The Interview: The Blackout


Walking into the Ritz in Manchester the day after a huge snow storm, there was already a queue of over 100 people waiting hours before a meet and greet with the band. Evidence of how much The Blackout have shot up in the popularity stakes recently, and just what their fans will do, following the release of their fourth album ‘Start the Party’. SCAN caught up with frontmen Sean Smith and Gavin Butler for a chat about all things Blackout.

So your new album has been out a week now, are you pleased with it?

SS: No I hate it. Gavin likes it but I hate it. I hate everyone who played on it, including myself and it is just rubbish…but seriously, I love it really.

It’s quite different from your older stuff, was that a conscious decision?

SS: No it was an unconscious decision really because we literally went “Fuck it, we don’t care anymore”.  We just went “What do we need right now, what does the world need?”  and it’s just a party album because everyone is so fucking miserable at the moment, including whoever is in charge of the weather, and we just thought let’s do something fun. I’d like to think we come across as a fun band so why not do something more upbeat.

GB: I think if we did the world’s ending, ‘F’  the man kind of record I just don’t think it would work with our band really.

SS: And I’m not sorry for party rocking at all despite what I tell people.

And is that why you decided to go out to Ibiza and carry it into your videos too?

GB: Just for the free holiday really. Jason Perry (Producer) did exactly the same thing with his band A just so they could go on holiday.

SS: Yeah they wrote a song called Tahoe so they could go to Lake Tahoe to record it.

GB: They filmed it all themselves as well.

SS: And that’s kind of what we thought, let’s go on holiday. Luckily enough, I came in contact with Matthew Pritchard (Dirty Sanchez) and it was perfect. You’ve never met anyone so happy, so positive, so up for a party constantly. If you say the word party to him, he’s in party mode.

Are there any guests on the new album like previously?

SS: No because we were going to have two, but then they didn’t work. One was Andrew WK but he doesn’t party hard enough for The Blackout and the other was Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit) with a guitar solo, but we then realised vocals fitted better and so it never happened.

GB: Previously it has been accidental, we’ve never meant it.

SS: Yeah we recorded in Cardiff, Ian [Watkins] (Lostprophets) came along and asked to be on a song and he was. The Josh [Franchesci] (You Me At six) asked to be on ‘I Don’t Care’ and he was and then in ‘Higher & Higher’ I started to do a Fresh Prince style rap so we got Hyro de Hero to do it.

Did you think about going it alone again like with ‘Hope’ and no record label and raising money through Pledge Music?

GB: We stuck with Cooking Vinyl with this record which meant we could focus on writing and didn’t have all the other shit on the side, thinking how are we going to put this out. It was all about the music. It’s obviously easier when you are on a label, but Cooking Vinyl are a label that don’t come along and say ‘this song shouldn’t be on the album, you should have another one’.

SS: Yeah they actually came in and said that they needed to get an American label for this as it will do well in America, they were very positive and artist friendly I guess. Not that we are artists.

Do you feel as though you are an antidote to other British bands of a similar genre because you are so fun?

SS: Yeah I like music, I like showing off.

GB:  Yeah I like having a laugh.

SS: I don’t go to the gym or anything I just get fat so this is when I run around and lose some weight. But we know it’s not going to last forever so we just go fucking mental while we can.

How’s the tour gone, I heard there was a certain place in Edinburgh called the Liquid Rooms that lived up to its name?

SS: That’s a great pun. I’m having that. I think the Liquid Rooms lived up to its name (After the ceiling leaked and they performed an acoustic set instead). But the Bridgend show was cancelled and there has been snow everywhere and then the ceiling pissed on us in Edinburgh. Birmingham was good though and London was good. Today should be really good today though, Manchester always is.

Finally, for people at Lancaster who don’t know you, which of your songs would you suggest they listen to?

SS: What have you been doing? Get out from under your rock and stop stealing traffic cones and listen to us! But I’d say ‘Start the Party’.
GB: ‘You’ and ‘Higher & Higher’ would be good to have, any of the singles really.


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