Who are the Black Road?

If you like Stoner/Doom rock then you might like to look into this fantastic little band.

They are a four-piece sultry stoner/doom band from Chicago, IL. Founding members Tim M. and Suzi Uzi write the riffs and lyrics, with Casey Papp (bass) and Robert Gonzales (drums) creating a heavy and harmonious rhythm as the backbone. Formed in the summer of 2015, Black Road has had lineup changes that have pushed the band to become stronger and more focused. Just before acquiring the newest members in fall of 2016, Black Road signed with DHU Records (Netherlands) for a vinyl and cassette deal, they signed with BloodRock Records (Italy) for the CD release.

After almost one full year of gaining their new bassist and drummer, Black Road was finally ready to reveal their self-titled debut EP. This album features two songs that had already been established by the previous lineup, and 4 new tracks that were created out of sheer inspiration. The album is a DIY labor of love – originally tracked and recorded by Suzi Uzi and Brad V Earl. The tracks were sent to Tony Reed (Mos Generator) at HeavyHead Recording Company in Washington to be mixed and mastered. Each song has a different feel, meaning, and place within the album.

The first single released to the public was track 2, “Bloody Mary” – the shortest lyrical song on the EP. A music video followed up the release, and gained instant popularity.

“Chicago’s mystical occult stoner/doom unit Black Road invite you to tread terra retro via their first official video, ‘Bloody Mary’. The new single is a pulsating tune laden with ruts of fuzzed riffs, vintage vibes, and some bluesy vocals.” (Pat “Riot” Whitaker, Senior Writer/Editor at Riff Relevant)

This single was also featured on “Doomed & Stoned in Chicago (2017)”, alongside other Chicago metal and stoner rock bands. The mix for the original release of “Bloody Mary” is not the one which is heard on the Black Road EP. This older mix can be purchased as a single on Black Road’s Bandcamp page (mixed by John Morrison and Suzi Uzi).

The second and final single released before the album went public was track 1, “From Hell”, originally released within the compilation “DHU Records Sampler MXVII Vol. II”, now available on Bandcamp. This sampler includes songs from bands currently on the DHU Records roster.

“Morte” (track 3) is an instrumental composition, written, recorded, and performed by Suzi Uzi. The song features Tim performing layered acoustic guitar tracks, also recorded by Suzi.

“Morte (coda)” (track 4) is the continuation of the original “Morte” track – featuring electric instrumentation. Tony Reed contributed a vintage mellotron track to this particular song, adding layers of complexity and depth – perfectly capturing the darkness and horror movie feel intended by Suzi.

“Red” (track 5 on the EP) can be described as “the song that started it all”. The original demo recording released by Black Road in early 2016 caught the eyes and ears of DHU Records. Feeling an immediate connection with the head of the record label, Black Road knew they wanted to go with DHU for the first release. “Red” has evolved and gotten heavier – just like the entire band.

Closing out the Black Road EP is “Black Rose”. This is the longest song on the entire album, and can almost be considered the grand finale ballad. The outro of this song incorporates live audio captured by Suzi after a storm.

Currently available from Bandcamp as a Compact Disc or digital download, there is also a limited Cassette release and vinyl due very soon, however you can listen to the full EP below. For more details about the group, please see their Press Release page on Dark Waters.

I am a lucky owner of the EP on Compact Disc which has been fully signed, and for a debut release this sure shows just what this band are all about. One of the best debut’s I have heard in a while and look forward to hearing more from the band over the coming years.

The release date for the vinyl pressing has finally been set, and will be available in limited numbers in different coloured edition, pre-orders available from the 2nd February 7pm central European time (6pm Greenwich Mean Time) through the bands store.

Exclusive Interview

I managed to get an exclusive interview with the lovely Suzi Uzi, where I asked a few questions about the band and other things.

Do you classify yourself as a doom/stoner band?

