Spotlight: Black International


Getting a wee bit better at this interviewing lark. This time around Edinburgh three piece Black International join us for the latest Aye Tunes Inquisition.

Who are Black International?
We’re three white males named Gavin Hargin, Stewart Allan and Craig Peebles who’ve all enjoyed reasonably comfortable upbringings and have, relatively speaking, nothing to complain about.
What do you sound like?
Aggressive, primitive, noisy, melodic, nervy… Like dirty broken glass. All the instruments get equal space, it’s democracy in action!
How did you all get together, and what made you stay together?
Craig and I have known each other for years. We were both at art college at the same time, he’d played in loads of bands while I’d generally sat at home pissing about with synths. In 2006 I decided to start a new group, and coincidentally his previous one had just come to an end. He seemed to like the songs I’d demoed, so we took it from there. We booked a gig at the Wee Red Bar, and off we went.
Gavin joined a year ago, he’d been living in New Zealand and we recruited him pretty much as soon as he stepped off the plane. He’s brought stability to the group, something that wasn’t always there before, and we’ve developed a lot since he came on board.
I think ultimately it’s a simple case of belief in the music that’s kept the band together. Not
hating each other helps too.
Your influences are listed as “Glasgow and Edinburgh 1979-81, Manchester 1979-
82, the Pacific Northwest 1988-91″, would you like to narrow it down to anyone in
particular, or leave it at that?
To be honest, we always feel a bit awkward when someone asks what our influences are.
We’ve never discussed it with each other, I just don’t think it’s important. I couldn’t even
tell you what the other guys listen to beyond a few things, never mind what influences their
The stuff you’ve mentioned was just a little tongue in cheek reference to bands that
other people have suggested we have something in common with; Josef K, the Fall, Nirvana,
things like that. We don’t copy other bands, even if we wanted to sound like someone else it
wouldn’t happen. I know it’s handy to have some names out there for potential listeners to get
a taste of where you’re coming from, but I think too much is made of it most of the time.
One thing I noticed when seeing the band live was the high quality of “drummer faces” being pulled by Craig, do you feel this is an important art?
He’s just trying to garner some attention for himself, as he’s a raging egomaniac. Nah, he’s
just pretty excitable. A couple of cartons of Capri Sun before we go onstage and he’s as high
as a kite, bless him.
Craig Peebles demonstrates “drummer face”

Since we are getting alarmingly close to the end of the year let’s go all “year in review”
style and ask what, if anything, have been highlights for the band this year?
We’ve played a good few gigs beyond the Edinburgh/Glasgow axis for the first time, each one of which was amazing. We drove up to Inverness for GoNorth, zipped down to Dumfriesshire to play the Solus Tent at Wickerman, made a foray over the border to Newcastle, and last month we played our first show in London, which was wonderful. We’ve made lots of new friends and had some laughs. We love playing new places!
And any moments you’d rather forget about?
None that I can think of beyond the occasional “I wish I wasn’t doing this gig with a brain melting hangover”, but I suspect that’s a common occurrence in any band. Rock ‘n’ roll, eh? Once we can afford a coke habit that’ll be a thing of the past.
STREAM: Black International – Idle Worship

Any other bands around at the moment you’d recommend?
Ooh, lots, but I’ll attempt to be frugal with my praise… If you haven’t seen United Fruit yet I suggest you remedy that at the earliest opportunity. They’re one of our favourite bands at the
moment, and they played a jaw dropping set at Wickerman. We also love a Glasgow band called Rollor, they’re absolutely brilliant and are well worth checking out. Verse Metrics are a new group that are doing some good stuff, I expect them to do very well next year. Looking further afield Casa Bonita down in London are staggeringly brutal live, and jolly nice guys to boot. We’re hoping to do another show with them in the springtime.
Any you’d avoid like the plague?

Yes, a couple of bands we’ve played with who’re doing fairly well at the moment but desperately need a collective kick in the nuts. I’ll whisper their names to you…
What do you have planned for the next few months?
Top of the list is finishing our album, we recorded it earlier in the year and have spent a few months mixing it. Our friend Andrew Bush who’s doing it for us has started getting extremely “in demand” as an engineer and has been jet-setting around all over the place, so we just do a bit whenever we can pin him down. We’ll send him emails saying “Make it sound like a wet Tuesday in Doncaster!” or “The reverb isn’t red enough!” which probably gives him headaches but he’s a great engineer and knows how to handle us. It should all be done and dusted by February or March, so we’ll be gearing up for loads of gigs in the springtime, probably an English and Scottish tour, that kind of thing. It’s all terribly exciting! There’s also a single release ready to go, we’re just sorting out the artwork for it at the moment.
Finally, quirky interview questions, fun and harmless, or generally a bit of a waste of time?
Quirky are the best kind. Perhaps your readers will be disappointed we haven’t discussed our
biscuit of choice? Mine’s a garibaldi.
STREAM: Black International – Dread (Excerpt)

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  1. b says:

    awesome track and great interview, made me giggle :]