Hi everyone! This week, I am introducing you to the alternative rock band Take the Black. Learn more about their recent EP ‘Smoke Up, Johnny’ in the following interview!
Hello Take the Black! How are you doing? Hey! We’re doing very well, thank you for sharing your platform with us. We love engaging with people who have a genuine passion for music and are really excited to be a part of what you are doing at WHTYB?.
How did your band get started? We all went to high school together, so we’ve known each other for 10 years. During that time, different band members have played music together in various projects and cover bands. Our collaboration as Take the Black started with Tom and Eddie pulling Sean and Chris in as session musicians about a year ago, for a single recording (“Lawman”) that we had been messing around with for a long time. We were so happy with the results that we decided to give writing and recording original music together a shot. Since then we have recorded and released our first EP “Smoke Up, Johnny” (hopefully obvious Breakfast Club reference) which has been gaining a decent amount of traction on Spotify.
Who is in your band and what is your role in it?
Eddie Mastromarino – lead singer, songwriter and rhythm guitarist
Tom DiCarlucci – lead guitarist, pianist and songwriter
Sean Plunkett – drummer
Chris Baldini – bassist, vocalist
How would you describe your band to someone who has never heard your songs before? Take the Black is energetic pop-rock with obvious punk influences. We try not to limit ourselves to specific genre tropes, while also remaining eminently listenable.
What are the main influences in your music? Our major influences include Brand New, Gaslight Anthem, Blink 182, Bowling for Soup, Motion City Soundtrack, Walk the Moon, and Green Day.
How do you usually write and compose your songs? Tom and Eddie have done the bulk of the song writing for Take the Black so far, but the songs evolve with input from all band members and our producer Nick Squillante. The approach has been pretty singular for our early tracks, but we have been making a concerted effort to make the songwriting process more collaborative going forward. Hopefully that brings a new flavor to our second EP release.
From all the songs you’ve released so far, is there one you’re especially proud of? We have really enjoyed writing and recording all of our tracks, but “Lawman” was particularly fun since it broke us out of our comfort zone. The track has a classic rock vibe and much more bite than our other recordings. It gives Tom a lot of room to solo, where our genre typically does not, and the breakdown plays to Sean’s strengths as a drummer. It was recently featured on the New York radio station 107.1 the Peak, which was also a great experience for us.
Can you tell us more about your recent EP ‘Smoke Up, Johnny’? ‘Smoke Up, Johnny’ is a really important project for us. Since it is our first release of original music, we were hyper focused on showcasing our songwriting and individual talents. Each track has its own story to tell and we made a conscious effort to give the music space to deliver those stories effectively. “Molly” is a thinly-vailed allegory for drug abuse (which we read about in a book?) that highlights some of our punk influences. “Drive Tonight” is a nostalgic heart-break track that has a lot of grit and soul. “Hazel Eyes” is a fun and energetic mix of 80s pop and early 2000s pop-punk. “Before I Sleep” is a lyrically-weighty alternative rock ballad about loss, the allure of death, and the need to keep pressing forward.
We are really proud of how the EP came together and cannot wait for our next release.
How have your fans responded to it so far? As of this interview, the EP has only been made available on Spotify and iTunes, but has been receiving a lot of positive buzz. Our track “Before I Sleep” has been particularly successful on Spotify and we were recently featured on a New York area radio station. We are hoping to continue expanding our fanbase via live shows, social media promotion, and influential outlets like yours.
What’s up next for your band? We are working on our next EP, which we expect to release on Spotify later in 2017. In the interim, we will be releasing a set of acoustic tracks that feature some of our favorite local artists. We are also launching our YouTube channel on August 1 and will continue to support all of these digital releases by playing shows in the NYC area.