An Interview With The Guitar-Driven Rock Trio THE BLACK MOODS About Their Latest Album, ‘Sunshine’ and More!
On May 8th, the guitar-driven rock trio THE BLACK MOODS released their second album “SUNSHINE” via the independent label Steelhorse Entertainment/The Fuel). This group merges guitar crunch and tight songcraft with urgent, blunt lyrics about romantic desire and conflict and recently signed to agency powerhouse CAA under agent Joe Mott.
The Black Moods recorded “Sunshine” with Grammy Award-winning producer Johnny Karkazis who turned their rehearsal space into a makeshift studio in order to capture the energy of their live performance which has seen them tour alongside diverse acts including The Doors’ Robbie Krieger, Shinedown, Jane’s Addiction, Whitesnake, Adelitas Way, Gin Blossoms and Otherwise.
They landed their fourth Billboard Top 30 Active Rock Radio charting single with title track “Sunshine” at #17—their highest charting to date and a notable accomplishment after being told by the major label who released their previous 2016 debut album Medicine that “they weren’t a radio band.”
Connect with The Black Moods here: WEBSITE
Learn more about The Black Moods in the following All Access interview:
Thank you for your time. So given these unusual Covid-19 times, what does a typical day look like for you all? How have you adjusted to these times?
Well, we’ve been pretty busy since we haven’t been able to tour. We’ve done a few Facebook and YouTube Live shows and acoustic ‘happy hours’ to still bring music to our friends and fans. These have proven to be more work than touring, actually. With rehearsals, setting up and the videography, we’ve been really slammed. We just recently packed up our studio from Tempe, AZ and moved it to our label head’s house in Monett, MO- if we can’t tour, might as well start the next record, and that’s what we’ve been doing for the last three weeks.
What has been the hardest/most challenging part about being quarantined? Is your city starting to open up more now? Have you been able to get together to play much music together?
We do everything together and live together, so it’s been easier for us because music is all we do. If we aren’t rehearsing or writing, we are recording or doing FB live streams. Since we did move our studio to Monett, the lake is only 30 minutes away, so we’ve been able to quarantine on the houseboat, which isn’t terrible. AZ, where we are usually based out of, is having a hard time. We took off just before it got bad.
How have you been able to use social media during these unprecedented times? Are you finding that you use it even more to stay connected to fans and other musicians?
Yes, we’ve been using social media quite a bit. Everyone is at home and has socials on their phones. So we’ve been doing little videos and Facebook live shows to stay connected. Even a few radio stations have let us ‘take over’ their Instagram and/or Facebook pages to play songs and do interviews. Zoom is another big application we’ve been doing for interviews and even using it to record with Eddie Kramer who lives in Toronto, while we are in Missouri.
Have you had to cancel a lot of shows this spring, summer and fall? I see that you do have a couple shows this summer in cities that allow it so what has that been like? Are you starting to schedule any bigger shows for 2021 yet?
Yes. We’ve had to cancel full tours and festival shows. It was a huge punch in the gut. We do have a few shows planned in Indianapolis in July and hope that we can still play them, but we are continuously watching the news and the spread of the virus, so it’s day-by-day if we are going to have to cancel or not. Our agent is starting to stack shows up for the fall and next year. It’s such a weird, scary world we are living in right now, but it will all come back around again.
Since we are all desperately missing live music, can you recall a favorite show of yours from the past? What do you think ultimately makes for a great show for you?
Desperately missing playing for our fans! Every first weekend in June, there’s a festival put on by Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers (former Refreshments front man) in a small town four hours south of Phoenix in Mexico named Puerto Penasco. This four-day festival is the most fun anyone can have. 5,000 people show up for the main stage shows, Friday and Saturday, and they just go nuts. We had to cancel that this year which really hurt. What makes a great show for us? The energy from the crowd. We literally feed off of it. If we aren’t feeling good, hung over or even have a cold, as soon as we hit the stage we can feel the energy come over us and that is why we do what we do. Music is the medicine not only for us but for the crowds.
How did you guys go about choosing your band name? Was it a hard decision to come to? What other names were you considering?
I was reading No One Here Gets Out Alive about the Doors. The band would refer to Jim as being in a ‘black mood’ when he was on a bender or just in a bad way…I thought it sounded good. There weren’t a lot of other names we were considering, the ones we were…let’s just not bring those up.
Let’s talk about your newest album that was released in May called “Sunshine.” What was it like creating this collection? Did anything surprise you about the overall process? Any unexpected challenges? What was it like working with Grammy-nominated producer Johnny Karkazis on it?
Creating this record was definitely challenging, fun, and time consuming. This was our first time meeting and working with Johnny. When he showed up at our studio to start preproduction, one of the first things that he said was that he was going to challenge us. His job was to take what we already had and make it ‘cooler.’ We would always say, ‘that’s good, but it can be cooler.’ We’ve worked with other producers, so we knew how the process worked, but this round, Johnny was a lot more involved in the writing process rather than just recording what we already had. We wrote several songs with Johnny that are on this album.
Can you pick out a few of your favorite songs on this album? How did they get written and come to be part of this collection? What was the inspiration for them?
‘Dirty Mess’ and ‘Home’ are two that standout to me. ‘Dirty Mess’ is kind of a song about the glorious next day ‘walk of shame,’ so to speak, but in a positive sense. ‘Nervously shaking yet somehow, never better than the way you look right now’ is one of my favorite lines.
‘Home’ is one of those songs that I was lucky enough to have fall in my lap. Written in about ten minutes, it’s about being on the road and not seeing my son as much as I want to. When we were touring, we were out A LOT. It’s a song to him telling him not to grow up too fast and ‘wait for me, I’m coming home.’ It always gets me.
How would you say that this album shows how you have grown as a musician since you first started writing songs and performing? How does it show how you have stayed true to who you are as musicians?
This album was the best of us at that moment. We pushed ourselves and didn’t settle and I don’t think we’ve always done that. We trusted each other and Johnny. We also didn’t have some A&R guy breathing down our necks trying to bring in outside writers and any of that kind of shit. I think that shows our growth as musicians and songwriters.
I understand that you are already working on music for your next album now in the Ozarks. Where is this inspiration coming from these days? What has it been like recording during a pandemic?
Everything is Inspiration. EVERYTHING. I am always listening. Being in the Ozarks, where I grew up, there’s a different way talking, working and life in general. So, I’m sure that will be there in some way. Some of the best sayings come from this area. Recording during the pandemic has actually helped the process. Since there’s nothing else to do, I think the band is a little more focused whether they like it or not.
What has it been like being a part of Steelhorse Entertainment/The Fuel? Why do you this company is the right fit for this band and your music today?
They have been great. We couldn’t have as much freedom as we do with any other label. We know from experience. They believe in what we are doing and are our family. Same with Fuel. What we have learned is go with your gut and surround yourself with positivity.
If you could get into the studio with any artist today and collaborate on a new song, who would it be and why?
Josh Homme from Queens Of the Stone Age. He just has style and a unique point of view. He’s top of the list for sure. So, Josh if you read this, please call me.
Would you like to share anything else about yourself or your music with our readers?
I am a very lucky guy that gets to play rock’n’roll songs with guys that I love. I think that comes through in what we do. If you are lucky enough to get to do what you love for a living with your friends, DON’T SCREW IT UP.