Party Minds

9 August 2012 | 7:00 am | Olivia Gardner

“We don’t hold back, we’re pretty down to earth, we tell it how it is,”

Fremantle band Black Board Minds are pretty stoked about the long-awaited launch of their first album titled What Do You See. The Rorschach-inspired inkblot cover houses a collection of the band's songs from the past four years. “It took so long to actually get our shit together and make it a material thing that we could actually hold and show people,” says Emmet Blackwell, one of the band's three vocalist/guitarist/bassists. “Before, it was just a group of songs we'd play at gigs. It's a very satisfying feeling getting close to the launch itself.”

The album was a very natural process for the boys of Black Board Minds, who started out as best mates from high school that eventually started hanging out on weekends with a few beers, mucking around on a djembe and some acoustic guitars. “It's a good summary of the band's history over the past four years or so – it reflects the way we've written the songs, and I guess the places we've been living and our lifestyle as well,” explains Blackwell. And, for the band, that lifestyle has largely consisted of partying, surfing and keeping it real.

“We don't hold back, we're pretty down to earth, we tell it how it is,” points out Blackwell. It's definitely the case with the album track Bitch Neighbour, one inspired by a neighbour from the band's past who out-yelled them one afternoon during practice. “She just lost it with us so the neighbour on the other side said, 'Oi boys, come over here, me and my wife are sitting out at our table with a glass of wine and we're really enjoying it, so tell her to shut up.' So that was just inspiration,” he reveals. Among the other inspirations for the band, aside from their affections for old blues and surf rock, has been Fremantle's music scene and a strong appreciation for bands like The Kill Devil Hills, Schvendes and also Abbe May's solo work.

Apart from being the refined work of the band over the previous years, What Do You See is a concoction of what each member brings to the group. With their deviating talents and musical preferences, the result is an original and head-bop-inducing album with its roots in blues, rock, swamp, surf, pop, acoustic and whatever else the band is vibing at the time. “It's a bit all over the place to be honest, I'm happy to say that I'm the least talented in the group,” laughs Blackwell. “We've all got our individual styles, I guess, and that helps make us not just a band that can shred a wicked solo in every song, but gives us a bit more of a dynamic and a variety of style. It's not really a planned thing – it's just have a jam and if it sounds good then that's who's playing the instrument and that's how the arrangement is going to be.”

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The new album is definitely full of some impressive guitar solos, but listeners can also expect to hear some other interesting sounds including a couple of the group's members dabbling with the harmonica. Judging by how Blackwell describes the band's Freo gigs, the album launch at Mojo's is set to be quite the party, so who knows what else they'll pull out. “We feel really lucky to have so many friends in awesome bands. At the album launch we're going to have Deep River Collective, Rainy Day Women and Jane Azzopardi opening for us. Having those friends that are happy to support you when you're doing a launch, or something, just makes the night so much better. You get this big connected group of friends, and I'm sure not everyone is connected, but it does feel like, walking around after you've played, that you know a lot of people in the room and everyone is just in an awesome mood because it's like a big party.”