PropertyOfZack Interview : : Black Cards

by Zack Zarrillo - May 13, 2011


PropertyOfZack was given its first real chance a little bit over a year ago now from out good friends at FriendsOrEnemies, and it is now our pleasure to be revealing our brand new interview with Pete Wentz of Black Cards, the man who really kicked off the site. Pete and I discussed Black Cards’s debut record, a possible release date, touring, and difficulties the band has faced, among other things. Read up and enjoy!

Black Cards have been slowly emerging ever since the fall when the band was revealed and started to release songs. Up to now, four or five tracks have been released. Has the band been happy with their reception?
Yeah, I think so. I mean, the interesting thing is that whenever we put out a new song people are like, “Oh, this is how this band sounds.” I think we made an album that is a body of work. Once the whole album is out I think people will get an understanding for the band. It can go from anything like “A Club Called Heaven” to “Summer Nights.”

Were the four tracks released so far recorded in the same time frame?
It was the same studio. It was probably recorded over a five month period. I think as we got more comfortable with the sound and where the sounds could go that different ideas came up. We’re still actually writing. The albums done, but right now we just keep writing.

How has it been writing music with the band compared to how you wrote in the past?
It’s really different, to be honest with you. First of all, I’m writing from a girl’s perspective and that’s kind of hard to do. I mean, you get used to a dynamic when you’re in a band for seven years. You get really used to this guy doing this and another doing this there. It’s just different when you do it with new people. It’s cool though.
POZ: Has it been a fun challenge?
Pete: Definitely. I think that it’s a challenge, but it’s fun because you can come to a stop after being so used to writing in the same way for so long. I think that it’s cool to have a fresh perspective and a chance to do something completely different.

I think many people were expecting something bigger to be happening by now. Are you guys happy with progress you’ve made to this point?
Definitely. To be honest with you, we’re a new band. Everyone tells us that we’re not and this and that, but we are. There are clearly new people in the band, so it’s not something where I can just go out there and expect to be headlining 3,000 people venues. We’re doing the same thing we were doing during the beginning of Fall Out Boy. We’re doing the work that we need to do.

Fall Out Boy obviously experienced significant success and at times almost instant stardom in terms of new song releases, but Black Cards is a new band. Has it been difficult for you at all to slow yourself down in terms of hopes and expectations?
I think the band does need to grow. The thing is, with Fall Out Boy there were always these expectations as we went along. The next tour had to be bigger and the next album had to be bigger and better. Those were expectations that we had for ourselves. I don’t have those expectations and it’s really cool. It’s exciting.

Is it difficult to find a place for Black Cards within the music world considering that the music doesn’t tend to lean towards the other bands playing shows in this scene, but you and Spencer Peterson are obviously forever connected to this music?
It definitely, though I think that at the end of the day it made sense on Travie McCoy’s tour; people got it there. It’s interesting because Gym Class Heroes also does a similar thing by growing up in the scene, but doing music a little bit differently and when they found their own home people were really excited about it. The other thing is that the three of us, me, Spencer, and Nate, definitely grew up in the scene, but BeBe is totally outside of that. She grew up totally outside of that. T’s really interesting when we’re talking and we’ll talk about a band and she’ll say, “Who’s that? I don’t know what that is.” She’s definitely more interested by dance and urban stuff than anything.

Black Cards most recently toured with Travie McCoy on a long US tour. How were those dates?
They were a lot of fun. Again, it’s cool and a unique challenge to go out and play in front of people who are guessing what you sound like and probably aren’t even sure. To get those people excited for a full set is definitely a fun challenge.

As much as the lineup made sense, I suppose it didn’t. Were fans responsive to your set?
Definitely. The fans are awesome and the people in the crowds have been just awesome in general. I appreciate that because I think some people come out and expect it to sound like Fall Out Boy or something else, and I think it’s a surprise to some people and it’s cool that they hang out and wait around after the show. It’s cool to go back and do that again. That’ll never happen again with Fall Out Boy I don’t think.

