Castle Black on stage
We had the privilege of reconnecting with a talented alternative group, which we missed crossing paths with earlier last year, and we were more than happy to bring them on and chat a bit. Nic got the chance to talk to Leigh, the vocals, guitar, and ultimately brains behind the whole act, to learn more about the fluctuating genre which Castle Black chooses to resides in. Enjoy!
Leigh – Vocals/Guitar
Joey – Drums
Scott/Susan (back-up) – Bass
Digital interview with Castle Black by Nic Beardsley from Dear Untitled:
Dear Untitled: So to bring everyone quickly up to speed, you guys, Castle Black, came through Philly last August/September on tour for your latest EP, ‘The Gods That Adored You’, and we were sadly unable to connect. Now we have the chance and I’m grateful you took some time out of your busy schedule (prior to a big touring bout) to chat with us – let’s jump right in!
Castle Black was formed in 2015 and is based out of NYC, a well known hotspot for some big names in punk rock – Who are your influences and what would you say drew you to the post-punk/alternative genre?
Leigh: We definitely didn’t set out to be any specific genre, although we obviously knew we were going to be playing some kind of rock music, and we all have different influences of course. I feel like so many things, not just music, can influence a band’s sound. Life in general, or film, for example, have been strong influences for me. Musically, I listened to a lot of early/mid aught indie rock, and I have a great deal of respect for Jack White’s talents.
Dear Untitled: Fair enough! So then, what genre do you officially classify yourselves as?
Leigh: I’ve spent life kind of feeling like I don’t really belong anywhere, so the genre question is always tough for me because I don’t really strongly identify with much. So, similarly, I don’t really think in terms of us being a very specific genre. I do find it interesting to hear how other people classify us and so I just let them do it and see what we think! I think the conversation around genre is more interesting than the actual genres themselves, if that makes sense.
Dear Untitled: Oh I definitely agree with that. We bring artists on the blog and respect a lot of artists who border on almost a line of “this genre” to “that genre” – music is becoming a very intriguing topic to truly discuss and debate….what am I saying, isn’t it always?! Ha!
For us at the blog we are relatively new-ish to this genre – where would you recommend us and our readers to find more of this sound if you had to name drop a few of your colleagues or inspirations who are rocking it just as hard as you guys?
Leigh: I’m not sure they would all be classified as the same genre, but I’d try to get tickets to the show when any of the following come through NYC – The Dead Weather, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Savages, The National.
Promotional Artwork for Castle Black by Dave Vincent Designs
Dear Untitled: ‘TGTAY’ is currently your 4th, EP, correct? You’ve been active in the past 3 years!
‘the gods that adored you‘ (EP, 2018)
“Sierra” (Single, 2018)
‘Trapped Under All You Know‘ (EP, 2017)
“Blind Curtain” (Single, 2017)
“Losing Forever” (EP, 2016)
“Dark Light” (Single, 2016)
‘Find You There‘ (Debut EP, 2015)
Dear Untitled: I can tell readers now that all of these are worth a listen – just sit back in your chair and vibe on through!
Off of your latest EP, ‘the gods that adored you‘ ** (released in June 2018), are there any songs that have a big meaning for you guys personally?
Leigh: Well, “Linen” for me is a highly personal song, which makes it sometimes a very difficult song to perform live. It’s largely a self-reflective song with a somewhat negative outcome, or maybe an indeterminate outcome, so how I’m feeling in the moment can really determine how I react when we perform it. One time last year during a very rough patch, I was playing it solo in our practice space and I just couldn’t stop crying. The song follows a narrative of isolation and not fitting in, coupled with attempts at connection that may or may not be just shallow. It addresses the self reflection that happens when you learn things about yourself that you may need to manage, and not necessarily be able to fully change.
Dear Untitled: Wow – I can definitely see that there is a sense of aimless roving throughout it but didn’t necessarily know that it hit that close to home for you. That is what music is though I suppose, often the most honest reflection and expression of one’s inner self. Thank you for sharing that – this art brings out true emotions and we love it just because of the shared passion we all choose to invest in our craft.
