Andy talks with Rick from POINT-BLACK
Hi Rick! Thanks for taking the time to do this interview with me. Could you tell us a little bit about Point-Blank?
Hey!, yeah man. We are a metal band from California, USA. Josh Jensen and myself have been playing music together since 1996. We planted the Point-Blank seed way back in ’98 just for shits and giggles but in 2013 we decided to write and record our debut EP ‘Pharmageddon’. Although we do still enjoy shitting and giggling we’re taking a more serious approach this time around.
1998 that’s a long time, most bands fizzle out after a few years. What’s your secret for keeping things going for so long? You must have accumulated tons of ideas over time?
Yeah, for sure. We have seen literally hundreds of bands and trends come and go. As far as Josh and I being in bands for 20 years now, I don’t think it’s a secret but you have to get along with each other and somewhat be on the same page with the type of music you want to create. We’ve always have had that from the moment we met, we just clicked and said this is the style we want to play and as the trends and scenes came and went, we stayed true to making the type of music that makes us happy and by doing so I think we have a sound now that is unique. Of course, being in a band is like having 3 or 4 wives, you’re gonna have issues and obstacles from time to time. I’d say we’re very fortunate to not only still be playing music together but we’re playing the music that we love most you know.
Indeed, being in a band is like a relationship, of sorts. How did you create such an extreme sound? What is case of amalgamation of influences poured into a pot, or did it happen by accident?
Yeah, it totally is man. As far as our sound goes, I think it’s partly accidental but it has also come together organically. We have so many fucking influences and not just metal it’s nuts. We love everything from Bob Dylan to Cannibal Corpse and everything in between and more. So I think when you mix all those influences and all that crazy shit together you get something that comes out sounding like Point-Blank.
It certainly is an original sound, I’ve never heard anything take on so many genres in one hit. Is the songwriting process a quick affair, or does it take a while to congeal the components together?
Thank you. That is the exact reaction we wanted to get from the listener and it feels so great to hear that from you. The songwriting process for the Pharmageddon EP was pretty quick and most of it was written on the spot and off the cuff. It usually starts with a riff or a song title and from there we decide if it’s a fast going to be blasting motherfucker or something with a groovy vibe or a little bit of both. So far we are sticking to that formula as we are starting to write new songs for our next release.
You’re very welcome. Where does the old school black metal influence come from? I guess, if you are looking at genres, Point-Blank have somewhat created their own. It’s almost Black Industrial Metal.
Nice, I like that. I made up a genre called “Grindustrial” because grindcore bands like Soilent Green and Cephalic Carnage along with Industrial bands like Ministry,Fear Factory and Static-X have all played a role in our sound in some way. As far as black metal influences go, we really dig bands like Satyricon, Darkthrone, Celtic Frost, and 1349 to name a few.
Yes, I can hear that in the music for sure, but I also noticed a hint of Bile, the deep sounding edge. What’s the live scene like for this kind of music in the US?
Yeah totally, Bile is killer thanks for the compliment. The scene here is hard to explain, it’s hit and miss. Sometimes you play to a crowd that absolutely loses their mind and has crazy mosh pits, other times crowds will stand there with their arms crossed staring you down with a disgusted look on their face. I hear the UK still has a strong scene, I hope to play over there one day.
The U.K. Scene is hit and miss really. Too many bands playing the same circuit over and over, too many venues closing down and so on. I’m sure the UK would great Point-Blank with open arms due to the fresh, original, diverse and aggressive style you possess. How does your live sound differ from the studio sound?
That’s how it is here too. Any place where the scene is getting stale and all the bands sound the same when something new and fresh finally comes through they fucking love it. I think we’ve always shined more as live band. Our sound doesn’t differ much, but you get that extra visual of everyone headbanging and going ape shit on stage and interacting with the crowd. Even if it’s the type crowd I mentioned earlier that just stands there, we still give it 100%
I’ve always enjoyed listening to albums before seeing a band live, going back to the ’80s when I first started listening to Metal. I’ve always tried to visualize what the bands would look like, lights, backdrops and the like. Do you think the visual aspect of live shows still plays a big part, like Iron Maiden, Kiss used to bring to their live shows or, have bands like Slipknot taken things to another level where bands think they can’t compete on that scale?
Me too man, those were the good ol’ days. I think the visual aspect is definitely important for live shows. I think it just depends on the venue you’re playing at and what level of shows you’re playing on. We’ve played with bands in the past at small dives and shit hole clubs that maybe only hold 100 people and we would kind of laugh at a band that would overdue it and bring their full-blown laser and lighting rig and their backdrop is about 10 or 20 feet too big to even fit behind the drum kit and they’ve got fuckin’ t-shirt launchers and shit. In my opinion when you play these types of places just keep it raw and organic man, I mean of course rock your smoke machine and some lights and stuff if you’ve got it because it looks cooler that way, but for these smaller clubs keep it raw and keep it minimal if you can, like I said sometimes you can overdue it. What it really comes down to though is the guys on stage playing the music, if you’re good you’re good, the visuals are just an awesome bonus.
My thoughts exactly. I’ve seen too many bands do that, hell I’ve even worked for a few. It’s best to keep it raw, sweaty and real. Let the music do the talking. So what’s next for Point-Blank? Are there any labels involved or are you going everything yourselves?
We do everything ourselves totally D.I.Y. as of now. So far this year we have been writing and recording the follow up to Pharmageddon, which has a bit more of a hardcore kinda of punk vibe going on a few of the songs and another song called “Funeral Hangover” has a bluesy black metal vibe so you can expect the same genre mashup insanity on this one. Other than that shooting some more music videos and working on some remixes from the Pharmageddon release.
That sounds insane! Can’t beat a bit of punk/hardcore. So, in theory, the new material will be sheer anarchy in Industrial/Grind format? I can’t wait to hear that. Hopefully, we’ll see each other on tour at some time in the near future. Good luck with all you are doing. Hope to see the videos soon also. Thanks for your time. Cheers!
Yes! Very well put. You can check out our website for music videos, new music and other updates. Hope to see you around bro, thank you. Cheers!