Gig preview: Black Onassis, Eiger Studios, Leeds

Black Onassis.
Black Onassis.
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One of the most mysterious names in British music is getting back on the road with a brand new band and a brand new album, this year.

As a founding member of Kasabian, guitarist Christopher Karloff co-wrote every song on the band’s self-titled début album, which reached number four in the UK charts. However, despite penning several tracks on their next album, Empire, which went to number one, Karloff departed from the band.

Kasabian has since gone on to become one of Britain’s most successful bands, but their loyal fan base have not forgotten the group’s original member.

2014 sees Karloff’s new band, Black Onassis, release their first studio album, Desensitized.

It has quite a familiar sound to that of his work with Kasabian, but with a much grittier edge. Chris describes how he was influenced by everyday sounds like trains and roadworks, which has given Desensitized its unique sound.

“I think when you’re writing stuff and when you’re being inspired, you’re not always inspired by stuff that you’re necessarily conscious of, and I think that’s the stuff that I find more interesting; when you’re inspired by something that’s in there and you don’t know why you’re responding to this. I think every day things are really interesting.”

Karloff has been very quiet on the music scene for a long time, with not much being known about what he was working on.

Chris says that his time has been taken up by Black Onassis for a number of years, now. “It took like two and a half years or so. It was nice to record an album over that period of time and let it grow sort of organically.

“Sometimes you do get in positions where you have to rush things and get it out, but it was really nice with this that you could let it breathe and just really get into it and take the time.

“I think that’s really important. I think it’s something a lot of bands don’t get, these days.” Desensitized has been getting rave reviews, and the man who helped to give Kasabian their first big hits is certainly back to prove his musical abilities outside the confines of that group, but is he still in touch with his former band mates?

“Not really, no”, he laughs, a little uneasily. “It’s just one of them things, ain’t it?”


Black Onassis, February 28, Eiger Studios, Leeds, 7.30pm

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