Please list all of your band members and their roles in the band.
Leigh - Vocals, Guitar
Lisa - Backing Vocals, Bass
Matt - Drums
For starters, what bands were you guys a part of prior to Castle Black?
Leigh - Castle Black has pretty much been my main project as a songwriter, although I’ve played here and there with other people before and along the way. I played with Murder Country for a few years.
Matt - Garage bands in high school. Early 2015 I was in a punk band named Wall who had been around for a year before me, but are now defunct.
Lisa - The other band I’ve been a part of (besides a brief stint in a high school band as a singer my senior year) was Murder Country, which was around from 2011 to 2016.
How long has the band been around?
Leigh: We’ve been playing together as Castle Black since the summer of 2015, and there were some earlier versions when things were getting started.
What’s the origin of that name and have you changed the band’s name before?
Leigh: Game of Thrones … No spoilers here. We haven’t changed the name.
Who writes your songs?
Leigh: I usually hear the song as a whole, in terms of the guitar, vocal melodies and lyrics. Once I have that idea fully created and am playing it for a few weeks, I’ll take the song to the band, and Lisa will add the bass and some backing vocals and Matt will add drums. We then work on it a bunch as a band at practice, just working out the flow. Often times, after we’ve been playing a song for a while, sometimes even when it’s already been recorded, we’ll add something and play it that way live, so the songs are kind of always evolving, or at least our live performances of them are.
What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs and do you think these topics will change over time?
Leigh: I write completely from my life experiences. So I guess the themes and topics follow whatever my experience or my experience of something or someone else has been. I’m usually on a delay though, so what you’re getting now is kind of like several year old themes although they seem to revolve around connection, loss, change, addiction, time, perception …
A lot of songs have some double meaning, even when I’m writing them. For example, Dark Light started off really inspired by an extremely cyclical and toxic relationship, however, as I continued writing the song, it became this social anthem, and I was using images from a relationship to describe similar themes in fighting for a moral and just world. I kind of have an affinity for those songs the most.
What bands are currently inspiring the music that you’re making?
Leigh: I think as a band we all have overlapping, but also incredibly dissimilar influences, which is kind of what makes things work for us. And makes being in a car together interesting! For me, I’ve been incredibly inspired by Jack White, by the sheer level of talent that he has and by the number of solidly driving and catchy songs he has made. I think we’re also really inspired by the local scene and bands we see just being out and about. Matt and I saw a band open for Melvins recently (Melvins being inspirational in their own right), called Spotlights, and their live show was just so powerful and mesmerizing. It was inspiring to hear them and to see what was possible from another Brooklyn band.
Was there a particular band/artist or concert that inspired you to start a band?
Leigh: Not really, it was just something I knew I wanted to do.
What do you do to prepare for a show? Any flexing, exercises, etc. …
Leigh: I do a decent vocal warm-up and then I continue with a pretty wild karaoke playlist that I have on Spotify while I get ready. I’m sure my neighbors love hearing that. I also usually run the set to warm up, and then I like to have some space before the show, just chillin’ with my thoughts and a drink.
Matt: I stretch before gigs, my arms, hands, and legs. If I have a place to do it, I warm up my hands by doing drum stick rudiments, either on my legs, or on a pillow, if one is around.
Lisa: I’m usually super rushed when I get ready—I’ll often listen to really loud music (sometimes CB—sometimes not) and do my make-up and hair.
What has been the biggest highlight of the band’s career so far?
Leigh: I think opening for Richard Lloyd (of Television) last June was definitely a highlight. To share the stage with someone of that talent and who has been doing this for a while was just powerful and really important for us. In May, we were also selected as one of a handful of female-fronted NYC based acts for Make Some Noise: A Celebration of Women and Music, sponsored by Barnard College, for their Summer on the Hudson music series.
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be and why?
Leigh: The Dead Weather or Sleater-Kinney immediately come to mind - mostly because I think our music would work well with theirs and I think we’d get along well and have an awesome time. And they both have played some great places. I agree with all of Matt’s picks as well.
Matt: Sonic Youth, kings of alternative rock, and my heroes … Sleater-Kinney, great band, they seem like awesome people, and Janet Weiss inspires me … Cayetana, great songs, great energy, and seem like cool ladies … Savages, bad ass band, awesome people.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Leigh: We would love to tour with those bands, we’re available!!