Well here we are! I’ve finally gotten around to talking about Blaqk Audio! I have wanted to do it since January 4th, but I’ve been so busy, and then I got sick, which I still am, it’s moved on to my throat and ears now, but with enough vitamin C and other fluids, I should be fine. I’m also happy to see that people are actually reading this! At the time of my first draft of this piece, I had no readers and now I see that I have had a few readers each day. I know, that’s not much, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. So I will go on writing about music and wait and see how many people start getting into it. I think that is what I really want out of this, to talk about music I love with other people who also love music as much as I do. I wouldn’t even mind a healthy debate over an artist or song. This blog makes me happy and its something that I really look forward to and that is what is important.
So for part two of my side project pieces, I have chosen Blaqk Audio, whose members are Davey Havok and Jade Puget, one half of my favorite alternative band, AFI. While there is no exact date as to when the idea for Blaqk Audio was hatched, both members agree it was around 2001 or 2002, at first just being an idea and then growing into a few songs written here and there and finally an album, which was released in 2007, entitled CexCells. If you hear the first single from CexCells, “Stiff Kittens” it really does sound like a Depeche Mode song, but that’s only because this project is heavily influenced by Depeche Mode and other artists from the synth/electronic/electronica genre such as The Cure, Duran Duran, BT, Underworld, Paul Oakenfold, The Chemical Brothers, Pet Shop Boys, and the list really does go on. I think what I love most about AFI and Blaqk Audio is that the members of the band are huge, huge, fans of music. When I am looking for new music to listen to, I will try to find an AFI interview somewhere and see what the guys have been listening to lately so that I can check it out for myself. That to me is what makes me appreciate certain bands, is how dedicated they are to music in general as well as their own band. I know that most bands are huge fans of music, but a lot of them only stick to one genre, usually the one they play, so its really great to hear that bands like AFI love just about everything out there. It makes me feel like less of a freak for not being able to stick to just one or two different genres of music.
Before I go any further, nowadays I always see people talking about artists that rip off sounds from other artists. Like for instance Blaqk Audio sounding like Depeche Mode is considered by some to be ripping the latter off. My question is what exactly are bands ripping off from other bands? Its music, and the only way to evolve as an artist is by adopting other sounds and styles. That is called being influenced, kids. Ripping off is taking a melody or a lyric directly and without asking. Just because a band uses synthesizers in a certain style doesn’t mean that band is stealing from anyone else. I wish I knew how to make people understand that music is such a vast landscape of styles that to try to keep one sound attached to just one artist is as easy as picking out your favorite star in the sky. I don’t know what it is with society today having the intense need to label absolutely everything, but music can not be completely labeled and packaged in pretty little boxes. If it was, then music would quickly become boring, as no one would be able to experiment with other sounds for fear of being sued for copyright infringement. It’s just not something that is possible, and to be perfectly honest, if I was a member of a major, influential band like Depeche Mode, I would be absolutely flattered to hear that younger bands loved my music so much it inspired them to create music as well.
So back to the topic at hand, Blaqk Audio has not made any videos for their singles to date, so I am only going to be able to post songs, which is fine really, but I am a music video lover, in case you missed it. I will start with the first single the duo released, “Stiff Kittens”, and move on to my favorite track from CexCells, “Cities of Night”. If you go to the Blaqk Audio website, you can purchase the tracks there as they have links to Amazon and iTunes right there to make it easy for you to find. So if you like electronic music, then you should definitely listen to these two songs right here.
Up first, is “Stiff Kittens” or what some fans have dubbed “Sanctuary” complete with lyrics too!
I know, you heard Depeche Mode in there, but you couldn’t pin it to a certain song, right? That is the difference of being influenced by and ripping off other artists. Blaqk Audio are professionals people, they’ve got this, as this next song shows. This one, “Cities of Night” is so spectacular to me, that I made it my ringtone. Yeah, this band is cool like that. So here it is, no lyrics this time, but Davey tries to enunciate when he sings, it’s all good.
I know that it can be kind of a pain to have to follow the YouTube links to watch these videos and listen to the songs, but I am so not internet/tech savvy, so if you really want to hear some good music, you will forgive the inability of this writer to embed all videos on her page and follow the links to the music.
While some side projects only last for one album, Blaqk Audio is about to drop their second album sometime this year, entitled Bright Black Heaven. If you are wondering why its taken four years to release a new album, just keep in mind that it is a side project and AFI only seem to release an album every three or four years anyways, as this band loves to tour so we can forgive them for the slow delivery of new material. It is always worth it in the end, and Bright Black Heaven is looking to be no exception. The first song “Ill Lit Ships” is looking to be the new single, but who knows, the song has been on California radio since February 2010, and the last song I have for you “Bon Voyeurs” has been on the BPM station on Sirius since July 2010. Time will tell as to what the first official single might be, but we will just enjoy these two songs here and now. When the album does drop, I may do a little listening party like I did with Duran Duran a couple of weeks ago. That was a lot of fun to do and I will try to do more in the future when I can.
So here is the first single that we have heard from Bright Black Heaven called “Ill Lit Ships”. Check it out and see how the duo uses very dark and sexual themes in both music and lyrics.
Not bad I think. This next track, “Bon Voyeurs” has a much more techno/electronica feel, which while not my favorite electronic sub-genre is still pretty good as far as these guys are concerned. Once again, a lot of sexual undertones in the lyrics, something that Blaqk Audio is known for since Davey’s lyric writing for AFI rarely ever broaches the subject. So here it is, in all of its techno glory, “Bon Voyeurs”!
I hope you enjoyed this music, I know I do. If you don’t like electronic music because it’s not “real” music, just remember what I have said before, back in the early fifties when musicians started plugging in their guitars to play a new type of sound, people back then didn’t think it was real music either. Just some food for thought. I always stick to the notion that if I don’t like a genre, the least I can do is respect it as an art form because it doesn’t matter if you like it or not, someone out there does enjoy it and the artists themselves put a lot of time and effort into creating it, so it is worthy of respect if not admiration. Even the polka.
I’ll be back as soon as I can with Part 3: Morrissey. In the meantime, I’ll keep you enthralled with more stellar music from the recesses of my mind and hope that you subscribe and stay tuned!