Unveiling the Electrifying World of Blak Likorish: An E….

In this exclusive interview, we sit down with the dynamic duo behind Blak Likorish to uncover the inspiration behind their mesmerizing sounds and mind-bending visuals. From their beginnings in the vibrant West Coast rave scene to their training under esteemed DJ and producer Stickybuds, DJ Coca Mount and music Producer Vernon Jermain share their journey of musical exploration and artistic evolution. With a blend of passion, creativity, and a touch of serendipity, Blak Likorish is poised to make a lasting impact on the Electronic music scene; join us as we delve into their world and discover the magic behind the music.

Hi Blak Likorish! How are you doing?

Excellent! The sun is shining and we are just so excited about life right now! We’ve been living in the studio for the last few rainy, winter months creating visuals for our live show and writing fresh tunes, so looking out at a beautiful sunny BC mountain scape is so refreshing. 

To start, how did the two of you come together to form Blak Likorish, and what inspired the name?

When we initially became friends, we connected through our mutual passion for music and shared tastes. We both had been in the Rave scene for years and were drawn to its vibrant culture and the sense of inclusivity it embodies. There’s something truly magical about the connections forged with people from all walks of life during those unforgettable experiences. If we had to pick something akin to religious belief, the most appropriate would be ‘Raving’. We believe in the power, energy and beauty that comes with the Dance music culture community. You know, PLUR in its purest sense. 

In fact, we got married at one of our all-time favourite music festivals: Bass Coast, held in Merritt, BC, Canada. Then we celebrated our honeymoon at our other all-time favourite festival, Shambhaha, held in Salmo, BC.  

On our way back from Shambs that year, we decided, officially, that we wanted to be a part of that community forever. That we wanted to give back to the culture that had given us so much. Since we have both been enamored with music and performance since we were young, it was kind of a no-brainer in a lot of ways to start an Electronic music duo. It was simply a natural progression for our own personal evolution and interests together.   

The name Blak Likorish was kind of an accident. We were both working as chefs and the topic of food-related artist names came up: Salt n Pepa, Cream, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Cranberries, Smashing Pumpkins, Meatloaf etc. We thought it would be funny to make a song called ‘I heart Cilantro’ because there’s no in-between when it comes to cilantro; you either love it or hate it. Then we both said simultaneously, It’s just like black licorice!” We just kind of looked at each other and something felt right about it. That was when we decided. We didn’t have any intention of picking a name for ourselves that night. We were just cracking jokes. Funny enough, it wasn’t until recently that we found out that black licorice root is represented in many different belief systems as communication between the physical and the metaphysical. We totally geeked out about that because we feel that music does the same thing. So, it’s kind of a perfect name.  

Can you describe your musical backgrounds and how they influence your sound as Blak Likorish? 

Laila: My journey into music is quite eclectic. It began with my roots as a competitive gymnast. I was immersed in music and choreographed dance routines. This was where I first discovered the sounds of Electronic music, and came across artists like Daft Punk. My transition from gymnastics to dance, particularly belly dancing, opened new avenues of expression, which introduced me to the euphoric world of Bass music. Exploring raves and collecting a plethora of music, I found solace in the immersive and transcendent nature of bass-heavy music. I’ve always been a music enthusiast, amassing large collections spanning various genres, particularly Pop, Funk, Soul, and R&B. DJing lingered in the back of my mind, but I lacked a starting point. When I met Vern, we shared a profound love for music and eclectic taste. We delved into festivals and uncovered monumental influences like Delta Heavy, Nero, and Stickybuds-with The Funk Hunters being our biggest inspiration for the type of performance and production we strive to deliver. The fusion of music with a theatrical performance and an underlying inspirational message is something I am really drawn to. I have a deep love for powerful vocals, especially female vocals-which came from my mother’s love of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston. All of these diverse musical influences, my love of Electronic music, my dance background and my bond with Vern, all came together to inspire Blak Likorish. 


