Not only is Black Moth about to embark on an European tour supporting Goth legends the Sisters of Mercy, but a recent line-up change and news of work in progress on a new album meant it was definitely time TINAS got the lowdown on B.M. activities, with vocalist Harriet Bevan and bassist Dave Vachon kindly providing enlightenment.
I suppose I should begin by asking about the recent departure of guitarist Nico Carew and the new arrival of Federica Gialanze? Can you tell me the story behind this?
Dave: Well you can never have your heart in two places at once and Nico’s love for his other band grew so much that he had to leave us.
Harriet: Yeah we did poach him from X-Ray Cat Trio in the first place and we have all loved every minute of working together but like Dave says, the time came for him to focus more on his own project and we all totally support his decision. Their new album is brilliant.
How did you hear about Federica? Has she been in any previous bands?
Harriet: As for Federica, I’d seen her work as Tony Iommi in Rat Salad, the Black Sabbath tribute band, and knew she was a ridiculously awesome player. Turned out she was really into what we do as well, so it was a match made in heaven. We didn’t even bother auditioning anyone else after her- she was that good!
Dave: It all started with people hearing from us that we were looking for another guitarist and Harriet mentioned this to a friend. At the same time a friend of this friend who came to watch a band we were playing with said to this friend ‘ahh man I would love to play in a band like this” and he said “well they are looking for a new guitarist’.
Harriet: Cool story bro.
Do you think Federica’s arrival will have any major change on the direction or sound of the band? Is she contributing to writing new material?
Dave: The thing with Black Moth is we all contribute to the music we produce and so far Fed has fitted in perfectly.
Harriet: Oh yeah for sure. So far the ideas she’s brought to the process are very exciting. She’s more of a metal guitarist than Nico was, so the first thing she did was whack a load of harmonies on stuff which we DUG HARD.
I hear you are recording a new album, can you tell me anymore about it e.g. any new tracks or a working album title?
Harriet: I’d love to tell you but that would be very naughty as we won’t be sharing that sort of information for a little while yet. I do have a working title but it could well change. I think, from looking at the writing we’ve done so far, if anything the next album is going to be heavier and more aggressive, but in a fun way. Does that make sense? Fun aggression – like a thumb war or slapsies, nipple cripples – that sort of thing.
Is Jim Sclavunos going to produce again?
Harriet: It’s possible!
Can you remind us how you acquired his services in the first place?
Dave: It was a case of the label just asked him and he was interested in our stuff and things went from there.
Harriet: Yes, he said something about our sound reminded him of his “misspent youth.” I think he recognised us as a bunch of fellow noisy ratbag delinquents and we all have the same stupid sense of humour. That’s the sort of stuff that matters, ya know? He’s been truly magnificent to work with.
‘The undead king of rock ‘n’ roll is quite possibly the first rock song to showcase ‘polyester’ in the lyrics. Have you been scanning the dictionary for any more rock lyric firsts?
Dave: This is Harriet’s department but we never delve deep into things like this. We do what comes naturally and in this case it was polyester.
Harriet: Ha, no, it’s not deliberate. I do like words though. Polyester is such a lovely word. Jim Sclavunos tells me off for using bloated, over the top language sometimes though. He says it’s a bit pompous. I do agree, but I’m just a bit of a word geek.
The band’s lyrics cover subject matters in original ways. Can you reveal any topics touched on in any of the new material?
Dave: Good things come to those who wait
Harriet: I’ve hardly written anything yet. Lyrics always come last for me, with blood, sweat and tears. I’d say if anything their only going to get more absurd and more steeped in the sickly surrealism of everyday life.
You have recently been supporting quite a range of diverse bands – Amplifier, L7 and soon to be opening up for Goth legends Sisters of Mercy. Proof that Black Moth defy any simple label into one hybrid/genre. What influences are behind Black Moth in the past and currently?
Harriet: Oh god, well there’s all the obvious ones you would expect…. Sabbath, Stooges, Melvins, L7, Nirvana, Pentagram, etc etc. But I listen to all sorts of stuff… in the last week I’ve listened to Eden Ahbez, Arabrot, Tame Impala, Scott Walker, Death, Ritchie Valens… I keep it seriously varied or else I get bored shitless. We’re all genre sluts. No loyalty whatsoever, we’re just addicts, always desperate to be turned on by newer and stranger sounds.
At the last Underworld gig in London you unleashed black Looner titled balloons in the audience as you played the song ‘Looner’. Do you fantasise headlining arena stadiums using more ambitious and bigger stage props?
Dave: Bigger balloons with a hot air balloon delivering Dom with his drum kit attached…
Harriet: We can dream. Of course, I would love to go full on Spinal Tap with the stage props yeah. I don’t know why more bands don’t experiment with this… The ones with the big budgets I mean… hmm.
And lastly, currently there is a welcome growing talent of female rock/metal artists compared to rock/metal’s more male dominated past. Any thoughts on why this is happening now?
Dave: Because the industry in the past was full of sexist men. But personally I have always seen female artists around me, maybe it’s just our generation that welcomes all people because it’s a hard time to live in. But also there has always being women in the music industry. So I dunno. I’m drunk.
Harriet: Beautifully articulated David. I have no idea, is there really? We’re still greatly outnumbered. I wish it was different I really do. I guess it dates back to that “I’m with the band” culture, which is only half a century old. Like the band are assumed to be male and the female’s assumed position is one of adoration and adulation. My female musician buddies and I find that so offensive. We never wanted to be WITH the band we wanted to be IN the band. It makes me want to scream when I see young girls just aspiring to be groupies for male musicians. They’re not Golden Gods with chocolate dicks just because they can carry a fucking tune. Come on girls! Write your own songs, sing your heart out, pick up an instrument and RISE. Be your own idol. Playing music is a joyful, beautiful thing and any idiot can do it. Seeing bands like Skinny Girl Diet gives me hope. Those girls are badass.
So, exciting times for the band and those who already dig their blend of numerous influences to produce the Black Moth sound. Check out the Black Moth website for upcoming tour dates.