Hawthorne Heights on Instagram
This Friday the 23rd June Blackstar endorsees Hawthorne Heights will be taking over the official Blackstar Instagram account and bringing you a behind the scenes look at 24 hours on tour with the band. Hawthorne Heights are currently on the Vans Warped Tour and will bring you an exclusive, behind the scenes look as the tour heads to Las Vegas. Keep an eye on our account on the 23rd for an intriguing look into life on the road with Hawthorne Heights.
Its Glastonbury Festival this weekend. The five-day festival takes place in Pilton, Somerset and is the largest greenfield festival in the world. It is attended by around 175,000 people and first took place in 1970, back then it was known as Pilton Festival. This year it will be the 35th festival and promises to be as popular as ever. Blackstar artists performing this year include Kodaline, Birdy, Shame, Ray BLK, Wormrot, Hacktivist, Carl Barat and the Jackals plus many more. For more information on the festival visit http://www.glastonburyfestivals.co.uk
Guitars on the Beach 2017
This weekend on Saturday 17th of June, Guitars On The Beach will take place at Lyme Regis beach and will see the record bid for the most guitarist playing one song together. The songs this year will be Rave On and In The Summertime and Guitars On The Beach 2017 is once again gearing up to be one of the UK’s biggest unique live events of the year. There will be a special appearance from Ray Dorset from Mungo Jerry who will be leading the record attempt which takes place at 5pm. There will also be bands playing throughout the day and Blackstar will be providing the backline and demonstrating amps all day. So why not come and join in to help us set a new UK record and try and beat the World Record! For more information and to join Britain’s biggest band, visit www.facebook.com/guitarsonthebeach and sign up free at www.guitarsonthebeach.com
Download Festival 2017
Download Festival is the UK’s premier rock festival. Held annually at Donington Park in Leicestershire it has expanded into a three day rock extravaganza since it was conceived in 2003 as a follow up to the Monsters of Rock festivals. The festival kicks off this week and Blackstar artists will be there in full force including Ministry, Hacktivist, The King Blues, Simple Plan, Code Orange, Wednesday 13, Venom Prison, Aaron Buchanan & The Cult Classics, Otherkin and many more. For more information on the festival visit http://downloadfestival.co.uk
Carl Barat and The Jackals
Carl Barat and The Jackals released their latest EP last week ‘Harder They Fall’ to rave reviews and are currently on tour in support of the EP. The tour sees the band play ten dates across the UK including Camden Rocks festival this weekend. Both Carl and guitarist Billy Tessio are using an Artisan 30, HT Club 40 VP and a S1-412. The band will be back out on tour throughout the year including appearances at Glastonbury and Beyond the Tracks Festival. For more information visit https://www.carlbaratandthejackals.com
Wednesday 13 European Tour 2017
Wednesday 13 is releasing his seventh studio album, ‘Condolences’ on June 2nd and will be touring Europe to support the new album. The tour kicks off in Germany this Sunday and will be culminating at Download Festival on the 10th of June. Guitarist Jack Tankersley will be using a Series One stack as always. For more information on the tour and the new album visit http://officialwednesday13.com
Ministry European Tour 2017
Ministry will be kicking off their European tour next week. The godfathers of industrial music have been a major influence on countless bands and are still going strong after being formed way back in 1981 by founding member Al Jourgensen. They will be playing sixteen dates across Europe including appearances at Download Festival in both the UK and Spain. Both guitarist Al Jourgensen and Sin Quirin will be using Series One stacks. For more information on the band and the tour visit http://ministryband.com
Camden Rocks 2017
Camden Rocks Festival is due to take place on the 3rd of June and this year it promises to be bigger and better than ever. The one day festival is staged in twenty-five different venues across North London’s Camden area. Blackstar will be providing equipment to be used in many of the iconic venues including the Electric Ballroom, Koko, and The Monarch. Blackstar artists will also be there in force this year with bands such as The Professionals, The King Blues, Fizzy Blood, Losers, The Soap Girls and many more. For more information on the festival visit http://camdenrocksfestival.com
Venom Prison - Golden Gods Awards
Blackstar endorsees, Venom Prison are nominated for this year’s Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards for Best New Band. Both guitarist use HT Metal 100 stacks and are currently on a European tour supporting Official Darkest Hour. For your chance to vote visit: http://2017.goldengods.teamrock.com/
Yellow Arch Studios
Since opening, Yellow Arch has been operating successfully as a recording studio, equipment hire, teaching studio, band rehearsal facility and occasional party venue. It has established a great reputation as a key player in the music industry, both in Sheffield and further afield. Most famously known as the birthplace of Arctic Monkeys, the studio has produced albums by a diverse number of artists including Richard Hawley, Kylie Minogue, Jarvis Cocker and Duane Eddy. Blackstar is very proud to be the official amp sponsors of Yellow Arch Studios and there is now an array of Blackstar amps in their rehearsal rooms, studio and in the live venue. So get down to Yellow Arch and check out their superb facilities and Blackstar amps.
