BN1 Speaks to Black Peaks

With their own culmination of heavy but progressive style, the Brighton-based boys of Black Peaks have managed to tap into a fairly exclusive market of widely popular
rock. Formed in 2012, the band consists of four of the Brighton rock scene’s most talented musicians. Will Gardner stands strong on vocals with Joe Gosney and Andrew Gosden flanking him on the strings with incomparable guitar riffs and heavy bass lines respectively, while drummer Liam Kearley binds the tracks together with his quick, complex beats.

Bursting into the limelight and building a hell of a reputation for themselves as ‘Shrine’, the band recently changed their name to ‘Black Peaks’ due to mix-ups with other groups. The individuality of their music is more deserving than that. ‘We did a few shows out in Spain and there was this newspaper article about us that had this picture of a band called ‘The Shrine’ – these guys with massive hair and flying V-guitars!’ Gosney says. This is a stark contrast to the Black Peaks’ somewhat modest appearances in comparison.

The new name, established around Halloween-time of 2014, is derived from two things: their longing to play a set in Alaska – an icy bucket-list part of the world for all of the band members – and a love of big exploding things. ‘We ended up going through this list of volcanoes and Will (our singer) found Black Peak – we thought it was pretty cool, it’s this fuck-off big volcano.’ It seems fitting that the Alaskan volcano is of the strato-status as they’re characterised by the layering of ash and lava settling after each eruption: much like the success each track seems to be bringing the band. Pluralising it to make it their own, the grandeur of the name must help the band navigate through to the summit of the rock scene. ‘We’ll definitely play a show on top of it one day!’ Kearley promises.

Their debut single ‘Glass Built Castles’ released 26 Jan, has taken iTunes and Spotify by storm. In its very early days, the track was pitched to Radio 1’s Zane Lowe who, to paraphrase, said he wanted to play it right away. This meant the band had just one week to get the track mastered, get a radio edit done and also shoot the video. Quite the seven days. It has paid off though as the video racked up an impressive 27,000 views in the first month of its upload. The band seems to take this immense pressure in their stride, however, focusing on the positive aspects of their gruelling schedule. ‘Going through Vevo was a good call – it broadens the spectrum of people who you wouldn’t expect to hear it. You get good and bad from that, obviously, but the response has been mainly positive!’

Having a bloody high profile fan such as Lowe, Black Peaks have had some incredible coverage and praise. ‘He’s done so much for us and we owe a lot to him for that – it’s amazing.’ Kearley explains. Telling the world that if the band has got this far without funding and to imagine what the future will hold with a bit of financial backing, Lowe touched the hearts of the band. ‘I liked that he highlighted the fact that somebody should give us money,’ Gosney jokes.

With the release date still to be confirmed, Black Peaks’ debut album is still very much a mystery to all but the band’s nearest and dearest. Recorded in just two weeks, the band locked themselves away in Devon to get it nailed. With ‘no phone signal, no nothing, just in the middle of nowhere,’ the album became perfect without the influence of any modern needs. ‘Its funny, some nights it would get to two or three in the morning and we were still playing. We’d be playing for like 12 hours… You get to the point of thinking “what are we doing here?”’ Gosney recalls.

The band is adamant that they will not just have 15 minutes of fame. ‘We are more of a longevity band so we want it to last, we don’t want to just be like “yeah!” and then just disappear. We actually want to produce something like bands that we grew up listening to, like Mastodon. They took ten years before they got really big. We’re not intending on becoming the next big fucking band right away. We want to grow.’ And grow we’re sure they will – the steady climb up to the radars of the music world giants is evident, listening to early Shrine tracks and the intricate tracks hitting the sound waves this year.

While touring with their friends and heroes, Arcane Roots, the Black Peaks boys are excited for what else 2015 has in store. ‘Their crowd is awesome so the show is perfect for us and we get on with them really well. It’ll be amazing, we can’t wait. It’s going to be fun – big venues!’

And as for festivals? This spring and summer see Black Peaks playing a variety of impressive niche and mainstream festivals including Reading & Leeds 2015. They are also confirmed for Live at Leeds, The Great Escape (both this month), ArcTanGent in August and many more to be announced.

Words by Freya Hughes

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