Today is maybe the first Blacklisted interview
for a french media, the band is not very popular yet... Can you tell
us the important facts marking the history of the band?
Shawn : I'd say when the band started we had a hard time going
full time between line up changes. But when I got in the band, we solidified
the 3 members: Tim, me and our singer George. I got in the band, we
started touring full time. Now we have a solid bass player, we had so
many bass players, that was one of our main hurdles. But now we're touring
full and when ' W're Unstoppable' came out on Deathwish it was a first
step. Then 'The beat goes on' came out and that is our main step now,
we'll keep touring as much as we can. Being a band and touring full-time
on one LP is your main step. Once you put it out it gives you power,
we'll try and do this as much as we can, we have a tour with terror
and then we'll go home and keep on touring, and repeat the process,
write something new and then tour. But we'll try more on 'The beat goes
on', a European tour, maybe Japan and Australia. That's the main focal
points of the band, it took a lot to get us to this point. We're not
really at a crazy point, but for us it is something solid everyone including
myself like how it came out. We'll try to keep our wheels rolling.
is your first European tour?
Shawn : Yeah first time in Europe.
after a few days what's your feeling about being here?
Shawn : Its kinda crazy I've never been here and none of us have.
As a band we've only been in Canada and the US. The first show here
was 600 people in Germany, it was crazy. The shows are different than
in the States, I don't understand what's going on. But its good we like
it and wanna do it again. It's a good first time for us, we're on a
bus with Terror and Donnybrook. Touring with Terror is a dream, it's
gonna help our band, everyone knows Terror and I think they will help
expose our band, it's cool. The smoke kills me though, it gets in my
lungs and messes me up, it doesn't stop me though, so its cool.
strange happen since the beginning of this tour?
Shawn : Haha something strange? So far our first day was crazy,
we had a flight from New Jersey to Berlin and we missed our connecting
flight from Berlin to Frankfurt, it was a mess we were running around,
we had to recheck out bags. I was hoping that was not an indication
of the rest of the tour. Then some guys got sick, but that's just the
culture shock, the jet lag, different atmosphere. That's about it though.
on tour with Terror and Donnybrook. What s your opinion about these
2 bands and the links with yours?
Shawn : Well I'd say us and Donnybrook have never been to Europe
before, that put us on the same level. Over here we're both starting
from scratch. The obvious connection is we're all friends. All the bands
know each other and everyone's friends. As far as the professional side
goes, it is Blacklisted and Donnybrook's first time here, so our bands
have more to prove than Terror, as they've been here before. We don't
know if people are gonna hate or love us. Every night we get out there
and do what we do at home. The obvious connection is friendship, we
hang out and its cool like this, its more fun than business.
year you released 2 LPs, "We're unstoppable", and "The
beat goes on". Why did you re-release your first demo and EP?
Shawn : Well the reason why the "We're unstoppable"
CD came out is that Blacklisted was on a different label before that
I cant mention and the "Our youth is wasted" EP didn't come
out as much as we wanted, they were a new band with a new sound and
the label didn't put it out so well. So in January 2005 we worked out
the deal with Deathwish, and they said we will re-release the "Our
youth is wasted" EP and add some things to it and put the east
side demo to the end of the EP, repackage it, rename it have a new layout
everything. So this way there will be a strong connection and a fan
base for Blacklisted, that's why "We're unstoppable" was released
and after it came out we noticed the difference at the shows, people
singing along and everyone knew the material and Deathwish was really
grinding and putting their work in. It helped and it gave us more confidence
and we keep touring and do what we do best. That explains the mix between
the demo and the EP.
seems to have influences from old school hardcore, new school hardcore
and punk. Do you think that sets you apart from other hardcore bands?
Shawn : I don't know if it necessarily sets us apart like we're
better. But it comes from our backgrounds, we listen to a lot of stuff:
old school, new school, even the rawness from punk rock. I think the
way we mix it, I like to think, is different, we're not ground breaking
or doing anything new, but we put our own twist on it. I like how it's
come out this far and hopefully other people like it to. We listen to
so much different stuff man and it shows when we write it.
you can tell us some bands that have influenced you the most?
Shawn : As far as our band Cro-mags, Bad Brains, Minor Threat
in old school. As for as new school a lot of mid 90s for me personally,
Snapcase, Earth Crisis and One Came Down, but none of that stuff shows
on in our music. Our singer's anger point comes from Cro-mags and stuff
like that. We listen to a lot of diff stuff. We listen to crazy and
chill stuff too. Our bass player is into metal a lot.
general your music is heavy direct fast and aggressive, at the end of
"The beat goes on" LP there's a song called 'Mother Theresa'
which contrasts the other songs. Sometimes it reminds me a bit of the
Deftones. Do you feel it like that?
