The Blackfires on pirate imagery and “taking over”

Published on September 20th, 2012

Anthony Mullin, guitarist of New York City rock band The Blackfires, spoke with The New Philadelphia about “Grapeshot,” the group’s first official single from their upcoming debut release. The Blackfires are comprised of Andrey “Cheggi” Chegodaev (vocals), Anthony Mullin (guitars), Chris Daou (guitars), Ryan Egan (bass), and Ilan Harel (drums).

According to Mullin, “Grapeshot” incorporates what “vocalist/frontman Andrey Chegodaev (or Cheggi, as he is known), would call an “abordage” – i.e. pirates taking over another ship. He’s so into pirate imagery and that ruthless attitude of those times.”

“It’s more than just that though,” the English guitarist said. “It’s about us just doing our thing. Enjoying “taking over” the stage, the room, your mental space by playing our music.”

Mullin went on to discuss the origins of the song. “‘Grapeshot’ came from a riff I had lying around,” he said. “Ryan wrote most of the lyrics along with Cheggi.” After that, all that remained for The Blackfires was to complete the tune.

“We needed the rest of the song,” Mullin said. “Ilan told me that the riff I had was in fact in two time signatures which I thought was pretty odd, as I didn’t even know you could do that. Anyway, he helped me change it to be in one time signature. After that I just played and said to the lads, “how about this?” And the song just came out from there pretty much as you hear it now. We were in Chris’ Lower East Side apartment at the time on 1st & 1st, or the nexus of the universe as some call it. He had just moved in and so no furniture, just guitars, amps, some beer and boxes, is the image that comes to mind.”

In addition to Cheggi’s shrill singing and sharp vocals, there’s an onslaught of lead guitar licks. Of recording the guitar solos, Mullin said his were “one-take wonders,” whereas Chris (Chris Daou, the other half of The Blackfires’ guitar arsenal) “more thought his out, which is typical of how we write.”

“[Chris] added the tapping solo at a random rehearsal space on Rivington,” Mullin said. “Just before we moved into the Music Building. Initially we thought that maybe the tapping is a bit much, but when we heard it all together we thought it was perfect.”

Since Anthony and I met earlier this year, I’ve seen The Blackfires perform three times. During their 11 month tenure on the NYC music scene, they’ve played at various venues including Mercury Lounge, Gramercy Theatre, and Webster Hall. They also will play CMJ in October.

Stay tuned for more on The Blackfires, and check out “Grapeshot” below.

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