Black Road is described mainly as a Stoner Doom band, and we are all totally fine with that. I would say we are definitely heavy blues, with tons of fuzz, and stoner rock themes and vibes.

What influences the band?

Our band has developed a tight-knit friendship. We have a dynamic that is very fun and relaxed, while at the same time very productive. We have bonded over bands we all enjoy, and found many influences we all share. We are influenced by our jams, listening to other musicians and bands, discussing personal goals and wishes, imbibing for fun and creativity, and overall wanting to have a good time. There is nothing that gets the creative juices flowing better than having fun while having drinks!

I can’t think of many female fronted bands in the rock scene, where you always into music and wanting to be a singer of a group?

I was always into music as a kid. I can recall my earliest memories of being in a car seat and banging my head as hard as possible, while asking my father to turn the music up louder. I never considered myself much of a singer, but I always loved to dance and had no problem performing in front of others. There were many people in my life who told me that being a performer, singer, or actress was not a real career choice. I was expected to lead a “normal life”, although that never struck me as what I truly wanted. I always loved music so much I wished I could at least play an instrument well enough to be in a band one day perhaps. I had no idea I would be up front, singing alone.

What music were you into when growing up?

Rock-n-roll was the only music I thought mattered when I was growing up. I was very into the music of the 60s-80s when I was young. As I got older, I got into the more obscure and not-as-heavy rock of the 60s. I had always loved Motown and oldies music as well.

Where do you see the band going now that you have a record deal?

Getting signed to not one, but two, record labels was something I didn’t expect to happen – at least not as quickly as it did. We had not even had our album recorded yet when DHU Records (Netherlands) offered us a deal to release our vinyl and cassette. Once we had all our tracks finished and were in the mixing stage, we signed with BloodRock Records (Italy) to release our CD. This has really helped us to spread our music all over the world, and I have been shipping various merch products to countries everywhere. Hopefully this can help to get the word out, and we can get booked in even more states to perform. We are saving up for a band van and we hope that we can hit the road together soon to spread the music as far as we can. A European tour is something we all dream about, and hopefully we can get there someday with the help of our record labels and fans.

Was releasing the album on vinyl always something you wanted to do or was it because the fans were asking?

Vinyl was the first format we ever discussed releasing. DHU Records was the first label we signed with and they only did vinyl releases at the time. We were actually their first ever cassette release, and that was an honor! The fans of this genre seem to love to purchase physical media, which is amazing! Releasing a vinyl was something I never imagined we would do. Vinyl was always something that astonished me as a child. We are thrilled to be given the opportunity.

Do you collect music yourself? If so on vinyl?

I do not have access to any of the old vinyls I would play as a kid, because they were all my fathers and are long gone by now. I have had to start up my own vinyl collection, and have only around 50 or so at the moment. I love to collect autographed vinyls from the bands we are playing with or supporting on their tours as they stop in Chicago. I have a collection of CDs and digital releases as well, and even a couple cassettes now!

Any funny stories from on the road?

There are plenty of funny stories from the road – but one that always sticks out in my mind. We had a gig in Toledo, Ohio and decided to get hotels for the band after the show instead of driving straight home. Tim and I were the last ones to leave the gig, and had to make a stop before heading to the hotel. We told our drummer Robert to go ahead and check in, and we would be right behind him. Us three were planning to share a double room. By the time we’d arrived at the hotel, we could hear Robert snoring through the door. We knocked and called him, but he wasn’t answering. We realized we had less than one hour before the fast-food places closed in town, and we were super hungry. We went to grab food and decided when we got back again we would wake him up. Despite all efforts, he seemed to simply not hear us knocking or his phone ringing at all. Needless to say, Tim and I wound up having to get another hotel room for a mere 7 hours – just long enough to sleep, shower, and leave by checkout time. We were laughing when Robert woke up and realized what happened. Now we have a new plan of action when securing hotel rooms for gigs away from home! hahaha

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