Shawn : I don't know its kinda crazy. That song me and our guitar
player we started jamming and Tim said "I have this smooth clear
riff and break it into a heavy part". So we started playing it,
and I don't know that song the way it was recorded was the way it was
written form the beginning, we had a crazy idea to end the CD with an
instrumental. We were gonna do what we were gonna do for us and if we
like it fine and if no one else likes then at least we liked it. That
song surprisingly has a lot of positive feedback. It s a good different
way to go out. It just started with us jamming and then he added a lot
of stuff in the studio. It worked from the start its just something
different, don't hold me to it but you may see more stuff like this
from Blacklisted in the future.
a good song but why this name 'Mother Theresa'?
Shawn : Well our singer George had an aunt who died 2 summers
ago and her name was Theresa and she was a really nice and important
lady in George's life and treated George good. So it's a song for a
tribute for George's family.
lyrics are very personal, dark but at the same time full of hope and
positive. Is it true? Can you tell us about the meaning?
Shawn : I'm just a drummer but I'm with George all the time and
everything he writes is deep and personal, but at the same time he doesn't
want to be only personal to him he wants other people to relate to them.
Someone can say these are angry and pessimistic lyrics but with some
hope. A lot of people say they're written with urban anger and frustration.
Where we come from in Philadelphia not many people are happy, its not
a happy place to be. So writing that way is just a part of you. If you
look at any aspect of Philadelphia, the sports fan are crazy they're
the worst, people got bad attitudes, but that just who you are if you're
from a certain area and used to a certain way to live then that's how
you're gonna be. You're a product of your environment. I know on certain
songs like "what's wrong with George?", its written about
him but other people can also relate to it. He doesn't write in a single
mindset. I would say even before I was in the band I would read the
lyrics and I would relate to one line in one song, I'm still relating
to it and he might have written it about something I don't even know
about. That's a good thing about George as a good hardcore singer and
songwriter, he's good at relaying his emotions and anger to people cause
people aren't always happy they're gonna be angry and need to feel that
other people out there are like them and he can feel he can bring people
together, its easy for him to relate to people and stuff. He always
has people coming to him talking about his lyrics, and it means something
inside. People like what he says and he touches them inside. Its good
that a singer can do that to this day and be that and be honest with
the lyrics and people see that. Its not just some dude going through
the motions, you can really tell if you look at it, its 100% real and
honest and I hope our band is viewed like that every time.
is Philadelphia not a nice place?
Shawn : It's just not, I don't know I grew up there, I was born
and raised there. Not everybody's happy. It's very urban and run down,
after living for so long there, there isn't much to do. I don't like
staying there, I like touring cause when I stay at home I look at shit
I've seen for the last 23 yrs. People give up after high-school, you
never hear from them again, they fall down the gutter and shit. It's
not really my scene. I was born and raised there so I guess it is my
scene but I'd rather stay at being a tourist any day rather than stay
and talk to same bum-ass kids I went to high-school with and shit like
it's not for Philadelphia but for all the big cities in the world.
Shawn : From touring I've realized that actually everyone talks
the same thing about their own towns. I guess people are feeling shitty
everywhere. Maybe it works out better and maybe we do relate to people
more than I think.
your songs' duration is less than two minutes. Is it something intentional
to create something rather short?
Shawn : We basically hate songs that are longer than 2 minutes
Tim : you gotta get right to the point,
Shawn : I think some of the best songs
are the short ones, 'Crossed Fingers, 'Coming Clean', 'Long Way Home',
they're short and to the point and give you what you need throughout
the songs. You gotta get people interested, a lot of the times when
we're writing 'The beat goes on', we were trying to keep the songs relatively
short. Me and Tim got goofy and got some songs passing two minutes and
we were like 'we have to shorten the songs cause they were two long.'
It was just on two songs. But most of the time we may be really into
it, we write, we play it and we might time it, cause when were writing
for an LP it has to be at least 24 minutes. So sometimes we're just
tying the songs here and there, this one's 1.40 something, this one's
2 minutes, this one's 40 seconds. That's the way it comes out sometimes.
The instrumental was an exception and the first time we played it we
kept each part how it was and we new it was gonna be the end of the
CD, so we let it run out. We never sit down and say alright we wanna
write a 44 second song this time!. I really don't like playing out there
3 minute songs, it gets a bit mundane after a while. I think people
will lose interest if you have a hardcore band and have 4 minute songs,
that's a lot to sit through. Plus we get more songs now, short songs
means more songs in the set. So people won't say please "play this
song and that song, so in 30 minutes we get to play a lot of songs.
