Six Questions With Castle Black
Welcome to “Six Questions With…,” a series of interviews with emerging artists, musicians, and bands focusing on the music scene and how they live within it. It started as a quick, fun project, but has quickly gained serious interest, so we’re making this a permanent feature on the site. Over time, the questions may change, but the sentiment will stay intact. This is a way for independent artists to be discovered by new fans on a global scale.
Within in each post, you will find all of their social media links, and also either a link to their music, or the ability to stream at least one of their tracks or videos, depending on the availability.
We hope you enjoy this series, and if you know anyone that might be interested in being part of it, please have them reach out to us for more information.
Next in the hot seat is Brooklyn-based indie rock trio Castle Black. We have not yet had the privilege to cover Castle Black here on the pages of Indie Minded, so it is great to get to know them. If you’re not familiar with them, sit back and enjoy! This is what is great about this series – the discovery of new music.
Answers by Leigh Celent of Castle Black.
For those who may not be familiar, please tell us about your music: the type of music you play, where you are from, and how you got started?
Well, the music is rock music, pretty raw, pretty honest, coming from a vast array of influences … blues, punk, alternative, pop, among others. The music can be heavy for sure, and it also usually ends up carrying a strong hook, while also being a little weird along the way.
The band is from Brooklyn. This version of the band has its origins in the summer of 2015. Our bassist Lisa and I had met at a song-writing workshop a few years before that. When my band needed a bassist, Lisa agreed to play for that summer only! Shortly after Lisa joining, the band needed a drummer and Lisa found Matt through a friend of a friend.
As an artist, how do you define success?
Oh I don’t know! And maybe that’s the definition – that there really isn’t a definition for it, as it’s constantly evolving and changing. Can I end there and get away with that?
Some days I feel like I’d only feel like I was “successful” as a musician if the band were well-known, selling out big venues, making money off of what we love to do … Other days, I feel “successful” because I reached one person, who tells me how much a particular song meant to them after a show. But I guess a sustainable feeling of success would be somewhere in between those two extremes. Although I’d say in the sometimes difficult world the music world can be, it’s those little moments, like one person telling you how great they thought the show was, that gives you the fuel to push a little harder, to sustain a little longer …
What do you find to be your greatest struggle when it comes to the music business?
I guess right now it’s figuring out how to get everything done. As an independent artist, there’s so much that has to get done, in addition to writing and playing, which is obviously the part that I love and would rather be doing. I’ve found that staying on top of things, as we start to get busier or more things are happening, has been a constant struggle. I happen to be super organized, or at least I have methods to my madness, so I tend to appear as if I have it all together, and I will get stuff done if it needs to get done, so no one knows how much of a struggle it may actually be for me to stay sane on any given day. From setting up shows, to promoting shows, to sending music to radio, to answering emails, to managing the website, to just meeting other people in the scene, it all adds up and is a lot to manage.
If you could only play ONE of your songs for the rest of your career, which one would it be?
I’m answering this from a very specific perspective! I once saw The National do this really awesome performance just playing one of their songs, Sorrow, over and over and over again, like all day, at Moma. Each version was different but it was the same song. At first, this question freaked me out because I thought, oh how torturous, but now I’ve got The National in my head, and this can totally work!!!
That is pretty cool! I wonder if they play that song anymore….
So with that in mind, I’d choose “Leave It,” off of our second EP, Losing Forever. That’s primarily because the song has a few distinct parts, and it starts with an extended instrumental. It also sounds really pretty slowed down and even played acoustically. The song is really natural and fun to sing and it tends to resonate with the crowd.
Who do you consider your greatest influences?
Musically, we individually have a lot of varying influences, but for me personally, my biggest musical influence has been Jack White. I think he is incredibly talented, and I’ve loved all of his projects, especially The White Stripes and The Dead Weather. There’s a raw, relentless energy about all of it, and he’s just talented all around.
Outside of music, what do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into for your music?
I have a strong visual side, so things like photography and movies or just being in nature definitely contribute to how I see the world overall. Sometimes if I’m really busy and I have a ton of things to get done musically, I have to remind myself to go do something else, go take some photos, go see a movie, hang out by the water. The influence of those other mediums contributes so much to the music, in ways one doesn’t necessarily always see right away. Bringing that visual acuity into music just makes sense to me because I think I personally identify with music that creates a strong visual in my mind, that’s how the words end up coming alive for me. I also feel that exercise – yoga, running etc – contribute a lot, because I just feel more together, stronger, like I have mental space, after a good workout, which ultimately ends up allowing me to be in a better position to create.
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