Alter The Press!


Interview: Pete Wentz (Black Cards)

Whilst on their first trip overseas as a band, Alter The Press sat down with Black Cards bassist, Pete Wentz, for a brief interview.

Pete spoke to ATP about: the origin of his new band, the forthcoming full-length release, choosing the UK/Europe for Black Cards' first tour, future plans and more.

Alter The Press: How did you and Bebe (Rexha, vocals) meet?
Pete Wentz (bass): We were making some music in my friend, Sam Hollander's, studio, in New York, and were just kind of goofing around. We had a couple of people singing on songs and, at the same time, Bebe was in the other room writing a song; and we said, "Why don't we have her come in and sing on this song?" It just kind of worked out. Serendipity. We were in the right place at the right time, and hopefully we'll go on from there! We'll see.

ATP: What was her background, prior to Black Cards?
Pete: She was in school to get into music of some kind. I think she's a classically trained singer, and always wrote songs on the piano and whatnot.

ATP: How long have the two of you known each other for?
Pete: Maybe six months. I literally met her that day, when we were recording. It was crazy. We've only played, maybe, about four shows.

ATP: How did Nate Patterson (The Receiving End Of Sirens) and Spencer Peterson (Saves The Day/Hidden In Plain View) come into the equation?
Pete: I always really liked Spencer as a drummer, and he was teching for my friends in Cobra Starship. I said to him, "I really like you, and your style". He grew up on Gospel drummers, and he was in right away.

My friend recommended Nate, and I knew his other band, The Receiving End Of Sirens. He's the kind of go-to guy when we don't know how to make something sound live.

ATP: All three of you are from rock backgrounds. How does it feel to be stepping "outside the box," so to speak?
Pete: I don't know. The misnomer is that people get off stage and listen to bands that sound exactly like them. This is the stuff that we all listen to and never tried playing. To actually go out, and play it, is kind of interesting. It's kind of cool and different, but it's an experience. We're just figuring out how to do it live and what the dynamic is, because it's a whole new thing. It's pretty cool so far.

ATP: How would you describe Black Cards, in your own words?
Pete: Someone recently told me that it reminded them of a combination of Lily Allen and UB40. I thought that was pretty close in my head, but I would throw ABBA in there as well, because I grew up on them with my parents. I don't know; it's definitely interesting. It's pop music, but with the meshing of two worlds. There's the reggae tone and beats, but people haven't heard them yet because we haven't put any of those songs out. It kind of meets an electronica side, and it's definitely rhythmically driven, but we'll see. The album is actually like a body of works, specific songs definitely stand out, but there is a middle ground where they meet up.

ATP: The first song you put out was 'Club Called Heaven'. Why was this the first choice?
Pete: I think one of the reasons, was because it was the first song to be mixed. Another reason is that, there are some songs that sound so far away and not representative of the band, and there are some that are like, "Hey, this could be the single." But the label’s like: "Hey, we're not going to give that away for free". I think, for those reasons together, that's why we decided it.

ATP: When can we expect the full-length?
Pete: We don't have a date yet, but I hope Spring 2011 but nothing is set. Hopefully we'll keep getting videos up, and I'll try and sneak song clips, that kind of stuff, until then.

ATP: Is the album done then?
Pete: We are totally done making the album, not to say that, in the 11th hour, a new song will come out of nowhere.

ATP: How many tracks will there be?
Pete: There's going to be 11-12 on the album but we have 14 songs.

ATP: Have you decided on the single yet?
Pete: No one has decided on a single yet, which is not that surprising, because everyone usually likes to argue about the single forever, In this case, it's nice that it's an argument, because people feel passionate about a few different songs, which is cool. We also shot a mini-video for 'Club Called Heaven', which we'll get out sometime soon. It was very low budget, just us goofing around.

ATP: You've already played a handful of low-key shows in the US, but what made you choose UK/Europe as the first place to do a proper mini-tour with Black Cards?
Pete: Those first shows were because we had never played a show before, so you definitely want to sort out the major kinks. The label over here are really supportive, and inclined that the music could really work over here. A lot of the influences come from the sounds of the UK, so coming here and playing venues which I played six years ago with Fall Out Boy, is pretty cool.

ATP: How were the first initial shows in the US?
Pete: Pretty good. The audience were pretty receptive, and we were definitely still figuring out what we were doing; but the kids were awesome.

ATP: What made you want to choose Connecticut, Rhode Island and upstate New York as your first shows to debut Black Cards?
Pete: When we were doing Fall Out Boy, when we’d do really small, special things, it would always be New York, Los Angeles or Chicago, and people in other cities would always be, "Why do you never come here?" So we decided to give them a really small, un-played, first time to check us out. The other reason was that, if you do Los Angeles or New York, the people who show up usually are people who love to be in VIP sections, and stuff like that. To me, it's not a good gauge of how well you are doing.

ATP: What is the plan after the UK/Europe shows?
Pete: There is no real plan set up. I guess we'll just do some more videos, and then go to wherever we're able to go to from here.

ATP: Have you listened to The Damned Things (Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy's new band) yet?
Pete: Yeah, I think they're great. I think they're a really good band. I've also heard some of Patrick's (Stump, Fall Out Boy vocalist) solo stuff. I'm a big fan of his voice in general. I think that the cool thing is that the different things we are now doing, are so different by nature, that it's so easy not to feel competitive. I am able to listen to them as my friends’ band, rather than, "That guy was in my band".

- Jon Ableson

Alter The Press!