ALBUM REVIEW: Royal Blood – Typhoons

From the moment of Royal Blood’s self-titled debut seven years ago, the Bristolian duo’s rise was meteoric. Their music is simple, brutal, and effective – taking inspiration from Queens of the Stone Age and The White Stripes and combining big hooks, tasty riffs, and volume to full effect. This beefed-up take on indie rock can only take you so far though, so on the new album Typhoons (Warner Records), they looked toward Dance and Disco to broaden their sound.  Continue reading

AFI Side Project Blaqk Audio Book Spring Tour Dates

Blaqk Audio photo credit BOOSTI ghostcultmag

Blaqk Audio (sometimes stylized as BLAQK AUDIO) has booked a slew of spring tour dates to support their forthcoming April release of their new album Material (Blaqknoise/Kobalt). Direct support will come from Night Riots on all dates. Blaqk Audio features Davey Havok and Jade Puget from AFI.

Focusing solely on electronica and classic industrial sounds of acts such as Daft Punk, Depeche Mode, Ministry, Squarepusher, Nitzer Ebb, and Front 242, Davey Havok commented on Blaqk Audio:

Blaqk Audio is pure electronica whereas AFI uses organic instruments. AFI has drums and bass and guitar and there’s none of that in Blaqk Audio.”

Being huge music fans and fundamentally driven by music in a creative sense, BA is a wonderful outlet for our long-standing love of electronic music. Were it not for BA, I’d still be writing this type of music, even if it never saw the light of day.”

Blaqk Audio tour dates, with Night Riots:

May 04: House of Blues – San Diego, CA

May 05: Observatory – Santa Ana, CA

May 06: Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA

May 07: Ace of Spades- Sacramento, CA

May 10: Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR

May 11: Croc – Seattle, WA

May 13: In The Venue – Salt Lake City, UT

May 14: Bluebird – Denver, CO

May 16: Turf Club – Saint Paul, MN

May 17: Bottom Lounge – Chicago, IL

May 18: Mod Club – Toronto, ON

May 20: Sinclair – Cambridge, MA

May 21: U Street Music Hall -Washington, DC

May 22: Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY


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Blaqk Audio on YouTube


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Power of the Riff – Bob Balch of Sun and Sail Club

sun and sail club

Side projects have popped up in many different forms and have allowed musicians to find alternative ways to let loose their creative outlets aside from their main gigs. When Fu Manchu guitarist Bob Balch wanted to expand his musical outlet, he started Sun and Sail Club and let his creative side loose.

The band recently played their first ever live shows in Los Angeles and Long Beach, CA. Aside from fans getting a hold of their two recordings, Mannequin (2014) and The Great White Dope (2015), they found a rare opportunity to play a couple shows and give the public a taste of what they are about.

sun and sail club alex bar sign

It was cool. We only rehearsed three times and one of the rehearsals was a month before the show, and then Tony (Cadena, vocals) went to South America on tour. We got on stage and we said fuck it and see what happens. It could be weird but it was cool. I think we all played really well. I recorded it, went back to the hotel, tripped out and listened to it. ‘Fuck it’s rad!’ So I thought it was good,” said Balch, about their first live show (at the time of the interview, this was before their second ever show).

So did they choose their set list? “Pretty much just the newest one,” said Balch. “Because with Tony…it would be rude if we’re like ‘could you step off the stage for a moment and let me take over?’ We’re just doing this record and then we do a little log jam.

Sun and Sail Club. Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Sun and Sail Club. Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

He explained how the idea behind Sun and Sail Club came together, and how their eclectic style became their Mannequin.

Not to plug my own shit but I run a site called I interview dudes to tune their own shit. So I’d go and interview like a punk band, and I’d come away with an idea. ‘It’s cool how he does that…I’m gonna steal that!’ Or I’d go interview a death metal band or whatever….grindcore…I don’t know. I would just take from different styles and all of that stuff morphed into the first record.

I interviewed Rob Cavestany from Death Angel – the way he picks. Here’s a song I’m watching him playing. So that’s how the first one came along.

Aside from Balch, he began working with his bandmate and drummer Scott Reeder. Then he attracted bassist Scott Thomas Reeder (Fireball Ministry, Kyuss) into the project after he heard what the duo had created. On their latest release, The Great White Dope, they brought in Adolescents vocalist Cadena to front the band.

Oh yeah! I interviewed (bassist Scott) Reeder for the same site a long time ago. I interviewed him at his home studio and so I was like ‘you know I should come back out and record and he would be into it.’ I didn’t know if he would play on it, but it was cool to have those guys meet. It’s funny. We laugh. We still do,” he said, talking about how each member fell into place.

Scott Thomas Reeder of Sun and Sail Club. Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Scott Thomas Reeder of Sun and Sail Club. Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

He also said he was aware of the odd coincidence of having two bandmates with the same exact names, and if he ever wanted to coin a pseudonym (say…Reeder Scott?). “No,” he said, laughing. “I’ve gotta stick with my name. It would be too weird.

Sun and Sail Club. Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Sun and Sail Club. Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

His drummer Reeder helped shape Sun and Sail Club’s sound when Balch began writing songs before they had ever thought about starting a new project. His input became invaluable with creating some interesting sounds.

Reeder (drummer) sang a little more on the second record. He did a few full on verses, but it’s a lot of the same process. Just like here are some riffs and I let him do what he does.

