“Honest hooks and songs from the heart” – an interview with Tommy Crisis from The Blacklist Saints
The Blacklist Saints are a Midlands four-piece who deal out songs from the heart and more hooks than a BHS sale rail. Their self titled EP was a four track dabbling in honest rock n’ roll, punk rock and a pinch of the harder stuff.
It’s not been an easy year for The Blacklist Saints as you’ll soon read. Despite having won a Pure Rawk Award last year for “Best New Band”, they’ve had a year of limbo. However, determination and a new bassist have meant that they are now in a good place to work on a new album.
Nix speaks to vocalist, Tommy Crisis about their last year, new album plans and the perfectionist writing process and the creation of a new cocktail.
N: Tell us about the past year for the Blacklist Saints. You’ve had a little line up shuffle?
T: Yeah we have. We parted ways with our old bassist Ian Savage in the summer. It was really amicable. A lot of people say that but in this case it really was. To prevent too many gig cancellations we brought in a session player to fill in for a show or two. His name is James Barratt and we were very happy when he decided to stay. We were meant to tour the Autumn and Winter of last year but we had to pull all those plans until we had finalised the line-up.
N: A rather neat video surfaced too!
T: We were very excited to work with AshTV. What was meant to be a Summer shoot ended up being delayed until the end of the year (again) because of the line-up change. But it worked out great. It was a great way of us to relaunch ourselves after such an unplanned quiet period. Now it’s all building towards the album which has been in the pipeline for what seems forever. But it is coming. … honestly!
N: With new members sometimes comes new influences / a little change in direction – will James bring anything different to TBS table?
T: He is an incredible musician and he really has pushed us all forward as musicians. Between him and Matt the rhythmic element has grown in leaps and bounds. Me and Luke are just these punk rockers trying to keep up!
N: I guess after a limbo spell – just what you needed. Have you started on any tracks for the future album?
T: Yeah it feels really good in the Blacklist Saints camp at the minute. I am neck deep in writing the album. We are playing a couple of new tracks on Friday night (Pure Rawk Awards). We are working really hard to make sure that the album is something really special. Every song is being written and rewritten. The perfectionist in me is driving everyone crazy! It’s a really interesting mix of songs as well. It’s going to catch people a little off guard.
N: Have you got anything influencing the writing process? Be it other bands, times in life?
T: As a songwriter I’ve always written from personal experiences. I’ve always been into bands and songwriters who are honest. As a band we pull in a lot of influences. This will reflect on the next record – everything from Rancid, Social Distortion through to Biffy (Clyro) and Five Finger Death Punch.
N: Looking forward to hearing it just from that description! Talking about your own musical journey through other bands you’ve been in, not just TBS – what’s been the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
T: I think like a lot of musicians on this level, it’s the simple requirements of trying to make ends meet. There are so many great bands on the underground working hard and driving the length of the country every week getting very little in return. I guess its just juggling jobs around shows. But I wouldn’t change anything. It’s what I do because it’s what I love. Breaking down in mid Winter at 2 am on the M6 is character building!
N: I did “LOL” at that. Not at your misfortune, just the upside you saw in it.
T: I love it. Just getting in the van and going. It’s a great life.
N: Will the album be a self release?
T: I very much guess it will be. No one has offered to release it yet! The big question for us really us do we pledge it or not. W are still unsure if it’s for us.
N: Times have changed I guess – it’s much easier to get the music out there, even on the usual download sites.
T: For smaller bands the landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years. I think the change is really healthy. It means the hard working bands can now make a living or at least sustain themselves far easier than they used to. The internet has really negated the need for big corporate support and anyone can release music. Bands don’t necessarily need labels to survive. There will always be an audience for credible and hard working artists. Its not a given and its not easy but artists like Ginger Wildheart have proved that if you provide the people with great quality music then the people will look after you and do their best to support your continuation of this.
N: What does the rest of 2014 have in store? I guess its just getting that album out?
T: The priority really is the next album. We have a few shows booked but after that its to get the record in the can then tour the hell out of it! It’s almost written. I’ve been saying this for months but I promise it’s true! We won’t let anything out that we aren’t 100% happy with. 99% won’t cut it.
N: Final one for you. If The Blacklist Saints was a drink, what would make up a “Blacklist Saint”?
T: Double shot of spiced rum, double shot of gin and a nice colourful umbrella. Something equal parts intriguing and horrible.
More info on The Blacklist Saints and to grab a copy of their self titled EP visit www.theblacklistsaints.com
You can catch The Blacklist Saints opening the 2014 Pure Rawk Awards. Limited tickets available for only £6! Click here to grab yours.