Vern: I grew up listening to Funk, Soul, R&B, Disco and Reggae and Pop for the most part. My dad was a drummer for a Reggae band and also played bass. I had always dabbled a little in music, playing piano and bass for very brief periods in my life, though I never followed through. I think I went through many different musical phases in my life, where for brief periods I was obsessed with different styles and genres. I went through a huge Hip-Hop phase, a classic Rock phase, a massive Punk Rock and Metal phase. I was obsessed with Classical and Baroque music for a long time. I had a brief affair with Ravi Shankar-esque drumming. My friend’s parents listened to a lot of Folk music and always brought guitars when we went camping so I developed a pretty deep appreciation for the story-elements that are intrinsic in Folk music. My first foray into Electronic music was mainly Trance and Happy Hardcore. There was something magical about those big wide synths and bright lights in dark spaces that felt so connecting. After that it was all just Breakbeats and Jungle. Just couldn’t get enough classic DJ Hype and Andy C and basically anyone who played at Fabric. From there it was just so much DnB. It actually wasn’t until years later, after connecting with Laila that I really started exploring House and Midtempo. These were the genres that I really felt inspired to write, as there was such a fun, sexiness about them, but that you could really dig deep and heavy with them too. Midtempo Bass music has that groovy, bpm-connection with Pop music and the act of combining those heavy elements with Pop sensibilities was always something that drew me to writing it. The theatricality that has become ubiquitous in Pop music (and Hip-Hop) was also something that attracted me to writing Midtempo, and then soon after, Dubstep. There was just so much character in the production and performance of those genres that I always felt there could be something within them that could be truly narratively significant.

What would you say sets your style apart in the realms of the genres you produce; Midtempo Bass, Bass House, and Dubstep? 

We think of our Midtempo Bass music as Dance-floor Midtempo”. Where a lot of it tends to be dark or scary, we prefer to present the fun, dance-y side while still keeping it deep, sexy, sultry and emotional. Our music is designed to take the listener on a journey, so we incorporate a lot of narrative elements: spoken word samples, Pop-style vocals and effects to really bring the listener into our world. We believe that people connect best with each other as they engage with stories; it’s kind of part of our collective evolution. So presenting Dance music with story elements has become an essential part of our style in each of the genres we produce.

How has your training under Stickybuds shaped your approach to music production and DJing? 

Well, it’s not allowed to suck, haha.  

The thing that drew us to Stickybuds began with his set design. His mastery in sampling, genre-bending, harmonic mixing and production skills are what distinguishes him. His sets are always such a journey, where he weaves repeated thematic elements that tie the entire experience together. We actually discovered him together by listening to his Shambhala sets on SoundCloud, and were just mesmerized by his creation. We had never heard anyone curate DJ sets the way he does, so when we had the opportunity to work with him that was a big part of what we wanted to learn. His sets have an irresistible allure and we admired his ability to not only ignite the dancefloor but also how his sets make you ponder the workings of the world and existence.   

As his students, he instilled in us the importance of professionalism in our craft, ensuring the satisfaction of the promoters, venues, and fans. He stressed the significance of thorough preparation, meticulous attention to detail, and refusal to settle for anything less than excellence. We are committed to presenting the absolute best of our capabilities to our fans. His guidance motivates us to continuously refine our artistry and strive for improvement every single day. We often joke about how he’s the cool older brother we aim to impress, fueling our desire to make him proud.  

Above all, his teachings, and his approach to DJ set creation, inspires us to create that kind of thematic unity throughout the set. That the set itself overall is a piece of art, or a story, that draws you in, makes you think, engages you on many emotional and intellectual levels and still keeps you dancing from the first drop to the final lead-out. 

What can audiences expect from a Blak Likorish live performance, both musically and visually? 

