Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with The Blackberry Poets! Together we discussed their origin story, juice, fairy tales, and so much more!

1. Mustard is grateful to have The Blackberry Poets join them at Music Shelf. How is everyone doing today?

We’re great, Mustard, hope you’re doing well.

2. Mustard has observed that humans love origin stories. Can you recall when The Blackberry Poets officially formed?

MAX: It was in July 2020, definitely a passion project during the pandemic. We were working on this musical and then from that came the band.

CYRIL: As we started writing and playing together, it just kind of clicked, even though we were all miles away from each other. At that time, there were three of us, shoutout to our longtime collaborator Mark Ligonde.

MAX: I keep forgetting that we were actively in different states, like never in the same room until January 2021.

3. Who (or what) influences The Blackberry Poets?

MAX: I guess musically, we’re kind of all over the place, but a combination of pop, rock, R&B.

CYRIL: We get super inspired by the work of the soul, like when you can really see someone’s spirit in their work. It goes from Michael Jackson to Samara Joy to Julie and the Phantoms, just really seeing someone’s soul through their craft.

4. What is The Blackberry Poet’s creative process?

CYRIL: I do a lot of the songwriting, so for me it usually starts from an idea or a title, and then I sit with my guitar and I don’t stand up until the song is done. 

MAX: That’s so funny, I never actually knew that about you but it makes so much sense.

CYRIL: I will literally commit to the song and just get it done on the spot. When I’m writing, I kinda get a sense of who will sing what and try to get into Max’s brain a little, knowing that he’ll harmonize this or take lead on this, just getting comfortable with each other’s creativity.

MAX: I get a lot of inspiration from A Cappella or choral arranging, so I often infuse a lot of that into background vocals and arranging the songs.

5. Who are some poets that influence The Blackberry Poets?

CYRIL: The name The Blackberry Poets came from a desire to tell stories through our music in ways that only poetry can, but also sending a message that our music is vulnerable and real to us. We are more inspired by the rawness of poetry, and try to infuse that in our sound.

6. In November 2020 The Blackberry Poets dropped their rendition of “Little Drummer Boy.” What does this Christmas song mean to the band?

CYRIL: I just need to say, I love a good Christmas song.

MAX: We had the idea of a Christmas song in late October/early November, and Mark put together a beat and it kind of just happened.

CYRIL: We definitely thought we could have an interesting take on the classic, Mark produced it and Max sang lead and their unique sound really pulled it together. It was also our first song together, so it just showed how much we could do in a short time.

7. How do The Blackberry Poets feel about Christmas music being played out of season?

MAX: Hey, I’m listening to Bublé Christmas and PTX all year round, so I’m in favor.

CYRIL: I listened to my Christmas playlist two weeks ago when I was on the road. If you don’t listen to Christmas music out of season, you probably can’t hear the bell in the Polar Express.

8. You followed up this release with “Sweeter Juice.” What was the inspiration behind this single?

MAX: That’s probably a you question cuz you wrote the song.

CYRIL: Yeah, well, the blacker the berry, the sweeter the juice is the saying, and I felt very inspired by our name and the bond and brotherhood that it stood for, that I wanted to write a song about it. It’s really a celebration of us and the unity that we have when we play. 

9. What is everyone’s favorite type of juice?

MAX: Minute Maid, period and period.

CYRIL: I was about to say the same thing. Minute Maid has a mango juice that is top tier.

MAX: I don’t know about the mango personally, but you go ahead and have your ministry. For me, it’s the fruit punch all day every day.

CYRIL: Minute Maid, we’re happy to record a jingle, hit us up.

10. Earlier this month you released your newest single “Wendy.” Could you share more about your latest single?

CYRIL: I wrote Wendy very early into lockdown, and I was super interested in the idea of youth and young love. Wendy was produced by Ben Jones, who is amazing, Mark did the bassline, and Max sang lead, as he should. Max is our lead singer in case you wanted to know. But yeah, I would say we really liked the groove and the message, and we are super excited that it’s out, and the first of many new songs.

MAX: I think that of the songs that we’ve released so far, this one is my favorite. The background vocals are very thick, and I personally love that.

CYRIL: He also sounds amazing on the track.

11. How did the story of Peter Pan and Wendy inspire the single?

MAX: You kind of already said it, like the idea of young love and youth and innocence.

CYRIL: Yeah, young love feels like a fairy tale when you’re in it, and yeah we just really liked the metaphor.

12. What is next for The Blackberry Poets?

MAX: We’ve got some songs in progress, and we are working towards our first full album.

CYRIL: We’re super excited to be crafting a narrative with this album and really telling our story. Also, we mentioned a musical earlier so just stay tuned, we like to do a lot of things.

MAX: There’s also been talk of a Christmas EP, I don’t know if we want to put that on the record.

CYRIL: If we put it on the record, then maybe we’ll actually do it.

13. Where can readers listen to your music?

MAX: Wherever you stream your music chile, Spotify, Apple Music, Twitch, Amazon, Deezer if you use it, Tiktok maybe.


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