Soaring rock instrumentals blending evocative melodies and outright masterful precision – creative guitarist Black Bender has carved out an impressive role within modern music, and gathered a striking number of plays along the way.
We caught up with the elusive hooded musician, to find out more about his journey to this point, his fascination with the cosmos, and his plans moving forward. Here’s how it went.
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Hey – a real honour to talk with you, thanks for the opportunity! For those new to your music, how would you define the sound?
Hey first of all thank you very much for the interview, maybe My sound can be best described as a fusion of electrifying rock ‘n’ roll with dynamic guitar-driven melodies. I bring a raw and energetic edge to my music, infusing it with powerful riffs and captivating rhythms that evoke the spirit of classic rock while adding a modern twist.
My sound combines the grit and passion of rock music with a contemporary flair, creating an experience that resonates with both old-school rock enthusiasts and new listeners alike.
What first inspired you to pick up the guitar, and how do you manage to stay inspired and indeed creative on a day-to-day basis?
A fiery desire burning inside me, propelling me to pick up the guitar and embark on a musical journey that began more than 16 years ago. It all started when I was a singer in search of a guitarist to accompany me, but fate had a different plan. Determined to create magic, I took the only option available—I became the guitarist.
The moment I strummed those strings, an electric current surged through me, empowering every fiber of my being. The raw, distorted sound that emanated was like a sonic declaration of my passion, filling me with an indescribable sense of joy and liberation.
Today, that fire within still rages, driving me to explore new depths, infuse my melodies with soul-shaking energy, and inspire others with the electrifying power of music.
Why do you choose to be the hooded guitarist, and does this masked element help you to fully encapsulate a character or perform more freely?
The decision to become the hooded guitarist was driven by a dual purpose that intertwines my passion for music and my deep connection to space. I wanted to create a character that could fully express the cosmic themes and my fascination with the vast unknown. The hooded persona allows me to embody this mysterious cosmic energy, enabling me to immerse myself in my music and unleash my creativity more freely.
Additionally, as an immigrant, I sometimes experience a sense of being different or like an ‘alien’ in a new environment. Surprisingly, this feeling of otherness aligns with my hooded identity, making me feel more at ease and comfortable. The anonymity provided by the hood enables me to transcend any preconceived notions or expectations and connect with the audience purely through the power of my music.
“In essence, the hooded guitarist persona serves as a conduit for both my artistic expression & personal journey, allowing me to embrace my love for space while finding solace in a character that embodies my unique experiences.”
It empowers me to perform with a sense of liberation and authenticity, forging a deeper connection between myself, my music, and those who resonate with my sound.
You’ve built up impressive streaming numbers on your releases, which are these soaring rock instrumentals guided by faultlessly fast-fingered yet evocative and purposeful guitar solos. How do separate yourself from the majority of classic rock acts, and what do you think it is about your tracks that connects with so many listeners?
It’s truly humbling to see these streaming numbers.
First and foremost, my journey as a guitarist has been a self-taught adventure. Learning the guitar on my own, I loved rock sound since childhood but never had the idea to play guitar, I immersed myself in online resources, studying my favorite guitar players and trying honing my skills. This auto-didactic approach has shaped my unique style I guess and allowed me to carve my own path in the world of rock music.
One of the defining characteristics of my sound is the rawness and purity that I aim to maintain.
“I deliberately choose not to rely heavily on a lot of effects, favoring a more organic approach that allows the true essence of the guitar to shine through.”
This conscious decision resonates with those seeking a more authentic and unfiltered experience, drawing them to the sincerity and honesty of my music.
Moreover, the thematic element of space in my tracks has played a significant role in connecting with listeners. By intertwining the boundless wonder of outer space with the raw energy of rock ‘n’ roll, I invite listeners on an immersive journey that ignites their imagination. Perhaps it’s the notion that aliens in outer space might also groove to the sound of rock ‘n’ roll that adds an extra layer of intrigue and captivation.
Ultimately, the love and passion I have for my instrument and what I do radiates through my music. It’s this genuine dedication and comfort in playing that resonates with audiences and creates a strong connection. The appreciation I receive from listeners for me is a sign and serve as a testament to the deep connection my tracks forge with those who appreciate the power of music.
In the end, it’s the combination of my autodidactic journey, the rawness of my sound, and the cosmic themes that infuse my music that separates me from the crowd and connects with so many listeners. It’s an honor to share my music and connect with individuals who resonate with my vision and passion.
Tell me about the Black Bender name and the story behind it – where does the emotive and human aspect of this character’s music meet with this other-worldly description of it?
“The name ‘Black Bender’ was born out of my desire to capture the essence of both the cosmic and rock ‘n’ roll elements that define my music.”
I envisioned a name that would encompass the evocative nature of space and the expressive power of bending guitar strings. The color black, often associated with the vast expanse of space, became a prominent symbol in my mind. It represents the mystery, depth, and infinite possibilities that lie within the cosmos.
