The Black Market Club
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The Black Market Club

San Antonio, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

San Antonio, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Rock Indie




"The Black Market Club: A Different Approach To Music"

To a lot of young bands, the music world seems like a great opportunity for fame and fortune. However, The Black Market Club looks at it with a more humble perspective. Going five years strong, this indie rock band has found a way to mesh their passion for music into their lives. Bassist Adam Herzig says that the band “plays shows because it’s fun to play, not for the money. It’s just entertaining to entertain. So when I don’t even have money as an aspect, I get excited for gigs. It keeps it organic for me.”

At the head of the group is Zach Taylor. He’s a guitarist, band manager, and, as some of the members call him, “band mom.” Thanks to Taylor, the band has been able to set aside the stress of managing finances and bookings in order to focus on just having a good time performing. Andrew Bauer, guitarist and writer for the band, shares: “Zach manages all the finances. None of us get a paycheck. Everything we make from our shows gets reinvested into the band, and Zach appropriates appropriately however we deem fit. That’s how we pay for recording and production. There have been times [especially in the beginning] where we’ve done Kickstarters, but most of it has been independently generated from us playing.”

Because the band members don’t generate an income from music alone, they all also work full-time jobs. Ben Griffith, vocalist and keyboard for the band, is the only full-time performer, singing at various locations throughout the week, so he is able to schedule himself easily with the other members. Helzig, on the other hand, has a landscaping job and has to call into work sometimes in order to meet up with other members. However, Bauer says that “we’ve been together for a while now, so we know each other’s schedules. We’re all really close. We have a studio space that we practice at, and so we try to have a couple days a week to rehearse.”

Bauer, who is also The Black Market Club’s main songwriter, explains that although many of band’s jobs are delegated to certain individuals, they come together as a group every once in a while to create songs together. “There is one song on our last album, called ‘Fire,’ that we all wrote together because we had finished our EP and our producer Mack Damon asked us to write a pop-style song. I had this one little piano riff, and the band built a whole structure of a song for it. We all wrote the lyrics and mixed the song together. It took us about six hours. That was our first collaborative effort, and it was a lot of fun.”

What has kept the band going for almost five years now is their passion to connect with others, especially while travelling. According to Taylor, “One of the things that really opened my eyes and made me love being in a band was whenever we started going on tours. We get to all of these cities, and since we’re starting off, we’re going to these real hole-in-the-wall places with 10-11 people. It’s those interactions [that we make] afterwards that really remind me that what I’m doing is the right thing. We were in Chicago one time and we had a total of eight people in there, but one guy came up and bought out all of our merchandise. He was amazed that a band all the way from San Antonio was in his backyard. It really just made me warm inside. I know that with these people, we can really bring happiness to people all over the states, all over the world. What truly drives me are all these new interactions, all these new people that believe in us.”

At the recent Santikos Riffs and Reels Music Video Showcase, the band took second place, along with filmmaker Sam Lerma. Bauer shares that the experience provided a great opportunity for networking and meeting people in the San Antonio music industry. “We’ve seen everybody that was able to make a video, even if they didn’t place, they’ve been able to get 10x more exposure than they had before.” Taylor, who has produced two of the band’s music videos, loved the fact that he didn’t have to worry about creating another video. “Once we got done filming, we didn’t even talk to Screenville Films [the film production company helping us]. I really appreciated that because it was one of those things where, I didn’t want anything to do with it; I just left it to the professionals to make something awesome.”

The Black Market Club has successfully built a self-sustaining band that can go on for years to come. Helzig speaks for the whole group when he says that the basis for loving performance as a musician is “seeing people’s faces having a good time dancing, and to know that I was part of their creation of a good night. That does it for me.”

For more of The Black Market Club, check them out on their Facebook, Spotify, and Soundcloud. - Texas Public Radio

"The Black Market Club Poised For A Breakout"

The San Antonio-based quintet Black Market Club formed in 2012, blending progressive rock and hardcore rock with poppy melodies and indie sensibilities. The band members’ musical influences are just as varied. Two members - guitarist Zach Taylor and drummer Austin Busbee – both were into death metal. The same goes for current bassist Luciano Islas. Guitarist Andrew Bauer grew up on country and gospel music. Vocalist/keyboardist Ben Griffith favored classic rock, jazz and even some blues as well as more contemporary styles. Each member, current and former, has carried into the band several years of musical experience.

