Electric Black Bring The Lightning!

Electric Black chat to David Chave about recording a new album, future live plans and their appreciation of their fans.

Busy times are ahead for Hertfordshire based Electric Black in 2024. They released their second album on the 19th January 2024, with an album launch gig, and will shortly venture out in support of the album with a slot on tour of fellow TMR stable mates Bad Touch on the Bittersweet Satisfaction tour, with support from The Karma Effect too.

The recording process for the album commenced in Spring 22. However, many of the songs commenced  life in 2020. “We did a thing to just to try and keep some creative juices flowing, called the mid-riff-ery series, which every Wednesday we gave birth to a riff,” explains Ali. “You see the mid riff, midwifery, I thought it was quite funny. Basically, loads of shit went out there. Some of it stuck, and some of the riffs that stuck became the basis of songs on the new album. Most of the songs were pretty much written already by then, weren’t they?”

“Yeah. Huge focus on riffs during lockdown, wasn’t it really?” adds Matt. “ But having that was a big driving force. We knew we had to put these videos out, so they were having to come up with riffs, which was very helpful when it comes to new music. So, it was a wonderful time for being a drummer. I’d lots of stuff to do when they came back,” he laughs.

“It gave us a bit of forward momentum to get on with a project, which I think we were ready to do. We were ready to write,” Ali continues. “ Although it was our second album, it was really our first creative piece with these four dudes. Because a lot of the first album was already written (when they got together). We joined two non-famous local bands, to become a non-famous super group, as Electric Black. So yeah, it was our first real project together, which was rad.”

“Matt and I came from a band called Tequila Mockingbird,” explains Ryan (not to be confused with the Aussie three piece Tequila Mockingbyrd), “and Ally and Jonny came from the band, White Line Diaries. It just didn’t work out, and me and Matt were kind of band-less for a bit. Then, I think Ali messaged me, and it was like, have a jam and stuff. So, I met him and Jonny had a few jams. We had a guy who was not really into it, and then he left. Matt had come and see us play once, when we played his local pub. And he said, I’ll fill in and yeah, here we are.”

“In due course, the band started to record the songs,” recalls Matt. “We had an arsenal full of stuff that we could spend weeks, months just jamming into, these different riffs the lads had created. Yeah, it was really good time, a really, really, really fun time. There was stuff that has been shelved; stuff that really stood out; stuff that’s on the album that we were like, that’s never gonna work. And it totally worked. It was just a good time.”

“We recorded it at Gospel Oak Studios in a little village in Warwickshire, with Mike Exeter (Producer) and Jaden Brealey (Assistant Engineer),” continues Jonny. “It’s in the middle of absolutely nowhere. It’s like on a farm. He’s surrounded by cows and the odd tractor.”

“We started out, all of us went up there when we tracked the drums, the bass and started laying some guitars,” explains Ali. “I got about two hours at the end of the last afternoon, and it was like, ‘come on, you better go do a bit of squawking’. I knew this was gonna happen. Happens every time. No, it was a really great recording process. I think Mike really got the best of us individually. He’s good at handling people professionally and personally. Which I’ve realised is a nuance that’s important with a producer. They’re not just there to hit record and say, do that again. I think that was a good dynamic for us.”

The songwriting process is a whole band dynamic. “Ali might come up with a riff, or Jonny, or even Matt,” Ryan details. “Even though Matt plays drums, he has riff ideas.  We start playing the riff,  and sometimes we see where it leads to. Somebody else might say, no, try this. Or Matt’s got a drum idea. And then from the drum idea we might write a riff in accordance to what he’s playing drum wise. Most of the time the songs are formed before we write the lyrics.”

The lyrics are mainly written by one member. “That’ll be Blondie (Ali) generally,” says Ryan. But the others chip in and police Ali’s lyrics, much to his relief as he explains, “You know, with hindsight, I’m so pleased that you did cancel me on those moments, that wouldn’t have worked.”

“We’re in this together mate. If you go, we’re all done,” laughs Matt.

Lyrically, the inspiration is from a variety of sources. “Sexual at times,” offers Ali. “At moments, they’re very reflective of where I was personally. There’s one track that is inspired by a Netflix documentary on the bombing of Hiroshima [Take It to the Grave]. I was so compelled by what was in it, I started putting some lyrical ideas together, and it just so happened Jonny had some sort of funk kind of groove and somehow, they worked together. It’s quite a weird juxtaposition, but yeah. That was cool. So, self-reflection. Love, to a degree, but not actually being in love. I wasn’t in that phase of my relationship, but, that’s from my point of view anyway. And then JB put lyrics to one of the tracks, which is about a plane hijacking, bombing dictatorship, I think.”

“I’ve described it before as like the Axle Rose moment”, says Ali, talking about Master or Disaster. “It’s a bit like, come out and fuck you and this is what we do. If you don’t like it, then you can do one. It’s got that drive to it. And, lyrically it refers to backing yourself. This is your flag in the sand.”

