By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Formed in 2014 from Turin, Italy, The BlackLava are an alternative-rock band with some stoner, old and vintage bluesy influences.
A year later, they put out their first EP ‘Sweetmeat.’ Their debut album ‘As Black As My Heart’ was released in 2018 in close collaboration with Matteo Ciube (Raptor Studio, Dufresne) and Fra Priolo (Vip Studio, Ex-Be The Wolf, A Line Before The Ocean) for recording and few guitar arrangements.
A few months later, Priolo was welcomed into the band as a full-time guitarist, which added to the current lineup of Karlo (Vocals/Guitar), Mark (Bass) and Diego (Drums).
The recent coronavirus outbreak forced a show cancellation on March 5, 2020 which the band announced via social media – “Our thought goes out to all the activities and people in the artistic field that in this period cannot think about their future in a peaceful way!”
Despite this, The BlackLava still look to play shows whenever possible and get their music heard, along with the promise to soon release a music video for the single “Woman.”
The Music Bugle recently had the chance to talk to The BlackLava about their music and other recent happenings.
Music Bugle – What inspired the name and artwork for ‘As Black As My Heart?’
Karlo – My girlfriend created the cover art. She is the makeup artist and creates both makeup beauty and SFX. She decided on both the name of the album and the graphics. She helps me in many things! First, she tried to make me understand what she wanted to do with an avocado instead of the heart, but I could not understand. The hand is from Zeta, our friend and ex-guitarist. It was great to see the finished work!
Music Bugle – How would you describe the overall alternative rock scene in Italy at the moment?
Karlo – Very ugly! It is very difficult to play rock/metal in Italy. Italy is a country with very hard roots. In some historical periods, it had a beautiful rock scene, but it was only because it was fashionable. Now, there is only that fucking Trap music. Kids who know nothing about music and who sing random things. Like everything, it will pass!
Music Bugle – In what ways do you feel the band has matured over time?
Karlo – I started this band because I needed to create something artistic, but I want it to be made by people who love each other. In these years, even if we have changed two components, the philosophy is always the same! I find that being in a band, like all relationships, is complicated, but then in the end, the only thing that matters is spending time being well! In this climate of understanding, we have grown as humans and as musicians, respecting the ideas of others.
Music Bugle – What are your future plans?
Karlo – In November, we signed a German label for Frozen-Heart and we are planning to play and make ourselves known abroad. It’s a long but very stimulating journey and we can’t wait to proceed!
Music Bugle – Where are some of your favorite places to play? Any crazy show stories?
Karlo – Our place in Turin is Padiglione 14. It’s like a home for us!
Mark – There are many funny episodes also because we have fun together! One of the funniest ones, of which we also have the video, happened during the European tour. At the highway exit in France, Diego tried to make himself understood in French. It was comical!
Diego – There are many funny stories. The last one I remember is an evening in Berlin. A friend of ours fell back into the whirlwind of alcohol after he had long detoxified himself. Maybe you wouldn’t say it, but it was a lot of fun!
Karlo – We were back from a gig in holland and Mark was driving and Diego was close to him. Me and Zeta were sleeping in the back of the van. We were on the highway and Diego saw a car that was slowing down and screamed carefully. Mark braked sharply and I ran into the front seats. The funny thing is that the car that had slowed down was far away!
Fra – We were to be on stage in a few minutes, but we still were in the restaurant, then we ran directly to my car. I left, but I didn’t realize that Mark hadn’t gotten in the car yet.
Music Bugle – What has been your favorite music video to shoot?
Karlo – We shot most of the videos ourselves. In all the videos, I take care of the direction and in some, I take care of the shooting and editing. I like the world of videos. My favorite video was “Bones.” Maybe it was the only video where I created the general idea and where I acted without too many organizational thoughts. As for editing the video, my favorite is “Drunk Like Joe Cocker.” I loved editing the video and making the color!
Music Bugle – You guys recently put out a single called “Woman.” What are your overall thoughts on the song?
Karlo – I really like “Woman.” It’s vintage and reminds me of 70’s atmospheres, but it’s also modern in the ending. It’s a very catchy and rhythmic song. I think it is a nice evolution point for the band! The video clip will be released shortly. The video has both a story and a playback. We shot it in the bodywork of a friend of ours.
Music Bugle – What do you prefer – acoustic set or electric?
Karlo – It depends on the contexts. We have three types of shows – One electric and two acoustic, one with all the members of the band, therefore, very energetic and one with only two members, therefore, very intimate. I like all three contexts. In the end, the human is not a single feeling. You just need to drink.
Music Bugle – How would you describe your band to someone you never met?
Karlo – Genuine modern vintage rock!
Music Bugle – What’s your biggest goal for 2020?
Karlo – We hope that the COVID-19 situation will be resolved soon! It’s a very difficult time for the art world! We had two dates, but they have been canceled for precautionary reasons. It all seems quite extreme! The artist has always been a job that allows you to keep working. We want to hug all the people who are experiencing a difficult artistic and economic moment.