We give each show and the people a pretty decent selection. We play
a lot off the new CD, everything we played before and both songs from
Split. It works for us, so far so good every night.
art cover and the new record's name seem to refer to life.
Shawn : It's like a play-off from the last record.
Tim : It's like the heart beating and in
our lives we lost some people and family members last year but the beat
is going on and you have to wake up the next morning and go on with
life, so no matter what: the beat is going on. And musically for us
music is an outlet and a way of life so if my girlfriend breaks up with
me or my dad dies, I can still put my headphones on and escape in the
music. So no matter what the beat is always going on with or without
Shawn : For me in some of the worst times
in my life I always had music to turn to. So the beat goes on although
it could mean 1 thing to you, 1 thing to you and 1 thing to you, to
us it does have double and triple meanings and what it comes down to
is: no matter what I'm gonna go up there and play. And at home if I'm
having a shitty time I know that I'm always gonna go on tour. If someone
in my family dies or if someone's giving me a hard time I know the beat's
gonna go on and the music is always gonna be going and giving me release.
Even on tour I'll get really stressed out like you can't imagine, but
at night I will get up then and play my drums as hard as I can, I'm
gonna play these, I love playing these songs every night, gotta keep
going on. It's the easiest and cheapest therapy, I don't have to go
to a therapist or a councilor, or a shrink , I got my music and being
in Blacklisted and keep writing with Tim, and George keeps screaming
his lungs out, Tim shredding his guitar and me pounding on my drums,
that's what gets us through day to day.
two records were released on Deathwish in the US and on Reflections
here in Europe. What are your feelings about the work of these two labels?
Maybe you can tell us about Deathwish, what have they done for you?
Shawn : Deathwish is like we have a relationship with those people,
they're our friends, they like helping the band out. It's not a business
thing being on the label. I go there, we see Tray, Paul, Nicole &
Jake sometimes and they like hanging out talking with us, saying 'we
got this going for your band, your CD got reviewed here'. With Reflections,
I just met Marco and Yvonne in the first show of the tour, Tim talks
to them online all the time. They work a lot of things out for us, it
was cool to meet them, they've done some cool stuff, printed out some
posters, CDs, special shirts. I don't know too much about everything
they've done, but I can't complain so far. Meeting them was cool but
I had only heard stories about them from Tim.
Tim : Reflections gets us 1-2 interviews
a day even when we're home.
you tell us a bit about the Philadelphia scene?
Shawn : The lack I should say! Philadelphia doesn't really have
a scene, other bands do better than Philadelphia bands, besides us,
we've been lucky. The only shows to see there are bands coming to play
in Philadelphia. There's no local scene it kinda sucks and its sad to
Tim : it's really really hard to get accepted
in Philadelphia as a band if you're from there. So very few bands do
it and it discourages other bands, we just got lucky.
Shawn : We knew the right people. If you're
an upcoming band in Philadelphia, good luck !
Tim : you gotta play shows, it seems like
they had a lot of respect for us from what we went through and now they
take us more seriously and people come to the shows. It seems that shows
there are 300 people plus or there is no show. There are no smaller
new bands would you advise us similar to Terror, Blacklisted or Donnybrook?
bands to check out? Hmm Lion of Judah are touring Europe right now,
they're on Lockin Out Records, they sound like Burn. They're very unique.
Other bands that people are into are First Blood, Snake-eyes, Internal
Affairs, these are all L.A bands. Other bands on Deathwish are Cloke
Shawn : Guns Up are coming soon.
Tim : just check out Rock Vegas records,
Deathwish, Bridgenine, all the best new signings are with them.
Shawn : The Loved Ones, Smoke or Fire
Tim : Renee Heartfelt.
Shawn : Don't know if these bands will
ever come here but they're bands to check out.
Tim : I just say check out Cro-Mags, Bad
Brains, Agnostic Front (Laugh)
Bernard Pivot with Shawn :
Your favourite word? Burger
Least favourite word? I said this the other
What turns you on creatively? Drum videos.
And Spiritually? Nothing
And Emotionally? Nothing
What turns you off? Flat butts
Your favourite curse word? Fuck
What sound do you love? Silence
And sounds you hate? Lawnmowers
You favourite place on earth? My bunk
And the most hated place? My bunk
The person who has influenced you the most?
Who were your heroes when you were a kid?
Mike Schmidt and Pete Rose
What profession would you like to do if you weren't
doing this? Gangster
And what profession would you not want to do?
If heaven exists what would you want god to say
to you at the pearly gates? "We're let you in"
big "Thanks" to Niels at Reflections, to Avocado-Booking,
to Nicole at Deathwish, to all the people At Juz Molke, and of course
to Shawn & Tim!
Interview Laureline & Manu