BlackWaters are a four piece from Guildford who all met at university there…
It turns out after a lot of dilly-dallying around with the band I eventually realised that none of the band are from there. Max (vocals) is from Essex; David (guitar) and Ollie (bass) are from Northamptonshire and James (drums) is from South London. They are arguably the friendliest band – “We don’t hate any band… there should be more of a comradery between bands rather than competition”, a statement so refreshing in times like these, suggesting everyone should just work together than against each other.
It’s evident that the band take influence from the Punk movement. We debate for a while that Punk can’t be described as a genre as it’s more sub-cultural but, nevertheless, it’s well replicated in the BlackWaters sound. “Yeah we are influenced by the Punk movement but we are also 100% influenced by other styles as well. We’ve got quite a heavy Indie influence akin to The Strokes and Arctic Monkeys which comes from Dave but no we aren’t just straight up Punk – we’d like to think we are a lot more melodic than that”, and that’s clearly evident from ‘Down’. It’s a classic indie-pop track with a catchy chorus. This is similar with ‘Fuck Yeah’; polished but with chanty chorus reminiscent of the Punk era. “It’s impossible for Punk to be recreated” says James. “There’s a different feeling and a different environment now”, completely different to that of the 1970’s which posed a breeding ground for the music, fashion and cultural changes that occurred. “Nevertheless though, there’s that similarity now with the Punk era that a lot of bands are trying to say things about politics and why they are disillusioned”. This is evident with the wave of bands with left-wing lyrics that have emerged over the last year or so, namely Cabbage and Sisteray. BlackWaters say though that they have a more “cheerful” aspect, as though “Everything is gonna be alright” which they argue, is where the more pop elements of their sound rears its (not-so-ugly) head.
Prior to the interview, I did some digging and I found that the band had collaborated with Carl Barat and I can only imagine how exciting that must have been for the band, as I have met him before and although I was starstruck (what with him being one of my idols and all), he is possibly one of the most down-to-earth blokes I have ever met. “We were playing a gig at The Crowndale pub in Camden supporting his sister’s band and I guess it’s just that thing of being in the right place at the right time… He just happened to come to the gig early and saw us perform and he liked us!” BlackWaters spent a bit of time with Barat himself in the studio where Max did some lyrical work with him “But he in no way dictated what we should do, he was more into getting the best out of us and how to perfect and tweak certain elements” and it was there that they recorded ‘So Far Out’ and ‘Down’ with him.
BlackWaters have recently brought their co-headline UK tour with Strange Bones to a close, but they’ve been tipped for greatness. I asked them about how they felt about playing Kendal Calling on the This Feeling stage, which is now sold out. “We are unbelievably excited, it’s up for an NME award for best smallest festival and we are also playing Live at Leeds” alongside the likes of Slaves and Maximo Park… and then of course, a hell of a lot of appearances that they are not allowed to mention yet (spoilsports!) and then there’s the issue of “finishing/failing” uni… but hey, who needs education when you’re in a band like BlackWaters?!