A Quiet Moment With the Very Loud B L A C K I E
See also Craig Hlavaty's review of B L A C K I E's new album GEN.
Photos by Marco Torres B L A C K I E performing at House of Blues' Bronze Peacock Room, July 2011
To go with the Houston Press Music Awards issue, this week's feature story is a profile of B L A C K I E (all caps, with spaces), a noise musician that's a little too rap to be classified as a noise musician and way noisy to be classified as a rapper.
Over the course of several weeks, B L A C K I E and I talked quite a bit, in person and on the phone. It was maybe a few more times than he would've liked, but it's the nature of these types of stories, really. Especially with somebody like B L A C K I E, whose appeal is as much in what he doesn't say as what he does say.
A short anecdote that didn't make it into the story:
Before any real interview took place, I met up with B L A C K I E and his family at a park and hung out for maybe two hours. We sat at a table alone and ate food while his girlfriend and their months-old son moved around talking to members of the girlfriend's immediate and extended family.
Quick aside: When it was time to eat, I made a plate of food and sat down at a table occupied by a few other humans and waited for B L A C K I E to join us. After he made his plate he went and sat at a table by himself. I don't know that he did it on purpose, or that it was meant to mean anything, but that didn't make it any less funny.
At any rate, B has a peculiar way of engaging in conversation, mostly because he doesn't. He'll answers questions you ask him, but only with the precise amount of words necessary, and often with not enough.
His eyes don't meet yours when he says things; they generally just stare forward at a low-lying object as he waits for the words to get to his mouth. It has two effects: 1) It reveals his contemplative nature, and that's good because it is his default setting; and 2) It makes everything he says feel important and insightful, even if it's rote and commonplace.
You say something like, "So what type of ramification do you think Bosnia's political strife will have on the surrounding area?" and he says something like, "... [stares]... [stares]... It'll be bad," and then you say something like, "HOLY CHRIST! YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT." It's uncanny, and you don't even notice it until a minute or two has passed and you're talking about something else.
B L A C K I E -- and just as importantly, B L A C K I E's music -- really is interesting. Take a few moments to read the story. Then go to iTunes and buy his newest album, an acoustic noise album called GEN that is remarkable in its progressivism. Then follow him on Twitter at @B_L_A_C_K_I_E.
Then go live your life.
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