Featured band /// Black Sonic Revolver

Black Sonic Revolver

Black Sonic Revolver are a rare breed of bands. First and foremost, they make mint music. It’s passionate, heart-felt, sincere and has mind-blowing guitars that go straight into your heart. Once you hear their tunes, they’ll stay with you forever. Black Sonic Revolver’s debut self-titled album came out in December 2014. This record is an instant crush – the one you won’t be able to take off repeat for a long time. These guys sing about life making it easy to relate to their art and make music from the bottom of their hearts, which casts a spell on everything they do.

Black Sonic Revolver’s passion for music is contagious. They’re a walking inspiration, this wonderful bunch. Just listen to BSR tunes, have a chat with them online or go and see the band live and you’ll understand how much these guys love what they do and how much fun they have doing it. Once you discover Black Sonic Revolver, you become a part of a huge family built around friendship and common love for music. The sense of togetherness is great when it comes to the band, so remember that when you join in their exciting journey, you join the tightest-knit music gang on the whole underground UK scene. Want to get to know them closer? Then have a read of what Black Sonic Revolver’s founder Leon James Kenny told me about the band.

On setting up the band

Black Sonic Revolver was started as an outlet of feelings and emotions through music and lyrics, a therapy of sorts. I wanted to be creative and to clear my mind of what I’d observed on my time on earth, and what I’d witnessed and felt as a person, which is a range of emotions I believe we all go through.

On the massive start

I actually showed a live video of “The Way That I Do” to The Dandy Warhol’s drummer Brent DeBoer from our very first show in Manchester, via Facebook, and he was really positive towards the music and chatted to me for a while and offered me some encouragement moving forward. It was nice to be given assurance from somebody whose band we have massive respect for. That was right at the very beginning, and gave us a lovely start to life as a band.

On crucial events in the band’s life

Opening a few shows for John Power from Cast was nice, because I’ve always been a fan of Cast and The La’s, so it was nice to drink a few beers with him, and even be offered to share a taxi home with him after the London show was pretty special, as my Uncle saw Cast supporting Oasis when I was 9 years old. Like a lot of things we do with the band, the memories will last a life time, that’s something I really cherish.

Also, we staged our own show at Manchester’s legendary Night & Day Cafe in August 2014 to celebrate recording a demo album, and we sold the show out, which was a great feeling, to be on stage in our wonderful musical city of Manchester, looking out, knowing everyone that’s pushed right up against the stage is there for your band….. which has no manager, no record label…. just 4 friends making music, and we sold out a well established venue on our own. We were very proud of that. Our first stage invasion happened at Night & Day a year earlier too, that was great as well. We’ve become known for being unpredictable live. I like that!

On creating the debut album

Well, we recorded an 11 track demo album in our kitchen in February 2014, entitled “B.S.R” or “B.S.R (The Kitchen Album)”, which took 2 days to record. We released that via I-Tunes in June 2014 on our own mythical “BSR Records”, which paved the way to enter a recording studio to make our 1st “proper” full length album, after selling out a home town show to celebrate.

We used 6 songs from “The Kitchen Album” and recorded 4 new songs to make up our debut 10 track studio album “Black Sonic Revolver”. The album was recorded in just 10 sessions across October and November 2014, and was released on Christmas Eve 2014, once again worldwide via “BSR Records”. One point to note is that the original bass player departed during the course of the recording, leaving myself to also play bass on 5 of the 10 tracks on the album, “The Way That I Do” / “Space & Time” / “Play Along” / “Loose Lips” and “Waiting For You”.

On listening to music while working at the album

As always when we record, either demos at BSR HQ or in the studio, we will always listen to a bit of something by The Brian Jonestown Massacre. We don’t do this as musical inspiration, in terms of sound or structure, but we do take massive inspiration from the amount of albums that band has created. We ourselves are already over half way through our 2nd studio album, and bands like BJM are a great example of creativity. In the 1960’s, 2 albums a year was standard for bands. I think bands need to produce more music, especially on the underground…. 1 or 2 singles can not possibly prove anything about a band, albums on the other hand do.

On the most exciting and the most challenging things of work at the album

It was all exciting, just to create. The drives home were great, myself and Dave Smith (drummer) would drive back, blasting our latest creation through the cars stereo system! We were just really happy that we’d created music that we like to listen to, and that was a great buzz for us. Nothing was overly challenging, we just went in the studio, bounced around with Roger, who recorded and mixed it for us, and just had a good time. Me and Dave would often be together while we recorded our takes, pulling faces at each other and jumping about the control room, having fun… playing football in the live room in between takes… it was just a happy, creative, exciting time.