Smoked & Uncut Festival
The Smoked & Uncut festivals will be taking place this summer with nine festival dates held between June and September, across The Pig and Lime Wood hotels. Set to an eclectic soundtrack, two stages will play host to a line up including the Noisettes, The Blockheads, Ward Thomas, Dr Feelgood and many more. Blackstar will be providing amps for all the festival dates and with a relaxed atmosphere, great music, a passion for great food and all within the New Forest setting the festivals promise to be a highlight of the summer. In conjunction with Smoked & Uncut, Blackstar will be giving away two tickets to a festival of your choice along with a Fly3 amp. Keep an eye on Blackstar’s Facebook page for your chance to win.
Mike Peters - The Alarm - Facebook Takeover
Mike Peters from The Alarm will be live on Blackstar’s Facebook page this Friday the 28th at 7.30pm (GMT). Mike will be performing a few songs, answering questions and talking about their upcoming UK and US tour plus the Vans Warped Tour. Also, from 11pm (GMT) Mike will be taking over Blackstar’s Facebook live from Looney Tunes Records in Babylon, New York to celebrate the release of their rare Record Store Day indie exclusive vinyl soundtrack to the documentary film “Man in the Camo Jacket”. Members of the Love Hope Strength organisation will be on hand doing swabs checking for eligibility for bone marrow donors. It’s a completely voluntary swap and a wonderful organisation. For more information on Mike Peters and the Love Hope Strength Foundation visit http://thealarm.com
Explosive and guttural, Fizzy Blood are aptly named and causing a stir. Releasing their debut EP ‘Feast” in 2015 to widespread praise the band followed this with a formidable live run of shows including support slots with Allusondrugs, The Virginmarys and The Dead Kennedys. They are about to take 2017 by storm and guitarist Benji Inkley and Paul Howells recently visited Blackstar HQ to try a range of amps and will be using an Artisan 30 and a HT Club 50 rig on their upcoming nineteen date run as support to While She Sleeps. This summer will also see Fizzy Blood kick off a hefty festival schedule which will include Camden Rocks, Download, 2000 Trees and Tramlines with more to be announced. The band is also working on their next release which is due later this year so watch this space as Fizzy Blood, powered by Blackstar amps, are set to make one hell of a dent on the UK music scene.
Gutterdammerung - London Palladium
Gutterdammerung, the rock ’n’ roll/film/gig concept from the mind of visual artist Bjorn Tagemose is taking place at the Palladium Theatre in London next week for what will be the first UK appearance of the show this year. Gutterdammerung is part rock show part immersive cinema experience featuring some of the biggest rock names on the planet including Iggy Pop, Grace Jones, Henry Rollins, Lemmy, Joshua Homme and Slash. It is known as the loudest silent movie on earth. Thanks to music director Kevin Armstrong (Iggy Pop’s guitarist) who is a longterm Blackstar endorsee, Gutterdammerung is powered by Blackstar amps. Both guitarist Kevin and Chris Jones are using Series One 1046L6 rigs. For more information visit http://gutterdammerung.com
Venom Prison Interview
Renowned as Britain’s best young death metal band Venom Prison released their debut album, Animus, last year to rave reviews and with a live show to match it has seen the band nominated for the Best New Band award at this years Metal Hammer Golden God awards. We caught up with guitarist Ash Gray to discuss the Blackstar gear used by the band, the making of the album, touring and plans for the future.
