Geordie Greep, frontman of the London post-punk quartet, discusses the band's whirlwind year and upcoming tour
Enigmatic is a word used often to describe London quartet Black Midi, a band that has perhaps unexpectedly amassed a colossal following in a relatively short period of time. Released in June 2019, a year after first single 'Bmbmbm', their much buzzed-about debut album Schlagenheim proved that the hype, though at times exaggerated, was well-earned. From racking up a reputation for their eccentric live shows to being nominated for the 2019 Mercury Music Prize, it's been a whirlwind year, as frontman Geordie Greep explains.
'It feels like the year hasn't even happened, really. Because we've just been playing shows most of the time, I haven't really had much time to sit back and think about how it's gone, if it's gone to plan or otherwise. It's just gone really quick but it's been good.'
Bold and frenetic, Schlagenheim was reviewed favourably for its chaotic experimental post-punk grooves and imperfect delivery. 'As we were playing the finished songs in the studio, I guess a common theme and certain ideas seemed to stick out and you could see which worked together as an album,' Greep says of the album's process. 'We did try to incorporate some common elements across the tracks but not in an overly thematic way, it was more just a sense of having a kind of cohesion to the whole thing.'
With the early buzz around the band, Greep notes that they were keen to try not to overthink things with the album's release, keeping in line with their generally easy-going and laid-back vibe.
'I always thought, if it got terrible reviews, if it got really, really, really bad reviews, we'd say, who cares, let's keep going. Let's just do it as we've always done it and just do what we want to do. You can't get too bogged down or overly enamoured with yourselves, you have to just keep going and keep working hard and keep doing what you know is good and what you know your standard is.'
When asked what lies behind the band's set-up and frenzied live energy, Greep is predictably ambiguous. 'I don't know,' he says. 'It's hard to describe something like that without coming off really schmaltzy! I once heard someone say talking about music is like dancing about architecture. So I guess, when we're playing the songs, we're just trying to make them as exciting as possible by making it a spectacle, having fun and keeping it interesting.'
For those that haven't managed to catch Black Midi live yet, the upcoming tour will be a real treat, as the songs from Schlagenheim continue to develop in real-time along with the band's own individual style.
'The way we play in the band is a way that if we played in other bands, we'd probably get fired pretty quickly.' Greep says. 'But it's quite enjoyable to play like that. And because we're all kind of in the same groove with it, it fits together a bit more. But if Morgan for example was to do that crazy drum style in almost any other band, it wouldn't go very well. So it's fitting it round the band more than anything.'
Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh, Mon 17 Feb, and touring.
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