Black English, formerly called NO, is a Los Angeles based Indie Rock band consisting of Bradley Hanan Carter, Sean Stentz, Ryan Lallier, Simon Oscroft, Michael Walker and Reese Richardson. The band formed in 2010 and their first full length album, El Prado, was released in February 2014 with Arts & Crafts Record Label. Check their tour schedule and listen to El Prado here.
Meet local Indie Rock band, Black English. Having released their first full-length album El Prado this past February, Black English is currently on their first North American tour. Following is our interview with them that we conducted during the filming of this exclusive acoustic performance. This is the 1st in our ‘House Arrest’ series of live music performances in homes.
ISSUE MAGAZINE: Where are you guys from?
BRADLEY HANAN CARTER: The band met here in Echo Park, but we’re kind of from everywhere. Reese is from Kentucky, Ryan’s from Massachusetts, Michael’s from Winnipeg in Canada, Simon and me are from New Zealand.
SEAN STENTZ: I’m from here.
BRADLEY: Sean’s a Californian.
ISSUE: When did you start making music separately and together?
SEAN: I think we’ve all probably been making music since we were like thirteen. Something like that…
BRADLEY: Since high school.
SEAN: I think about two years ago we started getting the band together. So, I think two years ago we played our first show and then we got Simon, which fully formed everything about exactly a year ago.
BRADLEY: Oh yeah, exactly a year. It’s gone quick. But yeah, it started off by organically coming together through friends and stuff.
SEAN: There was one, then there were two, then four…
BRADLEY: And then there were six! And then we got that van right there, for six people. It’s pretty small but … it’s all right.
ISSUE: Who did you listen to growing up and who is your music influenced by today?
BRADLEY: We always used to talk about this. We’ve all had kind of a different upbringing in music. Mine was a very weird and religious one so I didn’t get to hear many mainstream bands until I was in high school. So that was quite a funny one you know, having that coming alive moment.
REESE RICHARDSON: Yeah, I grew up listening to Folk music mainly. My parents were Folkies and I played jazz for a long time. I think we all draw from a lot of different stuff.
BRADLEY: What did you listen to Ryan?
RYAN LALLIER: What did I listen to… surf guitar and punk rock. Nirvana.
BRADLEY: Yeah. I mean it’s just a lot of bands that when we’re in the van everyone kind of takes over DJing their stuff and it’s kind of interesting. Some band will come on that we all actually know, and we’ve all listened to at a certain time in our lives. It’s happened a few times, but it’s kind of cool when that moment happens.
ISSUE: How would you describe your current musical genre or style?
BRADLEY: The best thing I’ve read that someone wrote was “post hymnal anthematic.” But it doesn’t really mean anything.
SEAN: That doesn’t mean anything. But we like it. The idea of post-punk and hymnal, we love. I mean we all sing along together you know?
BRADLEY: And we have a choir now and then. An Echo Park Community Choir. We get everyone together and have them sing with us. It’s basically just our friends singing with us. But it sounds cooler when you have a name. But you know, it’s just Indie Rock really. Or it’s just Rock n’ Roll. I don’t know what you call it.
My parents bought me a guitar when
I was 11. And… I just basically
flunked out of school after that.
— REESE RICHARDSON
ISSUE: How and when did you decide this is what you were going to do?
BRADLEY: I think probably everyone in this band has wanted to do this for his life. So I think that’s probably the common grid that runs through us. And I think for everyone that’s probably when they’re young in school and they have that moment where they’re like, “You know this is pretty fun playing guitar. Or drums or whatever.”
REESE: My parents bought me a guitar when I was 11. And… I just basically flunked out of school after that.
BRADLEY: And now you never stop. I was soon after that too. That’s why I think LA is a beautiful place, because it brings people like us all together and we can build our own thing here, you know? And bring the experiences that we’ve had in all these different parts of the world growing up and then it all comes together nicely in Los Angeles.
ISSUE: What’s the story behind the band name, NO?
BRADLEY: Well, Sean and I were talking about it right at the start and we really wanted something short. And the other thing that we love to do and try to do in the band is to take something that means something and then flip it so that we give it a new context.
SEAN: Well it’s sort of a word that you can add your own value to, like a “choose-your-own-adventure” of definitions. Every body has an experience with the word “No.” I mean it’s a strong word. It’s a very emphatic word…
BRADLEY: It’s not generally a positive word. But for us… it’s like if we can create a new context for it then maybe when people hear “No,” they just maybe think about music instead of something else. That’s kind of where it came from and we didn’t really think about if it was a good or a bad name when we got it. We just liked it…. So kind of stuck with it.