The Blackout Argument - Honest and uptight songwritersRecently there was yet another band from the Bastardized Recordings-roster that convinced me with their new re-release, The Blackout Argument. I didn’t have to think twice when I got the opportunity to ask them some questions about their upcoming releases. Here are ChrisX’ honest answers.
Hey, how are you?
‘Hey Erik, I am doing fine, thanks. I just woke up and went to this café where I usually start my day. Your interview is the first thing on the schedule for today.’
Please tell us something more about your band.
‘The Blackout Argument started in late 2005. We played our fist show in March 2006 and since then things went very well for us. We played a whole bunch of amazing shows all over Europe, released our debut mcd Munich Angst on Engineer Records, got signed to Bastardized Recordings who are just about to release our new mcd Munich Valor along with a re-release of Munich Angst and in September our debut album Decisions will be out on Lifeforce Records. In addition to that we’re gonna support Boy Sets Fire on their farewell tour in May, which is the coolest thing I can think of right now. The line up of The Blackout Argument has been since day one: Sinan (vocals), Sascha (bass), Philip (drums), Chris18 (guitars) and me, ChrisX (guitars).’
How did you end up signing with Bastardized Recordings?
‘We have already been in touch with them since our first recordings and they always showed interest in us. When we had the idea to release a second mcd before the album they were our first choice. Stefan, Marco and Flo are dedicated hardworking folks who know exactly what they want and run their business very professional. It’s a great thing to work with them!’
The lyrics on Munich Angst are all about certain relationships with other persons. From this I draw the conclusion that the lyrics are influenced by your personal lives. Am I right or are there other influences (as well)?
‘Yes you are right, all our lyrics are influenced by our own experiences. In my opinion it is the most honest and upright way to write song-texts, none can take away or negate how you feel inside. It is just there and writing it down makes you vulnerable and untouchable at the same time. Hard to explain… I personally regard my lyrics as some kind of therapy, a way to express my inner-self without a direct response from a certain person but with the knowledge that they will be heard / read.’
Some songs party remind me a bit of Atreyu. Is this band an influence for you guys? What are other musical influences for The Blackout Argument?
‘Holy hell, I definitely do not know where this comparison comes from but we got it a couple of times in the past. It might be the vocals in ‘Regret in Stereo’ that sound a bit Atreyu-ish but musically I don’t see any parallels. From my point of view Atreyu mix pop with metal while The Blackout Argument is more some kind of hardcore-rock mixture.
There are so many musical influences that it is hard to tell which ones shape our sound most but here’s a couple of bands we ALL like: Stretcharmstrong, Coheed and Cambria, Thrice, Ignite, Alexisonfire, Snapcase, Boy Sets Fire, It Dies Today, etc…’
So back to Munich Angst again, on April 27th it will be re-released on Bastardized Recordings, your new label. Why did you choose to re-release it?
‘The first press of the Engineer version of Munich Angst was sold out pretty fast so we asked them to repress it. Unfortunately they were not able to do this due to financial problems they were going through at that time, so we agreed with them to find another label who runs the repress. Since we did not want to have 4 releases on 4 different labels the idea came up to do the repress via Bastardized. We redesigned the artwork, added a bonus video and some lyric-explanations to up value the mcd a bit. Munich Valor and Munich Angst are a perfect match (not only the title), so we decided to release them as a special 2-disc-set as well.’
You decided to produce the album yourself, why?
‘Yes, we do most of the recordings at our drummers studio. He’s a real maniac when it comes down to powerful and professional productions. We all really like his style of mixing, which is pretty “upfront” and aggressive. Munich Angst and Munich Valor have been recorded, mixed and mastered at his studio, our upcoming album Decisions has been recorded there but has been mixed and mastered at Kohlekeller Studios since we did not want all our releases to have a similar sound.’
Besides Munich Angst, you will also release Munich Valor on April 27th, what’s the link between these two EPs?
‘While Munich Angst lyrically (and if you listen carefully also musically) deals with a certain feeling of alienation and oppression, Munich Valor is more aggressive and straight forward. Both mcd's match together perfectly and show all aspects of an individual's life in a society that denies uniqueness and tries to destroy all concepts of alternative lifestyles.’
