Central New Jersey’s Red Black Red is the brainchild of Enrico Fernando, a veteran musician who’s been a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist for a number of North Jersey hard rock outfits (The Effluent, House of Leaves, Pavonia etc.). After more than a decade doing the local band slog, Enrico finally did the “settling down” thing, got married, and moved down to the Jersey Shore — intending to retire completely from music, and seemingly content with commuting to New York City for his regular 9 to 5 at an insurance company.
However, inspired by the vibrant arts and music scene in and around Asbury Park, Enrico started work on Red Black Red in 2015 as an output for his industrial/electronic music tendencies. That project, similar to TV on the Radio, Depeche Mode, and Nine Inch Nails, with concentrated doses of electric guitar, evolved to become Red Black Red. Taking advantage of his freakin’ long commute to and from New York, he started composing, arranging, and programming music with his laptop, on the train. Vocals, guitars, and final mixdown of the tracks are completed in his basement, where Enrico has a mini home studio set-up cobbled over a number of years.
Red Black Red releases Resettlement on March 2. Ghettoblaster caught up with Fernando to discuss it.
When did you first begin writing the material for Resettlement?
I started writing the bulk of the material some time in mid-2016.
Is there a cohesive theme to the tracks? Or is more a collection of songs?
Yes, the theme is the refugee experience, thus the album title, Resettlement. Each song is more about the emotional and psychological impact of the experience as opposed to a straight narrative – although if you read the lyrical content there are some obvious scenes or situations. The songs are informed by my personal experience as an immigrant, as well as stories from friends and family. The awesome book “The Sympathizer” by Viet Thanh Nguyen was also a big inspiration and source, as I was reading that at the same time I started writing this material.
Is this your debut release?
This is Red Black Red’s second album – the first album, Bloody Wing, came out in 2016.
The video for “Kindness” is wild. Is that your handiwork? If not, who made that video?
Yes, I created the video, as I do animation work on the side when possible. I always loved more abstract pieces of visual art, and the video is designed basically as a “painting in motion.”
Do you have any plans to make more videos for the release?
I have one more video for the next single, but that’s it in terms of this album release. Animation work is very time intensive, and I need time to actually keep making music! Though, I am looking forward to making more interesting animated videos for future releases, as time permits.
What artists are you listening to these days? Any Jersey faves we should know about?
My favorite albums from the past couple of years have been mostly southern artists – that Nashville nexus is just kicking ass right now – Jason Isbell, Valerie June, Christ Stapleton, Margo Price, Nikki Lane, Sturgill Simpson, and of course the Alabama Shakes. Out of NJ the bands Dentist and the Battery Electric are really cool, especially seeing them live around Asbury Park. On the electronic side have always been a big fan of James Blake so that’s what I’m listening to now.
What’s next for Red Black Red? Perhaps a tour?
No plans to tour, yet – hope to get there someday! I’ve already started on the next album, so looking to get that out next year.