Light of the Stereo

Light of the Stereo

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

10 Questions: The Black Whisky Union

LA's The Black Whisky Union was fittingly born in a dive bar in Burbank called the Tin Horn Flats. With just a tinge of Hollywood seediness their jazzy rock 'n' roll  is infectiously fun. Bold and powerful, this talented three piece is fronted by the stunning Brit Sheriden who might look familur from her work in front of the camera as a model and actress in shows like Supernatural.
Set to release part three of their EP trilogy in early 2014 the band had a lot to talk to BLS about.

BLS:  To get started, why don’t you tell us a little about the band. How did you guys come together? Where did you derive your name from? What made you choose it?

Jim: We met at this dive bar in Burbank called Tin Horn Flats... Brit was a waitress and Michael, and myself we patrons looking for a singer.  As we were started writing songs, we would drink a bit... Brit would have her Irish Whisky, I would have my Scotch Whisky, and Michael would have his tequila or Jager... Aka Mexican Whisky/German Whisky.
Combine the 3 whiskers and you get Black... The Union is our bond as friends and partners.

Brit: I had been looking to form a band for a long time and when I met Jim and Wess I knew we were gonna create something awesome. We all clicked from the beginning when we met at good ole Tinhorn Flats. Every writing session we would reward ourselves with a drink of our choice. Which all of our drinks combined makes up the Black and being from the South I love my Whisky. The Union to me is what means the most. We all have so much respect and love for each other. We are a little family.

BLS: From instrumental phrasing to vocal delivery, your music holds a lot of Jazz elements, how does this speak to your influences as both a band and as individual musicians?


Jim: For me it's Steely Dan... They have always spoken directly to my soul. So I typically incorporate major and minor 7th's on just about every song I write. I think blending jazz chords over rock progressions and grooves helps to separate us as a band from the normal.

Michael: For me I would not consider myself a jazz drummer/player. I’m more of groove orientated rock drummer but I feel this blends well with the other styles in the band to help create our unique sound and I’ve also always been a fan of major and minor 7th’s in songs.

Brit: A lot of my inspiration comes from country and old rock music. It is what I grew up listening to. Coming up with the vocal lines for me is so much fun. I love creating something people can groove to and sing along with.

BLS: For music, LA is a complex environment being one of the main hubs of the industry. As a band what are some of the benefits of being located in LA?


Jim: The industry is down the street and lots of amazing musicians! 

Michael :Having the opportunity to have the industry here, meet people and get your music heard. You never know who you’ll run into, where they work, and how they can potentially help with getting your music heard.


Brit: There are so many benefits. We all moved here to follow our passion. I love that this town is so full of opportunity. I dreamed of getting the chance to play at some of the places I am getting to play now.


BLS: On the flip side, LA has also become known as a crowded Mecca of struggling bands and Musicians. What are some of the obstacles you face in such a saturated market?

Jim: Well.. I never think of this as a competition... We just do what we do, and if people like it... So be it.


Michael: No matter where you are major city wise there’s obviously competition. For us we really try to concentrate on good song writing, lyrics and melody. You’d be surprised how many bands don’t focus on that down here. I feel we pride ourselves on these things and helps set us apart.

Brit: In this industry you have to have tough skin. You have to believe in yourself and keep on going. 

BLS:  You’ve been sticking close to home, are there any plans in the works for more extensive touring?

Brit: We would love to. We have not had the opportunity as of yet but I have a really good feeling that is about to change.

BLS: Brit, you’ve had some great success in acting. Which came first the music or the acting?

Brit: The Music has always come first. I begged my parents for a piano at age 5 and started singing at age 8. I always loved performing though. Something about being on that stage. I didn’t get the acting bug till I was a little older and came out to LA for the first time. 


BLS: You all have individual efforts outside the band. With your busy schedules how do find time to put the work into your music? Is it hard at time to balance both?


Jim: Nights and weekends... You squeeze every ounce out of everyday.

Michael
: You find the time whenever you can. Whether it’s song writing or rehearsing. We love playing together as well so we make the time for it.


Brit: I consider music a full time job as well. It is where my heart is and I want to make a career out of it. Any time I have to dedicate to the band and music I do it. 

BLS:  As a band you have released 2 EPs in a 3 part series. Why did you choose to release your music in this format versus a long play album? When can we expect Part 3?


Jim: Well having EPs released over time meant that we could concentrate on just those 3 songs... And the audience gets us in small doses. Breaking it up into 3 parts just seemed to make the most sense. Expect part 3 in Jan... Followed by the entire collection on CD with bonus songs. 

Brit: We wanted to do something different. Not a lot of bands release their EP’s out this way. We thought it would be fun for our fans and also a great way for us to concentrate on only a couple at a time. 

BLS: From your show posters to your website, there seems to be a lot of emphasis the design of your band. Is this a conscious effort? If so why is this important to you as a band?

Jim: I think there are so many bands who don't put the effort into the details... But to create posters that look as big as signed bands... To create band ass imagery. It just all seems to fit what we are all about... The whole package.

Michael: I agree with Jim and I also feel the posters are something not only for image but also nice to look back at and see all the places you played around town.

Brit: I think it is important to have to have an image for the band. Through our posters and designs it is a way of expressing ourselves and showing who we are.

BLS: Name 5 bands you love but who few people have heard of?

Jim: Jellyfish, Dan Reed Network, Tommy Spase, Hayley Gaftarnick, King Washington.

Michael: The Shore, Doves, The Joy Formidable, Remy Zero, Dan Reed Network as well -

Brit
: The Head and The Heart, The Royal Concept. Josh Abbot Band, Ben Rector, Ryan Keen

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