German hard rockers THE NEW BLACK (TNB) formed ten years ago and have to date released four albums, their latest being ‘A Monster’s Life’ in 2016. They have so far toured with AC/DC, Volbeat, Black Label Society, Extreme and Alter Bridge, to name a few, and their YouTube videos have impressive viewing figures. The band are currently writing their next album, their first since a change in line-up two years ago. Down The Front Media caught up with guitarist Christof Leim to find out what we can expect from album number five.
Evidently, the guys don’t begin the writing process with a plan in mind, so they’re never exactly sure what sound they will come up with next. “It will sound like us because of Fludid’s voice, the way Fabs and the rest of us write and most importantly because of how we shape the stuff when we work on it together”. Christof has often said that the next album could sound like reggae or thrash, if the band really feel it, “Of course that is exaggerated, but the first batch of demos sounded very heavy, where as the latest stuff has a bit of an alternative vibe. And the tune Fabs sent round yesterday is straight-up TNB riffage. I’m actually looking forward to finding out where it all will end up”.
The only change of line-up since the band first formed came in 2016 when original member Chris Weiss stepped down. He was replaced by new drummer Philipp ‘Flip’ Klinger, who was already known to the band as he had already been playing in TNB guitarist Fabian’s other band, Wild Zombie Blast Guide (WZBG), for a year before joining TNB. This meant Flip slotted neatly into the role, with no auditions needed. Said Christof, “Flip is great. Terrific drummer, very enthusiastic, well-organised… and kind of an energizer bunny. Dude is the youngest among us, by far. He was actually teching in the studio when we did ‘A Monster’s Life’ and yes, Fabs knew him before so he was drafted for WZBG”.
After doing all the work themselves on the first two albums, TNB brought in Jacob Hansen to produce ‘A Monster’s Life’, who had also mixed and mastered the third album ‘III: Cut Loose’. Christof explained that they had done as much as they possibly could on their own and wanted someone else to bounce ideas off. “If you want to go for the last 2%, you need an outside opinion or an opinion by someone who is good at having opinions on records and songs. That’s why even the biggest bands have a producer. It’s human nature to kind of lose sight of the big picture after a while. Great guy (and he is indeed good at having opinions!)”.
Here at DTF we’re always interested in different approaches to songwriting, so we picked Christof’s brain on the matter. We wanted to know how TNB write; do they start with a melody, riff, some lyrics? What comes first? “For the first three albums, Fabs and I compiled riffs and wrote structures and songs with them, followed by the vocals. For album four, Fabs wrote the songs and melodies starting with a set of lyrics. The new album will be done the same way, I guess. I might throw in some more riffs this time”. It sounds like TNB just do what comes naturally, and the results speak for themselves. Their albums are addictive, you can’t just have one!
Fabian has released a solo project ‘Who Brought The Dog?’ (WBTD) and DTF were wondering whether the other member of TNB had any solo projects in between writing for the new album and getting on with that thing called life! From what Christof said, they are all very busy, “Fabs has a couple of other projects: WBTD, WZBG, Vampyromorpha’. Flip has about 8 bands, it seems, some of them with Fabs. Lately, Flip and I also started playing with a cool project: Heavysaurus. That’s heavy metal for kids, played by dinosaurs. (Yes, you read that right.) It’s great fun. Here’s a glimpse: https://youtu.be/qcxq3RVf1gQ He is also on tour with Rock Meets Classic (www.rockmeetsclassic.de) as part of the orchestra. Fludid does acting (as he always had) and he recorded an album with a new band from Nuremberg. Günt usually lifts a lot of weights in his free time and rides his bike for miles on end”.
In August 2017, TNB played Summer Breeze for a very special 10th anniversary show, which included both live and acoustic sets. It looked like a brilliant gig, there is a fun little short movie on the band’s website capturing a few highlights of the show, together with some pictures. They’ve shared the stage with some pretty big names recently, including Europe and Extreme. DTF were keen to know who they would love to play with, that they haven’t yet to date, and where they would like to play.
Said Christof, “OK, can I shoot for the stars here? I would love to be able to say we played with Metallica. I would love to play in-the-round stage they have. Apart from that, the list is endless. As far as places go, I personally would like to play abroad more, I would love to go to Japan and return to South America where I was lucky enough to play as a member of Sinner a while ago. Oh, and one of those cruises would be nice to be a part of - as a musician, not for work”.
TNB have ‘A Monster’s Radio’ playlist on Spotify, which is what the guys happen to be listening to at the time, but DTF were keen to know who their musical influences are and the bands that they like; “… again, the list of influences is endless. I can’t speak for my comrades, but I can give you some bands they surely dig: Fabs loves Megadeth and Horse The Band, Fludid loves Faith No More and Tom Waits, Flip loves Black Stone Cherry and Millencolin, Günt loves Clutch and stuff with a lot of screams. My main influences as a musician are the classics: Lots of AC/DC and Metallica, Skid Row, Black Label Society and hours of jamming to blues records. I just wish I wasn’t too stupid for Fusion Jazz”.
Finally, for those that haven’t heard The New Black yet, we wondered who the band would compare themselves to, “Well, there are some bands that could be named, but naturally that feels limiting. We do try to achieve the holy trinity of groove, melody and heaviness. For the second record, we said Black Label Society bring the booze, Pantera spice it up, Thin Lizzy add some taste, and Alter Bridge smooth it over before Metallica turn it black…”
It’s likely to be some time before the fifth album from TNB is finalised, but in the meantime, check out ‘I: The New Black’, ‘II: Better In Black’, ‘III: Cut Loose’, and ‘IV: A Monster’s Life’, all available from the band’s website (link below).
The New Black are:-
Fludid - Vocals
Christof Leim - Guitar
Fabian Schwarz - Guitar
Günt Auschrat - Bass
Philipp ‘Flip’ Klinger - Drums
Find out more about The New Black here:-