Tuesday, 21st August 2018. 11:34:51am ET
Interviews (EBM, Electro, Electronica) Interview: Black Wedding

Artist: Black Wedding

Interviewer: Scott Sweet

Date 5-31-11

Website: http://www.autumnalrelease.com/blackwedding/index.html

In 2005 Black Wedding was formed by Joshua Heinrich and Julie Johnson. After almost 6 years, of writing, and a small hiatus while Joshua worked on his solo projects, Black Wedding has finally debuted .It wasn't until  2010, where the band reconvened, revisited the material recorded during the previous sessions, and shortly thereafter continued recording and writing new material. Their debut EP, Control, was released in March 2011, with their long-awaited 10-song eponymous album following in May 2011 on Autumnal Release Records.

GC:  Based on the track titles ("Control", "Stoplight", "Outside the Box"), choice seems to be a theme in this album.  Was that intended or did that surface on its own?
Josh:  The songs were written and recorded over a period of time, and I was basically working from a folder of lyrics Julie had written... So, when working on a song, I'd sort of go into the folder looking for lyrics that worked with that particular song, editing them and adding my own lines to fit the music.  So, I guess the bottom line is that the lyrical selection was more about what worked with the individual songs than about an overall album concept, not to say that there aren't some pervasive themes that permeate it or permeating themes that pervade it.  I'll defer to Julie on that since she wrote the majority of the lyrics.


Julie:  I have been writing lyrics over the course of 5 years for Black Wedding.  Josh sent me some instrumental pieces to work with and come up with lyrics. For me, writing lyrics happens whenever I have something on my mind that I want to express. I tend to come up with the best lyrics while trying to go to bed and I have to jump out of bed and write them down. It is a good thing I keep my computer on at night.  Most of my lyrics tend to be about life or how I view different things that happen in life. Sometimes I think of lyrics after listening to a song and it sparks my interest and inspires me to continue my thoughts about a song or topic.  As for the songs that you mentioned, they are about my view of certain things in life. The lyrics to "Stoplight" came to be when I was thinking how I do a lot of the same things over and over every day.  For example, I get up and watch the news, doesn't the news always sound the same, but it is just a new person they are talking about. How about a song that you listen to all the time?  Or the stoplight that you stop at every day on your way to work, or when you go to the ocean and the waves just keeping pounding the shore.  It is sort of about daily routines and hopefully changing things up. "Control", is basically saying, you are in control of what you do.  "Outside the Box", for me, is about thinking outside the norm, and when you're down and out,  and when you think no one cares, you might think differently about the world or the people around you. After I send Josh finished lyrics, he picks one to work with and puts music he has come up with to the song. Then it is the long process of going back and forth about the tracks and how they sound etc.

 



GC:  These songs have a strong 90's appeal.  What bands or artists have "nudged" each of you in your creative process?

Josh: I guess Julie and I came at Black Wedding from slightly different angles.  I probably brought more of the alternative rock and new wave elements into the mix, while Julie tends to veer more towards the synthpop and ebm side of the spectrum, and I more or less let both of our tastes influence the songwriting and production on the album...and maybe indulged my darker side and emphasized some of my past industrial, goth rock, and even metal influences a bit in the mix.  I mean, we both grew up on 80s new wave and 90s alt rock, so there's definitely a lot of that in there. Personally, some of my favorite artists and influences include The Cure, Depeche Mode, New Order, Siouxsie and the Banshees, PJ Harvey, Smashing Pumpkins, David Bowie...but I listen to a pretty wide range of music.  I think my writing tends to gravitate to developed melodies, layering, rhythms... So, with Black Wedding, I guess the idea was to do something a little heavier, more of a rock and industrial edge...drawing from darker influences, elements, and ideas...but with the underlying pop sensibilities, intertwining melodies, and memorable hooks I find myself drawn to.

Julie:  My music moods change from time to time. Back in the early and late 90's I was more into Gothic Music and of course NIN and now I would say I am more into EBM/ industrial. I like the more harsh and danceable EBM music if that is was I am listening to or the real gritty guitar industrial rock like NIN, KMFDM,  and 16 Volt.  I also like bouncy Synthpop music. I am really all over the place, but I do like the more electronic side of things.  Even with that all said, my biggest influence is Depeche Mode. I just think Depeche Mode is a perfect mix. I love the song writing, the clear dark vocals, and the music is just amazing. I haven't found a song I didn't like by the band.  They are just a class act. Depeche Mode really have inspired to write lyrics and be part of the music scene in my own way with Black Wedding and my magazine Grave Concerns E-zine.  It is funny because Josh and I are always talking about songs we like and it is funny how sometimes the songs I like, he doesn't like as much, but in the end we have agreed on and mixed both of what we like into Black Wedding. I do tend to want more electronic and danceable elements in our Black Wedding songs, where Josh brings some of his alternative, indie, metal, pop  etc into the mix. Besides Depeche Mode, I am also influenced by Duran Duran, and Miserylab.

