Hellzine n°4 | Interview with The New Black

Here is the english version of the written interview with Christoph Leim (guitars) from the German Rock band The New Black, available in french in our fourth issue.

Hello, we’re happy to have an interview with you for the fourth issue of our Hellzine ! So, here are a few questions. Hey Hellzine ! Thanks for taking notice of The New Black. I‘ll be happy to answer your questions.

To begin, could you sum up the story of the band ? After ten years, that‘s a pretty long story. Just check the bio on the AFM page. We wrote it ourselves, so it‘s correct – and we omitted all the embarrassing stuff, haha. In short : we founded the band after a drinking binge in 2006 or 2007 (can‘t remember), wrote songs, found cool people, and took it from there. First line-up change a month ago, no auditions, just cool people. And musically : stuff we like. 

How and why did you choose this name, “The New Black” ? I thought it sounded cool. Black is always cool, right ? But naming the band Black Power, Black Symphony etc. would be lame. So to avoid clichés, I thought of the New Black, the new gang in town. Funny enough, it‘s also a saying that means “The new hot stuff“ !

You describe your music style as following : “Just imagine Black Label Society inviting the Nickelback guy over for some Thin Lizzy covers, all dressed in Pantera shirts”, which gives a pretty funny image of what you play. By the way, how did you come to this particular style ? And can we consider that BLS, Nickelback, Thin Lizzy and Pantera are your main influences ?That‘s actually an old slogan from the first record. We toned down the BLS influences considerably and happened to write some other kind of riffs. One could say we found our own style a bit more. But : These bands are influences for sure ! BLS because of the riffing and the tuning, Nickelback because of hooks and singer that can actually sing, Thin Lizzy because they rule – and Pantera because they rule also.

But now, “A Monster’s Life” is out, can you tell us how the public welcomed it so far ? Pretty good actually. We had some nice reviews, more interest from outside of Germany, and a lot of people actually bought the album beforehand via our crowdfunding campaign. And I have the impression that more people got interested in TNB, maybe some people that are not only from the Metal scene.

And how would you describe this album for those who don’t know The New Black yet ?Catchy, heavy, very well-sounding, with great riffs, diversity and a very good singer.

Is it a concept album ? I was personally wondering if it was an album about Godzilla because of the artwork… No, it‘s not. There‘s a song “With A Grin” that spawned the title (A Monster‘s Life) and the cover creature. It looks cool, it‘s catchy, but the other songs are unrelated.

So, could you please also comment this artwork ? We had the idea to use a monster and a friend of ours who paints monsters for a living and for computer games did a great job with it ! Since it reminded us of old Japanese monster films, we elaborated on that with the Japanese letters. And it‘s no skull, it‘s not black… It‘s different. And we love it !

Do you have a favorite song out of this album ? If so, can you explain why ? Oh my… We only recorded 10 songs, on purpose. It’s not a long album, but it also has no filler. At least I think so. My favorite songs vary : “Long Time Coming” is catchy as fuck, “With A Grin” is heavy, “Blockbuster Life” is a lot of fun live…

Did something weird or funny happen to you on stage one day that you can tell us ? Oh, it all happened. A fart that no one saw, but everyone noticed. Falling down, running into each other, forgetting songs, starting wrong songs… You name it.

What’s your best memory so far as a musician ? Someone singing my lyrics and having them tattooed was great. All nights when the strings become butter and it just flows. When songs develop from nothing to great… Playing with AC/DC, having a sold out release show in February… There‘s a lot of great memories!

And if you could tour with the band you want, which one would it be ? Wow ! How much time do you have? Metallica, Anthrax, Kiss, AC/DC (and we did one show in 2010 with them !), Alter Bridge again, BLS because their audience likes us, Stuck Mojo… Iron Maiden because they rule ! Nickelback because they have more ladies in the audience…:)

And to finish, what are the band’s projects for the next few months ? We finish the “A Monster‘s Tour”, start writing a new record and try to book more shows for fall/winter. And we would love to play outside of Germany. On April 30th, we play our first gig in France, and we even had offers for Belgium… Fingers crossed !

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