Last weekend you played Bamboozle. How was your set?
It was fun; Bamboozle is always crazy. It’s a fest that I’ve been to and played many times, so it was cool to go back and do it with Black Cards. The kids were just awesome. It was rad.

At Bamboozle it’s been rumored that Black Cards’s debut album will be called Hey Stranger and will be released on August 30th. Can you confirm that?
[Laughs] No. That’s absolutely not true. I don’t know where that rumor started. I think it was because on our Facebook I answered a question, and one of the answers was “hey stranger.” August 30th would be a great date for it to come out though. No title for it yet though.
POZ: The 30th is definitely possible?
Pete: I would hope so. I’m banking on the 30th.

How many tracks do you guys have for the record?
We have like fourteen done I think. We’ll probably put eleven or twelve on the album and have the others be b-sides.

How has the process for making the record been? I think a lot of people think that the type of music that Black Cards is making lends itself to a different type of production or studio process than a punk band.
Yeah, it is different. A lot of it is hanging out in the studio and coming out with sounds and listening to them and be like, “That’s a good idea,” and then a week later be like, “That was only a good idea at 4am last week.” It’s been a lot of that. I think that there is a misnomer that this is just going to be a great forward pop record. If anything, it’s kind of a strange pop record. There are songs where I want people to go, “Man, that’s probably as far left from pop as Black Cards can go.” It was a lot of fun to make.

In a recent interview I believe you said the album would be released when fans showed enough interest to get the label to put it out. Were there any issues in getting a set release date?
I think initially when we were working on it the label was at a juncture where it was figuring itself out and figuring out what was going on. In the past couple of months they’ve really come through and have had our backs. It’s cool with this project to have the ability to have everybody behind us. We really need it. It’s such a different album and songs are so different. Fall Out Boy was always like, eh, we’d circle the wagons and do it ourselves. In this case, we actually look to the label for a lot of help. There are a lot of good people at the label. Fall Out Boy’s first project manager ever is overseeing a lot of stuff for us and it’s pretty awesome.

One song released featured a collaboration with Chiddy Bang. Should we expect to see more collabs?
There will be a couple. We have Tyler from Neon Trees on a song. There’s Shaggy too on a song. Trying to get Travie McCoy and Gape Saporta on a song if we can.
POZ: Is it fun to mix it up in the studio with that?
Pete: Yeah, it’s awesome to goof around. Especially when you have cool people that you wouldn’t expect to be able to collaborate with.

Have you guys continued to write even though the record’s done?
Yeah, and that’s the fun thing about being in a band and recording an album. At some point the album is done, but there is always a chance you can write a song you think is better than another song on the album. That’s how you end up with b-sides too.

The music that Black Cards makes  and that whole pop and dance scene lends itself to releasing music more often than a punk band. Will you guys definitely release music frequently?
I think so. I’d like to. I think that definitely the culture we’ve created around music, culture, and art entertainment definitely lends itself to kind of being constantly fed. Giving new ways for people to consume the art is very important.

Being that Black Cards have a very interesting dynamic in terms of what genre the music fits into but also where the members fit in, where would you like to take the band from here?
I’d like to go everywhere. I’d like to go places I haven’t been before whether it be Eastern Europe or places in Africa and South America. It’d be a lot of fun to do that and I definitely want this to be a worldwide album. I’m calling it trunk-rock right now [Laughs].

Rumors have also been flying about a Panic! At The Disco, Neon Trees, and Black Cards tour. Can you confirm that as well?
I don’t know how this became a tour. Maybe Panic! invited us to the tour, I’m not sure. I only know about one show in New York City in Central Park on September 1st. If Panic! is going on tour and they want to bring us, that’d be awesome. We’d definitely like to tour with Neon Trees too.

Are you guys working on more dates for the summer and the fall at all?
I think that we’re going to try to do something in the fall. This summer it would be fun to go around and do acoustic shows and smaller shows around the country. 

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    dammit PatD & Black Cards are NOT touring this fall
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