The term ‘Bender’ perfectly encapsulates my love for bending guitar strings, infusing my music with soulful and emotive expressions. It signifies the ability to manipulate and shape sound, taking listeners on a journey that transcends earthly limitations. The name ‘Black Bender’ itself sparked a wealth of creative ideas and inspired me to delve deeper into the cosmic realm within my tracks.
When it comes to the meeting point between the emotive and human aspect of my music and the other-worldly description, it’s within this amalgamation that the magic truly happens. Through my compositions, I aim to evoke a range of emotions, connecting with listeners on a deeply personal level. While drawing inspiration from the vastness of space, my music carries a human touch, infused with the rawness of human emotions and experiences. It’s in this intersection that the cosmic and the human converge, allowing listeners to embark on a sonic journey that explores both the depths of their own emotions and the mysteries of the universe.
By embodying the character of Black Bender, I become a being wandering through the cosmic expanse, channeling the vastness, solitude, and enigmatic nature of space. Yet, at the core, my music remains deeply connected to the human experience, resonating with listeners on an emotional and personal level. It’s this balance between the celestial and the earthly, the emotive and the cosmic, that defines the essence of Black Bender and forms the foundation of my musical expression.
What is it about black holes and the cosmos that fascinates you and ignites such creative passion?
Firstly, black holes embody a sense of mystery and wonder. Their immense gravitational pull, capable of trapping even light, creates a cosmic enigma that sparks the imagination. The concept of something so powerful and yet elusive resonates with me on a profound level, pushing the boundaries of what we understand about the universe. It’s this sense of the unknown that fuels my creative curiosity, urging me to explore new musical frontiers and push the limits of expression.
Moreover, the cosmos as a whole serves as a canvas of infinite inspiration. From the breathtaking beauty of nebulae to the awe-inspiring vastness of galaxies, the cosmic tapestry instills a sense of awe and humility within me. The sheer scale of the universe reminds me of our place in the grand scheme of things, encouraging introspection and a search for meaning through my music.
Additionally, the cosmic realm offers a metaphorical landscape that reflects the human experience. Just like the universe, we are multifaceted beings, with hidden depths and unexplored territories within us. Through my music, I aim to delve into these uncharted territories, exploring emotions, aspirations, and the vast range of human experiences. The cosmos becomes a metaphorical mirror, allowing me to delve into the depths of the human psyche and translate those emotions into evocative melodies.
Lastly, the creative passion ignited by black holes and the cosmos stems from the universal connections they represent.
“The universe is a tapestry woven together by the laws of physics, and in the same way, music transcends borders & languages, connecting people from all walks of life.”
It’s the realization that we are all interconnected, part of a larger cosmic dance, that drives me to create music that resonates with others and sparks a shared sense of wonder.
In essence, the fascination with black holes and the cosmos is a catalyst for my creative passion. It’s the allure of the unknown, the inspiration drawn from the cosmic beauty, the metaphorical depth they offer, and the universal connections they represent that infuse my music with a profound sense of purpose and ignite a relentless drive to explore the vast musical landscape within and beyond.
How do you start with a new track – are you the producer, do you play any other instruments, or do you collaborate?
When it comes to starting a new track, my process typically begins with exploring chords and rhythms on the guitar. I let my instincts guide me, allowing melodies to emerge naturally from within. This initial exploration sets the foundation for the composition and serves as a springboard for further development.
As a musician, I have a deep connection with the guitar it is my primary tool for self-expression, and I take pride in crafting all aspects of the music myself. From the initial melodies to the intricate arrangements, I embrace the role of both guitarist and bassist, ensuring that every element of the track reflects my artistic vision.
While I have predominantly worked independently, I am eagerly open to collaboration and look forward to encountering new and exciting opportunities. Collaboration has the potential to add new dimensions and perspectives to my music, breathing fresh life into my compositions. I believe that the magic of collaboration lies in the exchange of ideas and the fusion of different musical sensibilities, leading to unexpected and thrilling musical journeys.
What was the feeling or idea that led you to make Shooting Star?
The inspiration behind Shooting Star stems from the profound emotions evoked by witnessing the celestial spectacle of a star gracefully descending from the vastness of space to the earthly realm. It’s a captivating sight that has long captured the human imagination, with many individuals seizing the opportunity to make heartfelt wishes upon these fleeting cosmic messengers.
In creating this track, I sought to encapsulate the ethereal journey that a shooting star undertakes as it traverses unimaginable distances to reach our planet. I delved into the intricacies of its celestial voyage, envisioning the cosmic landscapes it traverses and the cosmic forces at play. It’s a testament to the awe-inspiring nature of the universe and the indescribable beauty that lies beyond our earthly confines.
Moreover, Shooting Star seeks to illuminate the profound connection between celestial events and the human experience. The collective fascination with shooting stars and the tradition of making wishes serves as a reminder of our shared dreams, hopes, and desires. The track becomes a sonic representation of the trails left behind by these falling stars, intertwining the cosmic and the earthly realms.
