Posted On 18 Nov 2016
Rock/pop band Echo Black recently released their new single and music video for “Chemicals.” “Chemicals” was produced by Matt Squire (One Direction, Kesha, Ariana Grande) as well as Andros Rodriguez (Shakira, Justin Timberlake) and directed by Chris Newhard (Sia, Jessie J, Train).
The four-piece has come a long way since their debut late last year, making an organic shift from the constrains of industrial rock into the pop world. With diverse backgrounds and influences ranging from classic rock, basement punk, and pop music production to drag culture and experimental makeup, Echo Black keeps their fans on their feet with every release. “Chemicals” is a perfect example of the band pushing boundaries as the video stars a same-sex couple in a rock tragedy.
“‘Chemicals’ is so special to us. It’s a culmination of so much work over so many years. We all pretty much agree that this song and video mark the moment in our career as Echo Black that we became the band we always wanted to be. We’ve been writing and playing together for over 2 years as this lineup, and some of us for many years before that, and I think the team we put together for this release really killed it. The video is really an expansion of the song. It’s about the brain confusing flesh and fantasy.” says vocalist, Danny Blu. “When it came time to film the video, we tapped Chris Newhard to direct it, as he had just directed our last video and truly nailed the tone and atmosphere we were looking for. Victor Hugo styled the video and we were able to work with some amazing fashion brands including Dee Serret, Material Memorie, Madness Is, Ritual, Couture Mask, and Augusto Manzanares. All of our makeup was provided by MAC.”
This summer, Echo Black unleashed their music video for “Perfect” featuring Telle Smith of The Word Alive exclusively on Fuse. One week prior to the release, the band unleashed the track on Alternative Press, receiving up to 10,000 shares in under 7 days. In 2015, they teamed up with Revolver to launch their debut music video “Burn Another Day”. The track and video features Davey Suicide, who the band toured with last fall along with Combichrist and The Birthday Massacre. Danny asserts, “We are hungry and we are coming out with guns blazing”.
New York City-based rock/pop foursome Echo Black is comprised of members whose musical inspirations range from basement punk to Frank Sinatra, and everything in between. The boys credit their unique, catchy, pop-flavored sound to their writing process; echoing one idea off another and, bouncing components around until the song begins to speak to them. Danny Blu (vocalist) and Billy Long (drums, keys) have roots that go back as far as the high school marching band. They picked up Felix Skiver (guitar, vocals) and Rob Gnarly (bass, vocals) along the way and have been inseparable since. As if their blood-pumping music wasn’t enough, their live show is something you have to see to understand. Nothing short of an electrical storm of energy, Echo Black is not an act to be missed.
Learn more about Echo Black in the following All Access interview with their front-man, Danny Blu:
Thanks for your time! Now that we are well into the fall of 2016, what are some words you would use to describe this year? What have been some of the highlights for the band and your music?
Oh man, this year has been incredible! Some words: exhilarating, stressful, rewarding, mind-blowing. We’ve had quite the year as Echo Black, lots of highs and a few lows, but nothing we didn’t overcome! I think the coolest highlights were seeing our name in Billboard as “Chemicals” was released and the MAC endorsement. It was just two major MAJOR brands saying “hey, we like what you do and we want to be a part of it.” Really amazing for us.
Growing up, did you all always want to be musicians? Can you recall your earliest musical memories?
I think all of us have had music in our blood for a very long time. I know it was always something that needed to be a part of me. It’s an escape; a means of communication when other outlets fail me. I remember making my parents film these stupid “shows” I would put on in our basement when I was maybe 4 or 5… Mostly to Lion King music.
How did you all first meet and decide to start this band? How did you come up with your name? Was it difficult to come to a decision?
Well, Billy and I have been friends for a very long time… Over 10 years now I think. We went to high school together and were in the drumline, and did the musicals. Along the journey of forming this band, we came across Felix while he was working in southern New Jersey. We brought him in after he came to a rehearsal session and completely destroyed some guitar solos and blew our minds! Right before we were going on our first tour, our then current bassist had to drop out for family reasons and he gave us Rob’s info. We brought Rob in for the tour and he just became part of the family! The name came via an extremely lengthy group text. We brainstormed for weeks until we agreed upon Echo Black. It describes us and our process and our music, we write by bouncing ideas (or echoing) off of each other and bring our differing styles together.
You recently released your new single, “Chemicals.” What was the inspiration for it? How creatively involved were you with the making of the track’s video?
Chemicals was a totally collaborative effort between the 4 of us and the track’s producers Matt Squire and Andros Rodriguez. I had this chorus rolling around in my head for weeks and we were able to break it down and build the song. The lyrics are about loss and the multitude of emotions that ride along with loss. It’s about coming to an acceptance of what has happened and what it all means. We were super involved with the video. Billy, our drummer and pianist, actually came up with the treatment and our art director/stylist, Victor Hugo, pulled together a serious amount of fashion to really execute the concept. Our director, Chris Newhard, is a dream. We worked with him on our video for “Perfect” as well. He’s a complete pro and really knocked it out of the park on Chem.
How do you think the band’s sound has changed since your debut last year? Can you talk about making the move to a more pop sound?
We’ve definitely had this planned. (Laughter) We knew we wanted to skew more towards the pop side of things. But we had been releasing music under the name “Danny Blu” for years and had a pretty dedicated fan base there. We didn’t want to lose anybody. So we put together a plan to slowly transition from “Burn Another Day” to “Perfect” to “Chemicals.” I think fans appreciate it when you make them a part of your decision making process. I know, as a fan myself, that I do. It felt open and transparent and that’s what we wanted.
Who are some of the group’s favorite artists and what bands continue to inspire you all and your music? Who would you still love to work with in the future?
The cool thing about us is that we all come from very different musical backgrounds and influences. Rob comes from the basement punk scene. Billy is inspired by everything from Frank Sinatra to Celiné Dion to Bruce Springsteen. I grew up through the 90s Shock rock scene and now I’m heavily into pop and top 40. And Felix is into a lot of sleaze rock and Japanese rock music and pop as well. We’re all over the place and I think that’s why our music is able to reach a multitude of people. We’d love to work with SO many people. We love collaboration and making art with as many influences as possible. I, personally, would love to work with Halsey (from my pop side) or Trent Reznor (from my industrial rock side).
When you aren’t performing, working in the studio, what do you like to do for fun? How do you all unwind from it all?
Wellllll we all work. (Laughter) That’s the truth of it all. The music industry is a tough one. And I’m not sure that it gets any easier. Our fun times ARE performing or working in the studio. We are bartenders, sales clerks, graphic designers, etc. It’s a means to an end for us. We all look at it like this: we have to do these things in order to fund the things we really want to do. I think that’s pretty universal when it comes to pursuing art as a career. But, I mean, we all unwind at some point I guess. Just less than others
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
We write songs that spark emotion. Or, at least, that’s the goal. We hope people feel SOMETHING. Maybe it’s love, release, longing, desire, lust, anger. Maybe it’s “fuck, this makes me want to DANCE!” Whatever it may be, we want listeners to be touched on a deeper level. Lyrics are very important to us. We say we’re “the sound of midnight” and I think that confuses people sometimes but I usually explain it this way: Midnight exists in a multitude of places. You might experience your midnight dancing at a club, or camping in the woods, or falling asleep, or making love, or meeting your soulmate. We want to be the soundtrack to those experiences. The songs that remind you of what matters. Sad or happy.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourselves or your music?
Check us out! And keep your eyes peeled more to come SO soon.
Thank you for reading!!!