Blackfield talks to eGigs

Aviv Geffen gives us the lowdown ahead of their show at London's KoKo on Friday 14 February 2014

The English-Israeli prog/pop/indie rock collaboration of Blackfield is a successful beast in the contemporary rock music scene and now co-founder Stephen Wilson is relinquishing his part of the band to Aviv Geffen. On the first date of their European tour in support of latest album 'IV', indulge in a hasty interview with Geffen, just an hour before he hits the stage, 

How are you?

I'm great. We've been rehearsing for a week. Last week, Stephen [Wilson] came to Tel Aviv. It felt good, it sounds great. 

The European tour is so short. Why is that?

It's because I'm highly busy. I'm doing a TV show called The Voice produced in Israel. I'm a mentor there and I'm working on my albums. It's very intensive with one week hitting the major cities. 

How was last year's 'IV' received by fans and critics?

Great! It's great. I never was a prog guy and it took me and Stephen a while to expand it to the audience. It's Blackfield and it's my songs and it's good. 

How would you say this album compares or contrasts to previous Blackfield albums?

For me from day one, the album was my songs. It's really Aviv Geffen in English in a way. Stephen is really a great friend. The whole idea is to present my music to the world and for me, it's great. 

What advantages and disadvantages did you find working on your own rather than collaborating with Stephen?

I felt more free. Next year, we are about to tour with a big band because for them, they would like to have more of a rock sound. Prog as you know is a really tiny market. It's a really small world. I'm into Coldplay, Placebo, Radiohead and Biffy Clyro. We've been working really hard to get it to this [audience]. 

Would you say this album is more popular than any previous Blackfield album?

I think so, yeah. 

You said you weren't so into prog rock. Do you think you will completely remove that from the music in the future?

No, I'll keep these roots of course. I like King Crimson but I think Porcupine Tree, Blackfield, Anathema and Dream Theater – it's the same circle and I like to change the audience. I think Blackfield deserve to be wider and bigger. 

You had Danny Cavanagh, Bret Anderson and Johnathan Donahue as guest vocalists on this last album. Why did you decide to choose these particular three vocalists?

I just think they are phenomenal vocalists and they are good friends of mine. I was a big fan of Suede and for me to have Bret on one of my songs was incredible. I think Blackfield should move ahead. My dream is too have Thom Yorke to sing on the next album and Brian Molko from Placebo. 

You made a video for 'Jupiter' featuring a kind of film made with sand. This is an incredible video. Who was the artist behind it?

Ilana, she an artist and I saw her working with sand and I was shocked. I told her she must do a video for Blackfield and it was amazing. She's great. 

Did you come up with the concept of the actual video? Could you explain the concept further?

She took the whole sour world, urban life. She got some ideas from DNA. It's really connected to the Blackfield world. 

Why did you decide to make a video for this song?

It's a very epic song. For me, I think 'Pills' is the best one. 

Talking about the lyrical themes on this album, obviously you deal with personal relationships and drugs etc. Could you expand on the themes featured and why you decided to focus on these topics?

Because I'm really bothered. I think we all became like robots with pills as the fuel. I flew to Tokyo and Shanghai to see the limits of this hysterical fast life. I was in shock. I think Blackfield captures all those romantic people who stand back in the shadows. I think everyone with those iPhones and blinking lights staring at the screen is really sad. You really depend and you become popular with Instagram... it's very cheap and I think Blackfield sends this message. 

Do you have any social networking accounts?

I only have a fan page. I'm really trying not to be on it all the time. It's empty. I'm missing talking. 

So you went to Tokyo and Shanghai to see the extent of this side of the modern world. What did you see there?

It was really scary actually. I went there to shoot one of my Hebrew songs and I'm really curious to see where we're going from here. It looks like it's going to be even darker. It's scary. We became like servers. We're just putting videos, pictures and transferring data, which is not life, to work all the time, to exist. 

You said Blackfield is like the English-speaking version of your solo work. How do you differentiate between the two? Is the writing process different?

Blackfield is a bit more dark in a way but I think on the fourth album, it has become imbalanced. I think with my stuff in Hebrew, I can't tell the difference. It's the same. 

Blackfield has evolved quite quickly over the four albums. Did you think the project would last this long or did you think you would only put out a couple of albums?

No. When we started, there were only 50 people in the crowd, a really tiny project. But yes, I think people are starting to find out worldwide – in the States, Europe of course and Mexico. In Chile, I got many requests to play so for me, I'm really happy and I want to do South America. 

This is the last live tour with Stephen Wilson.

For now, yeah. 

How do you feel you'll cope live with Blackfield without him?

Pretty easy. We will see some guitarists and we're going to find the top one and it's easy. 

Blackfield is such a cornucopia of different styles. What are your main influences, both modern and classic?

I think the best influence is Radiohead which is pop, indie and other stuff. It's complicated but after all, it's a pop song. 

Blackfield's keyboards are unique. Where do you draw the influence for them?

It's my part. I'm really crazy about orchestra and keyboards. Those harmonics, even if it's too much, I think it's the whole magic of Blackfield. It's not this trio of bass, guitar and drums. 

What would you say the musical aim of Blackfield is now?

I don't know. Now I'm working on the fifth album of Blackfield. You can get some electro, metal, indie, rock. It's Blackfield! 

When do you predict this new album would come out?

I think Summer 2015. 

What are Blackfield's future plans after this tour?

We might do a few dates in the States and then to go over with a big band all over Europe, more extensive. 

Who are this big band?

It's a secret! 

Thank you very much for your time.

My pleasure. Thank you, you're welcome.

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article by: Elena Francis

published: 14/02/2014 10:13

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