Timing can make a big difference.
That’s why dangerkids (DANGEЯKIDS, dk, >>) deliberately waited for the right moment, situation, and circumstances to release their second full-length album, blacklist_ [Paid Vacation Records]. 2013’s Collapse introduced the Dayton, OH quartet—Andy Bane [vocals], Tyler Smyth [vocals, rhymes, production], Jake Bonham [bass], and Katie Cole [drums]—to listeners everywhere with a bang. The band earned acclaim from Alternative Press, Rock Sound, and Kerrang! as songs like “light escapes” garnered over 2.1 million Spotify streams and counting and 700k YouTube views. They graced stages around the globe, tore up Warped Tour 2014, and hit the road with the likes of Falling In Reverse, issues, and Motionless in White. Seamlessly hybridizing rock, hip-hop, and electronic elements into an inimitable musical DNA, their evolution shines through blacklist_.
“We stopped editing ourselves,” exclaims Tyler. “Instead of saying, ‘We can’t do this because it’s too different,’ we started saying, ‘Let’s try it.’ We were really pushing each other. That was a new concept to us. We had time to become a band. We had time to sit down, develop the strengths, and find out what works for us. We had time to sharpen our own identity. We weren’t worried about what sells records. We just made music we loved.”
“We all progressed as songwriters and people,” Andy continues. “We had so much more experience to draw from. It helped having four years. On our first album, everything happened so quickly that each song had to go on the tracklisting. We got the chance to write way more music and cut it down to the best. It’s a big leap ahead.”
Upon finishing the Collapse tour cycle in 2015, dangerkids retreated to an Ohio studio and began writing and recording blacklist_. Tyler handled production, preserving the group’s collective vision wholeheartedly. As a result, they honed their undeniable, unpredictable, and unbreakable fusion of hard rock, rap, and electronic in a calculated fashion. Once the album was done, they sought out the right home for it.
“There were years of thought and preparation that led us to Paid Vacation Records,” admits Tyler. “We wanted to find a team that believed in everything we were trying to do. As soon as we signed, they were ready to go, and we were too.”
blacklist_ kick offs with the kinetic powder keg of “kill everything.” Over guitars awash in glitched-out fuzz, the verse hops from an incendiary flow into an arena-ready refrain.
“‘kill everything’ embodies the album’s concept,” Tyler says. “I came up with this metaphor of us coming back from the dead and choosing not to be stopped as a new band.”
“It’s about some people that we thought were our friends, but they turned their backs on us,” Andy elaborates. “We can do without them.”
Meanwhile, “blacklist_” segues from an ominous intro into a neck-snapping riff punctuated by airy keys before crashing into a scorching chant.
“If Collapse was a battle against yourself and your own demons, blacklist_ is a battle against those who seek to slow you down or oppose you,” Tyler states. “It reflects our journey over the past few years. We have a lot of loud outspoken opinions on what we should be doing, and we’re not going to sit there and be told what to do.”
Andy succinctly sums it up, “It’s an F-You to the people who said we wouldn’t make it.”
The album closes on the stark acoustic dreamscape of “Invincible Summer.” Referencing an Albert Camus quote, Tyler immortalizes his love for his wife.
“We recently moved from Ohio to Los Angeles, and the song speaks to that whole concept of jumping,” he goes on. “It was really satisfying to take a risk musically with this.”
Ultimately, 2017 is the right time for dangerkids and blacklist_.
“I’d love for people to hear the record and feel the growth,” Tyler leaves off. “I hope they see we’re a stronger unit than ever before.”
“I want it to be something fans can listen to front to back,” concludes Andy. “The greatest compliment is when a song gets a fan through something difficult. I think these songs can do that.”