“Through the evocative melodies and harmonies, ‘Shooting Star’ invites listeners to embark on a sonic journey that mirrors the emotional spectrum elicited by witnessing this celestial spectacle.”
It invites contemplation, wonder, and a sense of interconnectedness with the vastness of the cosmos.
In essence, the creation of Shooting Star was driven by the desire to capture the indescribable beauty, wonder, and emotional resonance that arise from witnessing these celestial phenomena. It serves as a sonic tribute to the mystical allure of shooting stars and the shared dreams that unite us as human beings on this extraordinary planet we call home.
Which track from your repertoire would you send or perform to a brand-new listener who only had time for one, and why?
Selecting just one track from my repertoire to showcase to a brand-new listener is indeed a challenging task, as each of them holds a unique place in my heart. However, I invite everyone to explore my music and discover the track that resonates with them personally. Every composition I create is a heartfelt expression of my artistic vision and passion, and I genuinely value the feedback and preferences of each listener.
By allowing individuals to choose their own favorite track and share their reasons behind it, I not only gain valuable insights into their musical tastes and preferences but also foster a genuine connection between my art and their personal experiences. It is this intimate connection that I strive to establish with listeners, where they can find a piece of themselves within the diverse tapestry of my music.
Your songs tell stories instrumentally – these long form melodic journeys captivate and always resolve well, which is rare. Is that an intentional creative method, and are there stories behind all of the songs, or is it mostly just a process of losing yourself in the music?
My creative process indeed involves immersing myself in the music and allowing the melodies to guide me on long-form melodic journeys.
“As I dive deeper the music begins to take on a life of its own I dare say, leading me through twists and turns, highs & lows, and ultimately finding resolution in a satisfying manner.”
It’s a fascinating experience to witness the music evolve and reveal its own inherent storytelling qualities.
That being said, there are instances where specific stories or emotions inspire the initial spark for a composition. Whether it’s a personal experience, an observation of the world around me, or even an abstract concept, these elements can infuse the music with a deeper layer of meaning.
However, as the composition progresses, I allow the music itself to guide the storytelling, sometimes uncovering narratives that I hadn’t consciously planned.
Your fifth track is due for release at the end of the month – what can you tell us about that?
I am thrilled to announce that my upcoming fifth track, titled Dark Matter, will be released at the end of this month across all major streaming platforms such as Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.
Dark Matter holds a special place within my musical journey as it delves into the enigmatic realm of the cosmos. Much like the mysterious substance it takes its name from, the track seeks to explore the uncharted territories of the unknown. Dark matter, a theoretical element that is believed to make up a significant portion of the universe, captivates my fascination with its elusive nature and its profound impact on the cosmic fabric
Through the power of music, Dark Matter aims to evoke a sense of intrigue, wonder, and introspection. It embraces the ethereal and atmospheric qualities that embody the cosmic theme present throughout my compositions. The track invites listeners to embark on a sonic voyage, where the evocative melodies and harmonies unfold like a cosmic dance, drawing them into the captivating realm of the unknown.
With each release, I strive to create a musical experience that transcends the ordinary, and Dark Matter is no exception. It weaves together elements of space rock, intricate guitar solos, and thought-provoking soundscapes to create a captivating auditory journey. It serves as a testament to my ongoing exploration of music as a means to transport listeners to otherworldly realms, both within and beyond our own perceptions.
What’s your biggest ambition right now, and how will you take things to the next level as an artist?
My biggest ambition as an artist right now is to expand the reach of my music and connect with a wider audience.
I am deeply passionate about sharing my compositions and their emotive power with as many people as possible. To achieve this, I am committed to taking my artistry to the next level by exploring new avenues and seizing every opportunity that comes my way.
What’s the live scene like in Quebec, and do you plan to tour?
The live music scene in Quebec is vibrant and diverse, with a rich tapestry of talent and a passionate audience. As a new immigrant, I have been fortunate to make connections with fellow artists and begin to immerse myself in the local music community. However, my journey has just begun, and I am eager to expand my network and forge new relationships with both musicians and industry professionals.
“I believe that collaboration & the exchange of artistic ideas are vital for personal & artistic growth.“
By actively seeking opportunities to connect with other musicians and industry professionals, I hope to foster meaningful collaborations and contribute to the collective energy of the live music scene in Quebec.
Is there anything else we should know about Black Bender?
Absolutely! As a guitarist and musician, I draw inspiration from a wide range of talented artists, each contributing to the unique sound and style of Black Bender. Influences like Paul Gilbert, Joe Satriani, Greg Howe, and Guthrie Govan have played a significant role in shaping my musical journey.
From Paul Gilbert’s lightning-fast yet melodic shredding to Joe Satriani’s soulful and expressive guitar solos, I’ve been captivated by the virtuosity and musicality of these iconic guitarists. Greg Howe’s fusion of rock, blues, and jazz has expanded my harmonic palette, while Guthrie Govan’s innovative playing and boundary-pushing techniques have pushed me to explore new possibilities on the guitar.
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