We like to draw the listener in with some kind of narrative or thematic hook: we use a series of samples and vocals that will come back throughout the set to re-familiarize the audience with the journey we’re taking them on. We use specially created visuals to punctuate that narrative journey. Using a combination of stock footage, shot-footage and photography, we create and compose a series of visual metaphors that coincide with each of our track selections. Each song is paired to its own video with our software, so if we feel like changing the order of our mix, the video changes too, which allows us to still visually represent our interpretation of the track. All the tracks we have available to us, and their corresponding visuals, reflect the overall narrative or theme. We love to start with that hard, heavy, grooving Mid-tempo Bass. It just sets such a solid tone, saying to the audience ‘we hope you’re ready to get down, and get down hard!’ Everybody looks so good dancing to Midtempo too because that 90-110bpm is fast enough to keep the audience dancing hard, but slow enough that they can really lean into their movements and express themselves fully in their body. Typically, we’ll move into House after that, or more specifically Bass House. The fast, fun, pumping grit and grimy synths just ramp up the audience’s collective heart rate. Midtempo has a tendency to be very serious so moving into Bass House softens that up a bit, reminds them to just have fun! Plus, we love half-time breakdowns. After that, we like to move into the realm of Dubstep. The inherent contrast built into Dubstep, the beautiful vocals and build-up synths smashed together with those heavy bass-patch drops, is just something we love so much. Pairing the beautiful melodic with the hard, heavy and slightly dissonant is something that characterizes our approach to music-making in general and we feel that Dubstep is such a great representation of that approach. Our sets are designed to engage the audience sonically, visually, mentally and emotionally. 

How do you go about selecting tracks and creating mashups for your sets? 

We select our tracks and create mashups that are based on the overall narrative theme of the performance and their ability to contribute to the story. Despite our extensive library of music that we love, there are so many pieces that we have yet to integrate into a set simply because they don’t align with the overall narrative of the story being told. Sometimes, it includes classic throwbacks (usually in the form of samples reworked into fresher, heavier grooves), a lot of times it includes tracks from underground, obscure producers; sometimes it includes tracks that we’ve been sitting on for a while and have finally found a spot for it within our overarching set design. Obviously, we include our own music, so long as it is thematically consistent. Sometimes, we’ll create our own samples specifically for a set, or write a song for a spot within the set that no other tune can fill. We design our sets to ensure that each element is harmonically mixed. If we encounter a gap in key and tempo, we’ll just make something ourselves in the moment that will fit into the transition. 

Could you share some memorable moments from your live performances in the past? 

We played a ‘Dia de Los Muertos’ party last year where everyone wore skeleton makeup and death-related costumes. They set up altars honouring their loved-ones who have passed and the venue was decorated in a very classic Mexican-style celebration. Before we threw down our set, we had everyone close their eyes, hold their hands over their heart and invite their long-lost loved ones to party (in spirit) with us that night. We weren’t sure if anyone was gonna feel it, as they were all pretty lit-up and getting super rowdy. But they absolutely chilled, and you could tell that people were sharing real moments with their passed, loved ones.  And that moment of solemnity was the perfect contrast to one of the biggest opening bass drops of our career!  

What plans do you have for future releases and collaborations? 

We are currently sitting on some fun, pumping Bass House tunes as well as some deep, grooving Midtempo Bass tunes that we will be releasing within the year. We also have some Dubstep in the works at the moment. We will be releasing tunes in each of our chosen genres, exploring the theme of Continnum”, the inter-dimensional connection and the consciousness that between all matter. We’ve connected with some really talented vocalists who will essentially be portraying some of the characters in our dance-musical dramas.  

How do you see the future of Blak Likorish unfolding, and what are your goals for the coming year? 

Our vision is to craft DJ sets, primarily featuring original Blak Likorish tunes, and utilize immersive visuals created by us and other visual artists. Through these performances, we aim to tell stories of perseverance, overcoming challenges, and personal growth against a sci-fi backdrop of intergalactic travel, human evolution, technology and the advancement of our species.  

This year, our agenda includes releasing fresh music, unveiling new videos, and performing as much as we can across British Columbia and Canada.  

As our conversation draws to a close, we thank Blak Likorish for their time and for sharing a glimpse into their background and projects. As the future shines brightly for Blak Likorish, with plans for fresh releases, immersive performances, and a commitment to storytelling through music, they are ready to take on whatever challenges lie ahead, so make sure to follow them across social media to remain updated on their new music and live shows. 

Blak Likorish Online 

Website | Instagram | Spotify 


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