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BlackListt / Bio

One of the first songs Blacklistt came up with was called From the Blind Spot. Yes, it was a nod to their old band, the chart-topping heavy rock act who were one of New Zealand's most popular groups before splitting up in 2007. But the song was also a start of something new.
It was written when guitarist Marcus Powell, keyboardist and DJ Karl Vilisini, and bass player Gareth Fleming got back together to have a jam in 2010.
"We didn't really know where it was going to go," remembers Powell. "But it sounded a lot like Blindspott because we were the four original writers."
When they played the song to their old band mate and singer, Damian Alexander, he liked what he heard.
"I thought, 'Yep, this is the reason I started writing music in the first place'. It sounded the same, and the magic was back," says Alexander.
So with four of the original members back on board - Blindspott, who would soon become known as Blacklistt, were back in business.
Fast forward to now, and they are gearing up to release their debut album on September 13 (yes, that's Black Friday).
"We have to make it the best we have done," says Alexander. "It's the second Blindspott album we never got to make but with 10 years experience on our side"
With Alexander's trademark vocal combination of singing, roaring and rapping, and their melodic, hip-hop inflected and brutally heavy sound, Blindspott were big. Over the course of 10 years, with anthems like Nil By Mouth, Phlex and Room to Breathe and two consecutive No. 1 albums - Blindspott (2002) and End the Silence (2006) - they gained legions of loyal fans.
After they reconvened in 2010, Blacklistt made a triumphant return to the live stage headlining Wellington's Sold out Homegrown festival at the beginning of 2011 where they debuted From the Blind Spot.
It was after that show that they thought: "We love this so much. We love jamming. Why did we stop?" says Powell.
However, in the months following the gig they became embroiled in a legal dispute with Woolright over the rights to the Blindspott band name.
Both parties were facing a lengthy court battle but Powell, Alexander, Fleming and Vilisini decided to lay Blindspott to rest once and for all and adopt the name Blacklistt.
And one of the motivating factors driving Blacklistt are their fans.
"They are pretty hardcore," says Powell. "Seeing the numbers that turned up on the tour, it was phenomenal, and so we kind of have to release an album."
And Blacklistt is more than just about playing live and writing new songs for the fans - they are doing this for themselves too, and on their own terms.
It's a stark contrast to recording the second Blindspott album. They had a lot of pressure on them to produce an album that would live up to their debut. On top of this they had all "these bullshit rules" they were expected to follow in order to be commercially viable. “Fuck That”
This time round there were no boundaries - and they made their own rules. It freed them up to not only be more creative but more open to everyone's ideas, even the "weird fruity stuff" Vilisini would bring to the table.
"By throwing that rule book out we got to test out more things and try more things. It made for a better album. It's quite an emotional and creative album," says Powell.
It was a "writing weekend" on Waiheke Island mid last year when Blacklistt came up with many of the album's key songs.
Powell: "It was mint. Fishing off the rocks. Watching the sharks and the dolphins swimming round. But it was productive too. We were just hanging out and it's been ages since we've done that, just chilled as mates, and it definitely brought a vibe back."
Alexander: "The depth of our abilities as songwriters has changed and we've matured. Even though it's not as abusive as the first album, it's just as intense."
At the beginning of this year Blacklistt did a solid seven week stint of pre production, playing the songs hard-out and perfecting them at rehearsal space the Killing Room, and then they went into York Street in Parnell in March.
For the first time the band have taken on co production duties on the album along with York Street engineer Hayden Taylor, who first worked with the band on From the Blind Spot.
As for their hopes for the album, and the next chapter in Blacklistt's story, Powell would dearly love it to go to No. 1.
Blacklistt debut on the NZ Album chart at NUMBER 1 20th Sept 2013

General Info

Band Members
Damian Alexander Marcus Powell Gareth Fleming Karl Vilisini Tristan Reilly
Artist Name
Home Page
Rock / Alternative Rock

Contact Info

West Auckland, NZ
James Southgate

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