Originally formed in 1988, the industrial heavyweights Black Tish are back with their album Viral Apocalypse. Being one of the genre’s pioneers, Black Tish are mixing and experimenting with sounds and effects, perfecting their heavy sound throughout the time, and now we have the chance to chat with them and dig deeper into their world.

Welcome to Rock Era Magazine, really looking forward to talking with you after reviewing Viral Apocalypse.

  • Starting from 1988, how did you guys meet? and what were your influences that inspired Black Tish’s direction?

We knew each other from concerts and music pubs, mainly the one on campus at Brussel’s University.  We all had affinity with industrial music, like Throbbing Gristle, Einsturzende Neubauten, and some things coming out of punk like Butthole Surfers, Lubricated Goat.  At the very start it was purely instrumental, but I already had been playing around with sequencers and samplers, so very soon we started using those.  I was the only one who listened to metal initially, and the others made fun of me because of that.   

  • What’s the story behind the name Black Tish?

Was a bit of a joke on the Black Eye label of Lubricated Goat.  In Brussels’ dialect Tish is something you can say to a friend, but also refers to a certain body part.  Also Manneken Pis in Brussels is called Tishke (small Tish). 

  • How did the band evolve throughout these years musically? and how did this affect your 2023 releases?

Late eighties when things were still instrumental there was quite a bit of psychedelic stuff, you hear this in the first couple of minutes of Gas, but most other songs of that time didn’t make the transition to full industrial drums.  The reason for going industrial was more a convenience, not to be part of a movement – we would never have described ourselves at the time as industrial, as there wasn’t really industrial with guitars yet.  Over the long gap from late 90’s to a couple of years ago, I think the main style change was that it was only me composing, rather than the 4 of us, so more aggressive, more orchestration, and more effort in my guitar playing.

  • How usually does your writing process go?

Start with rhythm, and some background ambient, and then put instrument(s) on it, and vocals.  A hell of a lot of effort goes in manipulation of sounds.  And then there are many rounds of cut and paste, and sound-reshaping, mainly on computer.

  • Is there a main concept or theme binding Viral Apocalypse’s songs together?

The main concept for me was that I was going to start making music again after almost 20 years, and was going to do it all alone.  So some confidence was needed.  But from the start of this I did have this idea of “apocalyptic music”, and that was pre-covid.  Next release will be covers of the very early industrial bands.

  • How would you describe your sound?

It’s hard to say this one-self, but in reviews of the albums we had lots of words came up, so maybe it is hard to describe in a simple way.  Typical words are “dark”, “appocalyptic”, “Hellish”, although we have played for audiences at science events recently, and people seem in general to dig it, also those who are not “metal”.

  • What song would you recommend to someone who wants to get into your music?

Probably depends on who I would be talking to.  If it would be someone who has been in interesting music in seventies or so, probably Gas.  Generically now, probably Musique Concrete.  In rankings, I saw that Squishy typically is on top.

  • Do you have any live plans in 2024 in support of Viral Apocalypse?

There are some things potentially in the making that I can’t talk about yet, but they would be very big.  I am a scientist, and big festivals now seem to have some interest in pairing music together with some accessible science, especially if by the same person. This recent Guardian article on me gives the idea

  • Thanks so much for your time guys, I wish you the best of luck.