Translation: Dope Fiend
Tim Smith – Vocals
Cliff Martin – Bass
Anthony Crocamo – Guitar
Rob McConlogue – Guitar
We’ll be in company of the heavy metal of DarkBlack, ar with us the Portland guys. We have reviewed their work “The Sellsword” and “Midnight Wraith”, with this talk we’ll know better these fans of retrò sound.
Welcome to Aristocrazia Webzine, the first approach with our reality is usually linked to provide information on the history of the band, can you tell us how they are born DarkBlack and who are they today?
Tim: Well, we’ve gone through many changes over the years. Ant and I (Tim) met through a friend in 2003 I believe and we formed a band called Axedance. That did not last very long and we went on to form DarkBlack with our friend Carl on drums in 2004. Our first Ep came out in 2005 and in 2006 we moved from Pennsylvania to Portland, Oregon. We met our last drummer, Eben Travis and our second guitarist, Rob McConlogue here. Our friend Cliff Martin joined the band on bass about a year and a half ago and I moved over to focus solely on the vocals. Currently we are looking for a full-time local drummer but in the meantime we have some friends fill in for live gigs and touring.
At first I want to thank Tim for having sent me the discs, was a pleasure to immerse myself in the eighties with your music. You are quite orthodox in reliving those years, there are no concessions to modernism and I have to say that, though it is anachronistic to some, personally this make me very pleased. What are the key bands that have inspired you? They are still your usual plays or there is music of the last decade that has managed to make inroads in your toplist?
You know, the greats: Maiden, Priest, Zz Top, Van Halen, Rainbow, Sabbath, Dio. Even journey. We’re going for that classic feel so we need the best teachers that heavy metal has to offer. All in all, we listen to every type of music out there. For example, Rob listens heavily to jazz.
What is heavy metal for you? I noticed that when you talk to younger kids or mostly teenagers, they have often confused idea of what is this way of playing and living music, what is the easiest way to explain them what is this world?
Heavy metal is a spirit more than anything. It’s about having a good time with friends and rockin’out. There should not be any stress involved with playing this music. It’s something everyone can relate to. It’s the all-encompassing metal genre! It’s a party.
I felt a strong bond with Philip Lynott and Thin Lizzy in general, there is a special passion for this band? Vocally, in certain solutions, you approach in evoking the voice of Phil (“Midnight Wraith”).
Sure. Thin Lizzy is one of the greatest rock and roll bands of all time. It’s a shame Phil passed away because he would have gone on to do even better things for rock and roll and music in general. As for me, I’m a huge fan of Thin Lizzy so I’m sure that comes out a little in my vocal style. Anything that I listen to is going to make an impression on me and my way of singing.
I am pleased to say that after having turned over several times “The Sellsword” and “Midnight Wraith” in addition to having enjoyed of the dark tones and sharp guitars, I’ve found a good amount of personality, there is the desire to leave within a familiar sound an own brand especially in tracks like “Sword Of Morning”, “…With Lightning Speed” and “Power Monger” which in contrast is focused on the hard rock slope. How did your song born? What triggers the spark?
I’m glad that you noticed ou personality shining through. I think if there is anything that we can be extremely proud of, it’s our personality in our music. We definitely do not hide behind any sort of “studio magic”. The recordings are what they are: the capturing of our sound in a studio environment. If you can’t do it live you shouldn’t necessarily do it in studio. We’ve moved from a slightly technical heany metal band to a more focused and relaxed “hard rockin” band as you have noticed. It’s fun. If music ceased to be fun, I guess we’d hang it up, so as musicians we strive to better ourselves through practice and performance.
There is some problem with the production, the voice of Tim disappears beneath the instrumentation in the first, while in the ep is perhaps a bit too crude hitting the instrumentation in general. After some time how do you evaluate your work? You are already composing a successor?
Well everything we do has been produced by the band on a very limited budget. Whenever that happens there are bound to be some production issues. As you pointed out above however, this allows for personality to show through in the recorded music, something that seems to be severely lacking in modern music as awhole, not just in metal. We are currently writing for what will be our next full-lenght hopefully.
If DarkBlack were born during the NWOBHM era and they could choose two glories of the eighties with whom to share the stage, over who would spill the choice?
I think my favorite show to play would be us opening for Dio-era Sabbath and Judas Priest. That would be the greatest thing.
We always talk about the world of metal in turmoil, metal scene that produces band at no end, as listener and buyer of music though I have noticed that the classic heavy has remained as a niche sector. What is in your opinion the reason of this phenomenon? The public has become barbaric over the years always going to look for what appears to be more extreme in their own way in disregard of the basics of metal? Or is it just a matter of evolution that has put a bit in shade that is the matrix that led to one of the most enduring and important movements of music?
This is a topic that tires me to no end, so i’ll make it brief. Heavy metal is like an old typewriter. It’s old and outdated. Nobody wants to use it anymore. That doesn’t mean it’s lost relevance in the world. Without it there would not be the modern forms of metal. I think people sometimes forget that.
How has been promoting your music? What were the best evidence that you have received? There has been some criticism too harsh and unreasonable?
There are always good reviews and pretty much you have to take them with a grain of salt. For the most part, thay are all funny and make us laugh… at ourselves and the reviewers.
Live field, are you active on that front? How is a DarkBlack show? There will be dates around America and even some stages here in Europe?
We are active on the live front but not as much as we’d like to be. The current drummer situation is holding us back a bit. we have a few tentative dates coming up in the area and are planning another West Coast tour towards the middle of summer. Europe? Where’s that?
There was an live evening that there has been very much close to heart or some particural anecdotal that makes you pleased to remember and share with us?
As a whole our last tour in december of the West Coast great. This was our first time getting out since relocating and it was a blast. Great crowds at every show, and we played great too. We have played great too. We had some good times and met and played with some great people.
Do you have a week full of commitments, you’re stressed and feel the need to relax, five metal albums and five not metal albums which cannot fail to follow you?
I’m probably going to turn your world upside down here but, to tell you the truth, when I’m stressed I prefer to go for a bike ride or lay around in a park reading somewhere. Or if I’m at home some jazz at a low volume usually does the trick.
What do DarkBlack outside the band? How is your everyday life?
We’re all working class dudes. Ant works construction, I’m in the printing industry, Rob works at a restaurant and Cliff works with kids at a pre-school. Ant and I are on a bowling team in a Metal Bowling League. That’s a lot of fun. We one the whole thing this past season!!! Other than that we enjoy having a smoke, a beer and a laugh!
The interview is over, Thank you for the chat and I leave you the word for a last massage or a simple greeting at our readers.
Thanks for this opportunity, Gabriele. Hopefully this helps the DarkBlack banner to fly high!