I’ve had my eyes on Black Satellite for a number of years now. Their unique fusion of metal and hard rock has had me hooked since their early days in 2017 with the release of their first single Valkyrie. (That same year, Black Satellite released their debut album Endless.) Since then, Black Satellite’s considered approach to music has seen Kyle Hawken and Larissa Vale return to the studio to record their upcoming new album Aftermath slated for release possibly early next year. In the meanwhile, their new single Void hints at a different, heavier approach to their previous work. Lyrically, Larissa Vale who always finds inspiration in both beauty and despair, has tackled the new single with her own poignant insight, especially into the complexities of mental health. That said, I recently briefly caught up with Larissa to talk about the new single. Here’s some of what we talked about.
Almost everyone I know, including myself, has some level of anxiety at the moment. So first and foremost, how has what is currently going on with covid-19 affected you and Kyle?
I’m not gonna lie, it was difficult in the beginning. We were just finishing up pre-production for a 6-week long Spring tour and had flown in our crew. As things began to quickly unravel we were feeling more and more uneasy. One morning we woke up and found out through the press that one of the tours we were on was postponed. We then swiftly called our manager…he said he was preparing to tell us in person when we returned to the rehearsal studio that afternoon. We tried to make the best of it before returning home by filming some promotional content, since we knew we were going to be operating on a strictly digital basis for quite some time. Reality hit us when we finally got home…there was just nothing…everything was on pause. We were so used to being on this fast-paced schedule and then we were forced to just sit around figuring out what our next move was going to be. We would have never imagined that nearly 7-months later we’d still be living in the thick of it. That being said, we are very hopeful for next year and can’t wait to finally get back out there!
Mental health and societal issues have long shaped much of Black Satellite’s music. It’s always important to feel an emotional connection to a song. I think you have absolutely nailed it here. What do you feel makes Void such a cathartic release? Tell us a little bit about its concept?
Void represents a sense of contemplation and dreadful calm. Instead of hiding from the darkest parts of yourself, you almost seek them out in a desperately curious attempt for a deeper understanding. By engaging these emotions you allow yourself the opportunity to leave some of them behind in the process. As I’ve mentioned previously, there is a beauty to be found in this type of experience as well, and I rarely choose to ignore it.
With Void poses such a striking question that forces a deep introspect into ourselves as humans, is it safe to say it’s a preview of what to expect thematically from your anticipated sophomore album Aftermath?
Aftermath is a very dark album from start to finish. We were, perhaps, even more vulnerable this time around and really broke down all the walls. We definitely explore a variety of themes in Aftermath, with each song serving as a snapshot into our headspace at the time.
It’s been a very tumultuous year in the lead up to this new single. Did it have any effect on how you went about recording it, or even to the point of mixing it with Ben Grosse?
We had actually written the song and had it mixed before Covid. As these crazy events unfolded it became clear to us that it was taking on a new relevance and it was the perfect time to release it. We hope listeners can find some level of relatability given the current climate.
How did Luke Holland of The Word Alive fame get involved in your latest project?
With the new record, we wanted to go all-out in terms of production. We knew that if everyone on the record was functioning at the top of their game we could create something truly captivating. There’s no denying Luke’s innate talent and technical ability. We reached out to see if he wanted to be involved in the project and he promptly agreed.
With Holland behind the drums, how would you compare the creative process behind this single to your previous releases?
We wanted Luke’s personality and style to come through on the record and tried to give him some freedom regarding the drum parts. Void is only a taste of what’s to come with the release of Aftermath and we’re looking forward to sharing it soon.
Finally Larissa, you have previously hinted that you and Kyle have taken a different, heavier approach to the band’s music this time around. Can you elaborate on that a little?
The new album is very much in the vein of metal and hard rock. With our previous release, Endless, our alternative influences are more evident. Void bridges the gap between the foundation we laid with Endless, and our evolution into a more aggressive, hard-hitting aesthetic.