The combination of Larissa Vale and Kyle Hawken has been a fruitful one – the duo better known as Black Satellite have been utilizing influences from the glory days of aggressive, melodic rockers like Marilyn Manson and Trent Reznor, placing their own intense imprint on a sound that’s honestly, a very welcome attack on the ear drums. The vocals are certainly a focus for this NYC-based band, but the instrumentation is just as impactful, and makes us here at PEV miss the days of concerts that could vibrate your entire being with a wall of sound. Black Satellite has a new collection demonstrating this powerful approach, a record titled Endless.
We asked Vale and Hawken about the new music, including the single “Valkyrie” and “Blind” – they told us, “It was important to us to present a unified body of work that defined who we are as a band. We heavily workshopped our material until we were certain it was true to our vision. Some of the songs even date back as early as 2012. We ended up cutting several of our older songs and wrote six brand new ones for the record. We were able to breathe new life into our previous tracks and make them relevant to us again. Endless is the byproduct of our most intense experiences taking place in the world we created through our sound.” Click to http://blacksatellite.band/ to sample Endless for yourself, and investigate that tour schedule. Prepare yourself for all of this and more, by first giving a good read to all of the answers in the XXQs below.
XXQs: Black Satellite
PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out from others in your genre?
Black Satellite (BS): Our instrumentals are heavy and intense, while the vocals remain haunting, melodic, and slightly aggressive. The unity of these elements often bridges the gap between genres, which we feel sets us apart.
PEV: What kind of music were you two into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?
BS: The strange part is we found out early on that we actually grew up listening to a lot of the same music. We listened to bands like Alice In Chains, Marilyn Manson, Tool, and Ozzy. Kyle’s first concert was Soundgarden and Larissa first saw Tool at age 13.
PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene in your hometown, when you first started out as a band? What was your first show like together as a band?
BS: We felt like there wasn’t a lot of room for original music in our hometown. Since it is a college town, the bar scene demands a lot of cover bands. That was the main reason we moved to New York City, so we could have more opportunities for artistic growth. Even during our first show (nearly six years ago) we exhibited an undying loyalty to one another. Complete trust in each other has always been an important thing to our band.
PEV: What can fans expect from a live Black Satellite show?
BS: Our live show is loud, exciting, and energetic. You can expect a sound similar to the record that is amplified by our stage presence, lighting, and sonic clarity. We always make a point to personally chat with all our fans after the show, and give them the opportunity to get to know us as people.
Larissa Vale (LV): “Just do your thing, people will like it!”
Kyle Hawken (KH): “This is going to be a lot of fun!”
BS: Honestly, a lot of the time we just go blank as soon as we step on stage; almost as if something just takes over.
PEV: How has playing in Black Satellite been different from working with other artists or projects in the past?
BS: We have always operated the band in a professional mindset and tried to be as straightforward with each other as possible. We found it is much easier to get things done if we don’t beat around the bush and just tell each other how we feel.
PEV: What is the underlying inspiration for your music? Where do you get your best ideas for songs?
BS: We tend to write about real-life situations and any issues we are experiencing at the time; writing music has always been a natural way for us to work through things. The result is something that’s vulnerable, thought provoking, and honest.
PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?
BS: It was only through hard work and determination that we arrived where we are. Looking back, we would have never imagined we’d be presented with so many great opportunities. We were able to work with such amazing people who have really helped validate what we are trying to accomplish. It’s been a dream so far and we are so grateful and excited for what the future has to offer.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about the members of Black Satellite?
BS: Larissa is Ukrainian-American and her father’s work required their family to live abroad until she was 13. Kyle has been colorblind since early childhood, with his perception of color slowly decreasing over the years.
PEV: What can fans expect from your new album, Endless, featuring the single, “Valkyrie”? Tell us about the writing process behind this work.
BS: It was important to us to present a unified body of work that defined who we are as a band. We heavily workshopped our material until we were certain it was true to our vision. Some of the songs even date back as early as 2012. We ended up cutting several of our older songs and wrote six brand new ones for the record. We were able to breathe new life into our previous tracks and make them relevant to us again. Endless is the byproduct of our most intense experiences taking place in the world we created through our sound.
PEV: What is the feeling you get after a song or album is complete and you can sit back and listen to it in full?
BS: We feel a sense of accomplishment and have the opportunity to truly reflect. It’s interesting to see a motif or tonal arc start to evolve out of a collection of songs written from relatively random periods in our lives. It helps define the passage of time and shows us how we’ve changed and matured.
PEV: What would you say is the biggest challenge for musicians trying to make a name for themselves these days?
BS: One of the biggest challenges for musicians just starting out is realizing that a band is not only fun and rewarding, it is also a business. It’s important to figure out the logistics of sustaining a band, such as protecting your intellectual property.
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play in your hometown?
BS: We get a very positive response from our friends and family. Even though not everyone agreed with our career choice in the beginning, we now have a lot of love and support. It’s an amazing feeling when people we really care about make the effort to come to our shows and pre-order our album, no matter how far away they live.
PEV: What can we find each of you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
BS: We love cooking and often cook elaborate dinners for our friends. We are also avid gamers and can be found playing games like Halo and Gears of War.
PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?
BS: We would love to collaborate with Marilyn Manson because we drew a lot of inspiration from him both instrumentally and vocally. As for a past artist, it would be incredible to have gotten the chance to work with Type O Negative. Their music expresses a dark intensity, which really speaks to us.
PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
BS: We’ve actually had a habit of living in our own little world while working on this record. We are definitely looking forward to discovering cool new music to listen to!
PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal), what do you think each of you would be doing for a career?
LV: I really enjoy cinematography and actually have a degree in film.
KH: I was a restaurant manager before I was in a full-time band and would likely have plans to own a bar.
PEV: So, what is next for Black Satellite?
BS: Our main priority after the release of our album will be playing out and touring. We already have some new material in the works so there is going to be a lot to look forward to!
For more information, click to https://blacksatellite.band/.