Blacklisted Interview
This interview was made in Friedrichshafen (Germany) the 14th of January 2006.
Manu and Laureline have met Shawn (Drums) et Tim (Guitar).

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.

This is your first European tour?
Shawn :
Yeah first time in Europe.

So 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.

Anything 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.

You're 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.

Last 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.

Blacklisted 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.

Maybe 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.

In 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.

It's 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.

The 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.

Why 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 that.

Maybe 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.

All 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 I guess
Tim : you gotta get right to the point, that's it.
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.

The 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 us.
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.

Your 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.

Can 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 say.
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 shows.

Which new bands would you advise us similar to Terror, Blacklisted or Donnybrook?
Tim :
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 and dagger.
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)

Questionnary Bernard Pivot with Shawn :

Your favourite word? Burger
Least favourite word? I said this the other day: kebab
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? My dad
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? Gangster
If heaven exists what would you want god to say to you at the pearly gates? "We're let you in"

A 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
Translation Manu

Copyright Hammerock - Spiritribe 1999