exciting for us, and I know that I’m ready for it. I hope the fans are too, you know.

Kyle: Focusing on making great music.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Josh: You can find us on:

Instagram: @blacklist9_

Facebook: @Blacklist9music

YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UC6Qasp2KPxCeiwDtFrvpOGA

or our website: www.blacklist9.net

Lonnie: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and our album is available on all streaming service’s.

Max: The guys are better about this than I am. But, www.blacklist9.net/home. You can join our mailing list there. Also, we’re on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter under Blacklist-9. Come check us out there!

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Josh: In the U.S. we unfortunately don’t have those. To me a biscuit is that warm and fluffy goodness you put some honey, apple butter or sausage gravy on. When we eventually tour the UK, I will make this question my quest to answer haha!

Kyle: MMMMMMM Jaffa Cakes (Homer Simpson Drooling Sound)

Lonnie: That’s a good one. I’d say cake. They should be called baby cakes!

Max: I don’t want to stick my hand in this nest of hornets. I’m gonna say everyone is wrong and call it cookie!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Josh: Stay inquisitive, always seek to gain more knowledge in order to better understand those around you and who you are. Learn something new every day, then die and forget it all haha! Thanks for bringing us on!

Lonnie: Thank you for the interview and keep an eye and ear out for BlackList-9.

Kyle: Success is the best kind of revenge.

Max: Thanks for taking the time to read this. You can check out Blacklist-9 on social media. I’m also on Instagram and Facebook as Max Sorg. I post stupid stuff and talk about what I’m up to! Come say “Hi”.

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.