Interview with Stephen Warrilow of Blakpig

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Stephen! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.
Stephen Warrilow: Thank you for the opportunity…it’s appreciated.

CV: Given so many major changes over the last year with the pandemic, do you believe the music industry is a practicable environment for new artists to even consider making as a valid career choice?
SW: I think it depends on the artist, their approach and what they hope to achieve. Making a valid career from music has always been difficult; I see the pandemic as being just another challenge to overcome. Be shrewd, flexible and…never give up, would be my advice.

CV: With over 2 million new songs being uploaded monthly now, can a level of sustainable success for an artist really be achieved in your opinion?

SW: Back in the late-60s when I started out in the music game, you needed four virtues to have a chance at success: Talent, Motivation, Contacts and Luck! My sense is that the same is still true today. However, a well-established ‘formula’ for success has prevailed based on a genre-led market with a ‘techno-feudalist’ economic model, and it has so far worked well for most consumers and ‘middle-men’. I don’t see it doing the creators any favors but…each to their own.
CV: Blakpig is a collection of seasoned songwriters, musicians and performers. With such a deep pool of talent, does ego ever get in the way of making music?
SW: Not at all. For us music is a social activity and our first step is finding the right people. As a collective (with around 15 contributors of all ages, from 8 different countries and a range of stylistic backgrounds), there’s no need, and no room, for egotists or narcissists. Most are friends, mature enough to be doing it for love & fun, and for the audience.

CV: How do you see Blakpig’s music separating itself from its peers and avoiding just being another cog in the wheel?
SW: By ‘boxing clever’ when it comes to dealing with the Industry. For example, playing fairly eclectic Rock in a broad range of styles means that our ‘target audience’ extends beyond the confines of just one genre. A ‘metal’ radio station might play one of our tracks, and a ‘classic’ rock or punk-oriented platform might like others. With regards to a ‘formula’ that doesn’t work for most up-and-coming acts, we are constantly exploring alternatives… ‘there’s more than one way to skin a cat’, as Granddad used to say.

CV: Has how the industry has changed, not only over the course of the last year but over the last two decades, affected how you write and release music?
SW: Working ‘old school’, how we put the music together has changed little…i.e. we write, compose, rehearse and record in person wherever possible. Releasing it is a whole new ball-game, which we are still exploring. Currently we’re halfway through putting an album together and previewing the finished product with free-listening on Soundcloud and Youtube, and starting to promote the ‘brand’ with the help of more established contacts, etc. We have yet to ‘monetize’ our output


CV: In your opinion, do you feels that digital technology has opened the doors for almost anyone to be a musical artist these days?
SW: Personally, I’m skeptical about the Digital Revolution ‘democratizing’ creative pursuits in most areas of activity. It works for a few, I guess.

CV: Has music in general been broken into too many sub-genres? Why do think there are so many classifications of music types? Can this be confusing for an artist who is looking to build a brand? As well, can it be confusing for the fans? How does Blakpig address it?
SW: Yes. It makes it easier for ‘them’, but maybe not for us. People only seem comfortable if they can put you in a box and the online industry has overplayed this fact to its advantage. Sales, distribution and promotion is a lot easier for them to exploit using this model. It may suit many consumer habits too. It’s an irritant for Blakpig with our genre-busting ethos but we use it to our advantage.

CV: Does music need to have a message to convey to the world for it to be worth listening to in your opinion?
SW: Not really. I prefer to have something to say with my art but, in a world where substance is a bore, standards are flexible.

CV: What's next for Blakpig? What can fans expect to see coming?
SW: We’ve started to promote the ‘brand’ and a finished album and live performances await once Rock gets back on the road. We’re looking forward to it !

CV: Thank you again Stephen for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It was a pleasure. I wish you all the best and continued success.
SW: Thank you from myself and Blakpig for the opportunity. Best of luck and..Rock on!

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, show host, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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