I had the chance to sit down with Das Blankout main man Matt Burghardt to discuss their upcoming releases, influences, and how the band are working extra hard to get their name out there.
First off, how’s it going?
It’s going pretty well man, can’t complain. We finished recording a new music video for our single “King of the World” last night. It went really well. We shot it with the same people we did the last one with, Alexandre and Jonathan Beaudouin from Alpha Film. They work in the industry of TV and film and video. Before we shot the last video we spoke with a few people, and these guys really knew what they were doing. They put together an excellent team and everything was just so well organized. That single drops April 7th and the video’s gonna drop a week later. It’s kind of a prelude for the EP coming out in Fall. We wanted to release something with a bit of a groove to kind of get people ready for it. The track’s got a dancey rock vibe, very energetic.
Do you have an exact date for the EP release?
We don’t have an exact date. Right now we’re working on getting the last few shows booked for supporting the single. We’re going to be playing in Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec, and a couple of other cities. So we’re working on that and then we’re going to get right back into the studio and record the remaining songs. If all goes well we should have all the recordings done by August at the latest. Hopefully we’ll be able to release it around October, but I can’t say for sure. As of April 7th though, the new single will be online as well as the b-side, which will be called “Rally of the Cinics”. It’s got more of an organic rock sound. So there will be three songs available on our Soundcloud. That b-side will probably only be available on the physical copy of the EP as a bonus track, for whoever wants to have that deluxe edition.
Being a 3-piece, have you guys ever talked about collaborating with other artists?
We plan to add in keyboards and violins at some point. The only thing we’ve been worried about is how to do that on stage. When artists get bigger and they have a bigger production line it’s easy to get extra instruments for a show, but us doing everything ourselves, it’s harder to always ensure that those tracks will be there. So for now we’re holding off on it, but the ideas are definitely there and hopefully it’s coming soon on new tracks.
Can you tell me about your live show?
We’ve seen a lot of bands that we really liked, and we go to their live show and found that they really weren’t that entertaining; why does this band with such good music put on such a boring show? We wanted to make sure never to do that. So something that we’ve done ever since we started playing shows is we connect our whole set as one song, so there’s always a transition. We did a tour in Fall and there was always a drum solo. We just kind of try to capture the audience’s attention and just have the whole thing going with as much energy as possible.
What was your favorite show so far?
Playing live and touring is always fun. You go into a city and you don’t really know anyone there, you play to a crowd that doesn’t really know your music, so you meet new people and hang out and party, hang out with other bands and hear new music. You make new connections and sometimes you meet some really cool people. So tours and out of town shows are really fun. But we did a show at Divan Orange in Montreal as part of our last fall tour and that was a really cool show. There was about 100 people there, a bunch of our friends and some people we didn’t know. The sound was good which has such a huge effect on the energy and how it translates to the crowd, and that’s what makes a show really solid.
Do you guys have a sense of Montreal pride that you try to convey?
I mean we’re definitely proud to be a Montreal band. There are so many great artists that come out of Montreal and Quebec, it has its own culture in art. It has a really strong sound. We’re proud to be Canadian, there’s just a lot of talent within the small population of Canada. It has one of the best music scenes right now.
How did you guys all come together?
We started in June 2012, so it’s getting on 3 years. Kim is my sister, she’s the bassist. We’d been just kind of jamming for fun with friends, with our uncle, with our dad, and it was like hey we’re into the same music, why don’t we just start a band together? She’s got a creative style on bass, it’s got its own sound. I met Pat just kind of jamming through friends, and I told him he was a really good drummer and asked how he’d feel about starting a project. So it was all just right place right time to start a serious project.
Can you tell me about your background and influences?
My family all play music so we’d kind of just jam whenever. When I was in high school all my best friends played instruments and they were all in a band. When I started playing I was really into punk rock. Bands like NOFX, Bad Religion, Morning Glory, they were really inspiring for me and got me through high school. I still love punk rock music, but after that I got a bit more into alternative and indie which opened up my appreciation for music a lot. Bands like Arctic Monkeys and artists like Jack White who just capture a great sound and a great vibe, and you go back to where it all started with people like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin, all great artists. I’m mentioning mainly rock bands right now but I like everything. If a song is good I’ll listen to it. I’ve listened to country songs and appreciated them, and rap and hip hop too.
What’s the story behind your band name?
Absolutely. I started about around 5 years ago with one of my best friends. It didn’t really go very far, but that band was called Point Blankout. We’d come up with this question of if you can drink for a whole night and not pass out but still not remember anything, is that really considered a black out? So we called it a blankout. So when I started this band I wanted to keep that theme going. So that’s where the word comes from, but the whole meaning is deeper than that for us. It has to do with memory and how we use it, and what’s left without memory.
Your Facebook page is very active and personal, how do you feel about social media in terms of how it’s helped you get your name out there?
It’s helpful at the same time as it’s against you, in the sense that every single band uses social media, so for people who are not in bands I guess it can be a bit tiring. It’s still the strongest tool if you’re an artist in today’s world. There’s having social media pages and there’s using them, and most upcoming artists don’t use them the right way, but if you do that it’s really the most powerful tool that you have. There’s also advertising other bands and artists for that sense of community.
Das Blankout will be playing a show on April 29th at Quai de Brumes in Montreal. I recommend checking this band out, they are incredibly laid back and their music should have you dancing the night away.
Written and Compiled by Syd Ghan
Photo by Marie-Chirstine Huot