While Taste of Paradise takes a more sombre look at life, as Ali explains. “Wild that’s out there. We played a gig in Newcastle at Trillions, and we had an excellent night out together. Big group, big big night out, had raging hangovers. Next day, we went to a cafe under the Tyne Bridge. There was a woman in her late thirties or forties on the edge of the bridge, threatening to jump off.  It was just a crazy. Again, I use the word juxtaposition. We were all sat down there, reeling from the night before, and then looking up and seeing this woman who’s in a complete other phase of her life. It just makes you think about things. You think about what she was going through and, and I guess how lucky we were and how it was gonna pan out and how she got there. I kind of built the lyrics about her as an individual, but then realised they also could relate to individuals I already knew. I guess some people never outrun their ghosts. They can never lose that feeling. The pain will never leave you, even though I know how much you need, how desperately you need it to. She was rescued.”

“We’ve got some positive ones on there as well. Uplifting numbers,” interjects Jonny. “The thing is, it’s odd, because it’s quite an uplifting album,” adds Matt. “But there are some quite dark topics on the album.

“We’re really underselling it,” explains Ali. “It’s actually a celebratory record that we (Electric Black) fit. It’s quite invigorating, quite empowering. I always think Electric Black makes good driving music. The sort of thing you could have your window down, music blasting, in a Ford Transit or a 67 Chevy, and you’d just feel cool, that’d be a good vibe.”

Hellfire Revival is written by Jonny. “War as well,” Jonny explains. “It’s about modern day. Just the shit that, at the moment, as a society, as a human race, is what that’s about. Finishes the album on a serious note.

“Little boys with big toys, isn’t it?” adds Matt. “Lot of idiots in the world.”

“And again, musically, that track is a stomper,” interjects Ali. “It’s not a negative end of the world vibe at all. it’s very, very euphoric, I think.”

“It’s a bit like, come out and fuck you and this is what we do


The album was self-released on 19th January under TMR, with Earache handling the distribution. The cover art has been produced by Matt. “I do all of the artwork for the T-shirts and the CDs and such. On the first album, the cover was cluttered. We had an eagle, a car and a viaduct. I thought it’d be quite cool for the second album to just strip that all away and just have us and a little bit of a border, nothing crazy. I wanted to keep it kind of simple.”

“It’s understated … confident is how I describe it,” adds Ali. “We wanted to make a visual to match the audio, without it being too much.”

“The riffs speak themselves,” continues Matt. “This is the first time we’ve collectively written an album. This is us. So, that was my full thinking, let the riffs do the talking.”

“The name Late Night Lightning was a reference to when we were doing our back and forth trips to Gospel Oak,” explains Ali. “There’d be early starts, and late finishes driving back. We stopped at a pub, we’re having a pint, and I think Matt threw out “late night lightning’. And I was like, yeah, that’s cool. I think we all gravitated back to that.”

Five singles from the album have been released so far, with the latest released on 5th January called Put It Down On Me. ”There’s a lyric video for Put It Down On Me,” states Ali. “We’ve got one for Take The Roof Off too. There is a lyric video for Take To The Grave as well, which is quite a cool. An AI soldier, war torn thing, which it’s cool. They’re all on our YouTube.”

The album was released in yellow and red splatter vinyl versions, as well as the standard CD artwork, alternative CD artwork, cassette and digital download. The band held their album release show on 20th January at Club 85 in Hitchin, with support from Zac and The New Men, and Vambo. Through February to April, they will be supporting Bad Touch on tour, alongside The Karma Effect in what will be one of the best tour line ups of 2024. “We’re, going to be opening up, uh, except for the Leo’s date where we’re main support,” enthuses Ali. “We’re buzzing for it.” There will be t-shirts available for the live gigs. “There will be some new designs coming out for the tour,” says Matt. In terms of festivals, the band only have RockWich in August lined up, thus far. “We’re, looking to get a lot more dates up into the second half ‘24,” says Matt.

What comes across talking to these guys is the bond they have, exemplified through the banter between them. They clearly love doing what they do with each other. They also recognise the support from their solid fan base.  “We’re incredibly thankful to our fans,” says Matt.  “They helped us with this, because this would not have been possible without the Kickstarter backers and the support from people who didn’t have any reason to support us. We are just four dudes making music. But they did, and now we have a second album out of them. We’re just blown away by that and want to thank them so much.”

“We’re still a fairly small band, with a  small following,” adds Ali. “I feel like our following is really committed. They’re really a strong fan base, which we love. Long may that continue in whatever size that fan base is, but thank you to everyone that’s supported us this far, and continues to turn out and cheer for us.”

“We’ve even got a friend come over from Spain for our album launch,” shares Ryan. “It’s kind of like a first time she’s traveled and it’s like, ‘well I’m coming to Hitchin’.”

Electric Black are one of those bands I feel are under appreciated. They never fail to impress live, with good songs, great live presence and the chops to go with it. This album may net them a promotion to the next division (to use a sporting analogy).



Band Members

Ali Shiach – Vocals
Jonny Bryant – Guitar
Ryan Trotman – Bass
Matt Butler – Drums

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