Limelight: Black Peaks

“We like to take our tracks on a journey,” explains Black Peaks’ guitarist Joe Gosney when Prog asks him how he’d describe their music.

“Before we started the band, I travelled around the world visiting mountains, and I did a lot of snowboarding and mountain climbing. When writing our tracks, I guess there’s always been a lot of inspiration from the outdoors and mountains. Black Peak is a big old volcano in Alaska. It’s quite monumental so felt relevant to us.”

Formed three years ago as Shrine, these lads have become part of Brighton’s burgeoning experimental scene. But last year, they went through something of a rebirth when they got new management, teamed up with Empress AD’s Paul Piggott and changed their name. The buzz surrounding them all seemed to erupt when they opened Sonisphere last summer.

“That was definitely our highlight gig of the year,” says Gosney enthusiastically. “The whole tent was packed. We also got to see Karnivool, who were ridiculously good, and Mastodon, who are one of our favourite bands. We hung out with those guys afterwards, which was amazing.”

The three-track EP Closer To The Sun was released just ahead of the showcase and maximises their diverse influences, which range from The Mars Volta to Mahavishnu Orchestra. It also offers up a taste of their debut album, which the band are now putting the finishing touches to. That unnamed long-player is scheduled for release later this year.

“Compared to our EP, it’s definitely a lot heavier in places,” Gosney muses. “There are more dynamics; there are some really delicate places that build into these monstrous heavy sections and it’s more technical. Will [Gardner], our singer, is also a professional saxophonist and he loves his jazz. From a writing point of view, he’s learned a lot of theory about some of the old jazz standards so that’s an influence.”

Gosney also lets slip that not only have they brought in a very special guest on some of the tracks but they also have interest from several labels. He’s keeping quiet over the exact details but promises there will be a big reveal in the not-so-distant future.

On paper, 2015 is already shaping up to be an extremely busy year for the four-piece and the best is still to come, with plans for European and US tours in the works. After spending their early years as a self-funded unit, it looks like all the long hours are now starting to pay off and they’re getting some well-earned assistance to rise up to the next level.

“We all feel that we’ve done everything that we should do,” Gosney states. “We’ve worked so hard and put everything else in our lives on standby so we really hope this goes well.”

Fingers crossed, lads – you’ve earned it!

Prog File

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**Will Gardner **(vocals), **Joe Gosney **(guitar, vocals), **Liam Kearley **(drums), **Andrew Gosden **(bass, vocals)
sounds like
Aggressive progressive with a pinch of jazz and a generous helping of post-hardcore
current release
The Closer To The Sun EP is available now through Bandcamp
Natasha Scharf
Deputy Editor, Prog

Contributing to Prog since the very first issue, writer and broadcaster Natasha Scharf was the magazine’s News Editor before she took up her current role of Deputy Editor, and has interviewed some of the best-known acts in the progressive music world from ELP, Yes and Marillion to Nightwish, Dream Theater and TesseracT. Starting young, she set up her first music fanzine in the late 80s and became a regular contributor to local newspapers and magazines over the next decade. The 00s would see her running the dark music magazine, Meltdown, as well as contributing to Metal Hammer, Classic Rock, Terrorizer and Artrocker. Author of music subculture books The Art Of Gothic and Worldwide Gothic, she’s since written album sleeve notes for Cherry Red, and also co-wrote Tarja Turunen’s memoirs, Singing In My Blood. Beyond the written word, Natasha has spent several decades as a club DJ, spinning tunes at aftershow parties for Metallica, Motörhead and Nine Inch Nails. She’s currently the only member of the Prog team to have appeared on the magazine’s cover.