Interview With Black Box Warning

DJ Thorne (CRIM Radio) Interviews Black Box Warning: Mike Massions (Guitar), Dave Ruyle (Rhythm Guitar, Vocals) , Jared Ruyle (Drums) and Kasey Schwemmer (Bass.)

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THORNE: Thanks for taking time to talk with us tonight I know it’s a little crazy… we appreciate it. When CRIM Radio asked me to get on a plane I was pretty stoked. Black Box Warning is really a great band, love your music. You guys are on the bill with Sevendust, Wilson, and Crobot tonight… How stoked are you about that?

DAVE: Dude…very excited always been a huge fan of Sevendust, especially man, like yes like absolutely!

BAND: (Laughs)

THORNE: For our listeners, the CRIMinals let’s do a history thing real quick with you guys. Tell us about how you formed and what you were going for when you did it?

Dave: I think you should take this one first Mike:

Mike: Sure. Hey what’s up? So it was just about time to get music rolling again. Music’s always been a big part of my life, it was time to put together a band and a I just started working on meeting the right guys, the right time, the right place. The original lineup, as you guys already know, you know, Dave and I ended up working together in a different lineup. The whole goal was to do something that was a lot more serious.

THORNE:  You guys were in Let Us Be Lions Together…Right?

Mike: Exactly…When I called up Dave that project was already rolling we just needed a vocalist and he came into to do that, and we realized immediately, we had different goals from the rest of the guys and we broke off and we started this.

THORNE:  From the original concept, when that phone call happened, have you guys changed, evolved or do you still feel like you’re on track for whatever you wanted to do?

MIKE: Oh, no…we’re continuously evolving, man. We are constantly learning just…you know. I mean like just trying to be better people. Trying to be better musicians, trying to push each other and that’s the name of the game for us.

THORNE: You’re doing a good job by the way! One thing I wanted to clear up right away. When I did my research on the band I noticed you bill yourself on your website as a three piece and I just wanted to get your take on how this guy fits in. I’m talking about Kasey. It’s funny, from the picture on your guys website I barely recognize some of you. (Laughing) It’s just pretty gnarly looking.

BAND: (laughs)

THORNE: So talk about that…So Kasey’s a permanent member of the band?

KASEY:  Yeah

THORNE:  So that’s just an old picture. You guys just haven’t updated that yet?

DAVE:  Here’s the funny thing. Mike, Kasey and I all worked at a music store. When Mike and I got together and we were doing this thing we just felt like we needed more, I don’t know more elements to our live show and then we remembered Kasey. It’s like dude… we love Kasey, and Mike hit him up and Kasey was all about it.

THORNE: In my research for this interview, in a lot of your posts and on Malignant, your first EP, I sense some spirituality. Did I get that right? Can you talk about your band’s spirituality? I really sense that you guys kind of have a higher thing going on. Let’s talk about that.

DAVE:  Dude…It’s all about trying to figure out our spirituality. Really-really, I mean I’m not going to speak to any one particular thing. It’s about being honest with ourselves that we have no idea what’s going on and we are on a journey to try and figure out who we are, what we believe, what is real and that’s a really difficult thing to do.

THORNE: Are you guys into sci-fi at all? Is that an element in what’s going on with you guys?

DAVE: Absolutely! Love sci-fi.

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THORNE: I kind of thought so. Something interesting I noticed. Your lyrics bypass all the usual suspects; Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll. You guys go for a more sophisticated look at the human condition. Talk about where that comes from.

DAVE: It’s all of the things that drive you to Sex, Drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll. (Laughter) It’s what we like to talk about. It’s all the stuff that keeps you awake at night, makes you frustrated at society makes you wanna figure out what the hell your place in this world is. Yeah, so I mean that’s it in a nutshell. I don’t know how [much] deeper you want me to go.

THORNE: So you’re almost “working out” your human condition as your writing your lyrics.

BAND: Absolutely!

