Black Star Jackals


Black Star Jackals

Constantly achieving and always believing, Black Star Jackals exploded onto the scene in 2019 with a back catalogue of melodic Alternative Rock tracks laced with Funk, Metal, Indie, Pop, Synth and Shoegaze that strongly supports mental health. Their songs take a deep dive into the more dark and challenging side of life, particularly abusive relationships that many can relate to, whether it be someone else or even you yourself. And now, with a musical shoulder to lean on, they offer us a raw, melodic, energetic sound that will leave you feeling positive and empowered, with one clear message that you can overcome your demons. Their debut single Maybe was received exceptionally well, winning critical acclaim that took them on to win the Scottish final of the Soundwaves Music Competition. Since that time, this awesome foursome quickly garnered new fans, radio airplay and positive reviews from industry professionals thanks to their infectious melodies and Hard Rock vibes.
After performing many open mic evenings as a soloist, founder member Kieran McFarlane decided a greater scope was needed, and brought in a bassist and drummer to form a band around him. Realizing he couldn’t cover all the guitar parts, he later enlisted the help of Steven Joseph to add that extra dimension to their sound. Soon, Kieran and Steven struck the perfect rapport having similar musical styles, and by the summer of 2019 the original rhythm section had been replaced by bassist Max Lamprecht and drummer Calum Joseph, and so, the band was born. Based in Glasgow, Scotland, here in the UK, the band sport a wide age range and hail from various parts of the country. This variety of age, background, musical influence and taste, along with a love of Alternative Rock from the 90’s and early 2000’s is what forms the nucleus of their sound, giving them a rich, dynamic and powerful demeanor that now powers their engines.

Since that time, Black Star Jackals have hit the stage at the O2 Academy in Birmingham for the aforementioned final of the Soundwaves Music Competition, and have made their presence known at every venue in Glasgow. Since the pandemic, further plans to gig and tour have been curtailed somewhat, until just two months ago after being given the opportunity to perform at Nice n Sleazy’s, in Glasgow, which was their first gig in 21 months. The boys hope to go on to perform at the legendary Barrowlands Ballroom and King Tuts, and are currently gearing up to hit the spotlight at Monsterfest in November with a line-up that now consists of Kieran McFarlane – lead vocals/guitar, Steven Joseph- guitar/vocals, Max Lamprecht- bass and Calum MacPherson on drums.

Despite their old school influences, the lads put their very own unique stamp on their music creating strong modern twist that places them firmly in the here and now. Both Steven and Max are professional classical musicians, attending Royal Colleges of Music which brings a new dimension to the band and their songwriting prowess, treating us to harmonies, rhythms and structural elements where attention to detail is paramount. Not afraid of wearing their influences on their sleeves, you will notice Kieran’s vocals to be reminiscent of Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, along with Incubus, Soundgarden.
In a recent interview, I asked them what drives them as a band, they told me;

“We have a huge love of creating music together and all the other jobs that come with being an independent musician. Not only are we musicians writing music, but we create all our own music videos and artwork. We love working as a team on all the creative projects for Eddie & The Wolves.”

With that said, I asked what the meaning was behind the band name, they replied;

“Years ago Eddie was a solo act, and had a band together, and named it Edd Saffell & The Wolves, this carried across when Edd decided to create a band.”

I followed this up by asking Eddie about their songwriting process and how they would overcome any creative blocks, they explained;

“Step 1- Listen to a new band. Step 2- Become obsessed with a new band. Step 3- Try and write a song as good as the new band, or inspired by the new band. Step 4-. Fail. Step 5- Cry. Step 6- Ask Char to write some lyrics. Step 7. Go into a rehearsal room and rewrite the initial idea. Step 8- Success. I force myself to write every day. And I have for the last 8 years. Even if it’s 10 seconds, I sit at the computer and write something. I like to put my ideas straight down. I have a pretty substantial home studio where we do all of our recording and production.”

