Melanie Mae Bryan

The Way Up: An Interview with Rising Rock Band Black Smoke Trigger

Music Scene Media
Nov 12, 2023
4 min read
PHOTO: Christine Solomon

Black Smoke Trigger, a powerhouse rock band, emerged from the vibrant music scene of New Zealand in 2018. The founding members, Charlie Wallace, Baldrick, Dan Fulton, and Josh Te Maro, united their musical talents and shared passion for rock, creating the foundation of a band destined for greatness. I recently had the chance to chat with the band about their most recent death-defying music video, what's next for the band, and more!

MSM: Tell me about your journey with creating music. What first ignited that passion for you? 

Baldrick: When I was 13, my parents bought me an acoustic guitar and a DVD for beginner guitar players. They told me if I stuck with it that they’d consider buying me an electric guitar for my birthday. I learned everything on that DVD in 2-3 weeks because I really wanted that guitar! My parents saw that I was taking it seriously and bought me my first electric guitar, and for years I never put it down. Metallica was my favourite band in those days and most of the songs I learned back then were their songs, they really sparked my interest in playing and, eventually, writing music.

Charlie: My passion for playing guitar came from hearing the song Paranoid by Black Sabbath on a skateboarding VHS tape, and the energy it gave me. I just knew that I wanted to listen to that song again. I was trying to download the song on the internet and I found a guitar tab - what’s better than learning how to play it?

MSM: Charlie, you jumped off of the Auckland Sky Tower in the music video for “The Way Down”. Were you really playing during the fall? Was it terrifying, or exhilarating? 

Charlie: Yes, I really was playing the solo on “The Way Down”! It was one of the most surreal and exhilarating experiences of my life. It felt like a dream as I was going down. I was kind of just laughing to myself at how absolutely ridiculous the whole thing was. As soon as I landed, I needed to make my way back up the tower again to do another take, to make sure we had enough footage from the helicopter. So by the end of the second jump, I was ready for more! It was one of the highlights of my life so far, and something I’ll never forget.

MSM: This video looks like it was a lot of fun to create, and I love the subtleties like the lyrics in the background in places you wouldn’t expect. Do you have any other fun stories about the creation of this video? 

Baldrick: The video was definitely a lot of fun. I lost count of how many times I had to change as I was in 9 different outfits through the filming process. There were a few occasions where I was ready in one outfit and the schedule changed so I had to immediately change into another. The fake moustaches on top of the real moustache got some laughs as they kept falling off all the time. When I was on the outside of the tower, I was singing my parts, and I didn’t know until after I’d finished that everyone inside the building could actually hear me singing!

MSM: You’ve now done a music video underwater, and one at death-defying heights. Do you think you’ll continue with extreme conditions in your next music video? 

Charlie: Yes, absolutely. We want to push things to the extreme when it's relevant to do so, and we also want to make sure that we serve each song that we make a video for - so that the video really adds to the song, and adds a visual journey. We have some big ideas in the pipeline and after both the underwater video, and now the Sky Tower video, it's gonna be pretty hard to beat, but we have some ideas we're cooking up.

MSM: What’s next for Black Smoke Trigger? Where do you see yourselves in five years? 

Charlie: What’s next for us is filming a few more music videos, continuing the release of our upcoming album “Horizons” with some more singles and some tours coming up. We’re making plans to tour the world supporting this album. Then we will of course start working on the next one. Our fans have loved what we’ve given them so far and we have a lot more in us to give them in 5 years time… We want to make a music video in space!

MSM: What is something that people may not know about you? 

Charlie: I founded one of the largest online guitar lesson companies in the world - it’s a huge passion of mine to not only play and perform music myself, but to take all the things that I had to learn the hard way, and give them to people so that they can learn much easier and enjoy the gift of playing and performing their own music.

MSM: Do you have anything else that you’d like to share with your fans? 

Charlie: We are really excited with what we have to share with our fans, and our new album “Horizons”. This is us putting our stake in the ground to show everyone who we really are as a band. There are a lot of different sides that people may not have seen or heard from us just yet. I think there’s gonna be a few surprises for our long-term fans and people who are only just discovering us and what we are doing should really love this album.



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