Hailing from upstate New York, Black Table practices the dark arts of other dimensions. Their music tears through the ethereal plane to reveal to a darker world. Defined by MetalSucks as “proggy, blackened metal… like a puddle of boiled oil full of broken glass,” the sound reflects an extreme codependence of atmosphere and aggression. We are talking about music that is both rich and hypnotic. Textures layered heavy with extreme tantrums and outbursts. The musical dichotomy of the two, seemingly at odds with each other yet seamlessly pieced together creates pleasing tension and jarring dissonance. What follows is our standard profile with vocalist Mers Sumida who provides her hellish vocals which tower over the music like mountains looking down upon dark rivers. She’s open, honest and humorous. Enjoy…
How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?
I played the flute for years as a kid, so that was my first introduction to playing an instrument. I really enjoyed playing in an orchestra and playing sheet music but composing is very different than playing absolute notes, and I really love that process a lot. We are very proud of what we have done together as a band, but we still have a few more milestones to go before we are like, “Yeah, we made it!” Like actually making some money would be cool.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.
This wasn’t embarrassing to me per say, but, we busted our ass to get to this venue on a tour in the states a while back and we barely made it. We were pissed, tired and stressed. We park, load in, set up, play, break down and start to bring shit to the van. I’m walking past this dude and he’s like, “Hey! You were great! You sound just like Shania Twain!” and I’m like, “Ha, yeah,” and keep walking. He keeps telling me this, so he does it a third time and finally I had it, I demand, “What the fuck does that even mean, man!?” And it just got deadly silent. I don’t think anyone knew besides myself and him that he kept saying this stupid fucking thing to me, so I think it looked like I snapped. No one said anything, he didn’t say anything. I waited for a few minutes and then left. Super awkward, but what the fuck does that even mean, man? Still waiting.
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
I think there is a real conscious effort to start viewing women in metal as musicians in metal, finally. People should be seen for their merits and not their sex or whatever. I’m a screamer and a musician, being female doesn’t have much to do with it. How I play or how I express music is intellectual and doesn’t come from my breasts or my vagina. I do believe in female and male energy in that esoteric sense, but I think those energies can come from either or both sexes and I don’t see them as existing in only one or the other. I feel I have both energies and I express them in different ways. As for the worst thing, racism is still in the music scene, not just in metal, but it’s troubling and at times harrowing. It’s stupid and useless.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music?
Our passion is storytelling. Essentially, maybe we are bards. I don’t like to preach, instead I like to offer up something for interpretation or exploration because I think this is more valuable than just telling someone what to think.
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
My neighbor, Daniel. We would watch Metallica music videos together on MTV. I was 11 or 12 maybe? I thought it was the most insane shit ever. It was aggressive, and I really liked that because I was a little fist of angst. My dad was too busy listening to jazz to care. *snap snap*
What’s the stickiest you have ever been?
Fucking Florida. We played a show at this venue and it was so hot, that two of us almost passed out, totally drenched in salty gross haven’t-showered-in-a-few-days-because-no-hot water-when-I-try-to-shower-sweat, and my hair became so curly It looked like I had a sheep on my head. I was too heat sick to enjoy all that glorious volume.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
Sometimes bloggers or “music critics” well contact us and be like, “Hey, your new album rocks! We’d like to do an interview/article/whatever on you guys. “ Cool, sounds good. “Just click this link and submit your band here!” Mhm. Or “My name is Metal God Rager Mayhem Cvlt Wizard, I want to interview you for my AMAZING METAL music blog.” Okay, I like wizards. “Fill out the interview questions on my site and submit.” *Delete* Music bloggers and reviewers are super important people to the scene or genre, but this lazy “journalism” of some doesn’t do anything for anyone besides get a little bit of traffic to someone’s half-ass blog. I’m actually enjoying this interview because these are questions I have never answered before!
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult?
We are already a cult. We all have matching tattoos and induct a few special people a few times a year, but they have to beat all of us in arm wrestling first. Pretty much impossible. Our goal is to tour all the time.
Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
Day jobs are practical, unfortunately. However, if there is anyone out there who would like to be a gracious Patron of the Arts, we could get down with that. My current hobby is not spending money.
Finally, when you’re not listening to, writing or playing metal, what are some of you favorite albums to listen to currently?
Right now: I have actually been lost in this audiobook, The Hike, by Drew Magary. This 38-year-old super white bread suburban dude stumbles through the woods and ends up being chased by men wearing masks made from actual Rottweiler faces, and he finds himself in a surreal world that gets stranger and stranger. It’s hilarious and fucking weird, so I’ve been engrossed in that.
Thanks so much to Mers Sumida for the time and humor!