Black Moth – Interview with Hariet Bevan and Jim Swainston

From Their debut, ‘The Killing Jar’, which was released in 2011, packed with riffs from the past mixed with the ingenious skills of the bands talent. There is something about Black Moth that makes you want to enter the world of their music and take a journey with every chord.


Members: Harriet Bevan – Vocals, Jim Swainston – Guitar, Nico Carew – Guitar, Dave Vachon – Bass & Dom McCready – Drums

The five piece from Leeds are back with their newest album ‘Condemned To Hope’, working alongside Jim Sclavunos  again – the album is due out on 15th September to much anticipation. We managed to catch up with Front-woman Hariet Bevan and guitarist Jim Swainston for a quick chat before their single launch night at the Camden Barfly as part of their XFM X-posure night.

First off, how are you?

Hariet Bevan: Really good, it’s a perfect day out side to be stuck in an artificial basement in the dark [laughs]

Tonight is an XFM Xposure night how did this come about for the band to be featured?

John Kennedy has been a really big supporter of the band for a while hasn’t he [turns to Jim]

Jim Swainston : yeah he’s been giving us some good air play on the XFM show

Hariet: The guy who runs our label – Paul Cox has been in touch with him for a while and we’ve been trying to play one of his nights and this one seems to co-inside perfectly with our single launch and we decided to work with him and do this as part of his X-Posure nights.

Black Moth

For those who haven’t heard of the band before – Where did the name come from?where did you all meet?

Jim : well we formed in about 2010 [pauses] thats a great answer that [laughs]
Hariet: We’ve all been writing music together before then, for years and years we’ve all been working together on differen projects and then in 2010 we started to develop the cohesive sound that was getting heavier and heavier – our drummer is a very Heavy Metal drummer and I think that heavy rythem section has sort of led us into that direction .

I guess our music taste kind of developed from being really into the 60’s and 70’s rock for a long time and we kind of got into metal through a routes way – starting with the early stuff with stuff like Sabbath

Jim: It’s like when we talk about what can be heavy it’s like it can be different for different people – I mean I listen to a band like the stooges and they have always been a big influence on me, I just really like the stuff that has raw power. I’m not saying I don’t get energy from metal, I’m trying to say – you know when something just grabs you.

Hariet : I think it’s just for us more of a general heaviness whether that makes it metal or not, as there are so many different genres that I think there is tendency especially with metal – which is a hugely broad genre and so many sub-genres within that – within the band we have very different tastes as musicians we don’t really have a clear kind of path or a niche that we want to fit into – we write our music without any of that in mind, but there is always a general heaviness to the style of music that we write just because of what happens when you put those five people together – we’ve all got different tastes like I say. I think the organic place our music goes to is something that results in something possibly a bit more un-definable because of that – there is not a clear intention to it.

Black Moth

There has been a surge in female fronted doom bands at the moment how do you feel about that?

Hariet : Well there are some amazing female fronted doom bands out there, I mean I’m a massive fan of Acid King – who we played with last week in Camden, I love Blood Ceremony I mean there is brilliant stuff out there, I think the danger is that that seems to become a genre in some places like when you look at differnt types of music again and break down the genres -Female fronted- and that can be a dangerous path to go down because that could be the end of the comparision points for the two bands.

There is a balance that the band can be similar too and have more interresting comparrisons too but obviously that is an element to that. I think the more women I can see in rock music the better, I would love to see more women and you know it enrages me that you don’t see more but actually having said that some of my closet female friends play in heavy bands – such as Jodie who was in Limb my friend Julia is in Throne and I think that’s a really healthy movement towards a better balance. I think it’s a possitive thing.

The second album – Condemmed to hope is out later this year, how do you feel about this? How was the writing for it ?

Hariet : It was great

Jim: Yeah, it was a lot different to begin with we kind of felt like we had loads of time to do it so we put our first album out in May 2012 and then we didn’t rush ourselves and kind of just enjoyed ourselves and toured that quite a bit – over the summer and then toured with our friends Turbowolf and when the gigging stopped thats when we sat down and really focused. You’ll hear this answer from a lot of bands when it comes to a second album we’re like “oh shit”. As the first one happens because you’ve been jamming over a few years as friends and coming up with different ideas and there is alot less pressure.

Harriet: I think the reason the first album takes a long time because you’re kinda finding yourself and when you come to writing the second album by that point, you’ve already got your thing and actually I think by the second album you can really kind of fine tune it. So I think the quality of song writing on the second album, personally reflects the fact that we’re more settled in our own skin now – but the very fact that it had to be written in such a short space of time kind of pushed us a bit more.

Jim: We did start just jamming and stuff, after a little bit of break after the first album we just came up with a few riffs naturally and then we really pushed ourselves for a couple of months to try and finish them and complete the body of work.

I’ve heard the single “Room 13” so with that in mind when is the album out? I want to hear more!

Hariet: [laughs] we’ve been waiting since December! We’ve got an amazing artist whose done the artwork for it – who we’re not allowed to announce yet – he’s done a painting for us which obviously took time and we’ve had to be patient I think it’s exciting there is a lot of build up for it right now, people are talking about it so.

Black moth
Jim: we wanted to get it right really our label specalises in the vinyl package, the vinyl itself is a very limited run. I guess we’re old school in that kind of respect we could have put it out on the internet – it’s like with an album it lasts a life time really – we’d like to get it out in the right way.

Jim Sclavunos produced the album, he’s known for producing bands on the more Psychedelica wave length how was it to work with him?

Jim: It was brilliant to work with him we worked with him on the first album as well but we’ve just developed a really great relationship with him really and he gets our sound completely his musical knowledge is just vast – he’s not known for working with metal bands but he is very familar with metal bands.

Harriet : He’s got a vey wide musical experience within himself he’s been in The Cramps, Sonic Youth, He’s completely on our wave length, he brings out in us and gives us a boot up the arse. He doesn’t settle for anything less than the best performance, so it really was just a match made in heaven. He’s almost like one of us now.

Jim: He’s a very stern musical Dad [laughs]

What else has the band got planned for the rest of the year?

Harriet: Well the album is out in september until then we’ve got a couple of festivals – Why not festival and Truck Festival which will be fun and after that we’ll be leaing up to actual launch which I think is the 15th September around about then we’ll be doing a head line tour across the UK and possibly Europe as well that’s the plan – there will be alot of touring towards the end of this year for this album. Potentially more videos and singles comeing off it as well all the excitement is about that.

Thankyou for speaking with us today

For more information check out the band’s website or Facebook Page – for updates and news on the band!