Interview: Blackest – “Scumsuckers” and Brooklyn Badittude

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, September 8, 2014 at 4:51 PM (PST)


Blackest are the latest Brooklyn band to roar through the underground like an angry lion, bringing real spirit and energy to each song and performance. Click HERE for an interview with a band who could tangle with nearly any hardcore or metal band and come out unscathed.


Blackest are:

Mike Beaujean
James Dowell
Wilson Flores
Chris Marotta
John Sokorai

Y’know, there are so many bands from Brooklyn that are supposed to be awesome. But you guys actually are. Well, and Tidal Arms. They are pretty good too. haha. But seriously, how does it feel reppin nyc and actually having balls? What is the secret recipe to your sound?


WF: There’s a lot of great music that comes out of here so I’m happy to be a part of this community. I don’t think there’s any real recipe to our sound, it all just comes out naturally. Sometimes we prepare riffs at home and sometimes we will go into a practice cold.. at the end of the day, it’s all about having feeling and feeding off of each other. Mike and I have been working with each other for a long time so we sort of know what each other is thinking when we write. I like dark, groovy shit and I think you can hear that. Chris’ vocal style has a lot to do with it too.


CM: When it came to what “our sound” was going to be I think the only thing we decided on was that you should be able to drink beer and bang your head to it.


JD: Over-saturation definitely comes with the territory in big market cities, so it feels awesome when at times we see this here band resonate with the community. As for our sound, no real definitive recipe. We all write collectively where the process, overall, happens pretty organically. Once we get that “hell yes” moment after a riff or a part, where we all look at each other and laugh like idiots, we know it’s on.


Personal interests on your facebook says “chaos, vegas, aliens”. did you like that movie Cowboys and Aliens from a few years ago? I still havent watched it because I loved the name and was worried I would be disappointed, like a hooker named candy apple who gives you the clap. I love Harrison ford and just couldn’t take it if it was a bad movie, y’know?


CM: That movie was a major let down for me. I remember people hyping it up: “DUDE it’s Cowboys VS Aliens!” and I remember thinking “why is that cool?” Maybe if it were Ridley Scott’s Alien VS. a family on the Oregon Trail I would get excited about it. Harrison Ford was typical late career grumbly Harrison Ford. I love him too, hell our first shirt was an Indiana Jones shirt, but really I don’t think he’s done anything notable since Air Force One.


WF: Would have been better if everyone was naked.


JD: Should have been called Hookers and Apples and Tomatoes.


WF: Yes, Tomatoes.




How did you end up opening for High On Fire recently? I love when HoF play with bands that are a little more punk rock. I saw them with The Bronx once and it was so fuckin’ great.


CM: Honestly it all happened so fast. Converse has a several studios throughout the US and Canada that they basically open up for bands to record for free. If you apply and if get picked you get a free day of recording and you keep all the rights to whatever you do. It’s pretty awesome. As a part of that Converse got High On Fire to headline the first ever “RubberTracks” tour and apparently they hand picked us to open for them. I think our jaws all dropped when they told us that High On Fire picked us specifically – really a huge honor.


WF: Chris, your answers are good.


JD: Yep Chris, you covered it well.


How did Blackest form? Were you all made back stage at those Blackest of The Black Danzig shows a number of years ago? Like how Eddie Vedder says his parents made him listening to Neil Young but it’s “Dirty Black Summer” for you guys? Can we write a hipster metal song called “Dirty Black Summer of 69″ together and I’ll do guest vocal pop harmonies? Sorry, I am out of weed and buggin’. This is stupid. you’d only be like 6 years old or however long ago that tour was.


WF: We met at a Temallica concert wearing the best Temallica shirts. I’ve known Chris and Mike for a pretty long time so when they invited me to jam I was pretty excited. John and Jimmy are ok, I guess.


CM: “Dirty Black Summer of 69″ actually has a nice ring to it. We have a history of making joke songs into real songs so don’t tempt me. We actually formed out of a drunken joke between Mike, our guitarist, and I. I had also joked with Jimmy about starting a band when we used to work together. I managed to get the two of them into a room together and the first version of Scumsuckers was born. Wilson and John jumped on right after that. Honestly, I never expected everyone to get along so well – we all have the same stupid sense of humor so I think that’s really the best part of it all.


