The musical world is such a large and vast place. This is, of course, a great thing and it’s infinite resources keeps these ears happy and these fingers busy on a daily basis. It can also be incredibly frustrating at times and is also why a band as startlingly fully-formed and brilliant as Black Books can go pretty much unnoticed on these shores for so long. The five-piece from Austin, Texas make huge, passionate indie-rock songs in the vein of early My Morning Jacket, and their An Introduction To… EP, released back in February, is as good as anything we’ve heard this year.
Thankfully other people have caught on to their great songs and the band are set to play at SXSW next year and there are also plans to release a full-length album this coming Spring. We caught up with the band and asked them to tell us all a bit more about themselves and the music they make. We were also lucky enough to get our hands on a brand new song, which you can listen to at the end of the interview…
Hi! How are you and where in the world are you right now?
Meg: Hey, we’re doing great, thanks! Right now we’re hanging out at our guitar player’s home recording studio, Test Tube Audio, in Austin, Texas.
Would you like to introduce the band for us?
Kevin – Guitars, producer
Clarke – Synths
Ross – Drums, singer
Meg – Keys
Mike – Bass
The worst question I know, but how would you describe your sound?
Ross: A dense reverby mess
Mike: Cosmic Cowboy shoegaze. How about that?
Clarke: Dropping your mp3 player (on shuffle) down the bat cave.
What can you tell us about your bands story so far?
Ross: We met up at a house Meg and I had just moved into. I told the guys to bring their gear and some beer and we wrote our first song…after that we toyed with the idea of starting a band. It was just good fun.
Meg: Ross and I are married… Ross, Kevin, Clarke, and I met when we were kids in school and Mike came around soon after high school.
Mike: This is a tough one to sum up in one response. We all met up one afternoon a couple years back to hang out, and now we’re looking at a list of more than 20 songs we’ve written since. We’ve played numerous shows in the meantime, slowly spreading the music around and picking up some fans on the way.
Is there a full-length album in the works?
Ross: Yes. It’s all up in the air right now. We have recorded almost two albums worth of material….a lot of new tunes we don’t know what to do with yet. There’ll be something substantial out by SXSW at the latest.
How is the Austin music scene at present?
Kevin: I think it’s really starting to live up to it’s reputation. I’m proud to be a part of it. Also it’ll be interesting to see how the venue migration to the east side will pan out.
Mike: I still love it here. I read some article in the Dallas Observer talking about how the scene here will never be what it was before, which I think is a ridiculous statement. Nowhere else could you head out on any given weekend and choose from so many different scenes. From folk to rock to electronic, Austin’s got it.
Clarke: diverse and lovely. most shows we’ve been fortunate to share the stage with many different talents.
Ross: There are so many bands that are scary good and have really original powerful material. It keeps you motivated to push yourself or you will get embarrassed. All really friendly bands here – but you know when you get outplayed.
How are your Christmas plans shaping up?
Ross: Meg’s and my families are both in Austin so we just stay in town and eat home cooked meals constantly. Christmas is really sweet because we have a two year old son to enjoy all the holiday cheer with. He loves the lights.
Meg: … or “ights,” as he calls them. Also, we covered a song from our past for SYFFAL.com’s “Pop Culture Collides” that comes out December 21st… should be fun!
Mike: Still writing and recording music; if we’re not playing a gig, we’re in the studio.
Clarke: Finishing our album, drinking rum & eggnog, & the He-Man Christmas Special.
And what about your plans for 2012?
Ross: We are excited about getting the live show where we want it to be…maybe try some new things before SXSW. This past year we have been in the studio writing writing writing and I really want to try all this new material live and see how it feels in front of strangers.
Any plans to head over to the UK any time soon?
Meg: I wish. We talk about it a lot but there aren’t any set plans yet. I lived in Bristol for a year in college and would LOVE to come visit… maybe play Thekla! We’ve never played on a boat before.
* * *
GoldFlakePaint is very pleased to unveil a brand new song from Black Books in the form of the very wonderful Out The Door. Give it a blast here;