Echo Black Interview and Live Photos
By MrAnathema

Echo Black-19Doom Magazine got to sit down with Echo Black on their first big tour, playing opening support for CombiChrist and the Birthday Massacre. Based out of New York, Echo Black is made up of Danny Blu (vocals), Rob Gnarly (bass), Felix Skiver (guitar), and Billy Long (drums). After they got off stage at The Nile Theater in Mesa, Az, the guys took some time to talk to us about the new direction of the band, some hilariously unfortunate tour moments, and more. Catch the interview after the break, followed by a full set of live photos below!

Doom Magazine: You’ve recently re-branded yourself as Echo Black, how has that changed the creative process and your writing process?

Danny Blu: That was what actually sparked the change, the creative process and the writing process because we started writing all together and be more individually involved in the band as a whole. That lended itself more to being called a band, a named band, because of the process

DM: Before you rebranded as Echo Black, your song “Set me On Fire” drew a lot of praise from the LGBTQ communities. How is that openness and connection to those communities going to translate into the upcoming work from Echo Black?

DB: I think it is going to carry right on over. We don’t make a specific thing that we talk about; we are a band, I think, that speaks for anyone who feels outcasted, or who feels they don’t belong somewhere. I think that is the message as a whole when it comes to the LGBTQ community. It is pretty much what we are all dealing with in that community. SO I think we speak for anyone who feels they don’t have a place, and that is how it translates over.

Rob Gnarly: The black sheep of this world.

DM: Echo Black gets billed as a Pop/Rock/Industrial band. Industrial music. Insudatrial has it’s own strong core of listeners, however it’s general popularity nationwide has taken a nose from where it once was in the 90’s and early 2000’s. What direction do you see the industrial scene heading? *Danny makes crashing airplane gesture with his hands, everyone chuckles*

DB: Yeah, I can talk about the direction we’re going. I don’t know where Industrial is going. It feels, it seems, that Industrial is dying. So that’s that.

Billy Long: You know, I don’t know if I would say that Industrial as a genre is dying. I think what you’re seeing here is people are taking aspects of it and they’re morphing it into different versions, they’re using it in other projects and other ways. They’re taking the aspects of it they found most appealing and using it in their own kind of music. It’s kind of like what we’re doing. So I don’t think it’s necessarily dead, it’s always going to be there somewhere.

RG: I think it’s more-so that we’re going to have to wait and see what the next big reincarnation of it is going to be. Like any musical genre, it comes in waves and we’ll have to see what the next wave of Industrial holds for everyone.

DB: Like people thought that House Music was dying in the late 90’s, and now all Top 40 is based off of House Music. So we don’t know. The core of Industrial music is drum driven, repetitive, dancey, so if you’re taking aspects of it, that’s a lot of music. So people need to widen their gaze a little bit.

DM: You’ve been on multiple tours now, as Danny Blu and now as Echo Black. Was there any one tour or show that you played where you noticed marked difference in yourself as performers before and after?

DB: Before and after the show?

DM: Or before and after the tour.

RG: I’d say the first show of this tour, because it was the first time we were playing to much larger crowds. Weeks, months leading up to it you really psyche yourself out about it. It’s like “Oh, man, there’s going to be a lot more people than we’re used to playing to.” And then about 5 minutes on stage, everything fell right in place, and we’re all “Alright, we’re ready for this! This is where we need to be.”

DB: Well, what was the first show that went really well this tour?

RG: Pittsburgh, I think.

DB: Whichever show that wound up being, we finally realized what we needed to do to get the thing done. I felt like that, I mean I can’t speak for anyone else, but I felt we knew what we knew what we were now going to do from here on out. We’re coming to this as a band who hasn’t really done a tour on this scale before. We don’t have roadies, we don’t have drivers, we don’t have any of that stuff, and we’re running out own sound. When that show ended, and we all got off stage the right way, and we had that process, we all fell into a routine.

