You’ll know Wes Borland from playing guitar in Limp Bizkit. You’ll know him from being that big, creepy body-painted guy onstage next to the red-hatted Fred Durst. You’ll know that he quit Limp Bizkit because he disliked what he was doing – it wasn’t fulfilling him creatively. Black Light Burns is what he does for creativity. His avant garde industrial other band is in the UK this week, promoting a brand new concept album, Lotus Island, released just six months after their last album.
What has the reaction been to The Moment You Realize You’re Going to Fall since releasing it last summer??
“People like it a lot more than I thought they would. They’ve been really excited and the reviews have been better than I thought they would. The first album was a learning experience. I didn’t really know where the band was going to go. I was just looking for the direction and I was learning to be a frontman.”
What’s the difference between performing with Limp Bizkit and with BLB?
“In front of big audiences, I don’t talk that much. My position is to bring an element of visual difference to the group and the stage, like a wrecking ball in some ways, causing chaos and running around and my costumes make me disconnect from the audience in many ways.
“With Black Light I have to be the frontman and actually talk to the crowd and, taking it a step further, in Black Light, we don’t tour with a crew. We set our own gear up, so we’re onstage before the show starts, setting up in front of the audience. Even at that point we have to talk to the audience. They’re yelling things out and we’re just having conversations with people while we’re soundchecking. Because of that whole stripped down, DIY element, we started going out after the show and spending an hour just talking to people. We keep it very casual but by no means is the show any less intense but the feeling is a lot more laid back.
“Black Light Burns keeps me grounded and humble. With all the things that have happened to me in Bizkit, it makes me appreciate it a bit more.”
How would you describe what Black Light Burns sounds like?
“It’s a compilation of everything I’ve been interested in musically and everything I’ve been influenced by. When I make Black Light Burns music, I’m making something that I want to listen to, something that would surprise me if I wasn’t myself. My musical taste is pretty dynamic so I like it when bands can flex their muscles and go in all different directions.”
How dynamic exactly? There are a lot of quirky influences. Are you a prog fan?
“I’m probably more into ’70s prog and older progressive rock. I would say that’s an influence on the album. There’s Jethro Tull stuff and even the weirder part of The Moody Blues. I don’t know if you consider them progressive rock but they’ve definitely had an effect on me at some point in my life. We try to have instrumental parts that are improvised. I like the elements of progressive rock that connect the record and make all the songs fit together so you have an entire listening experience that’s connected through the whole record, you’re not just listening to song after song.”
How have the other bands you play in influenced your output?
“I’m sure to some extent both Limp Bizkit and Manson Manson have influenced me. Manson not because I played with them, but because I’ve been a fan of Manson for a long time and he’s has worn off on me as a fan, and I was raised in Bizkit as a musician. I think playing bass with From First To Last had a big effect on the punk side of Black Light Burns. Working with Danny Lohner is a huge part of it. He produced the first record and taught me how to be a solitary musician; how to make an entire album just working by myself. A bunch of instruments and tools and couple of people, a computer and a voila you’ve got a record. He taught me how to make musical collages.
“I’m an oil painter as well and working on music, I can get into a similar head space where hours just fly by without me even noticing. I can get into trance-like states that I feel is broken when I feel I have to communicate with other people about ideas. It totally takes me out of the zone. I really love it being by myself and not even having to turn on the part of my brain that you need to interface other people. I forget to eat and then I’ll realise that I’m hungry or that I’ve needed to go to the bathroom for an hour or something, shaking my knee.”
Wes Borland won’t be on his own this week in the UK. He’ll be touring in Manchester, Bristol, Wolverhampton and London with Black Light Burns. Go have a look at their Facebook page for more details.