Jason Payne & The Black Leather Riders is one of the good news that emerged during the pandemic, as the group was created in England during the period of seclusion, based on the ideas of the founder, Jason Payne, who with the hiatus from his previous band, decided to start a new project. (VERSÃO EM PORTUGUÊS)
December 2020 the band presented their first single, which served as an introduction and transition, and now releases an EP, "The Abyss", showcasing their modern heavy metal.
We spoke with Jason to introduce a little more about this new European Metal promise. Check out!
RtM: Tell us a little about the beginning of activities, and how the band Jason Payne and the Black Leather Riders came about. Interesting name for a band, it sounds "old school".
JP: The band formed in late September (2020). After my previous project’s hiatus, I felt the need of writing some different kind of songs. It was something that I wanted to do for a long time. We started by jamming two songs that I wrote, and decided to start recording and see where this project would take us. The environment is really cool, we’re all longtime friends and I believe that’s what it makes so easy to work together.
The name came from the sensation that our music and image provoke: “Black Leather”, because we all dress in black and with leather jackets and the word “Riders” due to the fact of us playing fast-aggressive music. Kinda like if you we’re driving a fast muscle car.
RtM: How would you describe the band's sound to those who are getting to know it right now? You could also tell us about your influences and inspirations.
JP: Our music is very dark, visually gripping, riff driven and really aggressive. We take influences from old school rock and metal, but also in modern metalcore and hard rock acts. But for me, what really inspires me the most is when I grab a guitar and crank the amp loud. Nothing in the world can inspire me more than that.
RtM: You are preparing to release a debut EP soon (note: this interview was made some weeks before the release), and have already released some singles. Is the idea to release all songs as singles before? How are you feeling the acceptance of these first singles?
JP: Our idea is to release 2 singles and then the EP. We already released The Dark and The Purge will come out on the 2nd July. Then, the EP will drop on the 16th. I’m feeling excited about it. People are starting to like us, we’re expanding our fanbase and I believe that the best is yet to come. Can’t wait to have all 6-tracks released!
RtM: Talking about the singles, tell us a little more about "Waking the Damned", which was released in December, and it's a more melodious and even a melancholy theme.
JP: To me, “Waking The Damned” is some sort of an introduction of the band. The idea was to make a bridge between my previous project (Hard Rock) and drive those fans to a more extreme sound. The vibe is a bit nu-metal, post-grunge or even heavy rock, but it shows glimpses of what we intend to do and sound like. It’s a celebration of the beginning of this project and was a very important step to build this band around.
RtM:"The Dark" brings more nervous riffs, more weight and aggressiveness, comment a little more about this track and the video, recorded at Under the Bridge Stadium.
JP: Exactly. That’s the kind of direction we’re taking. I really like to listen to aggressive music and, to be honest, that’s the natural way of writing and interpreting music that I have. The Dark is the truest reflection of the band’s sound and of our abilities. It has this kind of “in-your-face” vibe that I like.
Playing at Under The Bridge was an incredible experience for us. We can now tick that box in our “dreams’ list”. I always wanted to perform there, and it was such an amazing opportunity. We’re very humbled and grateful for the BIMM London’s and Chelsea Football Club’s staff for making this happen.
RtM: And within this current Metal scene, what characteristics of the band do you believe will stand out so that you can conquer a prominent place in the Metal world and music business?
JP: First of all, we’re not trying to be something we’re not. The way we dress, the way we play, the way we behave… That’s just us. I believe that if you’re not true to yourself and you try to be somebody else, you’ll lose the essence and the soul of your music. At the end of the day, people will always want “the real deal”. I look at myself as a fan, and I’ve always listened to bands that they just don’t care. They are who they are and that’s the way it should be. So, I believe this plays a huge factor to us: WE’RE REAL.
RtM: The key is always be honest and true with yourself.
JP: We don’t try to be “too clever” with the songs – they are based in real emotions that we feel. When I wrote “The Dark”, for example, I felt every word that I’m singing. Even the guitar solo, every note that I play I was singing in my head. For me, it doesn’t make sense to be any other way. No matter how aggressive a song can be, you have to have melody and an intention (which can be a feeling of anger, hate, sadness or joy). But having emotions and “soul” is what turns a “group of notes and chords” into a song.
RtM: And what could you tell us about how was the production of this first EP and if there are already plans and compositions for a full-length?
JP: We started recording in January and we finished by late March. It was pretty intense and exhaustive, but in the end, much rewarding. Working with Alex Robinson (Bullet From My Valentine) provide us a major learning experience. We’re very happy about it, we stay in touch and yes, we’re writing a full length album. If everything goes well, we’ll probably release it next year.
RtM: In England, Heavy Metal and Metal in general were practically born, with great icons of heavy music. How do you see the current scene in England, and if you feel that there is some kind of pressure or greater expectation when a band appears in the English scene?
JP: The way I feel is that there is a rich history here. That’s why, four years ago, I moved from Portugal to England. I wanted to experience and play at venues where Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin performed. And living here is great, because it gives me such an inspiration to move forward every day. I love it, so I don’t feel any pressure. What I feel is joy and grateful for my family to allow me to move here when I still was a kid starting his adult life.
RtM: And this period with the pandemic, what did it bring and can it bring to the issue of bands reinventing themselves from now on, in order to seek new alternatives to survive in the music world? Mainly the time without being able to do shows and promote the albums.
JP: This project is a product of the pandemic. It was born in the middle of it and we took inspiration from it to write this EP. I believe many musicians had to be creative in terms of finding ways of having an income. For example, we just created Patreon and we’re exploring every possible alternative of generating some income to invest in our career. This pandemic taught us some lessons and we have to learn from it.
RtM: Thanks for the interview, I let this last space for your message to the readers.
JP: Thank you so much for this opportunity. And to the fans, stay tuned because we have got so many surprises coming. Stay safe and stay metal! \m/
Interview: Carlos Garcia
Listen to or buy "The Abyss"
Management: Split Screen