The Black Moods: "We Want People to be Sad to Our Songs, and Also Have Sex to Our Songs."
Photo by Jeremy Huse The Black Moods are scheduled to perform Saturday, August 30, at Crescent Ballroom.
Black Moods fans eagerly anticipating the release of the rock band's follow-up to their eclectic self-titled debut album will have to hold their breath a little longer. The Phoenix-based trio is tabling their upcoming album for a short time in an effort to strengthen the material, lengthen the album, and fine-tune the details. The decision came as a request from the band's new management team, Street Smart Marketing, who is working to push the group to the next level in their career.
"In the past year and a half, we've learned a lot about business," Black Moods drummer Danny "Chico" Diaz explains, "and about touring. We decided our goals were to get management, and then get a record label -- we've hit the first goal, and we have management now."
As for the Black Moods members -- guitarist/singer Josh Kennedy, bassist Ryan Prier and drummer Chico -- they have surrendered everything involved in a normal life, right down to a mailing address, in an effort to spread their music on the road as far as possible. They know the sacrifices will make the victory that much sweeter once they get their hands on the prize.
"You have to cut that out in order to make it work," Kennedy says. "If you're going to stay, you have to be willing to sacrifice all of that shit that you like doing -- like sleeping in a bed or showering and eating every day."
The Black Moods will return to the desert this weekend when they headline Crescent Ballroom in Phoenix on Saturday, August 30. Prior to their performance, Up on the Sun chatted with Josh Kennedy and Chico via video conference to get the skinny on the new record, their good Samaritan accomplishments, and working to position themselves for a long and successful career.
What were some points of emphasis for the new album that you wanted to focus on where you felt you needed to do better?
Josh Kennedy: With this album, since we've been touring for the last year and a half, we got to really flush out the songs. When we wrote the first record, we pretty much wrote the songs as we were making the record. Some of those songs we now play differently live with certain intricacies and whatnot to make it work.
Now, we've played the new songs so much on the road already and I feel like they've grown more. We're going back to L.A. to finish it this week.
Chico: We have six songs done, and we're going to record five more. They are more solid. We know them better and we play them better. They really started to breathe and come into their own. Originally, we were going to release it in July, then we just started working with Street Smart Management, and they said we were going to table it for now. Basically, those six songs are done, and we're going to add to it.
JK: And that is from picking up that new management, which is good. While out touring and doing everything we're doing, we wanted to get some management and a booking agent and really take that next step. So, those guys came in and told us to come off the road, finish the record, and get our shit together to gear up for the beginning of next year.
That makes sense. I know that the last time you and I spoke, Josh, you said you guys were trying to get a grip on the business side of things. It sounds like it is going well at this point.
Chico: It's going good. Definitely in the past year and a half, we've learned a lot about business and about touring. We decided our goals were to get management, and then get a record label.
We've hit the first goal, and we have management now. Don Robertson is the head of the company, and he used to run Century Media with a lot of metal bands that have done really well. Then, our day-to-day guy is Glen Parrish. He used to work with Stevie Nicks and Steel Panther and these other bands. So, they've got some traction under them. They really appreciate what we did, but then said, "Okay, you guys have got to this level, and now we're going to handle it," and it's kind of different for us.
JK: There're definitely growing pains involved [laughs].
Chico: Yeah, because we did everything. We did all the social media and all that kind of stuff and they said, "No, we're gonna handle everything -- you guys write music -- that's your job now."
JK: Which has been weird because we have always done all of those things. We wrote as well as managed ourselves, booked our shows, and all that stuff. Now, with them taking away most of the stress with booking and managerial stuff and for us to just be writing, it's been a shock to the system, you know? You feel like you're half-assing it and like, "I know there's more shit I could be doing," but now we have proper management to handle that.
Chico: We've pissed them off a few times [laughs]. We are telling them, "Hey, we want to do this and this," and they have to say, "Chill out, we're gonna do this."
JK: Chico is the liaison now because I get so frustrated, and I'm like, "I want it now." I'm an instant gratification type of fellow.
Chico: We've definitely been learning more over the past month. Next week, when we go to L.A., it's going to be really good. Not only are we going to record, but we're doing almost like a makeover. We're getting a stylist and they're going to do a photo shoot to revamp everything that we've done. It's going to be something totally new for us, but we're really excited for it.
So the pieces are falling into place. Have you guys felt any struggles with that so-called sophomore slump in making this second album?
JK: No, because I think that only comes out of a label, like with your first debut release. That's where they look at that. We could keep pumping out records -- we have tons of songs. It's just a matter of filing them down for each record and deciding what fits best in this and what will fit best in that.
We're just tracking songs and picking like, "Well, this batch of songs goes well together, and these select titles flow well together." It makes a complete album that way.
Chico: It's kind of themed. Josh came up with a good theme idea from songs that he wrote and we wrote, and we're just piecing it together.
Ah, I see. So, is this like a concept album?
JK: I wouldn't say "concept album." It's no Dark Side of the Moon or anything like that, but I was watching a lot of Forensic Files when I wrote the majority of the songs. A lot of them are kind of creepy and have that killer aspect to them [laughs].