BL: I think it’s finding there are a lot of different jobs in this one gig that we do. There’s the roadie, there’s the business aspect of it, there’s the composition and the artistic part, there’s, well, the being sociable {everyone laughs} and reading a room. There are all these different jobs that you do, and it’s trying to find how to get the best out of yourself in all of those different jobs. Because, well, you HAVE to. Otherwise you’re going to let people down, or you know, let yourselves down, or compromise yourself. So it’s been figuring that out, working on it all of the time.

DM: In the opposite direction of this, was there there any show where the bottom completely dropped out? I been told that a show doesn’t go well until something goes wrong.


RG: That like when I always have to pee RIGHT before I have to get on stage. That could be the one thing that went wrong, so hopefully it’ll be a good show.

DB: But really, Baltimore. The first show we had, Baltimore was pretty rough. I think all of the bands were getting into their groove of sound check, who and where we’re loading in to, figureing who who was doing what, and things ran super late, so we got almost zero sound check. We were still figuring out how to get all our shit on stage, where our cables were going to run to, etc. Everything was pushed, so they cut a song off our set to start with. Then when we’re on stage, his [points to Felix] guitar goes out, and then apparently we couldn’t do the last song we were going to play, so our set was like 12 ½ minutes long. We start the song, and look to my right, and the dude’s are all like “you gotta stop.” I was all “But you told me one more song”. He was all “Nope, you gotta stop”, so I turned to the audience and said “Well, have a good night!”, in the middle of the fucking song!

BL: It was like 7 bars into the song.

DB: So people know it’s a new song. You do that, get off stage, and then you have to get back ON stage to unload your shit yourself. RG: You just feel like, well, a douchebag.

BL: It kind of just rips your heart out, because then you just hear “Booooo!” Because your in the middle of a song.

DB: And your leaving.

RG: You get them phsyced up, and you’re like “Heh! Just kidding!

BL: You come back out, and you’re like “No, it wasn’t us”. There was nothing we could do about it.

RG: It’s like the first time using in ear moniters, and I forgot to turn off my bodypack, so I could hear them all boo’ing in my ears as I was walking off the stage. It was, yea, it was rough. It was the soundtrack of discouragement.

DB: And it was the first show of the tour.

BL/RG: It was brutal/Great, this is the benchmark!

DM: Coincidentally, are there any that you love which you just don’t seem to get to play?

[Everyone laughs]


RG [trying to speak while laughing]: Of Course! We haven’t played ….*editors note: name of song completely incomprehensible due to everyone laughing*

DB: We can’t play a ballad, well, not that we can’t play a ballad on this tour, but we only have 30 minutes, and our job on this tour is to psyche every body up for the next bands. It would be weird to a ballad.

BL: If we even have 30 minutes. Our set have been 20-25 minutes on average. So to throw a ballad, a slow song, in there, it would be kind of tough. We wrote a song on one of our old projects, it was a piano and two violins and vocals, and that’s my favorite song, but we can’t play it, because logistically at this point….

RG: Maybe at one point.

BL: It’s not feasible.

RG: Felix, what’s your favorite song

Felix Skiver: I….have no idea. I like ALL of our songs, because all of our songs are amazing and great. And you should all check them out.

DM: Certainly will, and finally what stage are you most looking forward to playing that you haven’t yet had the chance?

[Everyone starts speaking excitedly at once]

DB: On this tour, or regardless?

BL: O2 in London!

RG: The Garden.

DB: Yeah, the Garden

RG: Anywhere in Japan.

FS: Tokyo Dome.

All: Yeah. Tokyo Dome.

DB: if you would have asked us a couple of weeks or days ago, it would have been the Whiskey. That we just did.

RG: It was amazing.

DB: Sold out show.

RG: PNC Bank Arts Center in New Jersey. Hometown

BL: Starland Ballroom would be a real good one.

RG: Oh, yeah, because of the amount of shows I’ve seen there, when growing up.

BL: That was our venue. It was where you went.

RG: I think the Electric Factory in Philly would be a bit of a more realistic goal for the short term, at least.


MrAnathema (23 Posts)

Joe Abbruscato/MrAnathema is a freelance photographer specializing in concerts, live events, and alternative modeling. He is based out of Tempe, Arizona.