An Interview with The Black Lapels
The Black Lapels releases new EP
KwaZulu-Natal natives, The Black Lapels, have just released their debut EP, All or Nothing. Singer, songwriter and guitarist, Rob Warren, and bassist and vocalist, Garth Warren, are joined by the rhythmic genius and musically astute, Gareth Gale, on drums, and fellow Durban guitarist Rusty Red, who is not only a gifted musician but also a talented recording engineer, to form The Black Lapels.
Their gritty, magnetic and distinctive sound has already attracted an impressive following and scores of dedicated fans.
I recently had a quick chat with vocalist Rob Warren to find out more about the new EP and what they have been up to otherwise.
Congratulations on the release of your new EP. This one has been coming for a while. Tell me a bit about the journey of putting this project together.
As a band that plays mostly live, finding the time to track/write as a group all in one room is hard. We started by working through the material at sound checks, which has turned out to be really productive, we just seem to be more in work mode and that helps with focus. We recorded everything in-house, the sessions were all super relaxed which really helps in the creative process. The journey was long, but rewarding… great to have it down and out in the public.
Is there a theme running through the tracks on this EP? And generally, what inspires your lyrics?
There are a few things we wanted to reflect in the music, but these things have to be more organic than intentional. Most of my inspiration comes through interaction with others, these moments and connections all seem to fit together somehow, and that’s what songwriting is for me: making sense of all the moments.
What does the title “All or Nothing” mean for you guys as a band?
You just got to give it a go. It’s also a bit of a tongue-in-cheek title, I’d say. It’s a really heavy way of saying ‘relax just do it’, just give your attention, love, focus on what you’re doing and it’ll be okay. Go in guns blazing… all or nothing.
Awesome! You have a pretty cool music video out for ‘Other Side of Love’, can we expect more of that soon? If so, for which song?
Yeah, we are always working on new video ideas, our YouTube channel has a number of videos that we are always toying with. For a new video, we are looking at Shakedown or Danger.
You’ve covered many songs in the past, do you feel that you guys are moving away from that and more towards creating new music?
Definitely, I do try to think about music in relative terms, music is music. Whether it is a song you have penned or someone else, to perform a song effectively, I have to be detached from the fact that I or someone else wrote it. It’s more about the sound and spirit of the song than who wrote it.
Absolutely. Do you think you’ve found your sound? Or are you still experimenting?
I think we have found a sound that is resonating with us at the moment, but we are always experimenting. That’s what I love about music, there is such a deep well to pull from you, just got to keep your ear to the ground and be ready when it comes.
I heard that when you are not on the road, you can be found in The White Room. What is The White Room and what happens there?
The White Room can also be seen on our YouTube channel (shameless punt!). The White Room is the place where we produce and mix the records, and also my personal writing space. The White Room has heard a lot of music. It’s essentially our creative HQ.
Any upcoming gigs?
We are going to be performing at the Craft Fest in Shongweni, along with Majozi and some local Durban acts on the 21st March. Also, if you’re a biker or a bike fan, we will be performing on the 27th April at South Coast Bike Fest. Can’t wait.
Lastly, what’s coming up in the coming months? More new music? Perhaps a tour?
We will be focusing on some new material. And yes, we want to get out on the road as much as possible. We are in Jozi at the end of March for some PR stuff and, if I’m not mistaken, Cape Town maybe on the cards for April.
Photos by Wade Weirdson.