Black Roze are a band who have become favourites amongst the HRH festival punters. Having performed at HRH Sleaze on several occasions the band have become well known for the exciting and somewhat visual live shows.
The British outfit recently released their debut album Spiritual Hell. Here at HRH Mag, and before the current lockdown situation, we sat down with the band’s lead guitarist Baz Roze and their enigmatic frontwoman Viixen to get the low down on their new record, their love of the HRH community and the mysterious Curse of the Black Roze.
The first thing I wanted to talk about is HRH in general as Black Roze are very much part of the HRH community. You’ve played HRH events several times. I know you were at HRH Sleaze just a few months back where you didn’t just turn up for the day, you spent the whole weekend in Sheffield and were very much part of the whole thing. So what was the highlight of HRH Sleaze III for you?
B: We also played last year as well and it was the same – we stayed for the whole weekend.
V: We went to the first-ever HRH Sleaze as punters. We said if we could play at any festival that would be the festival we would want to play. So the next year we got asked to play it.
B: And we couldn’t believe it when it turned up in our inbox. Would you guys like to play at HRH Sleaze? And we thought this is a joke surely. We were only talking about this, if there was one festival we would like to play, it would be that one.
V: We didn’t believe it until we were on the poster. The whole event – we love it. We love the music, we listen to DJ Foxz and Stevie Roxx (both on Hard Rock Hell Radio) a lot for that kind of music. That scene is what we love – the music we love to listen to and party to. So it’s being part of the whole event and then getting to play it. And afterwards, we got to meet the other bands too.
B: I mean the whole weekend, even meeting people like yourself. It’s well organized, you always get the tech sheets upfront. We get there and everyone was friendly.
You’ve played HRH a few times. We’ve got a lot of different events nowadays. I was just wondered are there any HRH events besides Sleaze that you’ve not played yet that maybe you would want to tick off the next time around?
V: I think we would appeal to an AOR crowd.
B: HRH Road Trip because I think the Ibiza event is a mixture of everything. We love the HRH brands really because I think what they are doing is giving a lot of underground bands the chance to play with the bigger guys on a big stage.
V: Our first radio play I think was a local radio station, but then the next one was Stevie Roxx wasn’t it?
B: The whole HRH brand we’re great believers in. Especially for guys like us who are sort of on the first or second rung of the ladder, if you know what I mean.
I got to see Black Roze in Sheffield recently. Your shows are very visual. Viixen, you play a massive part in that. Do you enjoy the more theatrical side of performing live?
V: Yeah I love that because it adds that other dimension to the performance. It shows the emotion and the theme around the music. It’s like if I go to watch a show and if everyone’s just stood there you don’t enjoy it the same, you want to see the emotion and share it and enjoy it. I think that’s the thing with us – you can tell we are enjoying every minute of it. The props and costumes and things like that are something I can do. When I’m building up to a gig, I sort of plan that all out.
I just wondered have you ever done anything like acting or performing on stage besides musically? Because you are very natural at performing on stage.
B: We did our first video, In The Darkness. It was based on a story of beating depression. Viixen was the leading lady. She wasn’t just the singer, she played the part of a woman trapped in a tunnel and then escaping from this church. We had her running across the field and falling over and she was an absolute natural doing all of the acting. Take after take, even though it was snowing, she was bang on it. She said yeah I could do it again with a smile on her face. She does like to be in front of the camera. She’s made for the stage and the camera.
V: I have always enjoyed that kind of thing. I think the thing was when I first started singing I didn’t have a great deal of confidence in my voice, this was about ten years ago when I started. So I thought if I put on the best show I possibly could then I don’t have to worry too much about my voice and I can put on that character. I’ve had vocal lessons and everything else, but even now I’ve still got that sort of thought that I’m going to perform the best I can. I think that was my original idea to just go out with confidence and just run around a crazy person, and put on the best show I can.
This whole idea of Viixen, it’s kind of like you’re balancing two different personas. You’ve got your normal day to day life as Victoria and then you’ve got your stage identity. Do you have to put yourself in a different mindset when you go on stage? I mean, you can’t walk into Tesco on the high street as Viixen, but when you go on stage do have to approach things differently?
V: Yeah, I think as soon as I put on those clothes. Viixen is a very confident person, whilst in real life, I’m not really, it helps me. I think that’s another reason why I like to do all the dressing up because then that helps me get into that role and then I’m not nervous about the performance. It’s funny, I started a new job because I’ve got a day job as well. I met everybody at work and I told them I was in a band and they looked it up and they said I can’t believe that’s you. I’m not going to come to work in my platform shoes and suspenders. There’s a lot of myself in there, otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to do it.
B: It’s her alter ego. You should have seen what she was wearing in Tesco the other day. It wasn’t too far off Adam.
You’ve got a new album out, which is your debut album Spiritual Hell. And the title itself immediately is quite thought-provoking. And I was just wondering what were you thinking about in particular when you came up with the title for this album?
V: Basically, our music is so diverse. When I tend to write lyrics it’s quite dark and about dark issues and my feelings and what I’ve been through and things like that. And so that was kind of the pain side of the music. And then Steve our bass player, because he’s another main songwriter, he writes happy stuff like Sleazy and Snow White Angel. Our music has these diverse themes. It’s not all about fun or dark stuff. So we wanted to sort of have this contrast of pleasure and pain. And sometimes when you’re feeling the pleasure you still feel the pain or if you’re in pain sometimes it can be pleasurable. So with Spiritual Hell it’s kind of like it’s dark, but hell could be spiritual. But you can also have hell when you are in a good place as well.
I wanted to ask you about the song The Curse of the Black Roze because it sounds like there is a bit of a story behind that one. So I was just wondering if you could kind of give us a little bit of an idea about the background to that song in particular.
V: When we got together as a band initially a lot of things happened like all of our relationships broke down, the relationships that we were originally in. Not at the same time, but over a while. We were like this band is cursed. I think sometimes you’ve got to be careful what you wish for because if you wish for a certain thing it might happen. It’s like the balance of pleasure and pain, wherever there is a little bit of pain there is pleasure, but where there is pleasure there is a little bit of pain. And we had the success of the band, but in our personal lives it all kind of fell apart. So we all went through a bit of a bad time.
What do you have planned in 2020?
B: There’s quite a lot in a pipeline. We’ve started writing for the second album and we got half a track down last Friday. So yeah, we just got the basis of the first track down and we’ve played it live. We’ve also got dozens of ideas and small snippets of a dozen other songs. There’s lots of songwriting going on in the background. So we’re going to write the album and it probably won’t be until 2021 when we get it out. We are going to write the album and gig as much as we can those songs. Because even the stuff on the album on Spiritual Hell, the more you gig a song, the more it evolves.
V: Even though we just put the album out, sometimes we play those songs differently. They evolve as you play them. I think the start of next year is going to be pushing this album.
B: Our manager is arranging a tour for us in April/early May. We’ve got three other bands that he is in talks with and everyone’s agreed. He’s just sorting out the dates at the moment, we’ve got a few come through that were confirmed last week. Probably weekends, Friday, Saturdays and Sundays for four or five weeks. We’ve got a few festivals already booked.
V: We want to do a few more proper feature videos such as the one we did for In The Darkness.
B: I’m halfway through a video for Soul on Fire. There’s a bit of animation going into that because I did the editing on all of the videos, so I’m halfway through doing that. So there’s that, there is songwriting, there is a tour and there are festivals and we are open to any other festivals. So yeah, very busy.
Spiritual Hell by Black Roze is out now. To order the album or details of their forthcoming tour dates please visit https://blackroze.wixsite.com/website.
Words and Photos by Adam Kennedy