PODCAST: Black Map

Black Map. A clean slate, an open-ended set of directions with no boundaries or guidelines tying you to any predetermined path? Or a bleak, morbid symbol of nothing-good-to-come, no matter which journey you choose? Maybe a little bit of both? Dystopian themes and dark lyrical images sit atop bombastic, surging rhythms and melodies--suggesting all paths are possible, but you may lose a few things along the way. This is Black Map (guitarist Mark Engles, singer/bassist Ben Flanagan and drummer Chris Robyn).

Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, Black Map is a perfect sonic intersection of its members' pasts. In 2010, Ben Flanagan found his anthem-heavy pop band The Trophy Fire taking some time off from the road, and simultaneously found himself becoming fast friends with Mark Engles of the internationally popular experimental art rock band, dredg. It wasn't long before Flanagan was touring the world with dredg as a side guitarist/vocalist. The two friends became inseparable, sharing their affinity for ‘90s rock bands that melded the heavy and the beautiful, such as Northern California cult icons, Far (which just so happened to be the former band of their friend, Chris Robyn). With Far as a major influence, Engles and Flanagan began writing the heaviest, most powerful music they could muster, while still keeping the strong sense of melody their other projects are known for. The duo took some of their early ideas to Robyn and when the three men began playing music together in the same room, the synergy and spark was instantaneous.

With the touring schedule for dredg not nearly as busy as in the past, and with Robyn stepping down as a touring member of Crosses (side project of Deftones’ Chino Moreno and Far’s Shaun Lopez), Black Map was able to find time to record their forthcoming DRIVER EP (out February 25), and will hit the road in 2014. The group unceremoniously released their debut single "I'm Just The Driver" on YouTube in November to overwhelming response, and were soon featured on BBC Radio 1's "Rock Show" as one of their “best tracks of 2013.”
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