Indie rock newcomer Chris Blackwood has worked his socks off in recent years, struggling to find his sound and really reach his potential. It seems the hard work is paying off, with his self-titled debut album earning widespread praise from fans and critics alike.
RUSHONROCK’s Adam Keys caught up with Chris in an exclusive interview to discuss his incredible year to date.
RUSHONROCK – Hi Chris, you’ve been compared to The Libertines and Jake Bugg. Could you tell our readers more about your sound?
Chris Blackwood – Its lightning paced indie rock most of the time. Every part of my life seems to be flying by so quickly so I make music to reflect that. Everything is whizzing by. It’s hard to keep up. But that doesn’t mean that it lacks substance. It’s got quick words and quicker melodies, but there’s a lot of meaning there. I don’t like music that dwells too much. It can’t be too obvious.
RUSHONROCK – Your self-titled release is now out. Could you tell us a bit about the album?
Chris Blackwood – It’s the first of a long line. Chapter one. It was written in order and recorded in order. I tried to emulate the old concept albums of the 60’s and 70’s. You come out of the other end of them with a certain feeling. Some make you reach out to the heavens, and some make you stare into the abyss. I tried to do both with this album.
RUSHONROCK – It has been described as a concept album that explores the course of birth to death, and everything in between. Where did this concept come from? Could you tell us more about the story?
Chris Blackwood –. It’s the birth and death of an idea. Not a person. Well, it could be. Depends on your point of view. There’s a beginning and an ending, but it’s not really an ending. After all this is a debut album. It came from my own experiences growing up. They’re not concrete moments, but more abstractions of moments or periods of time.
RUSHONROCK – You’ve been around the music industry for some time before ‘finding your sound.’ When did everything fall into place for you?
Chris Blackwood – When I formed a band. I used to play with an acoustic guitar and a mouth harp but it never sounded like me. I sounded like every other folk singer. But when I picked up the electric guitar, it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. I could create indie rock, skiffle, shoegaze, waltzes. This is harder to do with a shrill harmonica and an old guitar.
RUSHONROCK – Where did you draw your main influence for the album?
Chris Blackwood – Pink Floyd. Their albums are road maps for the record-based artist. They have everything, and it’s so linear. You have theatre style albums like The Wall, concept based like Dark Side of the Moon, and more abstract ones like Meddle.
RUSHONROCK – You’ve firmly established yourself within the Mancunian music scene. What plans are in place to take your act on the road to showcase your talent to a wider audience?
Chris Blackwood – I want to tour the album around the country. It needs to be as much of a show as an album. That’s when you know when a concept is really good, if it can hold up in front of a live audience. I’m still writing a lot, but I’d like to branch out from songs and write more abstract pieces. It’s getting the point where I feel like I’ve done all I can do with the song format.
RUSHONROCK – Now the album is out, do you have any goals for yourself over the next year (musically speaking)?
Chris Blackwood – Definitely. I’d love to tour the UK up and down. I’d also love to go to Europe. Playing the album live in Spain would be a particular dream of mine.