Those genres, those melodies, are very evident on the Black Market Club’s sound and its quickly winning over fans. It’s comes at a time when the size of the band’s shows is ramping up. The Black Market Club will be part of the next TwoTen Empire concert Saturday night at the Empire Theatre, joining fellow local bands Hydra Melody, Ready Revolution and The Native Roar.

Busbee, who like Taylor hails from the Houston area, recalls when he and Taylor discovered a mutual interest in music. "I actually wasn't playing music anymore at the time, but (Taylor was) playing this indie music, which I had never heard before and I thought this is kinda cool,” he says. “I hopped on board with that.”

Taylor and Busbee played in a country band before meeting Bauer and they started laying the groundwork for their own group. They soon met Xavier Zavala, who became bassist for Black Market Club, and Blake Cook, who was the vocalist. Taylor says that, when Cook was part of the band, there was a specific sound that guided the group in its formative months.

“We were listening to Circa Survive, Manchester Orchestra and Thrice. When Blake came to us, he completely came out of left field,” Taylor said. “He had listened to radio rock from the Houston area. There was this whole aggressiveness in his voice.”

Their musical development brought the Black Market Club to the San Antonio area. They booked their first official public performance at The Ten Eleven on Avenue B. “But a friend in Austin invited us for a practice show. It was at a co-op,” Taylor says. “It was so much fun. The atmosphere was great. We were in the kitchen and everybody was wrapped around us. We were just involved with the audience.”

The Ten Eleven gig was a success for the Black Market Club. “At that point, all we wanted was to play shows and get out our music,” Busbee says. “By the time we put everything together and played our first show, the consensus was, we want to actually do something with this.”

The band went another step forward by recording with help from a Kickstarter campaign. Their debut seven-track EP, “Faults & Fractures,” came out in April 2013. The EP won recognition in the San Antonio Current’s Music Awards. It features post-hardcore flourishes indicative of the movement of the late 1990s and early 2000s. Cook’s vocals alternate between subtle and towering. The soulful complexity in between percussion and the guitars is noticeable yet not so overwhelming. The lyrics are accessible, insightful and thoughtful.

Between May 2014 and January 2015, the lineup changed. Zavala and Cook departed. Griffith, a Clark High School graduate, joined the band. At first, he was apprehensive about the idle vocalist’s spot, but soon enough took it and ran with it.

Away from the stage, Griffith comes across as measured with his words. In performance, Griffith is confident and humble, matching his bandmates’ tone, note for note. Prior to joining the Black Market Club, Griffith earned his chops with vocal ensembles, as well as playing the piano and the synthesizer.

“Early on, I did kinda have the rock ‘n’ roll star fantasy. I grew up around great music influences. I've really enjoyed performing,” he says.

“Ben is here and he's been doing music on the side for so long, he can take everything we’ve done and become more comfortable with it,” Taylor says.

The Black Market Club is working on its sophomore CD, “Bad Habits,” due out before this year’s end. This provides Griffith a chance to help provide the band with a new dimension. “Now he's able to take his own ideas, his own spin-offs and incorporate them so that we can make the best sound of out it,” Taylor says.

“When I'm with the Black Market Club, I like being able to focus on vocals,” Griffith adds. “But working on a new album, we’re adding more keyboard and synth parts, adding layers.” He appreciates the varied approach that each member brings to the band. “We try to be all of our styles. Our backgrounds complement each other's when we're writing songs,” he says. “We learn each other's musical personalities.”

The chemistry is only improving with this lineup; it won this year’s Riverwalk Battle of the Bands. The band has played an array of venerable local bars and clubs, and recently finished a tour that went through Dallas, Austin, Houston, Louisiana, and as far as Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

“Our hard work met the opportunity. When we won the Battle of the Bands, good things started happening,” says Busbee.

Mack Damon, local producer with Hollywood Studios, is working with the Black Market Club and overseeing their latest CD production. The guys are enthusiastic about Saturday’s show at the Empire. They have no worries about being intimidated by what lies ahead at this performance or beyond.

“As we're starting to play more venues like (The Empire Theatre) and as our new CD will be coming out, I'm sure that mentality will change,” Griffith says.