I followed this up by asking if they had the same persona on and off stage, and what they enjoy most about being in the band, they added;

“If we did, we’d be unemployable, and everyone would we think we were nuts. That’s not to say we’re being fake on stage. If anything, we’re being more real than ever, letting everything just come out and bearing all without worrying about what people think of us. But off stage we’re pretty chilled out and not super extrovert. People who know us and come watch a gig for the first time are always shocked at how different we can be on stage. As for our enjoyment, I guess each of us gets something a little different out of it, but I think we all enjoy the release it provides, both mentally and creatively. There’s something very special about writing and performing music you’ve written that can’t really be described. Also being in a band itself is a very special thing. It’s like another family. It’s more than just friendship. When you make music with other people it creates a different kind of connection. Something deeper and more meaningful.”

Having said that, I asked them what they have learnt about themselves on their journey so far in the music industry, they went on to tell me;

“In some ways, we’re four very different people. We all have our own group of friends. We all live in different parts of Glasgow and didn’t even know each other before we formed Jackals and yet somehow, fate brought us together to make music together and right from the start, we just clicked. We all bring something unique of our own to the songs, it really is a team effort that ends up being great than the sum of its parts. We don’t necessarily practice performing that often, because we know that when we hit the stage each of us is gonna give it everything we have every single time. We’ve never walked off stage feeling like we could of done better or given more. That was something we never had to talk about or state out loud, it just happened from the word go.”

Finally, I asked them if there was anything they wished hey had known, before starting a career in music, they told me;

“Just how many con men and psychos there are out there! There’s Music and then there’s the Music Business, and the two are VERY different things, almost polar opposites in fact. Sadly, you need both to succeed. Nowadays, there’s a bigger requirement than ever for the musician, and that’s to be active in the business side of things, such as bookings, PR, Videos, Recordings, Social Media and so on. We seem to spend way more time doing that stuff rather than actually making music. Social Media is a real double-edged sword. It’s cool being able to go direct to fans, update them regularly and have that close interaction. But at the same time, getting heard over the din over the thousands of other artists doing exactly the same time is very hard, and often it can feel like a lot of work, and a lot of unwanted pressure keeping up with the social side of things.”

And that brings me nicely to the EP in question here, Hollow.

The title track itself speaks of the frustration that comes when, despite your best efforts, nothing seems to fill the empty space that you feel inside. Although it might feel like you’re trudging through a mental mire, you’ll only sink if you stop and listen to your inner demons, just keep pushing forward. Maybe nothing will ever fit perfectly, but never stop trying, because each day you’ll find that your life will feel fuller, and a little less Hollow.

Every artist dreams of releasing their first EP and here Black Star Jackals are no different, as they went on to tell me;

“Hollow has been a long time in the making and made all the more difficult thanks to the pandemic, but after a year’s worth of releases and build up we are so excited to share it with everyone. The EP itself is stylistically very varied and we draw upon a wide range of influences to create four uniquely different songs, but songs that all share a common thread such as Mental Health and fighting Inner Demons at its core. Each of the songs deal with fairly dark and troubling subject matter, but ultimately it’s a positive and feel good message we want people to take away from them.”

The release of their current singles Always The Same, Party People and now Down This Road pretty much hit the ground running and surpassed all expectations. The arrival of this Ep has been long awaited with bated breath, and will be a real treat for new and current fans alike, complete with an arsenal of overdriven guitars, driving beats and syncopation that’s sees the band display a harder, more aggressive edge than ever before.

In all, this EP won’t gather dust in any collection, and will keep heads bouncing and feet tapping from sofa to stage.

Star Rating – 10/10

To close, I asked them if there was anything else they wanted our readers to know, they wrapped things up by telling me;

“Thank you for taking the time to read all about us and checking out our music. Rock Music and bands are making a comeback to mainstream for sure! There’s a lot to be positive about in the music world right now and it’s clear the younger generation coming through now are yearning for something real and authentic. You can connect with us on any of the links listed below.”

So why not clear a space in your collection, and give Black Star Jackals a try for 2021.

                                                                                                               © Stargazer Music Magazine 2020

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