I Dream of Vinyl

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”Our lyrics often naturally end up being more conceptual. “ – An Interview with Black Bouquet

One of my favorite discoveries this year has been North Carolina’s Black Bouquet and this week they released their superb debut album Pray To The Knife. Across the eleven tracks, the band have crafted a concept album detailing a story of survival after grief told through the eyes and in the words of troubled lovers. With elements of 80s guitar rock, new wave and goth/post punk mixed into a foundation of My Chemical Romance-era emo, there is something here for all music fans. “Run and Hide” and “Prom” are the standout tracks but make sure you listen to the entire album to fully appreciate the project.

Black Bouquet are made up of Violet O (Vocals), Ian Jones (Bass.) Hunter Corrin (Guitar). Michael Rumple (Drums & backing vocals), Laura Mooney (Viola & backing vocals) and Dan Irving (Synths & backing vocals). The band self-produced Pray To The Knife and it was engineered by John Agnello (who has worked with Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, Nothing).

We caught up with Violet to talk about their new record and the bands that influenced their sound.

Hi! How’s everything going right now?
So far, so good!

What classic album cover art is your current mood?
Hmmmmm. For me personally, probably 20 Jazz Funk Greats by Throbbing Gristle in this exact moment.

Your debut album “Pray To The Knife” is released on Feb 16th. When and where did you write and record it?
We wrote the record over the course of almost 2 years. Mostly in a Raleigh storage unit without air conditioning, or the attic studio in our drummer Michael’s house. We recorded with John Agnello at fallen trees studio in Mount Airy, NC. Couldn’t shout that place out enough. Chad, the owner, is super knowledgable and hospitable. The gear is insane. Most importantly for us, it gave us space to record live with all 5 instrumentalists, and a secluded environment to focus while still being fun and exciting.

Not many bands decide to make their debut as a concept album – did you set out to make one or did it evolve into that as the songs were being written?
We didn’t have a plan going in to make a concept album, but our lyrics often naturally end up being more conceptual. I had several causes of grief early on in the writing process, and I tend to prefer expressing these stronger feelings in an abstracted way so it tells a story that people can hopefully follow and get immersed in. A lot of the inspiration comes from films or television.

If you could only listen to one record, what would it be?
Every member of the band would answer this completely differently, and I can guarantee some would disagree with this. For me though, probably In Rainbows.

How and where did the band get together?
About a year out of high school, Ian (our bass player) and I just kinda decided to go for it. We had been in chorus together all through high school, and we both dabbled in theater. We would go into the woods in our local park with my guitar and his harmonica and play songs frequently. Eventually he took up bass and we put up ads on craiglist. along came Hunter (our guitarist). A few years later, the rest of the lineup came along through making connections in our local scene and more craiglist ads. To be honest, at this point I couldn’t imagine our band having anybody else in it.

There are a few different influences (Emo, new wave, post-punk) – what did you listen to when you were growing up that made you want to be in a band?
Once again, everybody else would answer this completely differently, and I think that’s probably our greatest strength. We all agree we like The Cure and a few other artists we admire as a group, but our tastes vary so strongly amongst us and it definitely comes through in how we write together.

You have an album release show on Mar 2nd in Raleigh, NC. Are you planning on any tours or playing any festivals this year to promote the record?
For sure, the release show is the penultimate stop in a 5 day tour to promote the album! From february 28th through march 3rd we’re stopping in charlotte, DC, Baltimore, Raleigh, and Asheville. We’ll definitely be hitting the road more throughout the year, and aiming to get some festival slots where we can.

What would go on your signature pizza and what would it be called?
Teeth. Lockets. Cherished mementos. Goat cheese. Locks of hair from a loved one. Tabasco. Lavender. Candle wax. Lemon. BBQ sauce.

Erm, Interesting choices! What else do you have planned for 2024?
Keep promoting this record we’ve worked so hard on for so long, and hopefully start writing some new songs soon!

Black Bouquet is a six-piece band from Raleigh, North Carolina consisting of viola, guitar, synths, drums, bass and vocals. The band formed in 2017 and has developed a sound that fuses 80’s goth, early 2000’s indie rock and the baroque arrangements of modern art rock.

You can get a copy of Pray to the Knife at the Black Bouquet Bandcamp Page, get tickets for their upcoming shows here and follow them on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest news.

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