How the members all got together is a story of semi-serendipitous proportions, spanning across three countries and thousands upon thousands of miles. In short, Los Angeles native Trevor Brown (singer and guitarist) met former drummer, Canadian-born Ryan Belitsky, at a music camp in 2009. The two connected with Berliners Eugen Flittner (guitar and vocals) and bassist Kevin Dollerschell (bass) and joined forces as a band. This was in 2010.
Yet before their first album was even released, the four already found themselves on a reality show, “Follow the Black Pony,” a program following the young quartet as they pursued their dreams of playing music together.
March of this year saw the release of the band’s debut album, “Launched in the Pool,” which was preceded by three singles. The follow-up album, “Take Off,” will come out next month, and to promote that, the band’s most recent single, “Perfect Night,” was released on Oct. 7.
The band has also seen some lineup changes in that time, with the departure of Belitsky back to Canada for personal reasons. Coincidentally, the group’s producer, Michael Johnson, has been playing drums for 13 years. Thus, it made sense for him to fill in the empty role, as he was qualified musically and also understood the band in a way an outsider might not.
“I’m not that new to the project,” he said, speaking to why he was the obvious replacement choice. “I was kind of around from the very beginning.”
This also puts him in the unique position of seeing the band both from an insider’s and an outsider’s perspective.
In particular, he noted the ways in which the two albums – released less than a year apart – vary in approach and style.
“This record is definitely different from the first record,” he said, likening it to more of a band-oriented style of rock music. “Everybody’s been much more a part of the making of this record.”
The reason behind this, Johnson said, is because the first album was made after The Black Pony had only been together a few months. With the filming of a television show and a tour riding on the tails of writing and recording, the band members had little time or input on the way the album was produced.
“It was kind of left up to me and Lucas Hilbert to find the direction of the band and produce it the way we felt it,” Johnson said, referring to the collaboration of himself and Hilbert, a songwriter.
He’s insistent that “Take Off” is truly representative of The Black Pony now, citing that the members have finally come into their own.
“They’ve really developed just kind of as a band over this last year,” Johnson said.
In particular, he said the songwriting is the area that has seen the most growth.
“They really grew as songwriters and they know exactly what they wanna be as a band, where before they were just brand new to each other, and were kind of writing songs that were…that fit to them personally, but maybe not as the band,” he said. “And now that they’ve been a band for awhile, they know what fits with the band and what direction they wanna go.”
Now, with the impending release of the sophomore effort, The Black Pony is on its “Crush Tour,” which all the members have been looking forward to for months.
“For the past year, the guys have been playing the same songs,” Johnson said. “Everyone’s really excited to get the record out and tour with these new songs.”
The Black Pony plays tonight at Fritz Club im Postbahnhof in Berlin. The show begins at 18.00.