Getting underground with German post-doom giants BLCKWVS.

Written by Interview

Back in February, it was brought to my attention that a German heavy band called BLCKWVS had a new album out, and I’ve been unable to stop listening to ‘0160’ since then. Months have passed, and this instrumental gem keeps spinning and spinning on my turntable, making me shiver each time. After we were able to premiere one of their videos, we decided to get back to this monument of doom and sludge and get to know more about this underrated band. 

You are no newcomers, with a couple of excellent releases under your belt! I must admit that I first heard of you when ‘0160’ was released. How do you explain that your music hasn’t been given more exposure in medias outside of Germany?

Stefan (guitar): Thanks so much! We’ve been playing with BLCKWVS since 2003, so I think newcomer isn’t the right term here. Hahaha. We’ve never been a band who recorded an album, promoted it as hell and did a promo tour. It is and was always just fun and friendship we put into our band and music. The last ten years we also had the “problem” that every band member moved into another city. Rehearsals and shows have gotten getting more and more rare. The world of music is so big, and we were always just a small band. We all came out of the usual hardcore and DIY scene, and  I think our music is not pure doom, or pure whatever. That could be one point why some people didn’t recognize us. But “0160” was such a big project, and we were so happy to finish it! So we got a really good promo for it through our label This Charming Man records and CZ!-Promotions.

When I wrote the review for ‘0160’, I tried to find some info about your individual backgrounds but ended empty-handed. Could you tell us more about the beginnings of BLCKVWS, and your background as musicians?

All of us played in several different punk/HxC/metal bands since 1993, like LoveSongCompany, Junestragicdrive, Steadfast, Cheerleaders of the Apocalypse, Kinetic Crash Cooperation, Scapegoat, Calahan, Borigor… I bet not so many people know our releases from the past.

I noted that you started using bass from the ‘0130’ record, then kept refining your sound imprint while keeping it instrumental. Was it on purpose or because you couldn’t find a vocalist that matches your music? 

Yep, Christian, our bass player joined us before “0130”. We got lucky! Because we needed a bass in our sounds! We started as an instrumental band, and we wanted to keep it like that. We already performed with two guest vocals on “0150”, and we liked it very much! As we were writing “0160” we talked about a double release from the beginning, but what we didn’t expect is the looong time we needed for it! In the end, we are very happy with the result!

‘0160’ also proves to be a turning point, bringing a nice handful of guests on vocals. How did you connect with and picked each artist? 

We know most of the vocalists personally or played shows with their bands in the past. We didn’t really write the songs for her or him, but after recording  11 songs, we picked our faves and tried to find the right singer for the perfect atmosphere.

Making both the instrumental and vocal version available was a smart move, as the latter can be a great point of entry for a wider audience. If you ask me, the instrumental album enthralls me more each time; yet I feel that some of the tracks on the other version are potential doom/sludge hits. How do you position yourselves in the heavy music scene?

I mean, we are still an instrumental band. Our live performances will still be instrumental, maybe it work here or there with one guest singer. As for the music scene, let them decide what we are. In my opinion, we are not straight doom, or sludge, or stoner, metal whatever. We just have fun doing it and hope that there are more people who maybe enjoy it like we do.

I’ve had a couple of people listening to the album and at times, they’ve had the impression to hear some more known bands, like a déjà-vu. When listening closely to your albums, it’s like BLCKWVS have been ripped off by dozens of bigger and largely touring bands, without even being credited. What are your thoughts on this?

I didn’t realized that. We should sue them. Hahahaha. I don’t know. The world of music is such a big one. And I think BLCKWVS are creating their own kind of music. But we have for sure some influences in it as well. We could name hundreds of bands, which nobody really hear in our songs, but there are influences which we can’ t deny.

Photo: Black Kraken Photography

When looking at the artwork and putting together the letters from each song title, there is an underlying sense of apocalypse. Is this the main theme you wanted to develop with this album?

The whole album is a concept. The lyrics are from a short story our drummer Tommec put together. And the sense was also put into the artwork — by Tommec as well. We all put a lot of work in it, and that was the result. It fit together and worked out perfect for us! The song-naming and lettering is a thing we did on several records as well. If you put together the lettering after the numbers there is a message which always underline the artwork and atmospheric. On “0160” it’s “Black Hole No Way Back”

If we look at today’s international politics, environmental decay, human rights that are taken a step backwards each day, there is a ‘no way back’ feel for sure. How do you see the future of human kind?

Not everything is getting worse in our world. If you compare today to the 60s, I think a lot has been done for human rights, for example. For me, I like depressing and destroying sounds in music, but I am not a guy who is always sad. We still have to fight, go on the streets, and so on. But we all should love our lives, it’s too short!

After consecutively adding bass, then vocals to your music, what would be the next step in your creative process?

Good question! There will be no saxophone for sure.

Your music is so intense that it must take a whole new dimension live. I guess you will keep it instrumental on stage. Do you plan to hit the road to support the album at some point? We would be happy to see you in France ! 

Thanks mate ! And we would love to tour France and other countries. We try so hard to organize that, but we all have kids at home, work to do, and all live over 300 km far from each other. Cross fingers that we can work out something !

 BLCKWVS new album “0160” is out now on This Charming Man Records
Find them on Bandcamp and Facebook

Last modified: 21 September 2019