Where did it all begin for Venom Prison?
We were all in bands previous to Venom Prison but those bands either broke up or members left their previous band. Myself (Ash) and Larissa got talking about how we’ve always played in hardcore bands and how it would be new and a different approach for us to try and create a metal band, so I started demoing material and spoke to the other members of Venom Prison to see if they’d be down for joining.
You released your debut album, Animus, last year. Can you give us some details on the recording process?
We recorded the album at Vagrant Recordings in Southport with Tom Dring who we instantly clicked with. The album took 6 days in total for tracking. We slept in the studio and started at 9am and would finish up at 4am some days then repeat. When the cabin fever kicks in you really start losing your mind. Personally I feel that’s what adds to the emotion you put into a record, sometimes the most creative things you think of are at the times when your brain can’t even compute but something in your thought process spews out some insanity you would have never of thought of before.
Any plans for the next album?
We have already started writing for our next record, you can’t really sit on an album thinking “oh I’ll write another one when I have to” if you don’t have a constant flow of writing you won’t improve yourself and keep that consistency and progression in your writing. I’m always hungry to write more songs as it is, I’m not saying that’s how it works for everyone but for myself personally this works.
How does the writing process work within the band?
The band gets together with a bunch of ideas, even if it’s a drum pattern to help start a guitar idea or vice versa. We then demo it in a home studio where we can take a step back and listen to what we’ve created. Once we are happy with it, we will go into a room and practice it live then back to the home studio to tweak certain parts. This process pretty much goes back and forth till we are satisfied with what we have.
Do you feel more at home in the studio or on the stage?
I can’t really compare them as I have a strong liking towards both, they both offer different experiences. Studio you watch what you have created get built up section by section until you see the final results which are an unexplainable feeling. The stage you get to show that off but thirty times louder to people that already like the music you’ve released or new people discovering the band. They both go hand in hand.
What Blackstar equipment are you currently using?
I and Ben (Thomas) are using the Blackstar HT-Metal and the HT Metal 412 guitar cabinets.
What made you switch to Blackstar?
We had the pleasure of visiting Blackstar in Northampton for a day to test out equipment, I tried a bunch of heads that I really liked however once I plugged into the HT-Metal 100 I knew this machine would be perfect for the sound Venom Prison needs. I’ve been searching for an amp that can give me the low-end resonance but maintain note definition and clarity, having the two HT-Metal amplifiers play side by side live really cuts through the mix and complements each other perfectly. I haven’t really found a balance as good as this with another amplifier till now.
How was the recent tour with Suicide Silence?
The tour was a success for Venom Prison, we took the tour completely oblivious to how it would be for the band. It was an opportunity to play to a crowd that probably have never heard of the band, the response to the shows and compliments online were positive.
It was your first tour using Blackstar, how did you find the gear on tour?
Great, the Blackstar equipment made the guitar tones sound huge every night. We took out full stack cabinets just to make sure it was loud enough.The gear on tour worked flawlessly every evening and not a single problem arose which is a rare thing to say.
Do you have a favourite country outside of the UK that you enjoy playing the most?
Only being a band for around 2 years now, we haven’t really visited many places twice yet, still discovering what places are the best for the band but generally speaking anywhere in Germany is normally a good show.
Do you have a favourite song to play live?
I can’t really pinpoint one song if I’m honest, they all offer something unique and different throughout the set. Our live set doesn’t have any breaks it’s either song into song or sample then into a song so it feels relentless from start to finish.
What does the future hold for Venom Prison?
This month we leave for our tour with Darkest Hour across UK and Europe, as for Festivals we have Ieper Festival, Void Festival and Download announced. More shows, tours and festivals are to be announced shortly. For recording I can not say a definite date/estimate but we are currently writing and working towards it.