The name Carter is already synonymous with a new generation of quality British rock and so it’s hardly a surprise that Blackhole are one of the best new bands in the UK.
Richard Carter might be the brother of Gallows duo Frank and Stephen but he’s a masterful muso in his own right and with his band’s debut album due to hit stores on Monday this could be the start of something special. rushonrock is keen to join the ride…
rushonrock: How on earth do you develop such a heavy vocal style?
Richard Carter: One day I went away and listened to a lot of Pantera. I’d never done vocals before but that all changed after Pantera. When I started Blackhole it just came about and I was keen to give it a go. I just had to learn how to use my voice properly and I’m still doing that now. For me my voice only really has two levels right now and the goal is to become more diverse. You can only ever improve upon yourself in my view. When people talk about learning to scream I don’t really believe it. It’s not a style you can learn as such – you can get to know the way your vocal chords work but you have to be able to do it naturally in the first place. I was nervous when I first took on the vocal duties – but not because I didn’t believe I could sing in a certain way. It was more about standing up in front of a crowd and hoping they liked some of what I did.
rushonrock: Are you all set for your first full UK tour? Nineteen dates in 19 days isn’t going to be easy.
RC: I can’t wait. We’ve been waiting for so long for this opportunity that I’m not fussed about the schedule. I’m just so happy we’re touring at last. We all wanted to do a run of continuous dates and now that time has come. It’ll be intense but it has to be – Andreas is back at university later this month. He’s supposed to start halfway through the tour!
rushonrock: What’s he studying that’s more important than Blackhole?
RC: You know, I don’t even know what course he’s on. Some kind of creative media thing I think. I have an idea because in his first year I did an assignment for him. But we don’t really talk about it when we’re doing band stuff. Right now it’s all about Blackhole for all of us.
rushonrock: Are you a band making up for lost time then?
RC: I was looking through some old files on my computer and I realised that some of the lyrics to the songs we’ll be playing on tour were written in 2007! So some of these songs we’ve been practising and perfecting for more than two years and we’re itching to give them a real go. It’s going to be weird finally getting out on the road and playing to people who might never have heard our music and it’s going to be even weirder because we haven’t practiced in a while. Andreas is in Greece and gets back the day before we start the tour. We might get together that night if he’s not too tired – otherwise we’ll be getting it together on stage.
rushonrock: Is Dead Hearts an album that deserves to be heard live?
RC: I really hope we can do it justice live. Whenever we play and whenever we practice it’s pretty intense. What we do and how we do it comes down to Andreas because he’s the main songwriter – and he’s a real perfectionist. He gets an idea and then he makes sure that every aspect of the song is exactly how he wants it. Before we take a song out of the practice room it has to be perfectly in time and arranged spot on. Hopefully that means we’re in the right frame of mind to make a big impression when we play live.
rushonrock: Do you enjoy the live arena?
RC: We’re not a band which just comes out and stands around. I’m happiest when I’m in the crowd and I hate stages. I hate being removed from the people I’m there to entertain. I don’t understand why people start bands and then play gigs barely moving a muscle. I really want to play shows which people think are awesome. We write music that we hope other people will enjoy and where they can enjoy it best is at a gig. I don’t have an ego and neither do the rest of the guys. I’d love every single person at every one our gigs to be able to grab the mic and sing along – there’s a lot of crowd interaction at Blackhole shows.
rushonrock: Does having brothers in the business (Frank and Stephen Carter, Gallows) help or hinder you?
RC: As a band it’s our blessing and our curse. Completely. We’ve never been the kind of people who don’t want to talk about the Gallows link because I’m proud of what my brothers have achieved and they’ve proved that it’s possible to make it as musicians. But there was a point when Blackhole were first starting to get some media attention that it’s all everyone could talk about.
rushonrock: Maybe it still is…
RC: Look, my brothers have inspired me to get into music and take it seriously and take it as far as I can go. They have shown it really can work with the right attitude. A lot of people have a problem with the fact that Blackhole aren’t Gallows Mk II and I just don’t get it. People have an opinion on my brothers’ band and then they either love us or hate us based on that view, rather than our music. That’s ridiculous and fortunately the album speaks for itself. It proves that we can hold our own.