What is your favorite track to play live and why?
Leigh: This changes quite frequently, but at the moment, my favorite song to play live is “Leave It” off of ‘Losing Forever‘. Joey has really added to the feel of this song live through the drums, and it’s one that you can always tell gets the crowd moving. It feels very electric when we play this song live, and that’s a nice feeling.
Dear Untitled: My goodness, that really makes me excited to see you guys live! (By the way – for all our readers on the way of your upcoming tour route, don’t miss these guys!)
Is there a musical development or evolution you guys have seen yourselves as a group develop from day one that you’re still working on?
Leigh: Constantly evolving and developing is really important to me so it’s been at the helm of how the band operates from the beginning. Stage performance has been really important to develop and something that continuously evolves. We also have some songs with tempo and time signature changes, so getting those to the point where we are all seamlessly transitioning among parts is also one that we constantly develop.
Dear Untitled: Practice makes perfect is what I’ve been told! 😉
Again, ‘tgtay’ is your 4th EP (released 2018) and you’re currently embarking a large US tour. What is the city you are most looking forward to playing on this tour?
Leigh: We’re really looking forward to playing them all, and for different reasons. Louisville in particular has a great scene and great bands, so we’re looking forward to being back there. Norfolk and Youngstown are all cities that have given us a great reception in the past, and we’ll be playing both again this tour.
Dear Untitled: Any absolute favorite place to play?
Leigh: I don’t know that I have a favorite, because everywhere has been pretty different so far. Some of my favorite shows because of the people and the crowd energy have been at house shows in Grand Rapids, Buffalo, Norfolk and Indianapolis. Also, the Super Dark Collective shows in Saratoga Springs, NY are always fun and well attended. We’ll be there again on the upcoming tour.
Dear Untitled: Where do you guys see yourselves in 5 years, whether as a band or as an individual?
Leigh: I guess I hope that in 5 years I’m still doing what I love, and connecting with people in some way through music. I hope I’ve grown immensely as an individual, as a musician and with the band.
Dear Untitled: That’s probably a common goal we all should be striving for with our own self-growth. Very wise words!
Alright, so to shake things up we pop some quick and fun questions just to get to know the artist a little more, so here goes:
If there was a daily activity that was an Olympic sport, which activity would you medal in?
Leigh: I’d definitely get the Gold in List Making.
Dear Untitled: HA! I guess I’ll take a silver in that one – the amount of running lists my colleague Andrew can attest that I have for the blog….yeah, lets uh, ….next! (lol)
What, if anything, are you most excited for on in the upcoming year?
Leigh: I’m really excited for the new EP, which will be the first with the new line-up. I really like seeing new places, so I’m also excited for wherever we may play this year.
I’m more immediately excited to get some Ale-8 when we are in Kentucky and some Vernors when we are in Michigan.
Dear Untitled: Very nice! New music?! We love to hear that and would love to have you back to showcase some if you’re interested when the time comes. Sounds like your year is packed, but that’s exciting. Make life feels so much better some days!
Can you tell us any more about the new music coming?
Leigh: Well, a new EP on the way for sure – morphed into a second one later this year with hopefully another music video in the next few months!
Dear Untitled: We cannot wait – any last words or merch you want us to endorse, etc?
Leigh: I can’t think of anything else. We do have merch but it’s all mostly available at shows.
Dear Untitled: That works for us! It’s been an absolute pleasure talking with you, Leigh and really getting an insight to Castle Black and your brain behind it all! We really hope to keep in touch in the near future with the new tunes and are very excited to watch you guys grow over the next, BUSY, year!
Leigh: Sounds good – we should be playing in the Philly area again this year I hope so we’ll definitely be in touch!
Dear Untitled: Of course! Always feel free to reach out – I have a feeling our readers will catch on to your art and love it just as much as I do! Until next time – NB
EDIT: **It was corrected by Leigh, that the latest EP title is “technically not capitalized – although you will see it capitalized on some streaming sites because they oddly do not have the ability to keep it lowercase!”**