The Blackout are a Welsh post-hardcore band tipped for big things. Recently signed to Epitaph Records, extensive press coverage from Kerrang! The Blackout are preparing for their busiest and most defining summer yet. I interviewed Rhys and Gareth to find out more.
How has the tour been going so far?
Gareth: It's been good! It's the 5th date today I believe. We started in Dublin on Saturday morning. We Are The Ocean played too which was fun.
Whats it like to tour with Silverstein and Hollywood Undead?
Gareth: Really good - The Silverstein boys are cool and thats the first time we've met them. Hollywood Undead are nice people but you can't really tell because of their masks!
Favourite pass time on tour?
Gareth: We normally just go out somewhere to get some food or spend some time on the internet.
Rhys: We play alot of Xbox and watch a lot of DVDs on the road too.
For anyone that has not seen The Blackout on tour yet, what can people expect?
Rhys: Lots of sweaty fun.
Gareth: Not your typical "Stare at the ground performance" When people come see us we give them a show. If they pay this much money to see a band. The least we can do is give them some entertainment for the amount of money they're paying. Loads of energy. Inbetween songs Sean and Gavin don't shut up! They're constantly telling jokes or something stupid. Somebody always falls too.
The new single "Children Of The Night" was released earlier this week. Pleased with how it has been received?
Gareth: Yeah, it's mad because we started playing it in October on the From First To Last tour and when we recorded it in December we changed it around loads.
Rhys: We basically made the chorus sound a lot bigger. It's a good song to sing a long too so it always seems to be going down well live.
The B-Sides on the single include "I Kissed A Girl and I Liked It" by Katy Perry. Interesting choice! Are you guys big pop fans?
Gareth: Yes! I'm actually dedicating one of my arms to bands and one of the tattoos is going to be of Michael Jackson.
You've recently been signed to Epitaph Records. How did this come about?
Rhys: It's awesome. One of the biggest indepedent labels in the world. I grew up listening to a lot of bands on it and to be on it now, it's just ridiculous!
Gareth: It's just a bit surreal. When we were writing the album our manager told us about a couple of labels interested but it turns out Epitaph were the most willing and it was a much nicer atmposhere. Even though they arn't a major label, we thought we would get a lot more love and appreciation off them compared to a much larger major label.
Rhys: Yeah, it's perfect for us really. You never know what's going to go on with a major. With Epitaph there's no middle men for instance.
Good stuff. Is there any bands on label you're particularly liking at the moment?
Rhys: Every Time I Die, for a start. We love that band. We might be doing an Epitaph tour with them in the US. Bring Me The Horizon and Gallows have just been signed too I believe.
Gareth: Yeah, Every Time I Die that would be incredible as they're such a big inspiration for us. One of the best live bands we've had the pleasure of seeing too.
Rhys: They're a bit like us in the sense that we try and get everyone in the crowd involved as much as possible.
What do you guys make of the Welsh scene as it seems to be fairly blooming with Kids In Glass Houses and Save Your Breath for instance?
Gareth: It's really good. We love those bands and also the larger ones like Lost Prophets and Funeral For A Friend are cool because even though they're pretty massive, they still have time for everyone else. We were in LA recently doing the video for "Children Of The Night" and the next single, we met up with the Lostprophets boys and went for sushi. Always have time for you which is awesome.
From when the band started, did you ever expect that The Blackout! would ever reach the status that it has?
Gareth: We're still a bit skeptical about it to be honest. It's crazy.
I know it must be very overwhelming as the singles out, the albums out soon and your on the front page of Kerrang! It seems like you have a lot going for you at the moment.
Gareth: I couldn't believe it when I saw that. I've been reading that magazine since I was about 13 and to see us on the cover was so surreal. We used to travel hours to play first to nobody. But we were just so stoked to be playing outside of Wales, we've always found it a privalige.
Out of everywhere you've played so far, where is you're favourite and why?
Rhys: Japan, I reckon.
Gareth: Yeah definately Japan. Everyones so polite and don't barge their way through shows and signings. They even queue at the order of the ticket number at shows. Nowhere else in the world would you see that! Its really funny because during songs they would just go off, totally crazy. But inbeween songs they just go quiet. It's really quite something.
Warped Tour is coming soon for you. Are you looking forward to it?
Rhys: Absolutely. We did Bamboozle which was a mini taster for us with Bless The Fall over the Mid West. We just love America.
Gareth: We played 5 sets of shows in these smaller places which was cool. We had to work our way up again as no-one knows who we are over there yet really.
Rhys: It's going to be all about winning people over as we're still a new band to everyone over there. It's gonna be fun though, we're all really looking forward to it.
Do you reckon when you head over to Warped that their will be a lot bigger buzz than before with the release of the new album?
Gareth: Yeah hopefully. It was tough for us last time at Bamboozle as we were on the same time as Finch and it was there first comeback show.
Any major plans for the rest of the year?
Rhys: Bits of Festivals popping up and hopefully an American tour, but its all in talks at the moment really.
Gareth: Rock Am Ring and Download, and some shows with Billy Talent too. Hopefully some more tours around the world too, it's going to be really really full on and I can't wait.