Sometimes in Fu Manchu, a lot of that stuff is groove oriented so it’s like you lay back a little bit, and on this I was like ‘just spazz out – just get high on coffee and get it all out. Get it out of your system and we’ll go back and do more grooves.’ For the most part, it’s the same thing. I just don’t edit what he’s doing. He’s just gnarls. I let him do his thing.

sun and sail club great white dope lp cover

He shared the story behind their band name, and how it relates to a place that was somewhat part of their past.

It’s a really inside joke with me and my friends I grew up with. It’s a place you can find it online. We grew up around there. It’s basically tennis courts and pools and rich people gallivanting. We weren’t allowed in there, but we would hang out outside of it. There’s a tunnel. You can walk in this tunnel and smoke weed, stand there and stare at the hot chicks walk in there. So we were the dirtbags outside of the Sun and Surf Club that we’re not allowed in.

Would the actual club have an issue with the band using their name? “I don’t think they would care. It’s basically like a homeowner’s association thing that they all pay for. I used to be able to get in with people who lived there. My brother used to walk in when we got access. He would have like a ghetto blaster on his shoulder, and he would be blaring Ozzy Osbourne! It was so embarrassing! I’d see people staring at us like these fucking longhairs!

Sun and Sail Club. Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Sun and Sail Club. Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Balch explained while the original intentions behind this project were to record music, playing live was something in the back of his mind but was unsure how to make it happen.

The first record was so weird and hard thing to do in a live setting. The vocoders – it’s cool if you’re doing like Daft Punk type of shit, but for heavy, loud type of shit, to battle with that is really difficult.

The first record I didn’t think I’d do it live. To be honest, my wife was pregnant and I’m like ‘fuck I better do something now while I have time.’ But the second one, I was like, shit I kind of wanted to hear a singer. I’m stoked that Tony is involved and we’re actually doing show. It’s really cool.

sun and sail club mannequin lp cover

He talked about coming up with parts for Sun and Sail Club came out of material that did not quite fit within Fu Manchu’s repertoire. This allowed them to stretch their boundaries a bit and try some different sounds than the main band.

A lot of the first record was all drop A stuff, which if you know anything about guitar, it’s tune standard and you drop that top string way the fuck down. For Fu Manchu, it wouldn’t work. All of our stuff is in D standard. So a lot of those riffs I was like ‘ehhh.’ I’m always putting riffs on the phone and the computer. Some of them were cool for Fu Manchu, but I had shit ton of ones I didn’t know what to do with these.

I started sending them to our drummer, almost as a joke, like I would try to trick him. I’d be like ‘try to play along with this…,’ and I would try to make it as weird and fucked up as possible. He’s really good so he got it. Every time we had a bunch and every time we had a record of stuff. I was like ‘should we make something out of this and record it?’ We went out to Reeder’s.

He heard it and he’s like ‘fuck! Who’s playing bass?’ I’m like ‘will you play bass?’ That’s how it came all about.

Sun and Sail Club. Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

Sun and Sail Club. Photo Credit: Rei Nishimoto

On Mannequin, the trio wrote a lot of music without a vocalist. Through various tricks up their sleeves, they got creative by bringing back an idea from the past.

I wasn’t really singing. I’d use a vocoder whenever I’d play on the guitar. It would get transformed into what I’d say into the mic. Think like Peter Frampton but he’s not using a vocoder,” he said.

The second one I wanted to have singer involved, just to keep each record different. The third one, if there ever will be one ever will be a lot different than this one too. It’s to keep everyone guessing. I just emailed Tony and he was into it right away,” Balch added, explaining how on each recording having a singer changed some of the dynamics.

Another unusual influence for Sun and Sail Club was the Devo influence, which was well publicized on their first recording. Balck explained, “Devo to me, the riffs are real angular and cool but mathy. It’s almost like the riffs are making fun of themselves. I love Devo and I love that about them, so a lot of that is on the first record.

While Fu Manchu is Balch and drummer Reeder’s main priorities, he said that Sun and Sail Club for now may not be a full time band. Between figuring out schedules amongst the members, they may attempt to do more shows in the future.

sun and sail club 2

Full time probably won’t work out. I would love it but Fu Manchu’s my main priority. We keep real busy. Adolescents is Tony’s band….actually since he’s teaching, it’s hard for him to take off for like a month….in November or October. I could see us totally continue to put out records, and in the summer shoot on over to Europe. We got a bunch of offers we had to turn down due to conflicting schedules – Australian stuff, European stuff. I was like ‘fuck…it would have been so much fun to go down there. Can’t do it.’

He said using replacement members will not be an option either. Balch had an interesting answer as to why this would not happen. “I wouldn’t do that. If you look at our merch booth, our faces are on everything! That’s what made this record so cool. Everyone putting their flare on it.

sun and sail club logo

As for future material, Balch said there was more ideas floating around, as well as some leftover material for a possible future release. As for now, no plans are in the works.

There are two songs that didn’t make the first record. There’s tons of shit just floating around. I would always record stuff and email it to Reeder to play drums and he would send it back. There are tons of stuff floating around like that. But actually studio recordings, there are two actual songs we didn’t finish. It’s off the first record so it’s more Devo-y kind of vocoder type of stuff. But the last one we used everything.

With this, I could see it happening. In this day and age with the internet, it’s pretty easy. I would like to get into a room with these guys and play as a whole band. Because the schedules are so gnarly, I could easily get into a room with Reeder and record drums and guitars, then send that to Scott Reeder in the desert – he would lay down the bass, send it back to Orange County and then send it to Tony.

All of us to get into the same studio at the same time would probably take a long time. That way it would keep the ball rolling. I’d like to do a record every year or two, and a couple of seven inches every year.

By Rei Nishimoto