BLACK LAKES - THE DIVIDE (EP REVIEW & INTERVIEW)
BLACK LAKES debut single ‘The Divide’, produced by Romesh Dodangoda and exclusively broadcast on the Down the Front Podcast on 28th September 2018, is “about rejecting the predetermined path laid out in front of you by mainstream society. It’s about demanding your individuality in a world hell bent on making you the same”. Based on the band’s collective personal experience and persistent, bitter disappointment at being let down by those holding positions of power and authority, ‘The Divide’ is a pretty good assessment of what a lot of people feel about what is happening in society today, and is the titular track from a three track EP, with the band planning to release each of the tracks independently as a stand alone single with an accompanying video.
Made up of Will S. Preston on lead vocals, Scott Bradshaw and James Rowlands on guitars/vocals, Lee Harris on bass and Dafydd Fuller on drums, Black Lakes formed in 2016 after Scott, James and Lee, who had worked together in previous projects, came together with Will and Dafydd, who responded to an online ad (“possibly by looking at the band’s Tinder profile!”). Prior to the release of ‘The Divide’ EP, the band uploaded demos onto their YouTube channel, the second of which, ‘Deathrone’ has received almost 2,000 views and many positive comments and feedback. There is still a chance to see the demos before they are replaced with new videos; you can find the YouTube link below.
The writing process in Black Lakes is definitively a unified one. Individually they find they are continually writing and recording new material in their home studios, which they then bring to the group. Scott tends to create the musical core of most of the songs, which James then adds to. Will, James and Scott usually work as a trio on the melody and lyrics. They say, “Once the main core of the song is there, we take it to the live setting where Lee and Daf add their own thoughts and ideas. The collaborative nature of how we’re working is changing as confidence grows”. The members of Black Lakes each have slightly different musical influences and bands they listen to; James lists Alice in Chains, Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam as influences. Scott goes for the same first two, also listing Tool, System of a Down and Radiohead. Dafydd names Tool, Black Sabbath, Gojira and Rush whilst Will cites HIM, Evanescence, Deftones, Incubus and Korn. Lee clearly has more eclectic taste and goes with Acid Bath, Iron Monkey, Turbonegro, Electric Wizard, and Uncle Acid and the Dead Beats. When the band members listen back to their fledgling recordings, they say can hear how their musical influences affect their overall sound, but don’t think they necessarily sound like any one of them in particular, more that they can hear how listening to certain music has shaped the Black Lakes style. As for music the band listen to right now, they mention Beartooth, Architects, Dead Letter Circus, Of Mice and Men, Skyharbor, Skating Polly, Hands Like Houses and Myrkur. Aside from music, which is play time for those in the band that are parents, a few of the guys are gamers and like to chill out by playing Mario Kart (Scott), Hearthstone (James), PUBG and Overwatch (Will). Dafydd’s very much music focussed, whether that be playing, producing or recording, and Lee is apparently “an amazing chef and brewer, his skills being invaluable on tour”, we’re unsure whether that’s the chef part, the brewer part or a combination of the two!
By working with Romesh Dodangoda to create their debut EP, Black Lakes say, “We’ve already achieved what we set out to achieve in 2018 by recording with Romesh and producing something we’re so proud of”. Looking ahead to next year, what does that hold in store for the ebullient five-piece? “We’ll be recording the follow up to our EP, booking gigs and festivals and building more momentum in the physical and digital world”. They are currently busy rehearsing their live set and are already booked to play The Patriot in Crumlin, South Wales on 8th June, 2019, and will be booking more gigs in the very near future. They would like to play festivals such as Steelhouse, Bloodstock, Amplifies, 2000 Trees and Greenman, and obviously in an ideal world, Download, Reading and Glastonbury!
Although Black Lakes is a relatively new band, between them, the band members have a wealth of experience from being on the circuit over the past decade, so we asked them what advice they would offer bands just starting to play live. They said “…live is always great fun but in the digital age you really need to think about your online presence, as well as being a tight outfit with good sound. Create a presence online, speak with and listen to your fans…you can engage with them so much more easily…create cool unique content and play targeted live gigs. As Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) said, ‘try and create the coolest thing you can come up with’. That’s what we’re trying to do”.
The first song on the ‘The Divide’ EP is ‘Dissident’, which taken literally means (a person) opposed to official policy, especially that of an authoritarian state. There’s a really cool intro with understated guitar and low rumbling bass before a shredding riff explodes onto the scene, accompanied by bold, thwacking drums. Will’s sublime vocal has a beautiful tone as it starts off quite soft then builds. As the chorus approaches, a screamed vocal is added to it; the layering of these is a delight to my ears. The lyrics are perfect for the title too, “In spite of you, I will not fade into a world played by you”. The heavy chugging guitar riffs are balanced out perfectly by the driving rhythm section, and an outro rounds the song off perfectly.
‘Ghosts (of our memories)’ begins with a real earworm of a jingling riff, before the powerhouse rhythm section of Dafydd on melodious, driving drums and Lee on grungy bass make themselves know. James and Scott on guitars complement each other perfectly as melting melodies and complex rising licks are traded. This song has gorgeous, haunting vocals that are emotive and raw, full of pain and anguish, breathing life into the poignant lyrics. It’s blissful, atmospheric and I can’t stop listening to it!
Debut single ‘The Divide’ opens with hard hitting, thunderous drums and a killer, chugging riff with grinding bass. The vocals are soaring, engaging and full of angst. “Father…forgive them for the lives they have stolen” It’s poetic, melodic, anthemic; I can imagine this being played live and really getting the crowd going. I want nothing more than to go to a Black Lakes gig right now…and it’s the middle of the morning! This song has a massive sound, and like the other songs on this EP, the production is great. This EP grabbed me by the throat and I loved every second!
Will S. Preston - Lead vocals
Scott Bradshaw - Guitar/vocals
James Rowlands - Guitar/vocals
Lee Harris - Bass
Dafydd Fuller - Drums
The Divide Track listing:-
Ghosts (of our memories)
Find out more about Black Lakes here:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Blacklakes/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/BlackLakesUK
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/blacklakes.uk/
YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCydnMaC2LtXEoQss_rhQO7w