XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Luke: Our debut record, ‘Through The Blast,’ is coming out on June 14th with Pavement Entertainment and we are super excited for our fans to hear it! We have support dates on Flaw’s U.S. tour coming up on June 11th,12th and 13th which we can’t wait for and our live album release will be in Chicago at Livewire Lounge on June 20th to kick things off. We have more dates in the works and a national tour coming up too, which we hope to be able to share more details about soon.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Luke: The band has been together in this lineup for a little over two years.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Luke: For me, it was the first time I heard Guns N’ Roses. They truly inspired me and made me want to be in a band, write songs and express myself through music.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Luke: I don’t come from a trained background and I never went to a music college. I’d say I’m more self-taught. I started playing guitar around eleven years old and then started delving into writing lyrics and songs probably closer to eighteen (I pretty much sucked at first but then gradually got better over time). I dipped my toe into music theory later on which was challenging but it helped give me a better understanding of how to put things together. While I am not a trained musician by any stretch of the imagination I use it as a tool to write with and then someone will often take the idea and run with it or improve on it. What I like to focus on most is writing, melody vocals and arrangement and trying to improve on that.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Luke: Our story. On this record we’re talking about topics that we’ve dealt with like addiction, despair, resilience, hope, taking chances, hard work, and faith. Our hope is that it will resonate with people because I think everybody has struggles and faces adversity.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Luke: Right now, we want to keep it simple. Our goal this year is to put the record out and get out and play live shows in front of as many people as we can. We want to continue to grow as a band and reach new fans.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Luke: I love both for different reasons. To me, they are both equal parts of being a musician. I really enjoy the writing and recording process. There’s really nothing better than working on new music and feeling inspired to do it. With getting out there and performing live music too, there is something so cool about watching people react to what you have written or tell you how it relates to them or what they get from it—it’s a great feeling. So maybe the only preference for writing is that you get to stay in one place a little longer.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’ lyrics about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Luke: Lyrically, I wanted to write an authentic record that reflects our story and issues that are close to me and all of us. Personally, I have dealt with addiction and depression issues during the course of my life and thankfully have come out on the other side of that. Being Irish, I find it hard to open up, but I wanted to be honest about my life and experience and thought it could resonate with a lot of people. I think there are a lot of things that people struggle with on a daily basis, environments that are toxic, relationships that drain us and that can erode the very fabric of our spirit. The flip side to all of this is hope, discovery, trust, and resilience and I think this record reflects that in every sense of the word. To borrow some wise words from Tom Petty, we’re “running down a dream” and we hope to cultivate a sense of attachment through our music, story, and culture.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Luke: A connection to what I’m writing or performing and where the music takes me.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Luke: Not yet…ask us that again at the end of the year we may be able to fill that in a little more!
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Luke: Can we not play so loud. Although I don’t think they were fans…
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Luke: Our families are very supportive of what we do and we’re all extremely grateful for that. They really do see all the work that goes into it—the time, the ups and downs and how demanding it really is to be in a group that wants to succeed. We are very fortunate to have people that do support us and want us to follow our dream.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Luke: Learn from the music that inspires you and always seek to be better.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Luke: For me, it’s Falling From the Sun, Superhuman and Enemies. We have also been doing a cover of Hysteria from Muse which I quite enjoy performing too. I know Arturo is a fan of Enemies and Are We Just Dying live. Alejandro’s is Denial and Tomas’ favorite at the moment is Blind which is the opening track to the record.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Luke: There were a couple, Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots and Nirvana to name a few but I think what started the whole thing initially would be Guns N’Roses. I borrowed a live show from my cousin ‘Live At The Ritz’ I watched it every single day for years. It made me want to write songs and express myself through music. It really connected with me and made me want to do this with my life. I know the guys would probably say Alice in Chains, Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson. We all have pretty different tastes in music but I think that’s the cool thing about music. I think whatever inspires you to create is what is important.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Luke: Guns N’ Roses, Alice in Chains, Papa Roach, Stone Temple Pilots….. I could keep going but it may be a festival line up by the time I stop. ☺
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Luke: I myself have had some chart success back home in Ireland and I’m pretty proud of that. But to be honest, any time you create anything that starts in your mind that really only you can see and then you make that into a reality, I think is a pretty cool accomplishment—which is really the story of Blacklist Regulars. It shouldn’t have worked on paper, four immigrants that don’t know each other and don’t really know anyone in the states, move here to start a band and end up getting the opportunity to sign with an awesome label and tour the U.S.—we’re proud of how far we’ve come. And hey, it’s always fun to root for the underdog!
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Luke: I love to play Poker if I could do that for a living that wouldn’t be too bad! I think I might like to teach in some capacity also—the only issue is my mind is full of random knowledge that doesn’t really cover any topic specifically so I’ll have to work on that. My wife rolls her eyes a lot at the random bits of information I’m always sharing with her—what can I say I’m curious and like to learn about a wide variety of topics. ☺
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Luke: I sing through standard Shure SM58’s and I also use Shure in-ear monitors. Alejandro uses Fender basses and Gallien Krueger amps, one is a Fender Jazz bass and the other one is an Aerodyne. Arturo uses a Fender Telecaster and an Epiphone Les Paul, and as his main amp is an EVH 5150iii with a 2×12 cabinet. Tomas uses 4 piece Mapex mars currently and he is endorsed by various brands. He is endorsed by JSC drums, he has a 14″ x 6″ snare and also he is endorsed by TRX Cymbals which is the only brand he uses for cymbals.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Luke: It’s easier than ever to get your music out there for people to hear in one respect but I think that it is probably also harder than ever for artists to be heard because there is so much out there. The challenging part is to get people’s attention for more than ten seconds.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Luke: Most people are surprised to learn that none of us are from this country. All of us moved to America to start a rock band but didn’t know each other and it’s cool to see how well it has turned out for us.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Luke: Our record drops June 14th so make sure to add it to your playlist and you can stay up to date with everything that’s going on with the band through our website at Blacklistregulars.com for updates and shows. We truly appreciate all of the love and support we’ve gotten from our fans and can’t wait to see what this year brings.
Facebook – www.facebook.com/BlacklistRegulars
Instagram – www.instagram.com/blacklistregulars
YouTube – www.youtube.com/blaclistregulars
Twitter – www.twitter.com/blacklistreg
Vocals – Luke Keating
Drums -Tomás Zabala
Guitar – Arturo Banus
Bass – Alejandro Zabala