‘Click Interview’ with BLAKLIGHT: ‘To Be As Authentic As Possible’

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BLAKLIGHT is an American duo from Los Angeles featuring singer Brian Belknap (MIND MACHINE) and operator Adam Collier (CRUSH333, MDA, FULL FRONTAL DISCO). They last year self-released the debut full length “Music In A Time Of Uncertainty”. The work reveals ten fully accomplished songs mixing some retro Electro-Pop elements together with melancholic and danceable parts. The album stands for a mature and professional sound featuring several brilliant songs. BLAKLIGHT definitely appears to be one of the most promising Electro-Pop formations from the moment.

(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)

Q: How did you guys get in touch and what incited you to set up BLAKLIGHT? What brings this new project compared to the others you’re involved with?

Adam: In 2019 I had been toying with the idea of starting a new project with multiple vocalists. Brian was on my list because I enjoy his other project, MIND MACHINE.  After hearing what he did with our first song, the musical ideas flowed easily and I kept sending him more music. Our musical tastes are similar, so this project is very easy for me to come up with ideas for and Brian has always brought back amazing lyrics and melodies.

Brian: Adam did a remix for MIND MACHINE back in 2019, but we’ve only met in person a few times, and both were brief and before BLAKLIGHT was born.  Adam sent me the first demo, which became “Under The BlakLight”, in February 2020. I sent him back something pretty quickly, and I guess he liked it because he sent me another, and another and we soon realized that we were onto something. I don’t write anything for MIND MACHINE, so this was the first time I’ve tackled lyrics and melodies, so I’m incredibly thankful to Adam for giving me a chance.

Q: Do you’ve specific references and handle explicit criteria when it comes to compose music as BLAKLIGHT?

Adam: There is a need deep within me for the music to come out. The only criteria I follow is how I feel. I write songs that I want to hear. I don’t follow any trends that are happening. I try to be as authentic as possible and hopefully that comes out.

Brian: Lyrically, I’m drawn to darker topics and images.  However, I am rather hopeful by nature, so I try to blend the two together, as I don’t believe that you can really have one without the other, you need light and shade. 

Q: How did you work together to achieve the debut album? How did you find a balance between music and vocals?

Adam: The process begins with me laying down the music. Once I am comfortable, I send the song over Brian to see if he feels anything from it. Luckily, he has liked everything that I have sent over.

Brian: Adam’s demos are pretty well fleshed out, but with plenty of room for me to fill in the gaps. I’m usually inspired by his songs straight away, and the vocal melodies come flowing. After I send him the final vocal files, he takes what I’ve done and adds layer upon layer, crafting the BLAKLIGHT sound.

Q: Tell us a bit more about the title of the album, which seems to perfectly summarize what 2020 has been for; of course Covid-19, but also maybe the turbulent political situation in your country?

Adam: The title came to me a short time after we decided to release a full album. The direction of the country looked very bleak already and then the pandemic added to the anxiety. There was a sense of urgency to finish the songs. To give people a distraction from what was going on.

Brian: I can definitely say that many of the lyrics were inspired by the current national and global situations.  That being said, it was important to me to keep the songs as open ended as possible, so listeners can still draw their own conclusions.

Q: You’ve just released an EP with “Isolation” as title track. Why this song and what can you say about the different remixes and the choice of the artists?

Adam: Brian came to me with the remixers. I completely trust any ideas that he has and he was spot on with everyone that he picked.

Brian: We’ve had plans to release remixes for “Isolation” for quite some time, as it was our first single. But we shuffled our release schedule around a bit so we could get the album out last year, before the holiday season. We’ve got an Excel sheet with a list of artists that we’d like to remix our songs, and we start by reaching out to artists we’d like to work with and who we think could bring something special to the song.  Some, like NATURE OF WIRES and PEOPLE THEATRE, we’re friends with, but others, like VAIN MACHINE and THE COWLS, we had only had some brief interactions with on social media. We did not know VON HERTZOG at all, but loved his work with VH x RR, and thankfully he said yes!

Q: How do you see the future for BLAKLIGHT and what about live plans? And what about your other music projects?

Adam: I am happy to say that BLAKLIGHT will continue. The response has been incredible. Again, the writing process is so easy and a complete joy. As soon as “Music In A Time Of Uncertainty” was completed, I immediately started writing songs for the next album. The direction of the next album is flowing nicely. The songs have a bit more weight to them. I picture us playing live with some nice projections in the background. I will be releasing singles from my multi vocalist project this year along with some videos to accompany them.

Brian: Adam is incredibly prolific, he has already sent me six songs for the second album, and we’ll also be including “The Fallen” from the “You Are Not Alone, Vol. 1”-compilation. Coming up in the next several months we’ve got an “Unknown Love”-remix EP, a yet to be determined third single with a new cover as the B-side and remix-EP for that one as well. We’re also working on tracks for a few tribute and charity albums.  MY MIND MACHINE bandmate, Brain Olsen, has just begun work on our next album too, and we expect to release something later this year.

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