JD: It for real felt like something out of High School. Chris and I used to work together and talked music all day vs. actually doing any work. We really wanted to start a metal band and Mike (who Chris knew grouping up) ended up being available to jam, so Chris really brokered the entire meet and greet. We jammed together and it sucked haha. Couldnt get into a groove. But then Mike was like, I have this riff (what eventually became “Scumsuckers”) and then BOOM! TUFF ACTIN TINACTIN. About a month later Wilson and Johnny Beardo, who we both knew either from work or growing up joined the idiot train.


What are some common themes in your songs and are you perfectionists or realists?


CM: Lyrically all of the songs tell a story. I’ve always admired songwriters who bring scenes to life with little nuances while still leaving it very open to interpretation. I think Tom Waits is the king of this – often when I’m struggling with a song I’ll dissect some of his songs for inspiration. There’s also an element of social commentary that is channeled through absurdity and humor in all our songs. I never want to beat anyone over the head with it but I think it’s pretty obvious what themes we hit when you read the lyrics.


WF: Anti-realist.


JD: Idiocy
Is there a classic record you all agree on or a rockumentary, like Spice World? I think I’m asking some dumb questions because I’ve done a lot of “unity” type interviews and political ones lately. So, also…how can we have more unity and social impact in “the scene”?


WF: I get all my Sumac at Spice World actually.


CM: I think our immediate answer would be Slaughter of the Soul or Jane Doe but the closet answer is Alive or Just Breathing – except for John…he has probably never listened to it.


JD: My main goal for this band is to have a mini Stonehenge be politely placed, center stage, at one of our shows (points if you get the reference). As far as social unity is concerned, don’t be a noob. Come out to shows, and be respectful for the love of music not because it’s the place to be or thing to do, ya dig?


Do you feel like NYC still has a pulse? I think you can always find a good New York if you hunt for it.


CM: As long as New York it remains a cultural melting pot and every good venue/music store isn’t replaced by a yogurt shop or Starbucks it will always have a pulse. I think for independent/local music Manhattan is mostly dead. It’s a shame because I still have a really romantic view of Manhattan and it’s history. We just played ABC No Rio (in Manhattan) for the second time last week and it’s been incredible both times. It’s a different feeling actually being in Manhattan..there’s something scummy about it that fits our music well. I hope people continue to value and support institutions like that. On the same note I can’t imagine what the Brooklyn metal scene would be without places like St. Vitus and The Acheron. Most cities don’t have places like that so we are very lucky to have two in the same 5mi radius.


JD: NYC will always have a pulse. In my opinion it will always be an undisputed force in terms of culture and arts. Currently, I think all eyes have been directed towards the boroughs off the island (most notably Brooklyn), but with time I can see Manhattan bringing back the pain with killer underground spots.


What are some goals for the band on the horizon and any favorite tunes to play live?


WF: Right now we’re working on writing a LP and figuring out what we want to do as far as recording goes. We might plan a small winter tour with one of our buddy bands as well. The main goal is to keep getting better, hopefully everything else falls into place. Favorite tune to play would have to be either “Scumsuckers” or one of the new jams we’ve been playing out recently (no title yet). I also want to score a goal, like, a soccer goal.
CM: I really like to play “The Parish” (the song we recorded at RubberTracks) live. It’s the kind of song that warrants a mic stand – I don’t know why but I dig it. One of my main goals once we finish the LP is to get it pressed on vinyl. That way I can scare my grand kids.


WF: Your kids will lose their kids once people find out what kind of family they are being raised in. I will adopt them as my own, and never let you seen them.


JD: We’re currently working on an LP, so we’ve been pretty focused and heads down on that. As for live tunes, “Scumsuckers”, “Ghost in the Hand” and “The Parish” are my personal faves. They all have great dynamic, energy and are stupid awesome to play on the ‘ol drums.


Photos by Jammi Sloan York

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