THORNE: You guys have opened for Straight Line Stitch, now your opening for Sevendust. Aside from those bands, is there one band all you guys really want to work with?

MIKE: Well definitely Slipknot (Laughs) definitely—definitely there’d be more…

DAVE: Uh…Metallica. I don’t know (laughter) ever since I was a boy, James Hetfield, god, like yes, that’d be pretty cool. I love James Hetfield.

THORNE: Here’s the big question… How cool was it meeting Deadpool last summer.

BAND: (laughs hysterically)

KASEY: It was the greatest actually.

DAVE: Yes that’s Daniel Bailey, our buddy, up in Kansas City. That dude is awesome. Yes.

THORNE: Jared, how stoked are you to be on the same bill as Morgan Rose? I saw in one of your posts that he’s your hero.

JARED: Oh Yeah. Yeah, I mean I’ve always, since I was like a little-little kid, I’ve always loved Sevendust. I’ve always been into drums, so Morgan has been such a huge influence. I actually got to meet him one time when I was about…13 or 14 at one of his shows (Looks at Dave)

DAVE: Yeah one of my old bands

JARED: Yeah, one of his old bands. It was incredible, man. I love Sevendust. They’re great.

THORNE:  And here you are on the bill with them tonight!

JARED: Yeah-yeah, I can’t believe it.

THORNE:  I want to circle back to track 6, Prison Planet, on Malignant. Great fucking track! That was a radical drum intro. Jared, you kicked ass coming into that dude.

JARED: Thanks, man

THORNE:  You guys cut a lyric video for Prison Planet. I think Scott Rudd’s work on the visuals got it just right for you guys. He captured the whole vibe with your spirituality. How did you guys know him? Is he just somebody you knew or did you go out and find him? How did that evolve?

MIKE: Scott has a really good pedigree when it comes to doing lyric videos for a lot of bands. We had kinda seen his work floating around and he was very easy to contact. It’s just one of those things; he fit the style, he fit our budget and we were ready to roll with him right away. He was listening to the music and ready to take us on as soon as he heard us.

THORNE: Round robin time. What music is currently in your phone? What are you listening to right now?

MIKE: Listening to our upcoming release that hasn’t been released yet…

DAVE:  We’ll get into that. Uh… Misfits. (Everyone Howls)

KASEY:  Which I own on Vinyl.

JARED: I don’t keep a lot off music on my phone but two big things would be Periphery and Beartooth.

KASEY: I’ve been rocking some Pantera lately. Excellent, old school rock!

THORNE:  Okay, just between you guys and me. Let’s just pretend the listeners aren’t inside this little mic.

DAVE: Yeah, let’s just pretend there’s no microphone in front of our face.

THORNE: What’s the title of your new LP? I know you’re kind of keeping it on the down low, but can you tell us what the title is?

DAVE:  I think we can probably release that now.

MIKE: Yeah, we can do that. Actually, it’s self titled. “Black Box Warning – Black Box Warning.” …Sorry to burst your bubble.

THORNE:  When can we expect it?

MIKE: So here’s exactly where it’s at in the process. We got the master back. We’re finalizing all the album art. We are off to a great start with that, that’s kicking ass. As soon as we have all that ready to rock, then it’s going off to our friends at Copy Cat, and they’re gonna do all the manufacturing and production of all that and this album will actually release on vinyl and CD. So you can be ready for that. Uh, you notice I avoided your question. I think that we’re probably, hopefully looking at October for at least the digital release and hard copies to follow.

THORNE:  What are your other plans? What’s in the future for you guys?

MIKE: We have the gig with Saul. We have a date in Kansas City with our friends in Sidewise and we actually have a ton of pending dates. I can’t tell you where they are. They’re on paper. We’re out to support this upcoming release.

THORNE:  Thank you guys for letting us talk with you about the band and your work!

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Thorne Schreiber
CRIM Radio, Host of the “Tuesday Night Rock Show”