BLACK COAST (from l-r): Scott Pinnington (guitar), Jack Beardsall (bass), Charlie Hewitt (vocals), Matt Clarke (drums), Joe Mayer (guitar)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
Since forming almost three years ago, Stoke-on-Trent five-piece Black Coast have, with a melodic hardcore metal sound, and a strong work ethic, have been carving out a reputation for themselves as one of the most exciting outfits to emerge from the British metal scene in years.
Having relentlessly toured across the UK, last year, the band truly went global, embarking on a full Japanese tour, as well as supporting the likes of Stray From The Path and In Hearts Wake.
Now, with the first part of their new double EP, ‘Ill Minds’, out, the Potteries quintet spoke to me about the collective’s rapid rise, experiences, and much more.
How did the band form?
We all knew each other from previous bands, and used to practice next door to each other, so when those bands came to an end, Scott asked Joe if he wanted to start something that was a bit heavier than before, and from there, Black Coast was formed.
How did the name Black Coast come about?
It was a name that Joe had floating about when his old band were planning on re-naming. We liked it, and decided to roll with it.
What are the band’s main musical influences?
The main influences are bands like Stray From The Path, Pantera, Ocean Grove, to name a few, but really, we’re influenced by anything and everything.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
It usually starts with a guitar riff or a concept for a song, and progresses from there, building on it and layering it as we go.
It’s a very natural and organic approach to writing, letting the song almost write itself, as if we have to force it too much, then it’s usually a sign that the song isn’t working for us, so we’ll tend to leave it, take it apart, and come back to it with a fresh approach.
What inspires the band lyrically?
Charlie writes the majority of the lyrics, so the content is usually something that’s personal to him. It usually covers the topics of everyday issues that he and a lot of other people go through, and tends to be an outlet to vent about them.
Your debut EP, ‘Crows Of The North’, came out just a month after you officially formed, and was very well-received. Honestly, did any of you expect the response it had so soon into the band’s career?
Not really. We all personally felt the songs were pretty good at the time, and we were all happy with them and just wanted to get them out to get the ball rolling.
We were still trying to find our feet as a band, trying to find a musical direction, and luckily, people ended up enjoying it. We owe a lot to ‘Crows’ (one of the tracks off the EP), because we rode off it for a long time before we released some new music, and it helped us to open doors and tour consistently throughout the following years.
And the band have just brought out the first half of the follow-up to that, ‘Ill Minds Vol. 1’. What was the reason behind releasing it in two parts?
We were initially going to do a ten-track album, but decided the time wasn’t right to release our debut album yet. We felt that a two-part release would be more beneficial, as it means that we can have a decent stream of music coming out over a longer period of time.
We didn’t want to wait as long to release new music as we did with ‘Crows’, and it also gives us plenty of time to work towards a new record.
And how was the recording process for that?
We recorded with Johnny Renshaw (Devil Sold His Soul) at Bandit Studios in the Cotswolds, and we just had the best time. He pushed us to get the best out of ourselves and the songs, and really worked with us to get them sounding how we wanted them to.
Johnny also understood what the band is about, we’re a very live-oriented band, so we wanted to capture that essence as much as possible.
And for those who have yet to listen to it, what can they expect?
If you’re a fan of heavy music with loads of riffs and groove, and also want something to bang your head to, then check us out.
Last year, the band embarked on a full tour of Japan. How did that come about?
Our manager, Daryl, had been on tour over there with his band the previous year, and organised for us to go over.
And that must have been some experience for you all.
It was an amazing and eye-opening experience, as it was our first time touring outside of the UK. We were fortunate to be taken around by Juntaro, the vocalist from the band FP, who we were on tour with. That guy was amazing, as he sorted our accommodation, drove us everywhere, showed us the best places to eat, and translated for us.
Also, everyone we met out there were so welcoming and friendly, and the venues really took care of the bands. The people at the shows had a real appreciation for music, and took the time to check you out.
Also, how was it supporting the likes of Stray From The Path and In Hearts Wake?
Another amazing experience, and an opportunity that we’ve been lucky to have. As we said earlier, Stray have always been a big influence on the band, so getting the chance to support them was something that we took in every moment of.
Supporting bands like these gives you a glimpse of how to take your own band to the next level, especially when you can chat to them about how they do things, and they give you pointers and tips in return.
How is the overall experience, for the band, performing live?
Performing live is one of the major things that we take pride in. We always make sure our shows are consistently full of energy, regardless of how many people are there, and always want to get the crowd on the same wavelength as us.
Charlie doesn’t rehearse any of the things he says in between songs, as we want to keep each show as personal and honest as possible.
What are your plans for the near future?
At the moment, we have a few more shows left to round off the year, so we’re looking forward to them. We have ‘Ill Minds Vol.2’ coming out early next year, so there will be some follow-up shows with the release of that, and currently, we’re working on some new music.
And finally, the band have already achieved much in the almost three years that they have been together. What would you all like to achieve with Black Coast in the next three years?
We just want to keep doing what we do, and, as up and down as it can be in a band, enjoy every minute of it.
We have more releases to come, new music we’re working on, which we’re super excited about, just keep playing bigger and better shows, and really push ourselves to get the best out of the band, and us as musicians.
‘ILL MINDS VOL.1’, THE LATEST EP FROM BLACK COAST, IS AVAILABLE NOW, VIA PRIMORDIAL RECORDS, AND THE SECOND PART OF THAT WILL BE RELEASED EARLY NEXT YEAR.
THE BAND WILL BE PLAYING A HEADLINE SHOW IN THEIR HOME CITY OF STOKE-ON-TRENT ON DECEMBER 23, MORE DETAILS OF WHICH CAN BE FOUND BELOW:
FURTHER INFO ON BLACK COAST CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: