As part of our next band spotlight, we talk to Liam Black, guitarist of UK crossover masters, The Qemists.
S] Hi guys, set the scene – where are you today, and what are you up to?
L] “We are all in our studio today in Brighton, the weather is shit, the coffee machine is in full thrust mode, the speakers are cranked and we are about to listen to our new album and discuss the finer details on some of the tracks!”
S] How do you look back on the success of ‘Join The Q’ now, at this point in your career – how have you all changed and developed since?
L] “With fondness to be honest. It was a fun time as it proved to be a successful record for us. It took us around the world and introduced us to the industry that we work in now. You can never replicate the feeling you get from releasing your first album, it’s just all so new and exciting! To be honest we feel like that now about the new record! We have all grown as producers since that album, the experiences and people we have met over the years have definitely shaped our approach to production, song writing and playing live. I guess with more experience you become more comfortable with who you are as an act and in turn the act becomes more focussed in its direction and what it wants to achieve.”
S] Talk us through the inspirations and ideas that led up to the creation of ‘Warrior Sound’ as a whole – how does this record challenge you in new ways?
L] “This album is culmination of many years of work, and is the result of striving to achieve the perfect mix of dance music and rock. It takes an even balance of influences from both genres and beyond. From Rage Against The Machine to Noisia! With this record and all the music we have made, we wanted to push the boundaries. Making music that pushes the boundaries is always going to be a challenge no matter who you are. Music is always evolving, so the challenge is to keep the ideas fresh and evolve but staying true to what it is you wanted to achieve and say with your music in the first place.”
S] Is there a new track that you are working on that you feel defines where you are at right now as a band, and why?
L] “Yeah, we are putting the finishing touches to a track that has some special guests on, that really symbolises dance and rock with solid song writing coming together to form something truly exciting! We have showcased it in a few live shows and it just goes off!! We can’t tell you what it’s called right now or who’s on it, but if you come and check out our show at the Key Club in Leeds on March 8 then you will see what we are talking about!”
How has The Qemists’ mission statement changed since you guys started out – are your aims still the same?
L] “I guess it has evolved a bit over time but essentially it is the same “A fusion of heavy music that you can dance to!” Its evolution has mainly been in being able to perform this as a live band, and something that has taken us time to develop. This aspect to it has become a really exciting part of what we do now, and as well as putting the finishing touches to the new album we are really gearing up for the full UK tour in March!”
What sort of stuff keeps you passionate outside of music – think art, and film for example?
L] “Films are definitely something that we all share a passion for. We are always trading stories about cool films we have seen or sharing scenes on YouTube that inspire us. It’s also something you share in as a band on tour, there is a lot of down time whilst traveling, so someone is always putting on something to watch on the bus! We were in Russia recently and had a day in St Petersburg. So despite no sleep and brutal hangovers we dragged ourselves to the Hermitage which houses the largest collection of world antiquities and fine art in the world I think! There were just rooms and rooms of Picassos next to Monets next to ancient Japanese samurai warrior masks! It was defiantly a cultural inspiration overload!”