2014 in Review: Carbon Black's Rob Giles - "Attending NAMM was an experience I'll never forget!"


Greetings, and welcome to Metal as Fuck! Who are you?. "My name’s Rob Giles and I play bass guitar in a band called Carbon Black".

Nice to make your acquaintance. Has it been a good year for the band? What have you spent the year doing? "In the beginning of the year we launched our debut EP, titled Principium and performed some fantastic shows. We performed from Adelaide all the way up to Byron Bay and almost everywhere in between, some of these were the best shows I’ve played in my life! We performed alongside bands such as King Parrot, Lord, Segression, Octanic, Rise of Avernus and many many more. We also recruited a new drummer, Luke Cook (ex- Mortal Sin) and have started writing the songs that will make up our debut album. We hope to record in the first half of 2015 if all goes to plan, and the songs are amazing. We’ll be closing 2014 with two exciting shows; Tonight at The Basement, Belconnen (ACT) for Segression’s album launch, and December 6th in Wagga Wagga for their annual Dimeday show, a tribute to Dimebag Darrell Abbott. We’ve got a few special surprises in our set for that gig!"

I;m guessing your set might well be reaching new levels of confidence and power? Now, when you look back on 2014 personally, what things stand out for you as highs and lows? "For me personally, the highlight without a doubt was having the opportunity to attend the NAMM show in Anaheim USA. I was a guest of the awesome people at MTD Basses, with whom I have an artist endorsement. NAMM was almost overwhelming, I met so many of my heroes and made amazing contacts. It was an experience I’ll never forget! Probably the lowest point would have been that uncertain period when we were searching for a drummer, but that didn’t last more than a few weeks. When we met Luke it was high fives all round!"

It's good when the ups outweigh the downs! How was 2014 for you musically, aside from any projects you’re involved in? "Musically I would say it has been my most creative year, mainly because I’ve pulled my finger out and done a lot of home recording, getting all the ideas down that I’ve had floating around in my head and clearing the backlog. I hate that feeling of loose ideas rattling about and occupying my mind – I have to get them out so I can relax and move on. It’s been a good year for experimenting at home too, which is always fun!"

And what about the wider world of music? Can you give us your best album(s) of the year? "Wow, I always struggle with these kind of questions – I listen to so much music. It’s been a great year for reissues; Led Zeppelin’s first five albums received an awesome deluxe treatment, and The Beatles’ Mono vinyl box set turned me into a recluse, I was that absorbed by it. It’s also been a stunning year for Aussie releases! Troldhaugen’s Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez is a creative triumph, and easily one of the best Australian metal releases in the last few years in my opinion. Segression’s Painted In Blood surprised me, I think it’s their strongest album to date. Lord set about re-recording their entire Dungeon back catalogue, which was a mammoth task, but the resulting box set is a fantastic piece for the fans, and it sounds top notch. I discovered an Italian band called Nero di Marte recently, their new album Derivae is just astounding. It’s an entirely analogue production and the quality of it just blows my mind. I can’t stop listening to it. The new Opeth album was everything I hoped for and more. The new Pink Floyd is next on my list, my hopes are high for that one too".

I guess you did say you listen to a lot of music! But that's the good, in the interest of balance we must now turn to the bad. We’re not going to ask for your worst album of the year, as people always say they try and stay away from bad music, but did you feel disappointed by any album that came out this year that you were looking forward to? "The new Tea Party album has some satisfying moments, but it’s not quite the triumphant return I was hoping for. Fingers crossed they find their mojo again".

Let's hope they're reading this and it makes them get their arses into gear! Back to Carbon Black - what does 2015 hold in store for the band? "We’ll finish writing the album and knuckle down into some serious pre production so we can start recording. No significant gigs or tours planned yet, our focus is on the new material, but I’d say getting to Melbourne is a priority. We’re super keen to play there".

And on a wider note, how healthy do you think the extreme music  scene is where you are from, looking towards 2015? Any bands we should be looking out for next year that we might not already know about? "A local band here in New South Wales called Harbour are creating a stir, they’re playing a kind of instrumental progressive metal with heavy Tool and Tesseract influences. One to watch, for sure (https://www.facebook.com/HarbouRBandOfficial)".

Back to more general issues;  The last couple of years have seen almost every band from the eighties and nineties that were even half decent (and many not even that good) reforming for another go at stardom. Is this a reflection on the state of the music industry as it stands, with labels unable or unwilling to nurture young talent and punters forced into going out and watching something more tried and trusted? Or is it simply a reflection on the laziness of those same punters who’d rather watch a bunch of old blokes performing in their own tribute acts rather than risking a tenner on new music? "I think the trend you’re speaking of is more a reflection on the uncertainty in society at the moment. When times are yuck, people retreat to something they’re familiar with, and these reforming bands are filling a specific need, I believe. I don’t think they’re taking any opportunities from up and coming bands at all. There’s always room for new music in my opinion, and as a punter the trend hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for new music in the slightest".

That's good to hear! But nowithstanding that answer,  is there anyone who hasn’t reformed that you might like a sneaky look at should they get back together? "Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd. We can always dream!".

Indeed we can. And talking of old farts for a bit longer – what did you make of the U2/Apple business? Great piece of marketing or appalling imposition on individual privacy? "It was a dumb move imposing themselves on people like that. And the sheer arrogance of them to assume that every iPod owner would want to hear it. It’s easily the worst decision a band has made since Metallica and Napster.

Metallica and Napster - that seems like a lifetime ago now!  Important lifestyle question – vinyl, cd or mp3? "Most new releases I’m content to buy a CD unless the production is tailored for vinyl, then I’ll take that option. Old stuff say, pre-1990’s, I’ll get the vinyl if possible. If a release is coupled with a HD download option, I always take it up".

All bases covered! Anything else you’d like to bring to the attention of the MaF readership? "Come and say “Hi” at one of Carbon Black’s  shows in December! Support Australian metal, go to a local show and support your local artists!"