ITN Magazine: Let's talk a little about the history of your band. When did you originally form and is this the original line-up?
Arturo Blacklist Regulars: Hi! Thanks for having us. The band was formed in 2016, Tomas and Luke met here Chicago through a website for musicians and they formed Blacklist Regulars with other two members, but at some point the band switched music styles and decided to have me producing their first recordings. At some point it was decided by the guys to have me join the band on the guitar. Also, Alejandro is Tomas' brother, so it has sense to us to have him join the band too since the three of us used to play together back in Venezuela. So, Alejandro and I moved to Chicago about the same time in 2016 to complete our current line up.
ITN Magazine: How long after you formed was it until you played your first live show?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: For me it was a great show, first show in Chicago ever and the people of the cubby bear treated us very nicely.
ITN Magazine: How would you categorize the style of the band?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: I would say we are inspired by a 90's rock vibe. We try to bring some hard rock to it, but at the same it's all about melodic lines and easy to listen music. So let's just call it rock.
ITN Magazine: What image do you want your music to convey to your fans?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: I would say Luke puts a lot of effort into writing lyrics that mean something, so people can relate to it. It's personal things and honest thoughts put into songs, so for people out there listening to our music I'd just love if they find some meaning for themselves.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: Each of the members have super different influences. That kind of eclectic elements brought together shape unintentionally our band. I listen to heavy music, mostly metal and hard rock so that is what drives me personally, but Luke likes more classic rock stuff, some pop music too. Tomas listens to a lot of NIN and depeche mode, Alejandro is more guns n' roses and silverchair. So when we get together all those different sides get their own space in our music.
ITN Magazine: Let's talk a little about your latest album what are the listeners in store for with this release ?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: Our brand new album was conceived to represent how we sound live, not too many guitars, not to much overdubs and just simple rock music production with the punch we think we have on our live performances. We decided to keep it that way as a challenge and as the concept, it's to make it sound big with less elements, because today's approach to music is kin of tending to over produce the songs and sounds, so we didn't feel at least for this record, like doing something we can't replicate live.
ITN Magazine: Where did record your latest release at?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: We recorded at Wall Of Sound Studio in Humboldt Park, Chicago.
ITN Magazine: Producers are a very important factor in recording a good record. Who did you use to produce your record?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: I produced our album, I just tried to have everybody's input and ideas on the table and make it happen to find a balance on all the ideas we had for this album.
ITN Magazine: Does the entire band contribute to the writing process?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: Yes we do, although Luke works lyrics by himself. And for the most part of this record Tomas is the one who wrote the majority of the songs and main ideas except for a couple of exceptions. Then we shaped them in the rehearsal space, Alejandro created his bass lines and I shaped the riffs a little to my playing style and made my solos when needed.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: The band evolved in the last year drastically, we got a partnership with the record label Pavement Entertainment, we had the opportunity to open for great artists such as Citizen Zero, Adelitas Way, Powerman 5000, Saving Abel and Flaw and of course we've learned a lot going around the country which made us grow personally and professionally.
ITN Magazine: Favorite memory from a show you’ve played or a place you’ve traveled to?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: My favorite memory was traveling with the band to The NAMM show in LA, we met a bunch of artists that we are fans of and made great contacts with some awesome brands that we are still working with. It was such a great experience for us.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: I think we all have different favorite ones, I'd say Tomas loves "Blind", Luke loves "Falling from the sun", Alejandro is more about "Denial" and I really enjoy "Are we just dying". But it's hard to pick a favorite one.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: I think we love playing all of them, but if you just make me choose one, I'd say Enemies. It has such a good energy in the live performances.
ITN Magazine: Where do you draw the inspiration for the songs you write?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: We get inspiration from everything, we just try to keep it as honest as we can.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: We all agree that the lyrical side of the album is really important and we would say it's around 60% but it need to have sense and work very well alongside the music vibe.
ITN Magazine: What are your current tour plans, if any?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: We are going to promote the album, we have planned to tour with a couple of great bands that we are confirmed to tour with, some music video releases and couple of surprises coming this year.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: You know when you are on stage you perceive things very differently than the audience, but what we have heard from people that liked our live shows is the dynamic of the setlist is awesome, the energy and punch that we give gets a great response and the connection we get with the crowd is magical.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: I think radio support is really important, it gets you to places that you would never imagine and you get to people who might not have found you in any other way, so we all think it's as important as social media.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: Everything in life evolves, everything changes and everything dies, we just have to adapt to our times and current way of doing things in the industry. I know there is mixed opinions out there, but when you want something that much you don't think if it's right or wrong the way it is, you just adapt and get it done.
ITN Magazine: Did you find it hard to break into the business and what was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: I don't know if we have broken into the business haha but I'm sure we had big obstacles in our way that we have luckily overcome and some of which we are still working on overcoming soon. First of all money to invest in the project it's always been difficult, but the most important part is to find solutions to achieve want you want, loans, borrow money, etc.
Another obstacle for the four of us was, since we come from other countries, nobody knew who we were, we didn't have contacts, we didn't know venues, nothing, nobody showed up to our shows because we didn't even have friends or just people to support our band, it was tough, but I'm glad now we know a bunch of the most awesome people on the planet, who support us, that we've met doing shows around the country, people who believe in us and awesome friends that encourage us to keep going.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: Unluckily the Chicago rock music scene is not that big, you don't see that many people going out to listen to local bands, some venues don't treat you very well, and some of them don't want to give opportunities to new talent to show their stuff. Fortunately around the suburbs is better, you see it, you feel it and it's just really cool the support from people and venues who still want you there and want you to come back. But in the city it is what it is, I get it, I understand it, and I wish I had a solution for that situation, but we just have to keep moving.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: Social media it's been our main platform since we started, it's great to see it provides you with a loud voice to show everywhere in the world what you are doing. The impact of it on Blacklist Regulars has been great, all our material, posts, flyers, music, videos, etc are easy to access to everyone, and since we are all from other countries and our families and friends are still there, they can stay updated with our band's achievements.
ITN Magazine: Where can our readers find you on the web?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regular: www.blacklistregulars.com, instagram @blacklistregulars, Facebook: blacklist regulars.
ITN Magazine: What equipment is the band using and do you have any endorsements currently?
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: Alejandro uses Fender basses and gallien krueger amps, one is a Fender Jazz bass and the other one is an Aerodyne. I use a Fender telecaster and an Epiphone les paul, and as my main amp an EVH 5150iii with a 2x12 cabinet. Luke uses shure in-ears and shure mics. And tomas uses a 4 piece mapex mars currently and he is endorsed by various brands. He is endorsed by JSC drums, he has a 14" x 6" snare and also he is endorsed by TRX Cymbals which is the only brand he uses for cymbals.
Arturo Banus Blacklist Regulars: I loved this interview! Thanks for asking so many good questions that most people don't ask, I hope you guys enjoy it and know a little bit more about our band.
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