Introducing: Dean Wallace and the Black Flames

Dean Wallace and the Black Flames are a Heavy Rock band from France, for fans of Metallica, Trivium, Nickelback, Megadeth…Here’s the lowdown from Dean himself:

What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?

The band was originally created in 2010 by my brother and I. We played many shows near Geneva and recorded our debut album in 2014. This first version existed until 2016, after the 15 months we spent in the UK. I started to write music again during the pandemic, without knowing if it would be released someday. I hired some musicians in early 2023 and signed with the label The Animal Farm in June this year. This band being born again, the lineup is very recent.

What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe Dean Wallace and the Black Flames?

We describe ourselves as a Heavy Rock/Heavy Metal band. We are at the edge of rock and metal. I don’t scream or growl, I have a slightly distorted voice. Our style is rooted in the metal of the late ’80s, and early ’90s. My main influences as a songwriter are Metallica, Megadeth, Queen, Pink Floyd…

How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?!

It was in January 2023. I’ve been a professional guitarist since 2017, and I’ve been playing regularly with the drummer and the bassist since 2020, as we have a power trio together. We know each other very well, and they are very skilled musicians, so the first time we played my own material live, I remember thinking I had never heard my songs played this tight before.

The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?

I think that standing out should be a quest because it’s a marketing strategy, not an artistic approach. A band or an artist has to be honest, it’s the only way to be unique. If a band decides to write, play, or dress a certain way just to stand out, I’m not sure it’s gonna last very long. I don’t think Rage Against The Machine or Nirvana wanted to stand out, they were themselves and they were genius. Be honest, some people will identify with you.

What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?

We are preparing the release of the second single of our forthcoming EP. The single is entitled “See What I’m All About”, and it’s a very groovy rock song, with some funky guitar licks. It will be available on every streaming platform on December 15th.

Regarding a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel you would be best suited to open for?

According to our fans, our music reminds them of Metallica, Nickelback, Seether… Any band in this genre would be great to open for.

Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?

The guys of CRAZY JESSE are really close friends of mine, I’d really like to see them breaking out. There are also some great extreme metal bands in Geneva like VOICE OF RUIN or KASSOGTHA that would deserve to be more successful.

What are your own first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?

When I was 7, I took some piano lessons, because my mother wanted me to. At the end of the year, the teacher organized a small concert in front of all the parents, and I’ve been traumatized by this first experience. I was very scared, it felt like no one was here to support me. I stopped playing the piano right away and stepped away from music for the next 6 years. At 13, when I came across a Metallica documentary on MTV, I immediately felt like I wanted to play guitar, and I became a huge Metallica fan overnight. Throughout my teenage years, I was dreaming to become a rockstar, but I kept that a secret. In 2011, when we put our first demos online, and we’ve been contacted by a Californian radio to put a song on a compilation I didn’t have any expectations. I didn’t even know a vote would take place to choose the best song on the CD. The lightbulb moment occurred when I received an email informing me that we had won the contest, we even ended up #2 on the overall charts amongst the 600 groups. This is the moment when I said “Maybe it can be more than a dream”.

What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?

I think it was Rammstein in Lyon (France). The concert was great, an amazing light and pyro show, good sound… I just find personally they didn’t interact enough with the audience.

What current social issues are you particularly passionate about?

I’m passionate about social issues in general, it’s the main source of inspiration when I write lyrics. Not only do I like to see what’s going on in the world, but also I love to dissect people’s reaction and interaction to the news. More and more, the news comes with a point of view that you’re subtly invited to adopt, and most people buy it. Some others are in reaction and reject the official version, and only a few think by themselves. I wrote a song called “PROPAGANDA”, which has not been released yet, and it’s based on a book by Edward Bernays (the father of modern propaganda). He explains that the world isn’t ruled by elected politicians, but by the ones who control public opinion. It’s then very interesting to look at the world through this filter.

The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?

Most of the music I write is heavy and somehow “aggressive”, but I also really enjoy lighter stuff. I’m a big fan of Pink Floyd’s Live Pulse, and Bad is my favourite Michael Jackson record.

There were some amazing new albums released this year, what would be your album of the year? 

I’m not really into new releases, I love to listen to my favourite albums again and again. But I was very happy with the new Metallica album. Though its obviously not their best, I’m always happy to see my favourite band putting out a surprise album and getting on a stadium tour. I’m also glad Megadeth released an album after Mustaine won over cancer.

What does 2024 hold for Dean Wallace and the Black Flames?

A four-track EP is gonna come out in April 2024 through our label The Animal Farm Music. 2023 was the rebirth of the band, our main objective for next year is to go back on stage. Everything we do as a band has one goal: finding gigs. It’s always cool to gain followers, streams, and views, but we are live musicians, and we mostly chase concerts.

How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?

I don’t spend a lot of time on social media, I basically go online to post relevant information, and I leave right away. I try to do it twice a week. However, if someone tries to reach me through social media or via our website (www.deanwallaceband.com), I answer very quickly.

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