INTERVIEW: BLACK ACES
Date: May 8, 2016
Interviewer: Mark Horvath
“100% AUSSIE ROCK AND ROLL! SEE YOU AT THE BAR!” IS THE MESSAGE GREETING VIEWERS OF THE BLACK ACES WEBSITE. THUNDERING OUT OF AUSTRALIA, THIS EXCITING YOUNG NEW BAND HAS ALL THE RIGHT INGREDIENTS CONSISTING OF INFLUENCES RANGING FROM ROSE TATTOO TO AC/DC TO AIRBOURNE WITH A FRESH HIGH ENERGY SOUND THAT FANS OF CLASSIC ROCK WILL EAT UP. WITH THEIR FIRST FULL LENGTH RELEASE UNDER THEIR BELTS, THE BLACK ACES LOOK TO THE FUTURE IN THEIR QUEST TO DOMINATE EUROPE NEXT AND NORTH AMERICA IN THE FUTURE. SLEAZE ROXX RECENTLY CAUGHT UP WITH THE BAND AND HAD A QUICK CHAT ABOUT THEIR HISTORY AND ASPIRATIONS.
Sleaze Roxx: So I’m seeing a couple of McMillan’s in the band, Pete and Alex. Assuming you are related…
Pete McMillan: Yep, Alex is my old man!
Sleaze Roxx: How did you meet Tyler and Jarrad and form this band? And is Jarrad still considered ‘the new guy’? We know he replaced your first rhythm guitarist last year at some point.
Pete McMillan: Al and I were playing in this band with a couple other mates, and we were playing around the traps the same time that Tyler started the first incarnation of Black Aces, which was originally a three piece. We are all from Bendigo, which is a regional town. Everyone knows everyone in the music scene, so the two bands started playin’ shows together. Then one night down the pub, I was talking to Tyler, the Aces had a tour booked but their drummer had pulled the pin, so he asked me to fill in, and I’ve been with the band since. Not long after the bass player also left, so we got Alex on board. Jazz has come in fairly recently. Rhys our original rhythm guitarist decided to pull up stumps, and it just so happened that Jazz’s band, The Deep End, who were a great rock’n’roll band in their own right, anyway it just so happened they were calling it a day. So we asked Jazz to join and the rest is history. I guess you could call him the newby, but really as soon as he came in, it was like he was part of the furniture. It just fit, slotted in perfectly.
Sleaze Roxx: Yes. We remember The Deep End well, and had high hopes for them. Black Aces definitely have that classic Aussie sound that made some others famous, namely AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Airbourne, etc. Was this a conscious effort or does this style just seem to run in Australian blood?
Alex McMillan: All of us grew up on a sturdy diet of classic Aussie rock n’ roll! Be it at ya uncle’s back yard playing some cricket while sausages burnt to a crisp, or running around the streets in ya mate’s first set of wheels, good Aussie rock always dominated our ears! So naturally, it flows through our right hands in to our guitars. I think consciously we wanted to write rock n’ roll songs that boogie, and turn people on! Nothing better than a steady beat to rock to — if ya know what I mean!
Sleaze Roxx: Absolutely and you really made it work! How do the songs come together in terms of writing?
Pete McMillan: It’s a somewhat organic process. If someone has something, it’s brought to the table and we jam on it. Having Jazz come into the band has added an extra songwriting dynamic. The first album was pretty much written before he came in. A lot of the lyrics come from Tyler.
Tyler Kinder: Alex and I live together, so we are always bouncing ideas off each other, jammin’ on acoustics in the lounge over a few beers.
Pete McMillan: Yeah. ‘Hellbound’ was really a collection of tracks from different sessions we had built up over time playing live, so it was pretty raw. There’s actually two versions of it out there. As far as ‘Shot In The Dark’ goes, it’s a more polished release in that, we set out to write an album, something with a side A and a side B. I think that has shown through in the reception it has received, which has been overwhelmingly positive.
Sleaze Roxx: We’ve also seen some of your fellow countrymen struggle for some success outside Australia. Love Cream is thinking of moving to Europe and taking their chances there. What were your European tour dates like? How was Black Aces received over there?
Tyler Kinder: Some have struggled, but others have kicked goals. Dead City Ruins are a great example of a band that’s relocated and done well. Our first trip over was a UK tour, which we booked and funded ourselves. It was really a testing of the waters, to see if we could do it, and to learn what works and what doesn’t. It was tough, but there were some great shows during that tour — London in particular. Made plenty of new friends and fans too. Can’t wait to get back there.
Sleaze Roxx: Any plans on touring USA/Canada, or South America?
Jazz Morrice: Hopefully following the release of album two. Our main goal at the moment is Europe.
Sleaze Roxx: I keep saying rock n roll’s a tough business these days with every one of the major labels setting their sights onto rap and the pop divas. Tell us a bit about the Bad Reputation label you’re on and what advantages Black Aces may have with being on their roster.
Pete McMillan: Bad Rep isn’t a huge label, but they believe in the bands they sign. It’s not huge numbers for us yet, but we are slowly building, and for an independent band from the other side of the world, to be able to have a label based in Europe looking after them with marketing and PR and what not is a big thing.
Sleaze Roxx: Tyler, did you go to the 1975 school of Geddy Lee vocals?
Tyler Kinder: [Laughs] Yeah, I’ve heard that before. I dig a sly bit of Rush but no actually.
Sleaze Roxx: Just kidding, but holy cow your vocals are pretty over the top. You seem to really belt it out even on the higher notes making you sound pretty darn distinct. Other rock vocalists have blown their vocal chords in the past such as Tom Kiefer and Chris Cornell. How much effort goes into hitting those notes or does it just come naturally to you?
Tyler Kinder: I get asked this a lot. It all comes pretty naturally to be honest. I was never a singer when I first started playing in bands. I just fell into it purely out of no one being able to sing the songs the way I wanted them sung. The high stuff has always been where I’ve been comfortable, and my voice is pretty rough at the best of times. I guess it comes from listening to nothing but AC/DC, Rose Tattoo and The Darkness as a teenager. It takes me a bit of work doing the low stuff to be honest.
Sleaze Roxx: You recently released a video for the song “Girl Like You.” Are there any plans for videos for any of the other songs on Shot In The Dark?
Jazz Morrice: We recently released a video for ‘Girl Like You” which people seem to like. Apparently it’s very sexy [laughs]. I had no idea people thought we were THAT pretty, then someone told me people were referring to our lovely dancing girl, Crystal. I was a little bit sad then.
Pete McMillan: We also shot a video for one the other tracks, but it didn’t turn out as we’d hoped, so we have sort of shelved that for now and might do a recut. But keep your eye out, we might have something in the near future.
Sleaze Roxx: We look forward to that! What do you feel the future holds for Black Aces?
Jazz Morrice: We are working hard right now to sort details for a European tour in the back half of 2016. We can’t wait to get over there and show everyone what we are all about. In the meantime, we are playing a few gigs here in Australia opening for some big names, like the Casanovas, and doing a tribute gig to Pete Wells that Angry Anderson is set to perform in. Safe to say we are bloody pumped for those two. We are quietly putting down ideas for album number two as well. Hopefully, we’ll be in the studio early 2017. All things [are] going well! Most of these events will be broken up with many, many beers.
Sleaze Roxx: Thanks guys. Best of luck with everything!
BLACK ACES – Girl Like You (Official Video) Filmed and produced by Dani Nolan for Clear Reel Productions. ‘Girl Like You’ is the first single off Black Aces debut album ‘Shot In The Dark’. OUT NOW! Keep up to date on the Aces at facebook.com/blackacesrock www.blackacesrock.com