BLACK ROAD "The Darkest Road" 

By Theron Moore

Like most great bands start, you hear a buzz happening, people talking.  That’s what happened with me and Chicago’s Black Road.  All of a sudden, I began to hear a lot of chatter regarding them and me being in the middle of trying to split an 800+ page manuscript of various music scenes and interviews I had compiled into two separate books, both of which talk about Chicago’s rock scene, I took notice right away.  I mean, hell, this is the same town that produced Trouble, the godfathers of all that’s doom and stoney, so, I checked out Black Road and really dug what I heard.  

The best way to describe Black Road if you’re not familiar, I kind of think of them as a psychedelic stew of doom, 70’s groove and stoner rock, with hints of Sabbath and Cathedral bubbling through, guided by the soothing, soulful vocals of frontwoman Suzi Uzi.  The band is completely original and fun to listen to.  They’ve got a vibe and a groove I really connected with on their self-titled Black Road EP you can find on Bandcamp.  There’s heart and soul here, an identity I got, and not to sound clichéd, but, their music spoke to me, and that’s what counts with a band.  You have to reach out and connect, so, not wasting any time, I contacted Suzi herself and here’s what we talked about…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES:  Do you remember the first band or first song that you connected with that drew you into the hard rock / metal genre?

SUZI UZI:  I don't think it was any one band or song in particular that drew me to the hard rock/metal genre. Metallica was a definite favorite of mine as a little kid. My first cassette was "...And Justice For All". When I recall my first memories of being an infant, I can remember being in my carseat, banging my head as hard as I could and really enjoying music to be as loud as possible. 

WC:  What about your first concert, who did you see?

SU:  My father would always take me to see live musical acts at street fairs and local music fests in the Chicago area. The first concert I ever paid to see myself was a band called Cursive when I was about 14 or so. I was stoked my dad let me go to the Metro by myself at that age!

WC:  What got you into the stoner / doom genre of music? 

SU:  I had no idea what the name for the genres were, but I always loved Black Sabbath. The bands that got me caught up on the current doom and stoner scene were Graveyard and Witchcraft. I was really excited to learn that both lead singers from both bands (Magnus Pelander & Joakim Nilsson) used to have a project together before either band started - Norrsken.

WC:  What convinced you to get into a band, do you remember the circumstances?

SU:  Being in a band has always been a dream of mine, as well as many other forms of performing and art. Teaming up with my boyfriend Tim has caused that dream to become a reality. I became convinced once we made our first live acoustic recording in my living room and I heard that I didn't sound as bad as I thought I might.

WC:  Aside from Chicago’s outstanding metal scene, going all the way back to the 80’s, it’s also been known for it’s crushing doom metal scene as well.  In your opinion, what’s the doom metal scene like today?  What bands do we need to know about, besides Black Road?

SU:  The doom metal scene in Chicago is definitely growing. Whenever people think Chicago and doom, I think their minds go to Bongripper right away. There are tons of bands that fall under the broad spectrum of stoner rock/stoner doom/doom/sludge. I would not consider us a typical or traditional doom metal band by any means, so I always feel there is room for interpretation in the genres. Some of my favorites are: Faces of the Bog, Pale Horseman, Blunt, Cokegoat, Marmora, Sacred Monster and Uncouth. 

WC:  What about Chicago’s metal scene, still going strong, still well supported?  Same question, which bands do we need to know about?

SU:  There are probably so many bands I don't know about, but more traditional genres of metal bands seem more plentiful than the doom or stoner metal bands. Some that I like are Mordatorium, Orinoco, and Dithiest. 

WC:  Let’s get into Black Road.  How did the band come together and how long has it been around?

SU:  I had been toiling away, making music alone on my computer for hours on end. Tim is an amazing guitarist, and I really wanted that skill to not go to waste. I decided to combine my computer and editing knowledge with his talent, and began to track and record him. I told him I wanted to start a band. Once he thought of the name (which I instantly agreed to) I started immediately designing a logo and finding more members. We had a bassist friend of mine who was on board right away, and old pals from high school who wanted to join, so we decided to just give it a go as Black Road. We formed in the summer of 2015.

WC:  Was the initial musical vision to do something along the lines of stoner or doom, or, maybe just hard rock / metal?

SU:  When we formed Black Road, I had been a heavy smoker for well over a decade already, but decided to quit so I could become a stronger vocalist. The music Tim wanted to play was metal, but we decided to start at a mellow pace. It felt like I just didn't have the strength or stamina to compete with the volume and ferocity of some of our music. The first songs we wrote were basically just rock. I got stronger after awhile, and we were able to bring forth the heavy riffs as we wrote more. 

WC:  Has there been any indie label interest regarding Black Road?

SU:  We are currently blessed to be signed with two independent labels - DHU Records in the Netherlands (cassette & vinyl) and BloodRock Records in Italy (CD). 

WC:  Are there any plans for the band to tour outside Illinois? 

SU:  I think about touring almost every single day. We don't have immediate plans, but when we leave the state for gigs it's usually just a weekend thing. We have played in Indiana and Ohio, and have plans in the works to play both again this year. I am talking with some folks about heading east, going up to Wisconsin and Michigan, and even Texas... but no solid plans for those just yet.

WC:  I’m sure you thought about touring outside Illinois, how hard is it to make the financial and logistical part of setting up your own tour worth your time?  I mean, all of you would have to take time from your day jobs to do this, which might not be possible, right?

SU:  The only reason we are not touring is because we don't have a band van. We are saving every penny we get from gigs, merch sales, and album/download sales so we can finally get one and get on the road together. Our sedans are having a hard time keeping up with all the gigging, and won't last forever! As far as the logistics, I do all the booking myself and have some very awesome guys in my band. They let me know when they are not available, and we are all in constant communication about every date and detail. We have already discussed how much time we would need to give our bosses notice - so now all we need is the van! :) 

WC:  What’s the creative process like for you when it comes to lyrics?  Where does the inspiration come from?  Other music, movies, TV?

SU:  My creative process seems to be random. Sometimes inspiration will just strike when I'm not expecting it. Sometimes I will set out to write something and actually like what I came up with - but that's more of a rarity. The weird thing is that certain riffs speak to me, I feel. We have a song called "Hash King", and as Tim was repeating the riff while showing it to our bandmates, the words seemed to almost make themselves up naturally. If I am feeling an artistic block, I will take a long walk or watch an interesting movie for inspiration.

WC:  Tell us about the Black Road EP.  Where can fans find it?

SU:  Our EP was the defining triumph in our already eventful but short history. The direction Tim's songwriting was headed caused the drummer and bassist set to record the EP with us to leave the band. We had just been signed to DHU Records one month prior. It took us two months to nail down a new drummer and bassist, and then another 3 months to learn and attempt to record the songs we planned to include on the eponymous Black Road EP. We then signed with BloodRock Records to release our CD. Once the masters were in, we released the CD and digital formats at the same time on October 6, 2017. Soon followed the cassette release with DHU Records, and the vinyl test presses came in to DHU headquarters during December 2017, with 3 versions to follow. It can be found on all streaming platforms. It is available for purchase on cassette, CD, and digital (vinyl coming soon in 2018) on as well as through our Facebook page. 

WC:  What does 2018 hold for the band?  Have there been any US festival invites yet?

Suzi Uzi:  With 2 festival dates already lined up, and multiple gigs booked in Chicago, we hope 2018 will be huge for the band! Once our vinyl release date is confirmed, we will be planning a record release party. We have new artwork being printed on some beautiful merch, as well as some cool new stickers coming soon! Hopefully we will get that van soon, and be able to make our way around the US spreading the riff worship down that Black Road. \m/