And what’s the biggest difference between the two?
‘Musically I would say that Munich Valor is a little more “hardcore” than Munich Angst. There’s less singing-parts and the songs are all heavier, maybe even a little more “to the point”. Munich Angst in contrast has 2 of the best songs we will probably EVER write, which are ‘The Fastbreak’ and ‘Regret in Stereo’.’
How are the reactions to both EPs so far?
‘The reactions have been amazing so far. We got some awesome reviews but even more important, a lot of kids came up to us after the show or wrote to tell us how much they loved a certain song or song-text. We are really happy that we had such a good start with the 2 mcd's and hope that the kids will equally embrace our upcoming album.’
Which do the people seem to like more? Why do you think that is?
‘That’s a tough question… I think some hardcore-kids, who normally do not listen to melodic stuff that much, will prefer Munich Valor while other kids might say that Munich Angst has the better, more catchy songs. I really don’t know, I would definitely check out both releases.’
Now that you’re on a bigger label and your new EP's are about to be releases, please tell us something more about the upcoming touring plans.
‘As I mentioned above we’re gonna hit the road together with Boy Sets Fire, which is a great honor to us! The tour is going to take place in May, just the perfect time to support our 2 Bastardized releases. In September / October we’re gonna have another tour but nothing concrete has been confirmed yet. In the meantime we play a lot of single- and weekend-shows.’
Why should people go out and see The Blackout Argument live?
‘First of all to make US happy hahaha! Just kidding… I think a Blackout Argument live show can be an intense event for everyone, no matter what music-styles they usually prefer. We’ve had metal-kids going crazy to our music as well as hardcore- and emo-kids. We even have some friends who listen to straight hip hop or electronic music who told us that they love seeing The Blackout Argument on stage, simply because it is a great thing to see how much fun we have and how much energy our show contains.’
What’s the most precious thing you would give up to become a #1 band in the world?
‘Nothing. It is neither my personal goal nor the band’s goal to become a #1 band, not in the underground-scene and not in the world. We love what we do and we are thankful for everyone who listens to our songs or comes to our shows. I have seen a lot of bands trying to become a #1 of whatever and most of them lost their focus. We love playing music, we love expressing ourselves through it, that’s the central element of the band’s existence.’
There’s this DVD called: “Metal: A Headbangers Journey”. It’s a documentary I think every metalfan should check out at least once. The question the documentary is based on is: “Why is metal music consistently stereotyped, dismissed and condemned?” Why do you think it is that way?
‘That a tough question for me, since I have been raised with punk-music and later on socialized with the hardcore-scene. I have always listened to metal but never was a part of the scene. I can only describe what I see as an outsider and that is that the metal-scene is very “genre-orientated”. If you take Black Metal for example, there are certain rules and styles you have to follow to be accepted by Black Metal fans. Same goes for straight Death Metal or even Heavy-Metal. It’s some kind of image-thing I think. Outside of the scene I agree with the statement. The mainstream regards the metal-scene as some kind of weird, long-haired outsiders who listen to awful music and dress black all the time. I have deep respect for all metal kids, compared to the “hardcore-style” (fashion-wise spoken) it is way more of a statement of rebellion.’
Stupid question: In movies, who do you prefer? Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sylvester Stallone? Why?
‘Years long I would have answered “Schwarzenegger” simply because he was the Terminator but a couple of weeks ago I read an interview with Sly and he completely destroyed the picture I had of him. I always thought he is a stupid dumbass redneck American nationalist who got lost in the role of “Rambo” (that description obviously fits Arnie better hahaha) but he said some really cool things in that interview and made me watch the new Rocky movie. A great movie and a great actor. He might only be able to play this one character but he does a great job. To sum it up: I prefer Sylvester Stallone!’
That was my final question, anything to add?
‘Thanks for the interview, it was fun answering your questions. I want to invite everyone to write us or say “hi” at one of our shows.’
Thank you very much for your time and good luck in the future!
‘Thanks! Good luck with the Metalrage!!’
Chris for The Blackout Argument