Black Map Return With ‘Trace the Path’ EP, Bring the Heavy With ‘Let Me Out’ Video – Exclusive Premiere + Interview
Black Map had a stellar 2017; their In Droves album kept them in constant rotation at rock radio for most of the year, establishing them as one of the bright newer bands on the rock scene. They've been hinting at new music lately, and today they've released a new EP, Trace the Path. We're happy to bring you the exclusive premiere of their video for "Let Me Out." You can watch the video in the player above.
We chatted with Black Map bassist-vocalist Ben Flanagan, who discussed their new music and their the upcoming tour with Pop Evil.
Is this EP a teaser for a full-length album to follow?
In October we were out doing festivals and a couple headliners but found ourselves with a lot of time in between performances and we wanted to utilize our time and be proactive. One of our managers had a relationship with a producer out of Long Island named Mike Watts and we worked out using his studio as a hub in between festivals and recorded new material. Upon returning to the Bay Area we realized that there was one more song we wanted to track so recorded the song "Let Me Out" with our close friend and producer Aaron Hellam in Oakland. The culmination of those two sessions resulted in this EP.
You could consider this a teaser for a full length because at some point we will absolutely record another record, but at this same time we are extremely proud of this work and really think that it stands on its own, as its own entity.
“Let Me Out” is the video we’re premiering here at Loudwire. The clip is a performance piece, but it’s not your typical straight-up performance. We have to give credit to the director for visually enhancing some of the heavier parts of the song. Who did you work with, and what’s your take on the visual representation of the song?
We worked with a guy named Anthony Garay who we had previously worked on with on our video for "Run Rabbit Run." He is a really talented musician in his own right so he really "gets" capturing a live performance in a music video. Super talented editor also named John Snapp who worked his magic on it as well. It's an incredibly energetic song and one that never takes its foot off the gas so to speak and I think they did a great job capturing that energy.
How did the song came together; talk about the lyrical theme of seemingly hiding one's self from making a personal connection?
This song came together faster than maybe any song we had ever written which (in my experience is) a good sign that it's going to feel good. I wrote a rough version of the main riff at home and when I brought it to rehearsal Mark [Engles] and I tweaked it a bit while waiting for Chris [Robyn]. When we started jamming on it and got to the part where we perceived the chorus should be we stopped briefly and one of us played four chords and everyone just said "Yep, that's it." I went home and wrote the lyrics that night. Some songs take months, this just wasn't one of them.
The song, as you gathered, is about a yearning to return to a place or more of a feeling in which we are comfortable being with each other, facing each other, being real and not fearing connecting with other human beings. So many people are constantly isolating themselves and I had the idea of "tracing the path" back to a place where we yearned for more human connectivity instead of isolation.
This four-song set is solid all around. “Invisible Worlds,” “Zero Light” and “Why Burn” could all be hits. With the year just getting started and touring coming up, have you thought about working these songs into your upcoming shows? What is the plan for the rollout of the new material live?
Right now we plan to play "Let Me Out" every night on the upcoming tour and we may integrate more of them. We will see how we feel but also assess the fan reaction and if we get overwhelming feedback to play another tune of the EP on this run we will most likely make it happen.
You’re playing shows coming up with Pop Evil on what looks like a great bill that also includes Palaye Royale. What are your thoughts on the bill and what’s the relationship like with Pop Evil?
Pop Evil are our labelmates on eOne and we have of course been aware of them for a while as they are a serious staple in modern rock. We haven't met them or Palaye Royale but are excited to tour with two bands we have never shared the stage with.
I love the idea of the acoustic performances at the meet and greets. What will having this type of interaction with fans mean to you and how are things coming on the suggestions for cover songs and what you might work up for fans?
This is the first time we have done the acoustic meet and greets so we have yet to see exactly how it pans out. I will say though, back to the subject matter of the EP, we want to manifest connectivity and intimacy when we can and this will be a great way to accomplish that.
We have a few Black Map songs ready to go and have taken some fan suggestions into consideration as well. As far as covers we have a mixed bag of incredibly ubiquitous sing-alongs as well as some super obscure songs up our sleeve. We will have a lot of time in hotel rooms and backstage to suss out new material as the tour progresses as well.
Black Map will begin their tour with Pop Evil and Palaye Royale on Feb. 14 in Sault Saint Marie, Mich. They also have a few dates this spring with 10 Years as well. Keep up to date with their touring here and look for 'Trace the Path' arriving at digital outlets today.