We know that underground bands in Manchester don’t tend to make full length records, they make a single every couple of months, whether that’s down to lack of material or lack of funds we don’t know… So we see it as a great achievement to release a full length album, and we’re excited to be over half way through our 2nd studio album… if you are going to discover an underground band, I’d personally rather discover 20 songs than 2.

On the songwriting process

Up until now it’s been myself sitting down with an acoustic guitar, on my couch at ungodly hours, when my mind is as clear as can be, so I can sing freely about what’s on my mind while strumming along until it all clicks together. Some of the best and most honest songs come from nothing, I wrote “Future” and “Waiting For You” together in 20 minutes at 6:30am in my living room after a party with friends. Both songs are contemplative, and hint at where I was at at the time, and neither song has changed, they just came out and stayed that way.

On the philosophy in making music

Music Must Mean Something & Music Unites People are our 2 main philosophies. I, personally, don’t see the point in lyrics for the sake of having words, I think a song should say something, and with lyrics you’re given a great platform to express your feelings with words, and I think that’s a beautiful thing that shouldn’t be squandered.

As for music uniting people, you only have to look at ourselves, Olga. Black Sonic Revolver and Rock Britain, and the people behind both would not of interacted without music. It’s also the reason we spend a lot of time with people at shows, and chat to people online, as music has brought us all together. It matters not which language you speak, or where you are in the world, music is a universal language.

On live shows

Yeah, they’re fun! “BSR PARTY!” we’ll often exclaim before or during shows. We’ve become known for unpredictable behaviour, all in the spirit of a good time, and I think we get people who return to the shows time after time as no 2 gigs are ever the same. We like to invite people up to play tambourine, and we see no divide between stage and audience, music’s for us all to enjoy together. However, this has descended in to mass stage invasions on a number of occasions and the Night & Day Cafe in Manchester now threatens to cut our sound should people jump on stage, because they’re too scared their equipment may get damaged, due to it being so lawless when everyone loses it! We like that. The world stops spinning outside when we’re inside playing music, nothing else matters in that moment. I also jumped over a canal once while we were performing “Callin’ My Name” (2nd album) at an early show! That was a bit of a spur of the moment thing….. I’m glad I didn’t fall in!

On the first Black Sonic Revolver gig

The first gig was in January 2013 at Dry Live (below Dry Bar) on Oldham Street in Manchester. Our friend Anton Pell from Mancunia Promotions gave us the opening slot on a show, and we still perform regularly for Anton and Mancunia Promos in Manchester and in Scotland too.

That was a very different BSR, as it was before I looked for permanent members. At that show, I borrowed members of other bands to see what reaction we got and to hear it live. We performed a 6 song set and we had 2 guitarists, bass, drums and a synth player. The 1st song we played live was “If Only” which is going on our 2nd full length album, and the final song of the set was “The Way That I Do” – track 4 from our debut album. I actually have a live video of the last song of that show, and I will keep that forever.

On the favourite Manchester-based band

***Kaleidoscope Skies***, without a doubt. Our friends, we inspire and drive each other. They’re a new band, formed from the ashes of a powerhouse of old, definitely one’s to keep an eye out for… we have quite a few live shows lined up together, and hopefully we can do a lot more together moving forward.

On Manchester

It influences and inspires us in so many different ways, and it’s not just down to our rich musical heritage. That said, it’s difficult not to walk down Whitworth Street, past India House and not feel a sense of pride that Noel Gallagher wrote Definitely Maybe in that block of flats. Even bands and musicians that don’t concern Manchester have touched our city. Walk down Peter Street and you’ll pass The Free Trade Hall, where Bob Dylan was called “Judas” whilst performing with an electric guitar in 1966. All those things that have gone before us or ingrained in to the walls of our buildings and slabs of pavement beneath our feet.

The people of Manchester inspire us. We’re very working class, salt of the earth type people. We live in a big city and see many different weird, wacky and inspiring things. We have a way of doing things here. We all have big coats and a hunched walk because it’s always raining, a bright outlook on life and a bit of a swagger because our city has the best guitar music and the best football team. We’re a lucky bunch really! I feel blessed to be from Manchester.

On dreams

A lot of my dreams have already come true with Black Sonic Revolver, to be perfectly honest with you. I’ve managed to add to my vast CD collection with an album of our own, with a 2nd one coming before Christmas. That’s a dream realised. I’ve also met, performed for and with, hung out and had advice given to me from some of my musical inspirations growing up, which is amazing. I guess the only dream I have for the band is to keep on moving forward, and hopefully the right ears will hear our music and the potential that our band truly has. If you gave us the time and space to dedicate ourselves FULLY to making records, we would make some great music, we’re confident about that.

Just to have the opportunity to create and perform music in the first place is my dream come true, I’ve always thought of everything else as a massive bonus.

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