In an interview first published in HRH Mag Issue XI, HRH Mag’s John Ellis spoke with Blakshine…

Hello Blakshine! How are you and where do we find you today?

Yeah we’re great thanks, we have been rehearsing for a showcase gig and also working on some new tracks that we are pretty excited about. We are based at a recording studio in Mansfield called the Old Library. That’s where we write and record.

You’re about to hit a 10-year anniversary as a band, did you have a plan of attack starting out? 

Our plan was to write the best, hardest and grooviest tunes we could imagine, calling upon all the best aspects of the band. When you are an original band and you have been around the block, it can be hard to be heard over the local circuit. Our ambition is to have an audience, who may never have heard your tune, love it by the time you get to the end. Big hooks and great riffs and pounding rhythm. The music was always the thing. Not image or bluster. We have stuck to that credo and the feedback we get from people reflects what we set out to do

What advice would you give new bands right now so they can try to hit the ten-year mark?

We had a pretty slow start trying to find a singer, which was the right decision. My advice would be to try and secure the best possible line up you can find. Blakshine, I believe, has all sections of the band firing on 6 cylinders! A monster rhythm section with Dave Lindley (formerly of Savage – a band I’m still active with) and Tony Butterworth whose bass playing and sound are off the scale – Fender P bass and Ampeg rig!! Rick Gilliat was last to join. He has a fabulous voice, great sense of melody and plays guitar too when called upon.

Do not compromise and concentrate on the writing. The world loves great songs with great singers, whatever genre.

What sort of difficulties did you have?

We have been very fortunate in having good players, access to a great recording studio and worked with great engineers. Our tracks despite being recorded on a tiny budget can stand up to bigger acts, no problem.

We use the best kit we can get our hands on too. The only difficulty is that a band of our generation (we ain’t kids!) is playing live in the right places to the right audiences. Audiences often want to listen to stuff they grew up with i.e. covers and tributes. You’re kind of seen as second status to that in some contexts which is frustrating, to say the least. That’s why HRH and other outlets are so important for bands to get heard

You recently released the Lightning Tree EP, how do you approach writing new music?

Nearly always start with the music, trying to create a hooky riff underpinned by a powerful groove and then place the vocal melodies over it. But the vocals are probably the most important part in terms of communicating. We continue to write all the time, it never gets tired

So what’s next for Blakshine?

 We are planning an EP launch in our home town – hopefully December and drafting in some female backing singers too! We used a couple on the track Mercy and it really lifted it.  Possibly release a new single in the Spring and get out to play more live shows.

Hard Rock Hell Radio prides itself on showcasing brand new and unsigned bands, who should we be looking out for?

Well I’m not sure they are classed as new but for me, the best young British band by far would be the Virginmarys. I know the guys Ally and Danny, they are such great artists and lovely people – check ‘em out. They are playing some dates in December. I will be there!

Thanks for talking to me today, any last words?

Other than to say thanks to HRH I would urge rock fans to check out and actively support new bands (as well as old ones!). Where are the next monsters of rock going to come from unless we celebrate new acts? It would be great for a British band to break big in the mainstream because it will suck many more bands into the limelight. Also lookout for a new Savage album next year – we have done a couple of tracks with Mike Exeter which will be on there. Give Blakshine a listen – I dare you not to like it!! Haha

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