GC:  The production is clean and the sound is full.  What equipment do you recommend?

Josh: Actually, if you saw the limited software and equipment I used, you'd probably be a bit puzzled...hehe  So, my answer to this question might be more of a "It's not what you use, it's how you use it." lesson than a rundown of $100,000 worth of studio equipment.  I guess I have a bit of a habit of using simpler lo-fi equipment and software and then sort of MacGyvering everything together.  I mean, most of the guitars on the album were done with my Fender Strat (pretty much my go-to guitar) run through preamp/amp-modeling processors.  Most of the real bass was a DeArmond Pilot Pro.  The synths are a smattering of everything from virtual analog synths to samplers to...well...I even used the Korg DS-10 on the remix of "control" found on the single. It's a virtual analog synth for the Nintendo DS, modeled after Korg's 1978 MS-10 synth and Kaoss Pad. I guess a lot of the fullness comes from production tricks and mixing.  Things like doubling parts, panned to opposite sides, with different effects...layering...  A lot of the songs have multiple percussion tracks...a lot of subtle parts...a lot of tracks overall...  I guess I'm a bit DIY, but I think creativity and experimentation are more important tools than thousands of dollars of high end software and equipment.

Julie: Well, since Josh does all the music related stuff I really don't have much of anything. I sure would love to learn more about synths, programming, and guitar. Maybe someday!

GC:  Did you both decide who would handle lyrics and music at the start, or did you each find your strengths along the way?

Josh: It was pretty much set from the start.  I mean, I'm a musician and producer.  Julie's a writer and journalist.  So it just fell into place.  We actually worked together under a different band name around 2000 and released a few CDs, so we sort of approached the new project with the same lineup and roles in mind, albeit with a new sound and band name.

Julie: Well, Josh lives in Buffalo, NY currently and I am on the other side of the state near Albany, NY.  Back  in 1999, when I first talked to Josh about creating a band we decided since there was a 5 hour distance between us and I didn't really know how to play any instruments, but I really wanted to make music that I would come up with the lyrics for and Josh would do the music and vocals. I did one time do a small vocal part for our previous project together. I would like to contribute to vocals in the future. I think it would be fun.  Josh does edit some of the lyrics to fit better with the music.

GC:  Will you play live dates in the near future?

Josh: No idea, actually.  I guess it's something that's come up a few times but never really went anywhere.  It would essentially involve putting together a full live backing band from the ground up, not to mention the challenges that come with being able to play all of our songs, from the more traditional rock tracks with sort of a bass/guitar/drum lineup to the more electronic stuff with a lot of layered synths and fewer organic instruments. I'm also kinda working on other projects and steering in other directions at the moment.  So, near future?  I'd say pretty unlikely.  Future?  Who knows.

Julie:  Yeah, I mean that is totally up in the air. I wouldn't be much help on the stage since I don't know how to play or work with the equipment.  I guess I could do some vocals if I practiced. I think I would be good at dancing around the stage. I don't think we will be playing anything soon. We are pretty music an internet project and it has been working out great. It is a lot of fun. I feel bad for Josh because he has to do so much more, probably  90% of everything.  I wish I could help more.

GC:  (Besides Black Wedding, Joshua also records as Fornever and Julie runs Grave Concerns E-Zine.)  Have either of you SLEPT at all this month?

Josh: What is this "sleep" of which you speak?  Haha...actually, the night before the Black Wedding album release, I pulled an all nighter updating our websites and getting all of the release stuff ready, and then, on release day, I was back in the home studio going through finished and in-progress recordings and demos I've been working on for the next fornever release. Which, I guess, is a lot less glamorous than the parties and fanfare most people associate with CD releases, but hey...  A compilation we were on came out a few days after the album, too.  So it was a busy promo and update week to say the least. And I spent the weekend after sitting at a computer finishing up a new short story.  So, yes, it was a bit of a sleep deprived week...and month...  But I do sleep.  Sometimes.

Julie: It has been overwhelming at times. I felt a little stressed the days before the release. I had to get my promo plan into action etc.  I wish I could help more.  I feel bad that Josh ends of doing so much more with things. He is really good at what he does and we are always communicating. Josh is not only a great musician, band mate, producer, but we are good friends too so it all works out. I have to work in little breaks here and there from Grave Concerns E-zine. I am a teacher by day and then I do Grave Concerns E-zine. So, there are some weeks or evenings where I just can't even think about doing Grave Concerns E-zine and take the night or week off.

GC:  Is there anything I missed that readers and listeners should know?

Josh: The world's going to end on...no, no...just kidding.  Thanks for the interview, and thanks to everyone for listening!

Julie: I hope that you will give us a listen and become a fan. I am also the editor of Grave Concerns E-zine, so there is my shameless plug.

Buy the album here: http://kunaki.com/Sales.asp?PID=PX00ZG9MIM

Read the Review: http://graveconcernsezine.com/reviews/cd-reviews/ebm-electro-electronica/3034-black-wedding-.html

Facebook the Band: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Black-Wedding/157531514135


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