BLACKLIST 9 (from l-r): Josh May (bass), Kyle Silva (lead/rhythm guitar), Lonnie Silva (drums), Graham Fletcher (vocals)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
In 2013, experienced Southern Californian drummer Lonnie Silva decided to get together with his guitarist son Kyle, and form a groove metal outfit.
Eventually being joined by vocalist Graham Fletcher and bassist Ray Burke, and christening themselves Blacklist 9, the four-piece have not looked back, amassing a devoted following with a sound packed full of raw power and energy, coupled with lyrics that tackle a host of social issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, and government greed.
With a debut album coming out this March, Kyle spoke to me about what can be expected of that, the experience of playing iconic Los Angeles venue Whiskey A Go Go, and much more.
How did the name Blacklist 9 come about?
Lonnie, our drummer (and my father), was sitting on the couch one day and saw a commercial for the show The Blacklist, and he thought it was a cool name, but he knew there had to be something at the end of it, so he started counting, and when he got to nine, it flowed, and he knew that was it.
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
For me personally, most of the time, for a riff or song to really stick, it has to be more than a riff, as for the music we write (being heavy metal), it has to have a certain feel of aggression, groove and energy, for example, our song ‘Madness’ has a really cool groove that people like, the riff has this insane asylum feel, it sounds like it could be on the soundtrack of a Rob Zombie movie, and also with the energy that Graham brings with his vocals, it all comes together nicely.
In March, the band will be bringing out their debut album, Mentally Ill, Legally Sane. How has the recording process been for that?
It’s gone very smoothly, and when we listened back to it in the studio, we started hearing all these little things you could improve upon, which was awesome, because that can bring the song to a whole new level.
And you have been putting the album together with Jeff Collier and Frank Gryner, who have produced and mastered for the likes of Rob Zombie and A Perfect Circle. How was working with them as an experience?
Working with Jeff Collier as our producer is always a blast, as he brings in good vibes, and is very knowledgeable.
Working with Frank was awesome too, and knowing that he worked with A Perfect Circle and Rob Zombie, on albums that I grew up listening to, it really was quite an experience.
Also, what can be expected from the upcoming release?
Every song on this album is different from each other, but it doesn’t lose its power or raw energy.
In 2017, the band supported John 5, former Marilyn Manson and current Rob Zombie guitarist, at infamous Los Angeles music venue Whiskey A Go Go. How did that come about?
From what I can remember, that was a last-minute thing. We had worked with the Whiskey A Go Go before, so the promoter contacted us, said he needed one more band, and asked us if we would like to open up for John 5. How could we say no?
And that must have been quite an experience for you all.
Oh yes, it was, and both Rob Zombie and Slash made special guest appearances, which was really cool. We also got to see John 5’s sound check while we loaded in our equipment and wow, that guy can play.
How is it, overall, playing live?
For me personally, I love it, as there is nothing like it in the world, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a parking lot, a club, a house show, or five or 1,000 people at your show or 1,000, I just love every minute of it.
Will the band be doing anything to promote the album, for example, a tour or a release show?
Yes, we are planning a tour as we speak, and we will be announcing that on all of our social media pages.
And finally, what are your plans following the unveiling of Mentally Ill, Legally Sane?
Tour, play shows, and try to get the word out there!
‘MENTALLY ILL, LEGALLY SANE’, THE DEBUT ALBUM FROM BLACKLIST 9, WILL BE RELEASED ON MARCH 22, VIA ECLIPSE RECORDS.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: