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Interview with Britt Black
Morley: Your record is being re-released in January. Is that right? Why the re-release?
Britt: Cuz it was kinda like a silent release. Iím not sure why. I think they just wanted to get it out for the Warped Tour when we were on the tour so they just, you know, shipped it out as fast as possible and now they want to properly do it I guess and get it in everywhere because itís not in everywhere in the stores right now and it should be for a U.S. release.
Morley: So tell us how this record came to be. After the demise of your former band, you went on tour with Bif. Did you already have the intent to do a solo project?
Britt: Yeah, thatís why...I joined her band because I wasnít ready to do my solo thing. It was only supposed to be for the summer for three months and it ended up being 2 years because it was so much fun. Yeah, itís always been a plan and it just finally got to the point where I was sick of playing other peopleís music, well her music, not just hers but stuff that I didnít write. I love playing her songs but you can only do it for so long. Yeah, it was time. And it was great.
Morley: How did the record come together? Were you writing when you were on the road with Bif or did you set aside time to write in the studio?
Britt: Yeah, I donít usually write like all the time, I just wait. And thenÖI write just before the record is supposed to be recorded and, I donít know, I like to see what I can come up with. If Iím writing all the time, then itís all going to sound the same, you know? So, yeah, this record was..(laughs)Öyeah, my record label, they applied for Factor, which is a video grant in Canada. And they didnít tell me about it when they applied for it and itís for the recording for my album so I had a week to write my whole album so I did it in five days. And yeah, a little bit panicked, and (laughs) luckily Iíd just gone through like a bad break up like three days earlier so it helped.
Morley: So you were feeling particularly inspired? Youíve got 13 cuts?
Britt: Iíve got 12. Well three of them are covers so...because I just didnít have time. I wrote like 9 songs. I was like goddamn it, I canít do more than a song a day, you know. Completely finished.
Morley: Itís a great batch of songs. Especially the first halfÖreally strong.
Britt: Oh thank you. Yeah, I like those too. Thatís why we put them first.
Morley: Which songs presented themselves first?
Britt: ďJet Black HeartĒ and ďSpeed of LightĒ were the first two songs that we wrote. I co-wrote my album with Todd Kerns because I said I donít have time to write this album (laughs). I need someone to help me write and heís one of my favourite artists. Heís in a band called Age of Electric. So I grabbed him and we just started jamming everyday and then weíd go home and do homework and then come back the next day. ďJet Black HeartĒ and ďSpeed of LightĒ were the first two to be done. It was kinda nice because when I knew I had two singles, like the rest of the songs I could you know, do whatever. As long as we have two singles on your album youíre fine.
Morley: ďStuck HereĒ is one of my favourite songs. Ever do it live?
Britt: I did when we first started playing but you know we decided not to play that one live. We wanted to keep it upbeat. But if I do interviews in radio or something, and acoustic songs live, then weíll do that song.
Morley: Songs fall in and out of favour over time. What is your favorite song at the moment or maybe the one that you feel represents your band the best?
Britt: It changes every day. I like ďNighttimeĒ right now. Itís supposed to be our next single. SoÖum I Ďm not really sure. Iíve always liked ďJet Black HeartĒ. I donít know. Thereís a couple that I really hate on my album. (laughs)
Morley: What led you to not only cover The Cult song but to place it in the 2nd place slot?
Britt: Well, it turned out so great. Thatís why itís on the second slot. But I wanted to do a cover song of that song since I was a little kid. I had met Ian Astbury when I was on tour with Bif. I was eight years old. I was a black belt and he was a green belt. So heíd come to the venue everyday and bow to me. And I was like, holy shit! Ian Astbury is bowing to me. Thatís is crazy. So I said one day Iím going to cover one of your songs. And he said: Well do ďShe Sells SanctuaryĒ. I was like okay (laughs) The name meant nothing to me at that point.
Morley: Sometimes when a musician goes solo, after awhile theyíre kind of sorry they left the nest because they find out they donít like having the spotlight solely on them and dealing with all the responsibilities. Is this the case with you at all or are you glad you made this decision?
Britt: It was nice playing in Bifís band and not having to do like interviews everyday and just being like a hired musician. You kinda miss everything else when you go and do that. With Live on Release I was in every single interview just because our singer was really stupid and (laughs) Iím not really sure why, but I did end up doing most of them? Itís alright. I bring Dandy along to do a lot of the stuff too and they pick up the slack in other ways, my band does. I donít know. It was weird at first, actually having to stick to a mic while playing guitar. It was like, oh, this is so different. I have to change everything now. But I like it.
Morley: You wouldnít know from last summerís show I saw that you were uncomfortable.
Britt: Oh, yeah. It was a tough thing, it was a couple of months of vocal training and I thought that was the hardest part. And then Iím on stage and Iím boring. And Iím like ahhh, Iíve got to do stuff when Iím up there . I canít just stand there and sing. So Iíve gotten really good at it over the last summer here.
Morley: It sounds like youíve been on tour from the moment your record was released. Are you getting sick of the road yet?
Britt: Well we did eight months out and then half way through, our album came out and then we got home for about a day after the Warped Tour, and that was a really f**king long tour, you know, and then they sent us out to do these Bodog Battle of the Bands shows. And at that point there were some people there that were like yelling: you suck. Metal rules. And Iím like you know what? I donít need that. I want to go home. (Laughs). Give me a week off and then I can go out and I can deal with this shit. So then we finished both days and went home. And we got two weeks off. And then we were itching to go back out and we did some more showcases. And now I just want a little bit of a break and write.
Morley: Can you see your second record coming soon?
Britt: Oh yeah, yeah. Weíre writing it right now. I was going to write it with Jason Dar of Neurosonic but I think Iím going to switch around with different writers and get a different CD than I came out with last time.
Morley: Before your record you were out on tour with Bif for quite awhile and then of course you were in your previous band for years. Now itís all guys. Do you miss having other females to hang out with after being ďSick and TiredĒ like you say of being stuck with guys in a bus for miles and miles?
Britt: Oh go no. females are retarded. Trying to write with girlsÖor, no, tour with females was like the hardest thing. Bif, she knows how to tour. Gail Greenwood from L7, she was in Bifís band for a while, she knows how to tour. Then you have all these little whiny bitches on tour that just want to be crabby and complain and call their mommies all the time and bring their parents on tour. Itís like f**k, (laughs) why are we doing all this? I donít know, I like having my boys there. And you know, weíve got into different fights together. I donít know. Theyíre good. They protect me and stuff.
Morley: Youíre a black belt. I think itís the other way around.
Britt: Yeah, because I could dish it but I donít think I could take a punch from a guy.
Morley: How was it touring with all the other bands this summer on Warped? Some bands say itís great and for others itís a real chore to get through?
Britt: Iíve heard a million different stories man. Some on Warped Tour say it was summer camp for them. For me it was a boot camp. It was brutal. (laughs) It was a good experience but we had to build our stage everyday and it was 125 degrees in the sun. And our band didnít get catering so we were just like trying to stop at Wal-Mart once a week and try to shove as much food in the fridge as possible and just get by. It was hard but we had a lot of fun. Especially on the day off because everyone gets together and have like a trailer trash party.
Morley: Yeah I was reading your blogs about thatÖ
Britt: And itís really good to play for people that you wouldnít naturally play for. Like if we play for Bif, itís the same type of market, whereas someone whoís going to see NOFX might stop and see us and say wow, okay, I like this type of music.
Morley: I remember seeing Live On Release when you opened for The Moffatts in Ottawa and the thing that first impressed me was your guitar sound. Do you feel you get enough respect for your abilities? Evidently you held your own for Bif to take you in place of Doug (Fury).
Britt: Yeah, lately especially. Iíve been in Guitar magazine and a bunch of different publications like that. And in photo shoots with my guitar and theyíre finally starting to realize that I can play and Iím serious about it. But um, I donít know. People donít really say much about it. Itís just something I do. To me, Iím a guitar player; Iím not a singer. Itís a good thing to know how to play guitar. I donít know, I just go through Marshall cabs JCM2000 and my strat and thatís it. I know how to dial my amps.
Morley: Youíve said that ďSpeed of LightĒ was written about the break-up of LiveOnRelease. You use some pretty well not strong but direct strong lyrics. Is there still an anger there towards the former members?
Britt: One, yes. Iím really not a big fan of Colette. Me and Leah and Foxx go out for coffee and hang out and gossip (laughs). I donít know. Theyíre all cool girls and theyíre all in new bands and Leahís going to school. She just got out of the biz completely when she quit. But you know there are some hard feelings between me and the singer.
Morley: Youíve written some songs with your Dad on there. Heís also the manager along with your sister. Do you sometimes feel claustrophobic and worry that youíre too involved with family?
Britt: Iím really glad to have them around actually. They take care of me and Bif is like family as well and they take care of her (laughs). We wonít be f**ked over because they are family, but yeah sometimes, yeah I just want to yell f**k off, but you canít because itís my dad, right. (laughs) And thereís no fighting them. They just know whatís best so if you donít like what theyíre doing you just have to deal with it, because theyíre doing what they know theyíre going to do and you canít really say much about it. Whereas another artist can just fire their manager if they donít listen to them.
Morley: You just have to try and get your space where you can.
Britt: I moved out of my momís place about two years ago and my dad and my sister and my mom all live in the same complex so I got the hell out on the other side of Vancouver when I moved out...(laughs).
Morley: What can you tell us about your next record?
Britt: I have a direction and stuff but it always seems to change when youíre actually writing the songs, you know. As far as musically, I want it to be led zeppelin meets 9 inch nails sort of thingÖa lot heavier. You know I donít want to be in-between. Is it pop? Is it rock? Is it alterative? I just want it to be hardcore rock or something like that. I donít know yet. But weíll see.
Morley: Any instrumentals this time out?
Britt: Yeah, Iíve got a couple of little metal riffs and songs that I have stacked up but I donít know if itís appropriate.
Morley: What are your best markets in terms of sales?
Britt: Um, yeah Canadaís good. Mostly in Canada. The UK was receiving it well. Iím not really sure actually...I really could care less about record sales and all that bullshit. (laughs) When people buy the cd and they like it, thatís cool. They tell me to my face. Thatís awesome. But Iím not about numbers. My labelís about building careers not one-hit wonders, right? So if my first record, my first solo record doesnít do well or just is mediocre record sales-wise, thatís okay. Iíll just keep working at it. I think thatís maybe why theyíre re-releasing it with more power, so...yeah weíre doing well.
Morley: Well once people hear ďBaby Come BackĒ, people should be on board.
Britt: Yeah, I hope I appeal to the masses but Iím not Avril so weíll see. (laughs)
Morley: Hope to see you back in Ottawa soon.
Britt: Hopefully. I want to go back on tour. (laughs)
Morley: Awesome. See you then.
Britt: OK thanks for the interview.
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