“When you're playing the Empire, you can't help but to be hyped up about it. It's got prestige and the name,” Busbee adds. - Sobre Sound

"Paseo Del Rio"

Official San Antonio River Walk band of 2015 -

"Indie Rock Band The Black Market Club Releases Flagship EP 'Faults & Fractures'"

The indie rock crew known as The Black Market Club have released their groundbreaking, powerhouse EP record, “Faults & Fractures.” The extended-play release is comprised of 7 new, original titles for a total running time of approximately 30 minutes, making for a comprehensive debut record that suffices very well for a round and profound introduction to one of San Antonio's most exciting bands from the underground rock scene today. The sheer, tremendous vigor of The Black Market Club's freshman EP is astonishing, its tones intelligently violent, its themes palpably, viciously human.

The sound of “Faults & Fractures” is anchored to the progressive, youthful tones of the post-hardcore (not to say emotional hardcore) movement of the late nineties and early 2000s. The Black Market Club themselves fit very well in a list of bands they name as main artistic influences, such as Circa Survive, Thrice, Bon Iver, and Explosions in the Sky. They punctuate their songs with hardcore-style breakdowns and a just a touch of heartfelt screaming from the soul. Their drums often have jazz-inspired rhythms and time signatures that mainstream rock would never allow, making for a level of complexity that the Black Market guitarists are more than capable of challenging. Their instrumental tone is epic, towering, passionate, and somehow masculine and beautiful at the same time.

Adding a face and character to narrate this gorgeous noise is singer and front man Blake Cook. Cook's voice has a tremulous quality that is fantastically like Richie Birkenhead of Into Another. He is by all means able to show off, but tactfully does not do so because there is no need. The timbre of his whispery, Chet Baker-ish style is perfectly suited to the patient pummeling kind of hard rock his band plays behind him. His moments of falsetto and surprisingly precise trills are balanced by bursts of aggression that bespeak a staggering inner strength that he keeps reined in, pent-up inside until his band mates bring the crescendo. Then Cook roars. The Black Market Club comes down all together like the calamitous thunder of a great stone rain, like the falling of the Tower of Babylon.

Together with Cook, the members of The Black Market Club boast an extensive background in music, 8-10 years apiece, which is made all the more remarkable by the fact that the Club is made of fairly young gentlemen. Additionally, their present line-up was just completed this time last year, making this mix a brand-new chemistry with a blindingly bright future indeed.

“Faults & Fractures” by The Black Market Club is available online worldwide beginning July 2013.

"The Black Market Club"

The Black Market Club is one of those local bands with a big, melodic alt-prog sound that actually transcends styles - Enrique Caprario, The San Antonio Current

"The Black Market Club"

The Black Market Club is a culmination of Indie sounds kings haling from San Antonio and rocking the local scene. I recently became a huge fan after our friends Erica and Justin took us out on the town for some music therapy to watch The Black Market Club at The Korova. I’ve seen Andrew Bauer do his magic in a different venue setting and his rock skills as well as his band will have you wanting to be their groupies! Blake Cook is the vocalist and as his band likes to say their diamond in the rough. On guitar is Zach Taylor and Andrew Bauer, Bassist is Xavier Zavala and the drummer is Austin Busbee. They are a post-rock quintet from San Antonio, TX who specialize in poppy melodies, catchy lyrics, driving riffs and high energy live performances.

They recently launched their new website and be sure to like them on Facebook for their tour dates. - San Antonio Socialista


Still working on that hot first release.



Hailing from San Antonio, The Black Market Club is an indie-rock quintet specializing in catchy lyrics, moving melodies, and driving riffs. The band has been described as "a taste of hardcore, a pinch of progressive rock, and a dash of upbeat indie-rock," and has been compared to the likes of Panic! At The Disco, Jimmy Eat World, and Young the Giant. 

On April 5th of 2013, the band released their debut EP "Faults & Fractures", a culmination of experiences and feelings expressed through seven memorable tracks. In the first year, Faults & Fractures has gained a high level of recognition from multiple platforms, including the title of "second best cd" and "second best new song: Pieces" by the San Antonio Current. 

At the beginning of 2015, The Black Market Club announced it's sophomore EP, MOVE. The highly-anticipated album is a far more refined sound and style in comparison to their first CD, but still keeps to the pop-rock roots people love. Produced by Mack Damon at Hollywood studios, MOVE debuted on December 3rd, 2016. 

Since it's formation, The Black Market Club has had the opportunity to share the stage with Bastille, The Naked & Famous, Minus The Bear, Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, The Maine, Hawthorne Heights, Emery, Glassjaw, The Kin, Finish Ticket, The Soil & The Sun, Kellen & Me, The Rocketboys, and more. 

Band Members